Author Topic: Best Martial arts to learn?  (Read 6915 times)

Offline ddog27

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Best Martial arts to learn?
« on: May 25, 2012, 09:23:24 AM »
As a guy who has no experience in martial arts or any hand to hand combat I was wondering what would be the best one to learn? I have no plans to enter the octagon and fight, I just want to be able to protect myself and family if the SHTF or any other situation. So let me know what you guys think. Thanks!
Truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it, but, in the end, there it is. -Sir Winston Churchill

Offline NickJ

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Re: Best Martial arts to learn?
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2012, 10:57:16 AM »
What training is available where you are?
Not all Martial "Arts" classes are highly focused on self defense.
That being said, anything is better than nothing and you should to consider the other benefits as well.
I have four children that have been in Tae Kwon Do for about two months now. That is the extent of my experience.

Offline Pa-Pathfinder

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Re: Best Martial arts to learn?
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2012, 11:42:47 AM »
Hi, I have been "into" martial arts my entire life.  Practiced "took lessons" for over ten years.  Standard Karate styles for 5 years and Aikido for 5 years.

In my honest opinion, most styles will help you tons.  The key is regular training by a qualified instructor.  Not some guy that made up a style and has one school.  I can name a dozen of these guys that have come and gone in my area in the last 25 years.

Every street fight is different.  Could be against one person or many attackers.  Many street fights involve grappling, grabbing, pushing, tackling.  Regrettably I have been in at least two street fights.  The one time I was beaten was by a judo guy that locked me up so fast I was done for.  The other, I was able to use Aikido style footwork to side step multiple attacks until the drug crazed attacker was literally exhausted.   A good mix of the two is Hapkido, it involves Aikido techniques, but adds attacks like low kicks and punches etc.

The main point to remember is that you need to stick with training.  Don't take karate for a year and think you are good to go.  You need daily practice, even if it is just 20 punchs/kicks in the air every morning.  I am about to start training regularly again with my three year old son.  The only classes nearby are tang so do karate, so that is what we will study now.

Online Josh the Aspie

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Re: Best Martial arts to learn?
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2012, 11:59:16 AM »
I've been in martial arts so long that I have no idea how old I was when I started.  5, maybe?  I've studied Tae Kwon Do, Taiji (also known as Tai Chi), Kung Fu, and Kick Boxing.

As strange as this may sound to some folks, I think that in many ways, which art you choose has less to do with the results of your training than the individual instructor does.

Take Tae Kwon Do for example.  You could learn self defense techniques, and some instructors might focus on this, but many instructors have you work drills over the various patterns/katas without explaining the application.  Other instructors might focus on preparing you for tournament fighting, rather than real self defense situations.  Some may focus on these first as a way to get your movements down well, then teach the application later.  The same can be said for Karate, Kung Fu, etc.  Kick Boxing classes can range from being as worthless as Tai Bo, to teaching you Mui Tai, a variation of kick boxing designed for taking out your opponent in a savage fashion, with an actual martial art legend built around the school.

Many of the drills and programs that are done for self defense are taught across the boundaries of several different arts as well.

Were I you, I'd go to various dojos, ask about the teaching priorities in the class (without asking leading questions), and ask to sit in to watch a lesson or two so that you can get a feel for what is done in them.  Find a class that you think that you could enjoy and attend regularly, and an instructor that you think you can work with and show proper respect to.  If you find several of these dojos, and still need help choosing, then come back and ask for more help.  ;)

Another consideration to keep in mind while you are looking around is how quickly do you want to be effective, and how much room do you want to have to grow in the art.  Some of the most effective arts of all take the longest to have any practical application.  Taiji, for example, is a very powerful martial art, and the masters of it, and other soft-form arts like Judo, and Akido, are often able to defeat multiple masters of hard/linear arts at once... but it can take a decade before you can actually put it to use.  However many "Taiji instructors" just take a few weeks worth of classes to get a certification, and then start teaching it without really understanding the art's principles.  So you need to watch out and be canny when looking for instructors.

Protip: If the instructor of a Yoga or Taiji dojo starts talking about rainbows, or dolphins, high tail it out of there.

If you're already physically fit, and you want something to supplement your martial arts training, which is usually free, you might look into free-running, especially if you study an art like Ninjutsu, or Monkey style Kung Fu.  I don't mean the kind where you run from obstical to obstical to do tricks.  I mean the kind where you try to get from point A to point B efficiently, interacting with the terrain, rather than simply going around it.

Offline donaldj

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Re: Best Martial arts to learn?
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2012, 10:04:46 PM »
Avoid martial arts that try to be "mystic". If they talk about secret punches or other skills, they're perpetuating a myth.

Ensure you are training in a martial science, not a martial art, or a martial sport. The difference is, simply, CONSEQUENCES. If you get hit in a game of foot-tag, it's a lot different than being in a real altercation. Don't learn "touch" when force and penetration are required.

Train at a school that will put a weapon in your hand within the first couple classes. If the instructor says "Weapons are reserved for higher ranks", run away. Humans are tool users and we all have tools handy in some form or another. Any instructor willing to deny this most basic of tendencies is perpetuating a style and not working at getting you proficient in personal protection.

I'm not going to diss styles or promote them, because it is largely the instructor. Ensure your instructor knows why you're there and is a professional.

If you happen to be in the Michigan area or Ohio area, I can help direct you.

Don



Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — "No, you move."     -Captain America

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Offline jlesniak

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Re: Best Martial arts to learn?
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2012, 02:38:01 PM »
I completely agree with the important part being the instructor. I've written about this and discussed it extensively both online and off. ANY art can be taught both well and poorly.

I strongly suggest considering how far you're willing to travel, then start looking at the schools that are around. Without attempts at attacking anyone else that has posted, it is IMPOSSIBLE to profile a good or bad instructor without checking out their classes. Consider what it is you're looking to get out of the classes and see which instructor "clicks" for you. And don't forget, you can always change schools.

Online Josh the Aspie

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Re: Best Martial arts to learn?
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2012, 03:35:12 PM »
I agree that teaching a weapon early on that has analogs you will be able to improvise, like some kind of stick or flail is a good idea.  However, I do not think that focusing on basic unarmed combat first is necessarily a bad idea.  If you don't have your tool to hand, and don't have a good focus on unarmed, you are screwed.

Also, while I enjoy the techniques I am learning with my nunchucks at one of my dojos, they don't seem the most practical.  I've practiced with swinging it, and changing hands, and positions, but have yet to learn any strikes.  There's a plausible reason for why, though.

This dojo works everyone in the same class through the exact same technique set, no matter the belt level when possible.  This way higher belts and lower belts work together, and the instructor can watch everyone for problems with the same technique.  There is a large emphasis on simple but effective self-defense techniques and combos (like how to escape a bear hug from behind, and follow it up with strikes).  The higher belts simply know more techniques for the most part.  There is a form, but I've only learned a few moves from the middle of it due to the self-defense and physical fitness emphasis.

It may well be that the nunchuck strikes are earlier or later in the rotation.  Besides, one of the strengths of the weapon is to be able to attack from unexpected angles due to the change of grips behind you.

Offline donaldj

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Re: Best Martial arts to learn?
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2012, 09:37:49 AM »
I agree that teaching a weapon early on that has analogs you will be able to improvise, like some kind of stick or flail is a good idea.  However, I do not think that focusing on basic unarmed combat first is necessarily a bad idea.  If you don't have your tool to hand, and don't have a good focus on unarmed, you are screwed.

Pretty much any technique you learn with a weapon can be applied to open hand, and vice versa.

The tanbo (2 foot staff) and yawara ( a stick about 6-8 inches long) are the most important martial tools you can study in modern times. It's not a matter of "analogs" that relate to every day items, it's about the tactical pen, the flashlight, the kubotan key chain, or the myriad of other items that you can carry with you every day. This way you're not "improvising".

Ask anyone what they would do if they are with their wife and kids in the parking lot at some store and are assaulted by a couple thugs. Freeze time and ask the dad, "What do you want most, right now?".  The answer is going to be some variation of "weapons and friends".

So, if you're in a violent altercation, and you know you're going to want a weapon, why not train in weapons FIRST, and why not ensure you adjust your every day carried items to include weapons??
Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — "No, you move."     -Captain America

See my Examiner.com articles on Emergency Preparations: http://www.examiner.com/detroit-emergency-preparedness-in-detroit/donald-alley

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Online Josh the Aspie

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Re: Best Martial arts to learn?
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2012, 03:05:40 PM »
And I am not saying that training people with weapons early on is a bad idea.  I'm simply saying that there are a large number of respectable styles that teach you to defend yourself, especially with a good teacher, and that one should not run from them simply because they do not teach weapons to their earliest pupils.  You seem to be espousing the idea that your philosophy on training is the only acceptable one.  I agree that it is an acceptable one.  I would not agree that it is the only acceptable one.

In many cases instructors want to make sure that they instil control first, and provide a safe learning environment, in order to make sure that they minimize any injuries that occur when they introduce weapon training.  This control training comes as a part of the open hand training that they provide first.  They also typically train with padded weapons at the start.  Martial arts training often involves some level of injury.  Many responsible instructors attempt to minimize the incident and intensity of injury.  This is one reason to delay weapon training.

If you have pre-existing experience, and you already exhibit control, you are more likely to be able to start weapon training early with many instructors.  If I wanted to start training with a sword this week, I'm fairly sure I could discuss it with the master of my dojo, and get some sword training.  Or staff training.  I'm not sure he teaches yawari/kubaton, but have been meaning to look into it.  In the past he has brought in special instructors to teach cane-work, which I could use with the unbreakable umbrella.

At the moment, I'm waiting for him to tell me that he thinks I'm ready for a particular kind of training, to make sure that I learn safely.  Though I may ask for some special assistance with strikes on the Nunchucks, since I am learning them as a part of the normal curriculum.

I'm aware of several common techniques that can be adapted.  The many variations on the hammer-fist, for example, would be one of my techniques of choice with a kubaton or a knife.   There are also several that would be extremely awkward to adapt, depending on the weapon chosen.    Many of the techniques for linear thrusting attacks with weapons, for example.  Could they be used with no weapon in hand? Sure.  But it'd be a pretty dumb idea.  You'd wind up breaking or spraining your wrist unless you adapted the technique far enough that it became a different technique.   Similarly, unless you have a weapon designed around enhancing the punch, the punch would be a bad technique to adapt to use with a weapon.

I am also aware that there are some systems that are specifically designed around teaching you one set of moves that can be adapted between a variety of implements.

Offline donaldj

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Re: Best Martial arts to learn?
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2012, 05:36:33 PM »
Making a very strong case for my standpoint is not saying my philosophy is the only acceptable one. However, looking at the parameters the OP posted, my criteria is very applicable. If you want RELIABLE protection then the fastest ramp up to get it is weaponry, and to train in weaponry with modern equivalents. The yawara and tanbo are the form factors of the most common weapon styles in modern use.

I am well aware of training with training weapons and padded weapons. My stance is to put weapons in the trainee's hands first, or soon, not to put people in harm's way unnecessarily. With the proper training mindset, which is instilled by the instructor staff, you will have a safe environment that allows the trainees to gain proficiency quickly.

If the trainee is not in control and is being unsafe, it is a partial failure on the instructor's part. The instructor has not instilled the correct compliance, respect, and learning mindset for that trainee.

For your paragraph on adapting technique, you seem to go full circle... Yes, techniques can be adapted to weapon and open hand. Yes, some of them are not applicable. The need to have some sense and filter these does not invalidate the point. But honestly, why train in one thing when you can train in 5 things simultaneously? Understanding the similarity in technique with a weapon to its open hand counterpart to other weapons is paramount in ensuring your mat time is not wasted.

As for the systems that teach one set of moves and adapt them to multiple implements and to open hand, that is precisely what I am suggesting. It is the fastest way to proficiency, the fastest way to reliable protection, and truthfully, a far faster way to martial understanding than learning sets of disparate styles and techniques uniquely.



Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — "No, you move."     -Captain America

See my Examiner.com articles on Emergency Preparations: http://www.examiner.com/detroit-emergency-preparedness-in-detroit/donald-alley

See my Examiner.com articles on martial arts:  http://www.examiner.com/martial-arts-in-detroit/donald-alley

Offline Chainsaw

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Re: Best Martial arts to learn?
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2012, 07:46:56 PM »
What ever you choose make sure it involves getting hit.  If it doesn't involve some hard sparring then add an occasional trip down to a gym where you get your bell rung every now and then.  You can't just theorize about how that feels and or your ability to react to it.


.

Online Josh the Aspie

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Re: Best Martial arts to learn?
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2012, 12:19:32 AM »
I would like to apologize for being less than clear in my previous posts.  My last one, in particular, was made when hurried, rather than when I had time to pay more attention to detail.  As a result I've delayed my response.  Hopefully a little extra time will help me to be more clear, despite being a bit tired.

I intend primarily to clarify my previous points, and address donaldj's points in this post.  Of course, I am going to try to make this point of some use to the original poster asking the question, and other readers as well.  In order to make the post as a whole more comprehensible, I am going to refer to previous points by theme, rather than chronologically.

This post is going to be a big one, as I am attempting not only to make points, but to undo damage my previous clumsiness may have caused.

Making a very strong case for my standpoint is not saying my philosophy is the only acceptable one.

You are quite correct sir.  However, there are a few points in particular of your previous posts gave me the impression that you do not view the policy of delaying weapon training any longer than past the first few classes as a reasonable or respectable one.  In this specific instance, you have a strong preference, which I can respect.  However, you seem to me to be disparaging a position I also respect. 

Train at a school that will put a weapon in your hand within the first couple classes. If the instructor says "Weapons are reserved for higher ranks", run away.
So, if you're in a violent altercation, and you know you're going to want a weapon, why not train in weapons FIRST, and why not ensure you adjust your every day carried items to include weapons??

First, you tell the original poster to run away from those instructors who institute any delay in weapon training.  Second, you use what may be a rhetorical question.  When the rhetorical question "Why not do X?" is asked, the implied point is that there is no good reason.

Now, this question may not have been rhetorical, and accepting this possibility, I gave an initial hurried stab at answering it, while also responding to some of your other comments on the matter.  More of that exchange is below.

Pretty much any technique you learn with a weapon can be applied to open hand, and vice versa.

I'm aware of several common techniques that can be adapted.  The many variations on the hammer-fist, for example, would be one of my techniques of choice with a kubaton or a knife.   There are also several that would be extremely awkward to adapt, depending on the weapon chosen.    Many of the techniques for linear thrusting attacks with weapons, for example.  Could they be used with no weapon in hand? Sure.  But it'd be a pretty dumb idea.  You'd wind up breaking or spraining your wrist unless you adapted the technique far enough that it became a different technique.   Similarly, unless you have a weapon designed around enhancing the punch, the punch would be a bad technique to adapt to use with a weapon.

I am also aware that there are some systems that are specifically designed around teaching you one set of moves that can be adapted between a variety of implements.

For your paragraph on adapting technique, you seem to go full circle... Yes, techniques can be adapted to weapon and open hand. Yes, some of them are not applicable. The need to have some sense and filter these does not invalidate the point. But honestly, why train in one thing when you can train in 5 things simultaneously? Understanding the similarity in technique with a weapon to its open hand counterpart to other weapons is paramount in ensuring your mat time is not wasted.

I disagree with your initial stated point that "Pretty much any technique you learn with a weapon can be applied to open hand, and vice versa."
However, a more moderate version of this statement "There are many techniques that can be used both armed and unarmed, with minimal adoption" is one that I agree with.

I attempted to draw this distinction in haste and now readily admit that I did so clumsily, and in a rather incomprehensible way.  I left out the thesis statement of the paragraph, and muddled much of the rest of it.  Once again, I apologize.

There are a large number, and wide variety of armed techniques that cannot be adapted to useful unarmed techniques without altering them, and visa versa.

As just one example, the vast majority of techniques in Kendo, or Bushido (the modern sword school) require two hands on a single weapon.  Most of the moves involved, if you simply remove the sword, and leave the move the same, will be completely unusable.  Blocking with an object that is not there doesn't tend to result in a successful block.  Some other techniques could be adapted (a downward strike could be turned into a double-fisted hammer fist), however this would require a moderate amount of adaption, and still not be the most useful technique.

I could devote more time and space to this, however I am merely pointing out that I think you have over-stated an otherwise valid point.  I also agree with the idea that a system that focuses on moves that can be adapted between unarmed and armed moves is a good and valid choice.  That is the choice you are advocating, not trying to turn Kendo into an unarmed art.  As such, unless someone wants to continue this branch of the conversation, I think would mostly be a distraction from more important points.

Now, back to the main question I'd like to address, and some of the discussion on it:  "Why delay training in weapons at all?"

In many cases instructors want to make sure that they instil control first, and provide a safe learning environment, in order to make sure that they minimize any injuries that occur when they introduce weapon training.  This control training comes as a part of the open hand training that they provide first.  They also typically train with padded weapons at the start.  Martial arts training often involves some level of injury.  Many responsible instructors attempt to minimize the incident and intensity of injury.  This is one reason to delay weapon training.

If the trainee is not in control and is being unsafe, it is a partial failure on the instructor's part. The instructor has not instilled the correct compliance, respect, and learning mindset for that trainee.

This actually goes to the point that I am trying to make.  Instilling compliance, respect, and a learning mind set in a student takes time.  A good instructor ensures the safety of his students as a part of method of training.  One technique in the instructor's arsenal is to delay introducing weapons, or their training analogues until the students he is going to train with those analogs have learned sufficient training safety to no longer be a risk to themselves and others.  The level of control needed will obviously vary with the specific weapons the instructor is training the students to use, and the specific techniques the instructor is teaching them to use the weapons with.

If the instructor has a very small class, he may well make the decision on how long, if at all, to delay this training for each student.  This can work very well if the instructor hand picks respectful students who deeply trust the instructor, or if the instructor does not use belts.  In other cases, the instructor he risks engendering resentment and jealousy.  It is a manageable risk, but a risk all the same.

If the instructor has a large class, he may well use his experience to determine when the vast majority of students have the required safety mindset, and set a standard belt level at which he begins training in weapons, only making exceptions from there when he sees that a student is ready much sooner, or is not yet ready (though this second can be ameliorated by making a lack of training safety a reason not to advance the student to the next belt).

A delay in training with weapons is one tool in the arsenal that the instructor can bring to bear to ensure the safety of his students, and using it, when the instructor thinks t is necessary is a decision I can respect.

Now, I am not advocating the stance that "only black-belts can train with weapons".  I personally think that this is a poor decision, and is rarely made for safety reasons.  But focusing on the dojo's basic unarmed techniques for the first few belts/months is a decision I can easily respect.

That said, I think that there are a number of weapon techniques that can be safely trained with from an early stage, especially in drill form with training analogs, and I also respect the decision to incorporate weapon use early on.

There are enough techniques in any style, or system of self defense, that it will take years to learn all of them, and there are a huge number of respectable orders of teaching those techniques.

But honestly, why train in one thing when you can train in 5 things simultaneously? Understanding the similarity in technique with a weapon to its open hand counterpart to other weapons is paramount in ensuring your mat time is not wasted.

As for the systems that teach one set of moves and adapt them to multiple implements and to open hand, that is precisely what I am suggesting. It is the fastest way to proficiency, the fastest way to reliable protection, and truthfully, a far faster way to martial understanding than learning sets of disparate styles and techniques uniquely.

And this goes to a difference in philosophy.  You are arguing from the perspective of what it takes to follow a lightning fast path to basic competence at self defensible.  That's a valid point, and may well be what the original poster wants.  If so, ddog27, donaldj's suggestions have been very good ones.

However, ddog27 seems to be asking questions from the perspective of a complete neophite, who is only aware of some media representations of martial arts, and may not be aware of various training philosophies, and might be interested in martial arts that have benefits even if you are never attacked.  After all, the motto of the Podcast is "Helping you to live a better life if times get tough, or even if they don't."

One such art, if studied under a true master of the art (rather than just a physical therapist that took a one week class), is taiji chuan (Tai Chi).  This art is not one that focuses on "learning sets of disparate styles and techniques", but rather is a comprehensive art that focuses on the techniques of moving softly.  A master will often teach how to be soft to such a degree that it permeates other aspects of a person's life.

Taiji is a healing art, and the very process of training in the art has been known to send a wide number of conditions into remission, including causing high blood pressure to plummet, and greatly reduce diabetes.  It is good for joint pain, and has been suggested by several hospitals to their nerological patients as well.  Is it a "miracle cure" that can cure everything and anything?  No.  But it good for you in several ways.

Taiji is an art that takes a great deal of time to study.  Reaching basic combat competence in this art can take years.  However, like many soft style martial arts, masters of the art are very skilled, and can take on many opponents (even masters of hard style martial arts) at the same time, and win.  If ddog27 wants to be able to eventually protect himself and his family from multiple opponents, Taiji would be a very good art to study.

However, as one of my instructors put it... he could teach us all of the Taiji forms that exist, and all of the moves, but if we do not have softness, there is no point.

Taiji eventually teaches the use of weapons, including the sword, spear, and the fan (many of the techniques of fan use would be usable with a kubaton or a flashlight or, as intended, a fan).  These are useful skills in and of themselves.  However, part of the point of teaching them is to use the additional weight and leverage to show how the student is still hard (not yet soft), so that the student can correct himself.   If you introduce the weapons too soon, they can lead to the student using more force, rather than more softness.  This can actually retard, or even prevent, greater mastery of the style.

To summarize this last point: You are arguing from the perspective of seeking the fastest path to basic competence.  This is a respectable choice, depending on a person's needs.  However, I am arguing that other paths worthy of respect place some degree of emphasis on higher levels of eventual mastery, or other benefits to the art aside from it's obvious martial uses.

Offline donaldj

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Re: Best Martial arts to learn?
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2012, 09:51:34 AM »
I respectfully disagree with many of your assertions. I am also glad to have this conversation. There was no "damage" from your initial posts and I harbor no forum generated ill-will.   ;D  Different viewpoints foster learning, and I can handle having conversation with someone with a different viewpoint without the need to vilify them into Dirty Rat Bastard status.

My stance comes from a couple different objectives:
1) Instruct the skill sets necessary to ensure survival.
2) Maximize proficiency in the quickest amount of time.
3) We are teaching adults, with a proper and professional mindset. (I'm not at all talking about Tae Kwon Daycare).

Much of my standpoint comes from the fact that most martial arts schools that teach a specific style are doing it wrong. Yes, it is a bold statement. But from the two points above, most school are perpetuating a style and not teaching the fundamentals that will allow for survival maximization and proficiency now. This is GREAT if you are trying to learn a style. If you want to "know aikido", or like Neo from the Matrix says, "I know kung fu!", then learning a style is the right thing to do.

But if you are there to learn survival, how to win in a fight, how to protect yourself, and like all modern Americans, you need it NOW, then most martial arts schools that are teaching a STYLE are not giving these people what they want, and are going about it the wrong way.

As an example, most people do not learn calculus to "know calculus". They learn it to apply it. Those that go into engineering and physics will use this as a tool for their primary job efforts. (A very few, those that go on to become instructors, will learn calculus to "know calculus". That's their job.) Just as in this example, people interested in personal protection do not necessarily want to "learn karate", they want to "learn protection". In that case, karate is a style with skill sets that make up the overall protection skills of the individual.

Thus, I continue to stand by my initial statement: If you're wanting to learn personal protection, and you aren't training in weapons, get out of there. I'll give a little leeway in that the instructor might need to work it into an already ongoing curriculum, or you may have caught the school while they are in a segment stressing some other important topic. In this case, it should be fairly plain after a quick conversation with the instructor.

But, if you run into a school that says "Weapon training is reserved for the higher ranking students", get out of there immediately.

Now, about the armed/unarmed equivalents:
I disagree with your initial stated point that "Pretty much any technique you learn with a weapon can be applied to open hand, and vice versa." However, a more moderate version of this statement "There are many techniques that can be used both armed and unarmed, with minimal adoption" is one that I agree with.

... There are a large number, and wide variety of armed techniques that cannot be adapted to useful unarmed techniques without altering them, and visa versa.

As just one example, the vast majority of techniques in Kendo, or Bushido (the modern sword school) require two hands on a single weapon.  Most of the moves involved, if you simply remove the sword, and leave the move the same, will be completely unusable.  Blocking with an object that is not there doesn't tend to result in a successful block.  Some other techniques could be adapted (a downward strike could be turned into a double-fisted hammer fist), however this would require a moderate amount of adaption, and still not be the most useful technique.

I could devote more time and space to this, however I am merely pointing out that I think you have over-stated an otherwise valid point.  I also agree with the idea that a system that focuses on moves that can be adapted between unarmed and armed moves is a good and valid choice.  That is the choice you are advocating, not trying to turn Kendo into an unarmed art.  As such, unless someone wants to continue this branch of the conversation, I think would mostly be a distraction from more important points.

I honestly did not overstate this. I would guess that at least 90-99% of all open hand techniques have weapon equivalents and vice versa. What I did not say, and that you are implying I said or misunderstood me to say, is that the armed vs unarmed equivalent are for the same exact move. Yes, blocking with a sword that isn't present is idiotic, but I didn't say the armed/unarmed equivalents were directly applicable to the same objective.

The jodan position in kendo or iaijutsu is used many places in grappling. An aikido's "elbow power", which is a wrist grab escape (among other things) is the act of bringing your arms up to jodan as if using a sword.


The grip of the sword in kendo or iaijutsu is the equivalent to a sankyu or sankajo control in jujutsu, and can be held in the jodan position or the hasso position.

A side swing with a jo (staff) is the equivalent to a ikkajo takedown in aikido.

Hence my statement, why learn one thing when you an learn 5 (at least!)?

As just one example, the vast majority of techniques in Kendo, or Bushido (the modern sword school) require two hands on a single weapon.  Most of the moves involved, if you simply remove the sword, and leave the move the same, will be completely unusable.  Blocking with an object that is not there doesn't tend to result in a successful block.  Some other techniques could be adapted (a downward strike could be turned into a double-fisted hammer fist), however this would require a moderate amount of adaption, and still not be the most useful technique.

Jujutsu itself was developed from the samurai caste and designed, specifically, to incorporate sword and staff techniques into open hand equivalents. The examples I mentioned above are but three simple examples of how a weapon technique is adapted to an unarmed technique.  Later, daito ryu aikijujutsu was developed to specifically focus on the sword equivalents of the open hand techniques. Again, this does not mean swinging a sword at someone when no sword is in the hand. That is oversimplification of the concept into absurdity.

And this goes to a difference in philosophy.  You are arguing from the perspective of what it takes to follow a lightning fast path to basic competence at self defensible.  That's a valid point, and may well be what the original poster wants.  If so, ddog27, donaldj's suggestions have been very good ones.

However, ddog27 seems to be asking questions from the perspective of a complete neophite, who is only aware of some media representations of martial arts, and may not be aware of various training philosophies, and might be interested in martial arts that have benefits even if you are never attacked.  After all, the motto of the Podcast is "Helping you to live a better life if times get tough, or even if they don't."

Thank you for the first paragraph, and I acknowledge the second one as being valid if someone is looking to go on a "martial arts journey" that includes personal enrichment such as aikido and taiji. . My whole premise is predicated on the OP's statement "I just want to be able to protect myself and family if the SHTF or any other situation." In that case,

1) Instruct the skill sets necessary to ensure survival.
2) Maximize proficiency in the quickest amount of time.

And if, in a survival situation, the first thing you wished you had were weapons, you need to train in weapons.

Josh, thank you for the conversation.  =)

Ddoj, what do you think? Can you elaborate more on your goals?
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Online Josh the Aspie

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Re: Best Martial arts to learn?
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2012, 10:30:49 AM »
Thank you, donaldj.  I was honestly concerned that my earlier bungled attempts were leading to frustration, and would make it harder to make my points this time.  And you're welcome.  I try to acknowledge the good points of a person I am having a discussion with.

I was unaware of the analogs between these Samurai sword and unarmed techniques, and am glad to know about them now.  Also, yes, I will admit that I misunderstood some of what you were saying.  We actually seem to be on the same page, to some extent.  My stance is that if you remove a weapon from a person's hands, the move, with some adaption, might be usable for something.  However, in many cases is no longer the same technique.  You seem to be saying that many of the same movements can often be used for something with minimal adaption.  Two approaches to the same basic stance.

And yes, that's one way of reading what the Op wants.  The way I read ddog27's post was that he wanted to be able to defend himself and his family in a variety of circumstances, but had no desire to go into prize-fighting, or other sport-fighting.  And Taiji and Aikido are incredibly strong martial arts that let you defend yourself and others from multiple attackers.  The balance that Taiji instills means that you should be able to do so whether on dry land, an icy parking lot, or a roiling sea.

If he wants basic proficiency NOW, then yes, some form of modern system training like Krav Maga would be ideal.  If he wants to be a very strong martial artist capable of taking out multiple people intent on harming his family, in a variety of circumstances he might want to study Taiji.

He might choose to study a "quick path to proficiency" art now, and then study a "slow path to mastery" art later.

And again, ddog27 seemed like he might be a complete neophite, and not aware of other benefits he might like to derive from his training.  So I wanted to make sure that he wasn't chased off from a dojo that well fits his needs, where he connects to the instructor, and where there are other benefits to the study, simply because they delay the weapon training until you graduate from yellow belt, are doing a different rotation, or have a different (and good for the art) reason to delay weapon training.

I especially wanted to avoid him winding up in a dojo that puts weapons in your hands from day one, but stinks at teaching, as a result of running from the dojo above.  I know that's not what you're advocating, but that's something a person might have come away with.

-----

To put some of this in context, I am presently studying Kung Fu.  My dojo is presently focusing on a variety of self defense techniques to get you out of tough situations (like getting an attacker off of you when he's sitting on your belly, or getting out of a bear hug from behind).  We occasionally bring out the nunchuks, but the focus is currently on unarmed techniques that can be used in real street combat.  I'd much rather spend more time on these real-situation drills than studying with the 'chucks, though drilling the moves I was shown with the chucks on my own now and again is fun.  I'm sure later on we'll go into a 'chucks rotation where we work on strikes with the chucks, and how to use the position-changes we are learning to strike from unexpected angles.

This dojo also has a kick-boxing class, which is taught as a simplified and paired down version of the art's move-set, restricting the move set to punches, hammer fists, elbows, knees, and kicks, while pushing you to a much higher heart rythem.  The same instructor used to teach taiji, but had trouble keeping a full enough class.

I am studying the kung-fu for self-defense and personal enrichment, and going to the Kick-boxing classes as an accessory to that, to improve my endurance, ability to use the moves quickly, my strength, my flexibility, and also to loose the weight that is keeping me from being a more able martial artist.

Once I have lost my spare tire, I intend to talk to my instructor about resuming my Taiji training, possibly with private lessons.  If I had more time, I might also be going to a dojo nearby that teaches Krav Maga and Tae Kwon Do, so that I could at least reach 1st Dan in the first art I ever studied, and get some perspective on a martial art invented specifically to meet modern needs.

Offline pokeshell

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Re: Best Martial arts to learn?
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2012, 12:59:22 PM »
As a guy who has no experience in martial arts or any hand to hand combat I was wondering what would be the best one to learn? I have no plans to enter the octagon and fight, I just want to be able to protect myself and family if the SHTF or any other situation. So let me know what you guys think. Thanks!

 For personal defense, krav maga, UFC style camps and kick boxing. You need something where you have the flight or fight response actually kick in, but in a controlled area. 2 or 3 sessions with a good self defense instructors will do more for your personal safety than years of learning an art. I'd learn to protect myself first, then learn an art.
 
 I have had very good luck with kickboxing. Real kickboxing where we spar and have competitions (not the kicking air for cardio you see at lifetime). 

I have used my “skillz” on the street exactly 2 times in my 40 years. After 2 weeks of training, I stopped an idiot showing off in front of a girl. After a road incident where I cut him off (I miss judged how much he was speeding) he followed me to a busy gas station, and I dropped him with a defensive kick to the chest.
 
The other was much a much more gruesome attack in a third world country. In this case, I left him with a nose that was so crooked, it was used as an identifying maker when he was aressed for strong armed robbery of another tourist. To my knowledge, he is still doing time.
 

I have been trained, continue to train with a hand gun. It is the safest form of self defense in my opinion. My training to fight taught me to fight. My training with guns taught me to retreat when possible.




 

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Offline ddog27

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Re: Best Martial arts to learn?
« Reply #15 on: May 30, 2012, 02:18:18 PM »
Thanks guys! Looks like I have a lot to look into.  :)
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Offline Doug

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Re: Best Martial arts to learn?
« Reply #16 on: May 30, 2012, 03:18:45 PM »
Look for an instructor/school who is focused on close quarter combat and self defense. If the school has you wearing a gi and going barefoot then look else since the focus will more than likely be on the "art" and tradition of that art. IMO I think katas are a waste of your time for what it is you want to learn - self defense. Most CQC instructors doing use them.  A lot of arts are sport oriented and will instill bad self defense habits....

For example, you might be in an actual self defensive situation where the most efficient response is to jab your fingers in the attacker's eyes rather than going for, says, a grappling lock or take down. In other words, your institutor should be teaching you a lot of dirty tricks. He should be teaching weapons such as knife fighting, guns, and disarms. He should be teaching you to anticipate those weapons.

So how do you interview a potential instructor? Start by looking for someone like a cop with a lot of street experience. The more stuff he's seen and encountered personally the better since he can better incorporate that experience into his training you.
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Re: Best Martial arts to learn?
« Reply #17 on: May 30, 2012, 03:38:32 PM »
Thanks guys! Looks like I have a lot to look into.  :)

BTW I saw you were from Queens Creek, AZ. Here's some resources:
http://www.meetup.com/East-Valley-Krav-Maga-Self-Defense/
http://www.realitydefense.com/

Go to a class and just watch an entire class, just watch. Talk to the instructor about his background for teaching what he's showing: ie, it's been my experience that cops will draw upon their personal experiences using stories to teach what they believe is good self defense.
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Re: Best Martial arts to learn?
« Reply #18 on: May 30, 2012, 11:36:16 PM »
Yep.  Loads to look into.

Like some of us have said, if you can tell us more about what you want, we can help you better.

Things you might tell us include kinds of circumstances you find yourself in that you want to defend yourself in, if you prefer quick competence, or high mastery, and if you want to get anything else out of your training or not.

Offline BDinVA

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Re: Best Martial arts to learn?
« Reply #19 on: July 09, 2012, 02:37:40 PM »
I believe the most practical self-defense technique is one you can properly execute while under great stress.  I think that by far the easiest "martial art" to learn is boxing.  You would be shocked at how many people out there simply lack the ability to throw a proper punch.  Hitting a would-be attacker properly in the nose or avoiding, on instinct, an attack on your person are the first steps to getting through an unarmed engagement.

That being said, the game changes when knives, blunt objects, or firearms are involved.  That being said, the most widely practiced martial art that deals specifically with those things is Krav Maga.  Unfortunately, what I don't like about it is that it takes many many hours of instruction and practice to really become proficient with those techniques under stress.  If there are weapons involved and I am unarmed, escape and evasion would be the safest choice.

Which is why I go back to boxing.  I can spend 2 hours with someone and have them punching and ducking punches with proper mechanics.  After that, its just drilling into muscle memory.  Having practiced Muay Thai (kickboxing with the use of elbows and knees) for 5 years, I feel that my most effective strikes in a real-life scenario would be punches of some kind.  Probably elbows but requires you to be VERY close in order to execute, which is a distance I'd want to avoid.  If it goes there,   perhaps knee strikes would be appropriate if I'm able to grab my attackers head without getting pummeled first.  Kicks are just too unpredictable and hard to recover from after executing in a street engagement.   Maintaining a solid, nimble base is the first step to striking and avoiding strikes.

Of course at the end of the day I believe that situational awareness and avoiding violent confrontation is probably the best form of self defense there is...



Offline UDI-Joshua

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Re: Best Martial arts to learn?
« Reply #20 on: August 07, 2012, 03:52:42 PM »
I hope you guys don’t mind the noob adding to this discussion.

Unfortunately, there really is no right and wrong answer to this question. This is one of the most subjective questions out there.

Martial arts are a lifetime endeavor and before picking the art for you, you have to ask yourself a few questions first:

1). What is your purpose for taking martial arts?
   Is it for exercise?
   Hobby?
        Competition?
   You’ve always wanted to?
   You think it looks fun? (which is a very valid reason)
   You want to be able to seriously defend yourself and your family?
2). What type of personality do you have?
   Are you aggressive?
   Are you more of a generous, caring person?
   Do you have a lot of empathy for people?
   Are you more gentle by nature?
   Etc.
3). How much time to you have to commit to it?
   Are you planning on completely dedicating yourself to your art?
   Do you only have a couple hours a week to put towards it?
   Do you plan to study even when not in class to further understand your art?
   Can you only go every once in a while? (Maybe due to travel and or work)

We can all spend a whole lot of time discussing how each particular art is better than another, but if it doesn’t fit your need, personality and dedication level it will be of no use to you and you will find yourself opting not to go to class more often than not.

Regardless of what your reason for taking martial arts, I recommend starting with a reality based self-defense program. You want a program that is based in reality, is easy to learn/do/remember/use under duress and not only goes into combatives, but also spends a lot of time discussing: situational awareness, psychology and physiology of an aggressive encounter, family defense and many other important topics. Combatives are essential in a good program, but more important is avoiding conflict altogether. The key to winning every fight is, don’t get in every fight.

Also, don’t think that just because they are the teacher, they know what they are talking about. If you have a teacher who has never been in a fight, he might not know too much more than you. Analyze what they say and ask yourself if you think this would really work in a real world scenario. Just because it looks cool, doesn’t mean it will work, especially under duress.

When picking the martial art that’s right for you, consider the questions above. I can’t go into every scenario here because of space, but if you are looking for something for defense and have a more aggressive approach then something along the lines of a continued reality based self-defense program, Krav Maga, boxing, kickboxing, Jeet Kun Do, Ving Tsun Kung Fu, etc. would be right for you. If you are more empathetic and would like the ability to control the situation without causing serious injury, than JuJustu (Japanese or Brazillian), Judo, etc. might be right for you. If you are looking for competition then Tae Kwon Do, Karate, boxing, kickboxing, etc. might be right for you. You can see where I am going with this. These are just a few examples to consider.

There are many other things to consider about picking the right school, but I think that was pretty well covered by others in this thread, so no need to go into that.

I hope this has helped and not confused. Take care and have a great martial art career. Enjoy whatever you do and it will take you a long way.
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Offline markl32

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Re: Best Martial arts to learn?
« Reply #21 on: August 13, 2012, 11:51:59 AM »
As a guy who has no experience in martial arts or any hand to hand combat I was wondering what would be the best one to learn? I have no plans to enter the octagon and fight, I just want to be able to protect myself and family if the SHTF or any other situation. So let me know what you guys think. Thanks!

I take from your request that you just want to learn how to fight and to "hold your own".  Skip all the traditional martial arts.  While I have nothing against them they are not relevant or effective fighting methods in this day and age.  Go to a boxing gym and/or a wrestling gym.  Ideally you will find a gym that does both in the same place.  Western boxing is a very effective striking method.  Wrestling or brazilian jujitsu will give you a good ground game.  You'll also become a better fighter quicker as the traditional martial arts spend lots and lots of time learning dance steps (kata). 

I have no first hand experience with Krav Maga so I can't speak to it. 

Offline BerserkerPrime

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Re: Best Martial arts to learn?
« Reply #22 on: November 20, 2012, 11:00:35 PM »
I'll be starting Krav Maga later this week and will keep you posted on how it goes.  I was very excited that they started a class where I lived as the other option was a 90 mile round trip ad not practical. 

I picked KM because of the practical nature of the training.  I don't need belts, kamonos (or what ever they are), and all that, just want to learn good street fighting/self defense skills. 

BP

Offline livinitup0

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Re: Best Martial arts to learn?
« Reply #23 on: November 21, 2012, 08:46:24 AM »
Gun>knife>MMA (not counting pepper spray or other keychain-type weaponry)

Go watch some of the original UFC stuff.....like from the first few years. There were tons of styles of martial artists on there. Theres a reason why you dont see that anymore and that this hybrid form of jujitsu is the standard now.

Offline Freebirde

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Re: Best Martial arts to learn?
« Reply #24 on: November 21, 2012, 10:05:38 AM »
I would not reconmend a single style unless your main aim is "degrees/belts" and tournaments.    I have not seen a single style that someother style would not counter.   I would reconmend a blended approach, study a striking style and grappling style before moving to a weapons style.   When my children were teenagers a friend of theirs, a third degree black belt in karate, challenged me to a sparring fight.    He was expecting a bowing and exchanging of blows until points were scored, which I can do, but I did the unexpected, I tackled him.   Once he was on the ground his karate training was useless.   That explained to him and my kids, in ways no words would, that a single style will not serve outside the dojo.

But to get back to the OP, I agree judo is a good style for beginners, especially small children.   When they are older and more self disciplined a striking style such as karate then training in the Bo/staff.    IMBO stay away from TKD.   When DW was training in TKD I couldn't go to her training because my tongue would be sore from biting it "Grab that foot and hold it while they are off balance".   Other dojos may be different, but her's was all standardised forms.   I will admit it was good exercise.
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Offline Big_Al

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Re: Best Martial arts to learn?
« Reply #25 on: January 06, 2013, 08:23:36 PM »
train with a gym that emphasizes physical fitness first, then fighting second.  The PF should be focused on fighting; such as knuckle push ups, abdnominal strengthening, hitting heavy bags, rolling and how to fall, taking a strike with bamboo swords to understand pain, etc...

start by taking a hard style such as karate or tae kwon do.  earn a BB in this style.  when you reach the upper ranks just before BB in a hard style, switch to a soft style.  I spent years learning kicks in tae kwon do that I've never used, but did used plenty of punches, elbows, head buts.  learn how to hit open handed, how to punch without locking your elbow and with the first 2 bigger knuckles.  learn how to
cup your hand and hit someone's ear. realize styles like tae kwon do have some useless moves in them, such as high kicks and narrow window bone breaking punches . if I did it over again, I would learn boxing, then wrestling, then tae kwon do, then MMA. 

soft styles like hap ki do, or ai ki do.  earn BB in both styles.

in any case the schools focus should be on self defense, with a little bit of tourneys, not vise versa.

seek out short seminars or clinics that teach ground fighting, wrestling, or MMA. 

my advise is simply learn enough about the style to master the style, and move on.  fighting boredom and complacency is attained by taking 2 styles at the same time, once good enough for one style.  make sure you really get punched, kicked, choked, and put into pain compliance, and you know how go do that to somebody else.  the highest level of the art is never to get into a situation where it's needed, and if so, you end the fight very quickly.  the longer you are in a fight, the greater the chance of being seriously injured.  the school should practice techniques to get you stressed out, like blindfolding one eye, fighting multiple attackers, doing a ton of physical/cardio then fighting tired, or purposefully getting punched hard then starting a sparring session.  it's my two sense after teaching Tae Kwon Do and Hap Ki Do for a few years and being in a few fights.  I agree with earlier comments of learning several styles to include boxing,wrestling, Tae Kwon Do, the Army s Combatives program, knife fighting, stick fighting, and their equivalents.  it seems the fights I've been in start with a punch, then a choke, then ending on the ground.  for me the first guy to land a square punch ended up winning.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2013, 08:49:23 PM by Big_Al »
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Offline bbobwat33

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Re: Best Martial arts to learn?
« Reply #26 on: January 06, 2013, 08:41:27 PM »
if you look at the ufc's progression through time, you get to see the evolution of modern mixed martial arts. alot of disiplines have fallen away over the years to give you a view of the most effective techniques. without a doupt the disipline that has been able to control the opponent the most is greco-roman wrestling.  brazilian jujuitsu is also a very effective disipline and has had the most effect on the dominant wrestlers/grapplers. on the feet it's boxing, kickboxing, and mui tai disiplines that seems to have shown themselves the most effective. so i modern mma gym would make you a very well rounded fighter. moreover, if you can learn good greco roman wrestling technique you can control anybody.

Offline joeandmich

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Re: Best Martial arts to learn?
« Reply #27 on: January 16, 2013, 03:06:21 PM »
I'll be starting Krav Maga later this week and will keep you posted on how it goes.  I was very excited that they started a class where I lived as the other option was a 90 mile round trip ad not practical. 

I picked KM because of the practical nature of the training.  I don't need belts, kamonos (or what ever they are), and all that, just want to learn good street fighting/self defense skills. 

BP

I soooo agree with you taking krav Maga. After having studied various kung fu styles, tae kwon do and karate and kick boxing I found Krav Maga/Haganah to be the best form of learning non nonsense self defense against various attacks from open hand, knife and gun. There's a reason why the military uses it instead of any other style. The US military uses Military Combatives but are leaning more towards a Krav Maga style of fighting.

Having been developed by and used by the IDF who have to deal with terrorists in their very land you can imagine how effective it must be. I've been studying it for 6 months now and have learned better self defense in that time than in my other 10 years in traditional martial arts.

Good luck

Joe
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Offline BerserkerPrime

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Re: Best Martial arts to learn?
« Reply #28 on: January 17, 2013, 01:18:57 AM »
So far, I'm very happy with the lessons!  Very practical and very intense.  Would recomend anyone try it...

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Offline David in MN

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Re: Best Martial arts to learn?
« Reply #29 on: February 10, 2013, 03:33:19 PM »
For a self defense martial art, pick one that fights. I train in boxing. I'm not saying boxing is the greatest fighting mode in the world. The truth is that there is no ideal. If you have a guy on the ground in an armbar and his buddy stomps your face, you die. That said, I have studied jiu-jitsu. I say to stick with the boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, jiu-jitsu, catch wrestling, krav maga, savate, etc. (I'm sure I missed a bunch). My philosophy is simple: when you are used to abuse you can hold up to abuse.

I have had multiple teeth chipped, nose broken, shoulders dislocated, ankles popped, black eyes, broken fingers, bruised thighs, bruised knuckles, cuts, scrapes, etc. I know I am hard. Anyone who comes at me will face a man confident because of the time put into being fight ready. I don't want to denegrate people's passions, but I would focus on martial arts that make you fight hard with consequences.

On the other hand, all of them will improve your punch. Just don't get mixed up with a guy who not only learned to punch but learned to take one. Best of luck, remember that you can do several. In addition to a very violent martial art, consider Tai Chi. Very grounding. David
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