Author Topic: What do you look into when choosing a Martial Arts School  (Read 19871 times)

Offline joeandmich

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Re: What do you look into when choosing a Martial Arts School
« Reply #30 on: May 15, 2014, 06:00:59 AM »
That's why I teach what I teach.  It's a totally different way of teaching someone to defend themselves than I've seen elsewhere.  It's not a unique idea, in fact, Bruce Lee said (paraphrasing) "take what works for you and discard the rest."

I'm lucky.  I've been studying since I was 8.   I moved around a lot, so, I ended up "collecting" martial arts.  I'd go to whatever school was near me. I only spent about a year or two there, but picked up what I could until I moved on to another city and another school.  This exposed me to a LOT of different styles and techniques.  After my first 10 years, I wasn't a purist.  I picked this and that, initially for ME.

But, I started noticing things.  Certain patterns arose.  I noticed that certain body types didn't respond to certain types of training. Their techniques didn't work because they weren't "built" for it.  I noticed that people with certain dispositions didn't do well in certain styles.  Aggressive people have a harder time with Aikido.  Passive or "shy" people don't do well in Isshin-ryu Karate or Krav Maga (some do. . .for some it's a motivator). 

So, what I teach is what I call "situation-based."  We break down attack styles and techniques and train everyone ways that work better for them as opposed to forcing them to learn a technique that may, or may not, be effective.  They are encouraged to improvise.  When we see something that sort of works for them, we then show them proper, or more efficient, techniques.  For example, a 6'2", 250-lb guy has different strength and body mechanics than a 5'3", 120-lb female.  So why teach them the same technique for breaking out of a front chokehold?  The female isn't going to pry those arms apart if her attacker is bigger.

My exposure to over 20 different styles has given me a very large "arsenal" from which to draw. So, it's very eclectic.  It's also very brutal because we teach those things most styles avoid.  Spitting, biting, stomping, eye-poking, you name it, it's fair game.  We also teach in street clothes with shoes (albeit, wrestling shoes) on. You don't go shopping bare-footed and in your pajamas, do you (well. . .some do, just go look at People of Walmart)?

It leads to some very interesting fighting styles.  Hell, just last week we were teaching defenses when taken down and one of my 2-year students just up and bit my nipple through my shirt.

Try explaining THAT bruise to the wife.

The Professor

BTW, it worked rather well, I jumped off her in record time.

I totally get what you mean. Purists, even though very good at there art, suffer from lack experience when dealing with other stylists. When I was in my 20-30's I had studied 3 forms of kung fu but mostly stuck with Hung Gar because the instructor taught us using real life situation training (like Krav Maga) and frequently had other styles join us to cross train. Being 6 feet tall and weighing about 190 lbs I tended to use techniques that favored my body style often defeating opponents much larger than myself. We crossed trained with practitioners of  Jiu Jitsu, Sanshou, wrestling and tae kwon do.

Though once I discovered Krav Maga and Muay Thai I was hooked. Most fights are upright and from multiple attackers. Mauy Thai taught me how to strike real hard and real fast. Krav Maga taught me how to escape and counter almost any encounter I could think of. Jiu Jitsu taught me how defeat 1 person on the ground while tae kwon do taught me how to move continously. As for Hung Gar...it taught me how to kill in minutes....something I hope never to do.

Offline The Professor

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Re: What do you look into when choosing a Martial Arts School
« Reply #31 on: May 20, 2014, 05:23:10 PM »
I'm honestly concerned that some of the students coming out of the dojo may have an inflated idea of their capacity to actually use some of the techniques... which goes back, Prof, to your comment on the same technique not working for them that may for me.

It is a problem.

But, again, as has been pointed out. . .what's the ultimate goal of the school?  What are the expected capabilities after a year's instruction?  I started out in Taekwondo.  After a year's worth of sweat and hours of practice, I had a number of forms (kata) I could do rather well.  I was well on my way to competing in an exhibition sport!  But, since I was obviously punching and kicking, I pretty much saw myself as Billy BadAss.

This is why I think the Student Handbook idea, earlier, is important.  Expectations can be clearly outlined.  My classes, for example, generally are not marketed towards the beginners.  Mostly, it's students who have lasted a year or more in one of the Goshin-Jutsu classes which are more self-defense-oriented than most styles.

And, yeah, as you mention, some people take longer to get into the defensive aspect of the style.  Many people have a hard time actually hitting others, even in practice.  Many women have a difficult time with grappling, especially when you teach them to "wrap up" someone.  In our culture, that's pretty invasive of our "personal space."  If you have a student who is spending their time being uncomfortable wrapping their legs around some guy, they're not paying attention, which means they're not going to learn as well.

Combative sports or self-defense classes are certainly not for everyone.

The Professor

Offline archer

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Re: What do you look into when choosing a Martial Arts School
« Reply #32 on: May 20, 2014, 06:04:42 PM »
My $.02:
-no belt factories, If I get a whiff of that I walk out. and therefore no mandatory contracts, no 'special deals' that you would not offer all the students in the school
-not a strict 'my style is the best, all other styles suck'.
-reasonable prices. $120/month for a non profit school is just too high.
-serious skill training, i am there to learn and practice defending myself. fancy high kicks and fancy katas are great for competitions, but not very good for real life.
-realistic tests, multiple attackers, work me so that i am worn out at the end of a test. a fight does not stop when i get tired.
-the handbook is a great idea. tells ppl what to expect and makes a good reference point for argumentative types

of course, this is just my $.02 worth

Offline Josh the Aspie

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Re: What do you look into when choosing a Martial Arts School
« Reply #33 on: May 20, 2014, 06:07:14 PM »
The head of the dojo, in my case, loves Martial Arts for it's own sake.  He's also definitely a business man.  As such, I think that there is a fair amount of focus on the art for it's own sake, and desiring to help students to meet their goals with the art, whatever they are.

He instructs people with serious health issues in taiji for some of his individual instruction classes, and also coaches children that are his students who are getting ready for a talent show on how to not only do the art better, but how to be more visually impressive.

Meanwhile, I recognize that it is an art, and attempt to learn all aspects of it that are taught as a dedicated student, but am focused on self-defense and fitness aspects.  Many of my instructors, including the head of the dojo, respect those goals, and help me to fulfill them.

For some of the other students though, those who I wouldn't bet on being able to defend themselves... I'm not sure if that's one of their goals or not.  I'm still concerned about possible misconceptions though.

As far as the student handbook though, I think it would definitely need to be short.  Most people given a student handbook larger than a few pages just plain aren't going to read it... but ones I've been handed (highschool, college) have a tendency to grow to the size of a small novel.

Offline joeandmich

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Re: What do you look into when choosing a Martial Arts School
« Reply #34 on: May 23, 2014, 06:21:52 AM »
It is a problem.

But, again, as has been pointed out. . .what's the ultimate goal of the school?  What are the expected capabilities after a year's instruction?  I started out in Taekwondo.  After a year's worth of sweat and hours of practice, I had a number of forms (kata) I could do rather well.  I was well on my way to competing in an exhibition sport!  But, since I was obviously punching and kicking, I pretty much saw myself as Billy BadAss.

This is why I think the Student Handbook idea, earlier, is important.  Expectations can be clearly outlined.  My classes, for example, generally are not marketed towards the beginners.  Mostly, it's students who have lasted a year or more in one of the Goshin-Jutsu classes which are more self-defense-oriented than most styles.

And, yeah, as you mention, some people take longer to get into the defensive aspect of the style.  Many people have a hard time actually hitting others, even in practice.  Many women have a difficult time with grappling, especially when you teach them to "wrap up" someone.  In our culture, that's pretty invasive of our "personal space."  If you have a student who is spending their time being uncomfortable wrapping their legs around some guy, they're not paying attention, which means they're not going to learn as well.

Combative sports or self-defense classes are certainly not for everyone.

The Professor

I plan on teachng 3 styles for 3 kinds of people.

1 - self defense no nonsense people - Krav Maga

2 - workout people  - Muay Thai & MMA fitness

3 - traditional martial arts training - Hung Gar Kung Fu

Only number 1 is for teens and adults only.

Joe

Offline donaldj

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Re: What do you look into when choosing a Martial Arts School
« Reply #35 on: May 23, 2014, 10:17:46 AM »
I just saw some questions on my post.

I instruct personal protection, not just martial arts. If you find yourself in a fight, what will you want to save yourself and loved ones from the bad guy?  Since teleportation isnt available, you will want something that ensures the odds are not only EVEN, but that you are far more likely to prevail.

Secondly, one must assume that ALL altercations will involve weapons. If you deny this, you are not reality based. A bad guy will not generally attempt a mugging, robbery, or other assault empty handed handed. Bad guy will usually have a weapon.

If the first thing you'd want in a fight is a weapon, why would you instruct anything else? If TaeKwonDo Grandmaster Whoever has his house broken into while he's sleeping, he will typically grab the 870 under the bed (or whatever), NOT go down and clear the house with fist and foot.

WEAPONS FIRST. And alongside all empty hand techniques. That way you're building familiarity into the trainee with weapons, not something 'special and different' to learn 8 belts from now.

And no, I am not talking about a kids class, though it can be incorporated.


As for what weapons first: firearm (use blueguns), baton/tanbo, tactical pen/flashlight, knife.

Offline donaldj

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Re: What do you look into when choosing a Martial Arts School
« Reply #36 on: May 23, 2014, 10:25:27 AM »
Ditto what the professor said. The weapon techniques are built off the empty hand techiques. Teaching weapons right out of the gate is like roofing your house before the foundation had been set. At the same time, I don't think a person should have to wait a long time either.

Negative on this. Incorporating weapon training right out of the gate helps lay the foundation. Weapon training is, and should be, part of the foundation and NOT something you add later.

And for a bit of history, most of the daito-ryu aiki jujutsu open hand techniques are derived from sword techniques or other armed equivalents. Not the other way around.


Offline donaldj

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Re: What do you look into when choosing a Martial Arts School
« Reply #37 on: May 23, 2014, 10:32:40 AM »
Not to mention. . .which of the following styles are "Shiyte" for not teaching weapons immediately:

Yagyu Jujutsu ?
Yoshinkai Aikido?
Taekwondo?
Judo?

I ask because, to the best of my knowledge, none of those four teach weapons to a new student. 

Are they all worthless and, as you say, not worth "Shiyte?"

Please. . .I'd like to know.

The Professor

My school of Yagyu Jujutsu instructs weapons directly alongside open hand techniques. A typical student will be doing weapon training at some point within his first week. At points in every class, the parallels of weapon training to their empty hand equivalents are pointed out.

Aikido emphasizes the similarities between open hand movement and weapon movement with the jo (staff), bokken (sword), and tanto (knife). Aikido is a great art which I do train in, but would not rely on for protection. (That being said, any time technique is 'internalized' it is available for use in protection, so it doesnt matter too much where it comes from).

TKD: I'm not a fan. It is sport competition and not personal protection intent. But, it instills dexterity and movement, which are nice, but why learn something ancillary.

Judo: Same.


As for the rest, misconstruing teaching a kid knives for the lunch line... whatev. THe OP posted what I look for in a school first, and I look for personal protection intent training. The single biggest indicator for that is weapons first, weapons alongside, fully included and integrated.

Offline joeandmich

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Re: What do you look into when choosing a Martial Arts School
« Reply #38 on: May 23, 2014, 02:00:40 PM »
Negative on this. Incorporating weapon training right out of the gate helps lay the foundation. Weapon training is, and should be, part of the foundation and NOT something you add later.

And for a bit of history, most of the daito-ryu aiki jujutsu open hand techniques are derived from sword techniques or other armed equivalents. Not the other way around.

I understand where you are coming from. In fact we teach weapons training in the Kung Fu class and the Krav Maga class. However since most children and adults do not carry weapons on themselves at all times the use of empty hand and defense against weapons are reinforced more stringently. We also plan to organize workshops on a monthly basis in use of weapons and guest instructors so that our students are more well rounded. Such classes include but are not limited to firearms training, knife fighting, traditional Chinese weapons fighting, home security, defense against other martial arts styles, competitive fighting,  etc.

We will hopefully be a well rounded school.

Joe