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How do you choose which martial art to study?

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01/10/2011

Choosing a Martial Art

There are many things to consider when choosing a martial art. The related link to the right has a detailed article, but here are some key things to look at when you are trying to decide:

Why do you want to study a martial art?

  1. Health Benefits
  2. Compete in Sports
  3. Self-Defense
  4. Job Requirements
  5. Want to Improve My Life
  6. Want My Kids to Learn Discipline

All are valid reasons to study a martial art.

Your motivation is going to be a big factor in which art is right for you.

When looking for martial arts training:

  1. Determine what martial arts classes are available in your area.
  2. Visit each of them - no matter what they teach - and watch or, if allowed, participate in a few classes (many schools/instructors offer one or more free introductory classes or charge a small fee with no other commitment).

When you visit have a completely open mind and consider for the following:

  1. Do you like the instructor and other students?
  2. Do you like the material presented - does it suit your personality, attitude, motivations, etc.?
  3. Do you like the instructor's teach methods - are they compatible with the way you learn?

If you answer any of the above questions with a "no" then that's not the school/class for you - no matter what they teach. The art/system is far less important than whether or not you enjoy the training. No matter how good the material is, how well it suits you, or how good the instructor is, if you don't enjoy the training then you probably won't stick with it for very long.

The next consideration, assuming you answered "yes" to the above questions is the distance to the class. This is a very subjective and personal aspect to the decision and it has to do with how much you think you'll enjoy the training. The more you enjoy the training, the more willing you'll be to drive a longer distance. If the distance outweighs the enjoyment you get from the training then, again, you probably won't stick with it very long.

Every martial art has something to offer. There is no best martial art. There is only what is best for you. That's why it's so important to check all your options and go with the one that appeals to you most. What is best for you may or may not be good for someone else. By the same token, when someone tells you, "This is the BEST! You've got to check it out!" You've got to bear in mind that it may not be the "best" for you. Certainly, go check it out but do so with an open mind.

Also you have to think about your strong and weak points. Different styles are for different people. Think what suits yourself.