Perhaps you grew up with the heroes of 80s action. Perhaps you were raised on the martial arts prowess of Bruce, Jet, Jackie, Donnie or Sammo. Or perhaps you watched the recent Karate Kid sequel – Cobra Kai and wondered “is that really for me?”
Clearly not the best examples because movies do not translate to reality however one thing ties most of those actors together – they trained hard for their roles and most are masters of their respective arts. Everybody needs an introduction to Martial Arts somehow and media is meant to stir emotions in us.
So the big question – What Martial Arts School is Right for You?
The simply answer is that only you know if a style or system of Martial Arts is suitable for you. Ask yourself the following questions when you think about Martial Arts training:
- Does it excite you or are you forcing yourself to go?
- Does it inspire you or are is it simply a way to pass time?
- Does it make you feel stronger or just bruised and battered?
- Does it improve your mental outlook on life or are the lessons forgotten once you leave the dojo?
- Do you enjoy the journey or simply want to reach the destination?
Make no mistake, Martial Arts is a way of life. If you truly immerse yourself in it you will feel excited and inspired to train. There will be bumps and bruises (no kid gloves on the street) but in a controlled environment that helps you to grow. Those that train wholeheartedly will use the principles of Martial Arts in their everyday lives (overcoming challenges instead of dwelling on obstacles).
The final point about journey is the most important one. Are you training because you want to be the best version of you possible or because you want to strap on a colored belt?
Different people train for different reasons – it is actually what makes it so unique and wonderful to be an instructor. It would be highly recommended that you find your purpose for training before seeking out that instructor though. A few reasons that may help you define your choice:
- Are you competitive? There are many schools that focus on the tournament scene.
- Are you looking to uphold tradition? Several great masters adhere to the ways of tradition and strive to pass on the essence of their system.
- Are you looking to be safe on the street? There are some schools that have a strong focus on effective self defense – it may not look fancy but it will make sure you get home safe.
Most schools will have a focus point but generally speaking they all provide some training in sparring, kata/forms/taolu and self defense. The key thing you should ask your instructor is “Why”. If they are able to explain why you strike or move in a certain manner instead of just how then they have a good understanding of their art form.
Remember that repetition is key to mastery however being a parrot gets you no where. Always ask why.
There you have it. Dig deep and find your reasons for training. There is absolutely nothing wrong with trying out Martial Arts and slowly developing a passion for it – not everyone is a die hard fan immediately, just remember to refer to the list above regarding purpose.
Go train, learn, have fun, grow and always ask WHY.