Off Topic: Learning A Martial Art

So has anyone here in the process of studying a martial art? Or at one point studied a martial art?

And if so which one? Like many young children my age, I loved Karate Kid. I thought this would translate into me loving actual Karate.

I was wrong. I quit after three weeks.

But I did study Muay Thai Boxing for almost three years. That was awesome. It's a really physical martial art with heavy leg kicks, brutal elbows and it's probably the most efficient stand-up Martial Art you can learn (as evidenced by its dominance in modern Mixed Martial Arts). I really enjoyed it and have no idea why I quit. Probably because I was a surly teenager and was too busy squeezing my spots into the nearest mirror. God knows...

Anyway, Martial Arts — let's discuss!


    I've been training in karate for about 10 or 11 years now. I love it. Part of me wishes I'd taken it up 10 years earlier than I did (I was nearly 27 when I started), but at the same time I don't know if I'd have had the patience for it when I was that young and I might have given up on it.

    A couple of years back I went and spent a week training in Japan which was absolutely brilliant. Probably the hardest thing I've done in my life (35C heat and atrocious humidity every single day, training for 6-7 hours a day), but also one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. Would like to do that again sometime before I get too old...

      They say that, Karate, at the top end, crosses from being just a sport to being something close to a religion - both in terms of dedication required and philosophy employed. Is that true in your experience?

        I don't know if I'd describe it as being like a religion, although I'm not a particularly religious person so I might not have the best basis for comparison :P It certainly can become a bit of an obsession. Especially over in Japan where, instead of doing it for a couple or hours twice a week like I do at home I was just immersed in it for a week doing nothing but train-eat-sleep train-eat-sleep. You end up not thinking about much else during that time.

        But I'm also nowhere near the top-end :P When you see some of the senior guys, both from Australia and especially in Japan, the difference between them and a hack like me is just enormous. I've been lucky enough to train with Seichi Fujiwara Hanshi several times (here in Australia as well as in Japan), and he is just unbelievable. I don't think I'm actually doing the same martial art that he is :P

          I did Shotokan Karate as a kid. Had an intense love/hate relationship with it, but my parents forced me to stick to it.

          Well, they forced me to stick to it till I actually realised that it was one of the few things (at the time) that I was really, really good at. I also started to appreciate a lot of the finer and more subtle points about it as a Martial Art. Went to Japan for training over one summer too, and that was because I won a scholarship through a tournament to train with some Dan 5's and 6's in the Tokyo HQ.

          Got my 2nd Dan before moving to Australia over 12 years ago. Haven't trained in it since. I miss it terribly and might start it (or something else) up again later this year.

          One more thing (apologies on the long reply) - but there is a difference between a Martial Art and a Fighting Style. A Martial Art takes quite a while to master, especially with all the philosophical and spiritualistic aspects of the art. A fighting form purely focuses on combat and techniques and training is mainly centered around that.

    I did karate for a month and Brazillian Ju-Juitsu for a year, only reason I quit that was they shut down for renovations and when they reopened they had 2 former UFC fighters as the coaches for anyone studying MMA (which I was going to) so to justifying it they started charging people $110 a week for 3 lessons a week and that was just too expensive for me

    Looking back on it, I regret not trying to learn judo in high school.

      Just roll around on the floor for a couple of hours, you'll get the idea.

    I did kempo karate for about a year and a half. It's very rewarding, but very time consuming. Discipline is the hardest thing, so I can understand why people quit. Eventually it was impacting on my study discipline, so I considered giving it up. Then I injured my knee and couldn't do it anyway so that was that!

    No regrets. Awesome experience.

    I'm.. not entirely sure how much I know about.. er.. any martial art, really. For a good part of 7-8 years I jumped around from Karate to Kickboxing to various other styles, mainly because my gyms and dojos and the such closed down or I moved from place to place, but I have a black belt in *something.* I have absolutely no clue.

    I always wanted to start from the beginning if I went into a entirely new discipline, but I was coerced into kinda being shunted into a similar belt as my previous one, and I think that hurt my overall knowledge of whatever I was currently studying.

    On the other hand, I remember a few weeks of weapon training (bo staff and nunchucks, although goodness knows what I learned of the latter.)

    Also, I know Mortal Kombat.

    Last edited 06/08/13 11:33 am

    About five years ago I did something called Fudoshin, which I guess you'd call a mixed martial art (I don't really know how all these fighting terms work). I mainly learnt to use a Jo. I've been meaning to get back into doing some sort of martial art, since it's good exercise and all.

    Years ago a friend dragged me along to some MMA classes to help with a big fitness goal of mine. I quickly discovered that I am terrible at striking disciplines, given my need to stop and apologise any time I connect when sparring.
    BJJ clicked with me though. A good control based discipline, and I built a really strong defence just from rolling with others a lot more experienced than me. Also a lot easier to control yourself to avoid hurting anyone else (tip for young players, if you ever join a BJJ gym and there's someone there that enjoys hurting people, just go somewhere else. Don't stay near them)
    Another part of me realised that having people attempt to submit me made me stronger (pushing right to the stars / edge of hyper extension then tapping)

    So other people expend effort, I gain. Ultimate lazy man's exercise.

      Hahah! It was actually your story on Sunday that inspired me to do this topic. :)

      In my limited experience, BJJ was amazing for building practical strength. I hate lifting weights, but having to shift other people's body weight around builds good core strength, and has the added competitive incentive.

    I did Karate for a few months when I was a kid but lost interest.

    I still remember a punch, 2 different kicks and couple of blocks but am still incapable of effectively fighting anything bigger than a puppy.

    I do Mixed Martial Arts in Sydney, also comprising of Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu...

    It is amazing! I am fitter and much, much more confident. People notice I carry myself differently as well now too. I implore anyone who has been thinking about taking up a martial art to just go and do it, it's hardly something that you will regret! =)

    I was going to try an find a place to learn Kung Fu because

    A) Knowing Kung Fu is hilarious.

    B) I need to get fit.

    C) If I get attacked on the street, I'm screwed. I'm some skinny hipster looking kid and the most docile creature on this earth.

    I did Karate for a little bit when I was younger. I was too young to take it seriously, as well as too young to realise that it was the closest I could get to ever living out my anime "being underestimated and attacked by gangsters then beating like a million dudes" fantasy.

    Last edited 06/08/13 11:50 am

      If you really want C you're probably better off with something less traditional, like Krav Maga or similar. You'll also get B thrown into the deal.

      It's important to realise that in an "I got jumped" situation you're probably screwed regardless. The best self defence training is going for a flat-out sprint around your block every day.

    I got a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. But my TKD school used to style itself as one where "anyone can get a black belt" if they just train hard enough, so take that with a grain of salt.

    As a younger kid, I did about six months of Karate too. And after watching Avatar: The Last Airbender (Legend of Aang) and seeing waterbending, I was tempted to take up Aikido - upon which waterbending appears to be based. If I had more spare time, I probably would!

    I did Karate till I was about 14 - I think I was blue belt. I quit because:

    1. My parents could never take me to gradings, so I was several belts lower than I would have otherwise been.

    2. I got jumped by two guys in high school, and the karate style I was learning was completely fucking useless (on a side note I a bunch of detentions for that particular incident, even though it was a point blank assault).

      should have used crane technique.

    I studied tae Kwon Do for about 2.5 years. I would up quitting because I was working in security which had regular shifts that overlapped with my Saturday night class - which led to me only being able to attend 2 weeks out of every 3, and sometimes only 1 out of 3. I wound up just not having the time or energy and by the time I was no longer working Saturdays, my school had relocated to someplace it was really inconvenient to get to without a car, which I didn't have. I'd previously been getting a ride from a friend but the school was now near him and far away from me so it just wasn't reasonable to ask him for a ride, especially since his interest had started to wane when he discovered he had to put in actual effort to get physical results.

    I've been considering getting back into it recently for fitness reasons (having recently gotten a car I no longer walk anywhere, but I don't know where to start. I feel like being 30 and starting from the beginning is kind of lame, since I'd probably be in a class with kids or something.

    Don't suppose anyone knows of any good Tae Kwon Do or Hapkido schools around the Western Sydney region? I'm at Carramar (which is a dead zone) but would be happy to do some travel if necessary. There's a school at Berala I've been thinking of checking out, and there used to be a Hapkido place at Lidcombe but I don't know if it exists anymore. It was up the road from a really dodgy karate school that I hope no one ever gave money to.

    Anyways, my TKD experience was very positive. I started with a couple of friends and had a lot of fun, I developed some really good fitness I think. It's all gone to crap over the last 8 years, but still. I've still retained some decent strength and flexibility.

      Hey those are places near my places.

      Was that Lidcombe one just up the road from the station? I remember there being some kind of one of those things there that looked really dodgy. But then I guess most martial arts places I've passed seem to look pretty dodgy.

        The Hapkido centre was in a largish building up the road from the station, across the road from the masonry place that sells headstones. I checked it out once and it looked alright, but I haven't been back since I stopped doing Tae Kwon Do and I moved from Lidcombe to Regent's Park about 9 years ago, and after that I moved in with my girlfriend at Summer Hill for a few years.

        The Karate school was down an alley between two of the coffee shops opposite the entrance to the station. When you got through there, there was a shed with a training area set up. I spoke with the guy briefly and he explained how his technique was basically about doing lots of short movements to quickly build muscle memory, and that was about it. It didn't seem to have any kind of structure to it and he didn't convince me it was worth pursuing further.

        I think it was this:

      Oh, wow, someone that knows what Hapkido is! o/

      I did Hapkido (well, a variant - I'm pretty sure my school blended in some taiqi and qi-gong for good measure) for the longest time, from when I was about 10 until halfway through uni (so, about 10 years), but stopped due to a couple of reasons - (a) the local dojang I trained at closed down, and (b) I couldn't justify the time I'd need to commute to the next nearest one. Loved it, especially the advanced stuff (mostly the slow, almost Taiqi-esque forms) and weapons training (the bo is a blast).

      I've tried some Kempo Karate since, and kept it up for about six months, but it seemed unnecessarily brutal... especially knife defence... In hapkido, knife defence was all about disarming them, getting them on the ground, then running away; in kempo it was disarm them, methodically slice them to ribbons by targeting weak points, then walk away while the bleed to death... not nice.

      Tried a few classes of BJJ and Taiqi when I got the chance, and but nothing's really had that same balance that hapkido had... I wish I'd made the time to keep at it...

      Edit: And now that I look, I find I lived about a block away from an Aikido dojo for three years after I stopped Hapkido. *facepalm* I still work nearby - might have a look into it.

      Last edited 06/08/13 4:38 pm

        My TKD school did a little knife defence that was lifted directly from Hapkido, but 95% of the time we focused on TKD kicking. The master of our TKD school is a grandmaster of both in Korea and if I were going to train again one of his schools would be my preference.

        Last edited 06/08/13 3:51 pm

    I just want to know how to falcon punch.

      I've decided that my first kid's name is going to be "Falcon". Entirely because my surname is "Punch".

        Damn, what a gangster last name! Jack (middle name could be Hammer?!?!) Punch - I like it.

    I did Tae Kwan Doe when I was really young, Zen Do Kai in high school (Oz style, I think they call it Skippy Kai now, seriously). The most recent one I did up until a few years ago after a major injury was Kung Fu in a performance school, we did all of the chinese new year dragon and lion shows as well as weapons displays. We learned how to play the traditional music with cymbols, gong & drums along with language, superstition and culture on top of the fighting element. We learned weapons fairly quick into it as well. Chinese New year was always pretty hectic tho, for a bout 3 weeks I was finishing work to go travel around brisbane performing in different restaurants till 10-11pm, then eating a mass feast of chinese food with everyone in a different chinese restaurant that would house us for the night. I have some amazing memories doing it, like having fire crackers exploding in my face while trying to play fast paced cymbols and the first time I was the ass of a Lion, wearing sequence pants and stuffed gloves covered in sequence on my feet to look like lions feet, hunched over in a busy restaurant, not being able to see where I was going or walk backwards while holding a sword and a watermelon not knowing what to do with it, and being cheeky and sitting in strangers laps while trying not to knock tables over. You can't make that stuff up.

    I'd love to learn kendo or bujinkan (ninjutsu) but have never lived close enough to a school to be able to.
    I'm most interested in weapon disciplines even though I'm never armed.

    I do!
    But I didn't learn it.
    I just know it.
    Because I'm asian.


    Martial Arts are useless in street fights so I never bothered with it, if I were to ever develop a technique I'd probably go for a marine CQC guide, fighting dirty will always beat disciplined martial arts.

    Last edited 06/08/13 12:09 pm

      try some filipino stuff or karv maga.

        Krav Maga is one I've been really interested in looking into. No mucking about, focus on disarms and dealing with multiple opponents. Like... USEFUL stuff.

          if you're in sydney, a friend of mine is an instructor in the city.

            Brisbane, and I know there's at least three or four schools here. I then inevitably grumble about their schedules, the distance, and the price. :)

      @distantdrop And you know this from experience or you came to this conclusion out of thin air?

      Last edited 06/08/13 2:01 pm

        I believe its widely apparent, makes sense since its disallowed in competitive martial arts due to its harming nature.

        I think me saying it was useless to learn it might be a little unfair to say, it can definitely help.

      really depends on the martial art and the school/dojo. Many martial arts are designed with the street in mind (particularly the more progressive systems, hence where mma came from).
      The school is so important though, many schools are about getting through a syllabus and pushing people through the ranks. I have studied Kempo Karate off and on for about 6 years and the guys i trained with trained HARD, a few of them worked in security so body conditioning and good skill was more important to them then the colour of the belt they wore.

    I have been training in Judo for about a year now. Even got my daughter involved.

    I've got a couple of years Aikido, about a year in Karate and a few years in Muay Thai. I loved the training, and lost a tonne of weight doing it.

    I never really quit as such, I just changed jobs and was no longer able to get to the gym in time for classes. I still like to pretend that I'm going to take it up again.

    Some kind of secluded monastic martial retreat, training under waterfalls and living on a spartan rice-and-veg diet with a vow of silence or something is totally on my bucket list. I may do that in a year's time when I take my long service leave. ...Better than working, right?

    I rocked up to a kung fu class once and really disliked the atmosphere, didn't end up taking the thing up. Did learn a little thing or two incidentally over the years for self-defense purposes, but that's mostly just a functioning knowledge of anatomy. One of the things I learned in security is that if you do get into a confrontation, you can (depending on the quality of your lawyer) be held directly responsible for any harm you do, and it's very, very easy to accidentally do some really serious harm if you're only improvising.

    Ugh. Time to go look up krav maga classes again and grumble about the timing/distance/price.

    I have been studying several martial arts for 10 years and recently branched out to instructing. I love it. I do a traditional form called Zen Do Kai, Muay Thai, Brazillian Jiu Jitsu and MMA.

    Saying martial arts is useless in street fights is incorrect. Sure there are some styles that may be near useless, however it is more the mental and theoretical aspects of a traditional martial arts that you learn that can help if you ever *touch wood* got into a street fight. The physical components that you learn can be useful, but it's more the philosophy behind the moves. That's why is called an ART.

      Agree. Plus when you see guys without training they usually swing haymakers, lose their balance and footing or do the typical 'grab shirt, swing at head'. Plus with martial arts you learn the crazy little things about the body like doing a strong forearm strike to the side of the neck stuns you. It's the weirdest feeling. YouTube it.

    I studied Wado-Ryu karate for 16 years, and have now moved on to Kyukushin karate and been doing that for 2. I've definitely forgotten more than I've remembered over that time. Never been in a real fight in my life, and never intend to; but hope enough has sunk in over that time so that I could handle myself. I love it for the fitness, the discipline and the controlled fighting. Shit day at work? Go let it out on some pads or have a scrap in a sanctioned environment- it really makes you feel better. Plus going to client meetings with all the skin scraped off your knuckles makes you look much more intimidating.

    Studied shotokan karate for about two years. Then I moved down to melbourne, was looking for a dojo when a mate suggested trying jiujitsu. Been studying that since and freaking love it. marate was a great place to start but and I believe everyone should know a bit of standing and ground fighting but geez BJJ is awesome.

    I did a southern style Kung fu for a few months but I hated the atmosphere. It was so serious, and sure people were niceish, but I just did not feel like I was meant to be there.

    Honestly for martial arts I want the whole lifestyle that comes with it in tv shows. The temple, the serenity, the waterfall T_T

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