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Old 02-08-08, 02:51 PM   #1
mlts22 
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Martial arts selection

First, I'm trying to ponder a question... can someone mid 30s, and totally out of shape, start a martial art and do well?

Second, I'm debating which MA to see about. I'm debating between Kung Fu, Bujinkan taijutsu, Ki Aikido, or a local art in Austin, Tukong Moosul.

The embarrassing thing is that I'm in the mid 30s... and in horrid physical shape (though no health problems.)

Think its possible to start on the ground floor with a martial art at this stage?
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Old 02-08-08, 02:54 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by mlts22 View Post
First, I'm trying to ponder a question... can someone mid 30s, and totally out of shape, start a martial art and do well?

Second, I'm debating which MA to see about. I'm debating between Kung Fu, Bujinkan taijutsu, Ki Aikido, or a local art in Austin, Tukong Moosul.

The embarrassing thing is that I'm in the mid 30s... and in horrid physical shape (though no health problems.)

Think its possible to start on the ground floor with a martial art at this stage?
Begin with Tai Chi. It will help your balance and flexibility considerably and is low stress on muscles and joints. If you move onto a Kung Fu style later you'll find that learning Tai Chi first is a big advantage.
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Old 02-08-08, 02:55 PM   #3
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Yes indeed it is, it's never too late too start.
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Old 02-08-08, 03:09 PM   #4
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Never too late. When I was studying years ago in my teens, there was a guy in his 40's who started
out of shape, and also not very flexible. Over time he really saw a lot of benefits from it.

Id reccomend Tae Kwon Do. It isnt total killer training, since it mostly follows the rules and style
of olympic competition. It would be a good "first style" to learn before moving on later if you want.
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Old 02-08-08, 04:02 PM   #5
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Begin with Tai Chi. It will help your balance and flexibility considerably and is low stress on muscles and joints. If you move onto a Kung Fu style later you'll find that learning Tai Chi first is a big advantage.
Good advice. The Kung Fu school I was looking at has a hybrid Kung Fu/Tai Chi program. Tukong Moosul is similar, where they teach Tai Chi, as well as Tae Kwon Do.

My biggest problem with martial art schools isn't the training, its my innate agoraphobia. Its just hard to get to a dojo/dojang/kwoon for me, due to anxiety, but I have to find a way to do so, else I'll end up with major health problems due to lack of physical training later on.
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Old 02-08-08, 04:20 PM   #6
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Tai Chi assists with stilling and centering the mind. I used it for a number of years to help control anxiety and it helped me a lot.
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Old 02-08-08, 04:26 PM   #7
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Tai Chi also helps with physical strength and endurance, but that's merely a really nice fringe benefit.
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Old 02-11-08, 08:55 PM   #8
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I've been thinking about taking tai chi, seems rather interesting as its a martial art yet most people think of its calming healthy effects. Although, why is it really only older people who I see practicing?
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Old 02-11-08, 09:29 PM   #9
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Be like Chuck Norris and go Tang Soo Do. Worked for him.
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Old 02-11-08, 10:17 PM   #10
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I started Tae Kwon Do 5 years ago and received my 1st degree Black Belt last May. I'm 41 now. I am now instructing a class at our church. It is totally possible for older people to get tremendous benefits from any martial art. It takes a little more determination and you can't expect to kick above your head when you first start but with some work you can get there. Where do you live I would be glad to help get you started...
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Old 02-11-08, 10:20 PM   #11
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Of course I'll throw my vote for aiki, but go try them all and see which instructor and art resonates with you - thats the one to get into.
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Old 02-11-08, 10:25 PM   #12
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This guy can help you.

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Old 02-11-08, 11:08 PM   #13
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I've been thinking about taking tai chi, seems rather interesting as its a martial art yet most people think of its calming healthy effects. Although, why is it really only older people who I see practicing?
Because it has such good health benefits when you're older. Here in NZ the government accident insurance scheme (ACC) supports Tai Chi classes for the elderly because the benefit of improved balance means a reduction in injury causing falls.

Gus, I studied Tang Sou Dao for a while. The best feature of the style is that it's a redesign of traditional Kung-Fu so that folk of all ages and states of fitness can learn it and take part successfully.
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Old 02-12-08, 08:48 AM   #14
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The really cool thing about Tai Chi, is that if you were to speed up those lovely calm relaxing movements, you have a killer martial art.
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Old 02-12-08, 10:03 AM   #15
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I have trained in a number of different styles, over many years, from teachers of varying quality, through a varying degree of personal commitment, for both fighting and meditative aspects of the art(s.) I will make some generalizations, (you might be that one person who trains in a form of Tai Chi that spars constantly and makes you HTFU, or you may train in a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu dojo that basically teaches it like yoga class. )It may sound as if I am dissing some styles, but I realize that different people are trying to get different things out of martials arts, from the senior who takes Tai Chi to the cop who does Krav Maga.

The internal forms like Tai Chi, several gentler styles of Kung Fu and Aikido are excellent for low-impact exercise and aerobic benefits, as well as increasing balance and concentration. (I took a yoga class at my school last semester with a bunch of college-age kids, and my fat ass had better balance than literally any of them, and I attribute this solely to Kung Fu training.) Yes, they do have good self-defense benefits, but the catch is they take a while to learn to use effectively in this context, and especially in Tai Chi's case, are often taught as a yoga-type exercise for the elderly and soccer moms. So you may have to look carefully for a good teacher that knows you want to be able to defend yourself.

Also, the internal styles seem to have a great lot of "Bullshido" -style mysticism they like to throw around. I am sorry, you may have trained for 40 years so you can do some sort of asinine, Jedi-type "Chi-Blast," but for 39 years and 364 days, a second-year white belt in BJJ is going to be able to hand your ass to you. Also, I've come across a couple teachers who had a David Koresh-like hold over their students, and claimed to be able to do a lot of chi-related magic crap. Don't want to go into this bizarre subject that much, but this is my personal experience. I am a Buddhist, by the way, so the Buddhist/Taoist stuff doesn't bother me, it's just the crap that's not true, and more importantly useless in a fight.

The best teacher I ever had, (White Eyebrow Kung Fu,) when I asked him about the external forms, Krav Maga in particular, surprised me by not being dismissive or disrespectful of them. Basically, his take was that when you get someone in a hurry, like a soldier or cop, he doesn't have 15 years to become proficient at theoretical forms and levitating in Lotus position, so external forms are quickly learned and quite effective. I particularly like Krav Maga (the Israeli military's martial art,) because probably it's main presupposition is that you will be completely winded and worthless in 30 seconds, so what you do with that time is of utmost importance. Real life doesn't have any hour-long fights like in Jet Li movies, so no point in training for such.

Anyway, blah blah blah. A few opinions for what they are worth and then I'll shut up.

1. Almost any style has the potential to be formidable if you practice a lot and spar with other hairless apes close to your ability level. A McDojo that gives you a blackbelt in a year, relies purely on doing forms with no sparring and/or has a sifu that does bizarre stunts like line up his senior students (the ones who are either in on it or mind-controlled) then knock them over with some idiotic "Chi Blast," is a place you should run far away from.

2. Some of my best teachers have been Americans, but if you have the opportunity/money, train with a teacher from your style's country of origin. You will be constantly engaged and sometimes awed by the sublime and wonderful differences in teaching styles. But remember that in countries with a strong Confucian influence, talking back or even questioning your teacher is highly offensive, he will get pissed off and that is not what you want to happen.

3. If you are trying to develop a calm mind, good balance, and get good low impact exercise, Tai Chi with a reputable teacher is wonderful. Be careful because Tai Chi classes are a dime-a-dozen nowadays. Like sushi, you may find you have to spend some money to get a teacher worthy of the martial art itself. Aikido and some of the more internal forms of Kung Fu are great, but harder to find unless you are in a fairly big city. If self defense is your prime consideration though, look elsewhere.

4. However, the old bearded Chinese guy who whips ass with Tai Chi is in all the movies and video games, may or may not exist somewhere in real life, but he sure as hell doesn't come anywhere near MMA tournaments. I'm talking about "real world applications," something the internal stuff, with all it's mental and physical benefits, is a little short on. Once you cut a lot of the horsecrap, there are a few styles that are able to hang in martial arts tournaments, and others you never see. Now, some of the bodhisattvas may be too enlightened to enter martial arts tournaments, but we all know thats complete BS. It's what works in a fight. That's all.
In this arena, I've found that Karate and Tae Kwon Do, despite being ubiqitous, are effective if you have a good studio. My personal favorites are Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. They are devastating, and the fight lists of MMA tournaments for the past 15 years have demonstrated this. Tai Chi, not so much.
The three martial arts I've never had the pleasure of training in are Sanshou, Krav Maga and Escrima. One day I'll live in a town that has them, hopefully.

5. If I could become a master of any of them, I'd have to narrow it down to BJJ, Muay Thai and Tai Chi. That would take more than a lifetime for all three, though.
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Old 02-12-08, 10:29 AM   #16
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kris you should check out
Okinawan Karate - style Shorin Ryu karate
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Old 02-12-08, 10:37 AM   #17
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You haven't really stated your goal. What do you hope to achieve?
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Old 02-12-08, 11:40 AM   #18
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For fighters head to Kyokushinkai Karate.
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Old 02-12-08, 11:57 PM   #19
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You haven't really stated your goal. What do you hope to achieve?
Main thing is more of a goal, a direction. This is something I am lacking at this stage in life. I'm going to (hopefully) end up graduating college this year, then its an absolute unknown of what I will be doing. Some martial arts have that, where its not just about sparring, but an actual goal... a true art (an art of reshaping mind/body.) I'm past the "kicking butt" stage of life, but I do want to focus on being able to handle situations.

As time goes on, this is something I notice I really need, as I spend way too much time on technical stuff (as my posts show) and really need to balance things out. I notice I am becoming quite cynical on life, and need to fix that.
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