So, I spent all day Saturday at my kids' (age 9 & 12) Tae Kwan Do tournament and enjoyed watching them navigate through the day. I've always thought about picking up martial arts at some point and have been even more inspired watching the kids grow in this over the last six months (and getting more & more involved in the community). So, I'm a bit more active now in exploring and possibly pursuing this. The question I have is... which one? I spent some time reading over the weekend and have the basic concepts around the major arts - karate, kung fu, tae kwan do, judo, kendo, jiu jitsu, etc. Would appreciate insights from those of you here on TB that practice martial arts as to what might be right for me. A bit more about me: - I'm a 43 year old guy - I've worked through lots of injury in the past (fractured vertebrae in my neck and back, fractured elbow, bad back, head injury - yep, tough life...) - I'm in pretty good shape and exercise typically 4-5 times a week, mixing weight training, cardio, yoga and am fairly active hiking/biking on the weekends also. One of my primary goals in martial arts would be to continue building my fitness level. I am a very healthy/clean eater as well. - Second to building my fitness, I want to have fun and learn more about self-defense. Not that I really expect to need it (who does?), but I like the mental aspect of that. I am an army combat vet and with civilian law enforcement experience so am not brand new to the concept. - I don't mind light sparring and competition like what I saw at the tae kwan do tournament (even amongst the black belts). Nobody was getting their brains beat out. I'm too old for blood sports - I'd love to compete, but not come into work Monday morning with a broken nose or detached retina... The one that was the most interesting to me was Muay Thai - it seemed more physical than some of the others and strong on the self defense aspect. But is it too "full contact"? Anyway, I'd love people's informed thoughts and opinions on the subject as well as what to look for when evaluating potential schools. I'm in the Seattle area, if there happen to be any local folks reading this. Thanks!