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Thinking of picking up martial arts - but which one?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Alexander, Mar 30, 2015.

  1. Alexander


    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    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.

  2. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Easy! Rex Kwon Do!


  3. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    I'm replying to come back to this later tonight. I'm in Seattle, so can point you to specifics in the area.

    Are you interested in offense, defense or both? Any interest in weapon work? Are you doing it for flashy-showy, or usefulness?
  4. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy

    I practiced Aikido for a number of years. It can be low impact, but it can also be pretty high energy and high impact if you are at the right place. There's no competition as such, but the intensity can get very high. There are stylized schools and far more physical schools. They physical schools are the ones that get intense. That's what I liked. The stylized schools are a little too full of philosophical baggage.
    vin*tone likes this.
  5. Alexander


    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    Hey thanks - looking for offense and defense. Haven't thought about weapon work (but am open minded). Prefer useful over flashy-showy (not trying to impress anyone). Looking for fitness, fun and self-defense - in that order.

    United Source Muay Thai in Kirkland caught my eye. Looked really physical, which I like. I've done lots of boot camp work. I had a personal trainer for a while that was an amateur MMA fighter and I enjoyed the "MMA Style" workouts we did - they were tough!
  6. Alexander


    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    Thanks - not sure about the philosophical/spiritual side of martial arts. I've gotten some of that through yoga (I'm still relatively new to that and am exploring it) and I do see some of the connections...
  7. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    If you can find a good Kung Fu instructor, I would suggest checking that out. I'm a TKD black belt, and it can be pretty high impact, especially when you get into flying / spinning kicks. Tai chi (I know, it has a stigma of being an 'old people' martial art, but the masters of that art are pretty badass) is another good low-impact one.
  8. tastybasslines

    tastybasslines Banned

    May 9, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    Incredible workout. Only "full contact" if you are sparring and even then, it's not. All senses engaged. I'm going on 3 years of Muay Thai and I'm 41 also.

    FWIW, I didn't like Kung Fu. I did it for 6 months and learning was slow and there was basically no workout involved. They told me to workout in other places and that classroom time was for techniques only. Powerful techniques, but not as practical IMO.
  9. Alexander


    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    Good info - very helpful - thanks, tasty
  10. tastybasslines

    tastybasslines Banned

    May 9, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    In Muay Thai, the general rule is that people you spar with only go as hard as you do. Considering your goal of building fitness level, I'm not sure much could compete with Muay Thai. As a good eater and the desire to spar, this is a good fit for you. I'm not sure what you consider "light"but you are for sure going to get your clock cleaned "lightly" now and again from a kick or punch, but you will be OK. It's a very active art. Brutal and active.
  11. allredtillblue

    allredtillblue Banned

    Mar 27, 2015

    A buddy of mine has been really into, if I can remember right, muy tai?
  12. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    couching tiger!
    BboogieXVII likes this.
  13. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu...or wrestling..

    Plus boxing.

    In real life, training to be a dojo ballerina doesn't get you too far.
  14. hidden potato?
    pacojas likes this.
  15. Alexander


    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    Sounds like it's right up my alley - yes, I absolutely want to spar and light-medium is ok. I don't mind getting knocked around a bit - but I'm not up for taking a real a** kicking either.

    I think I'm going to visit the Muay Thai school near my house and see what's up. The training looks really intense, which is what I'm looking for.
    tastybasslines likes this.
  16. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I'm a black belt in TKD, which I like a lot. The stretching has been as helpful as any other aspect, and I like the mix of training (at least how it is done in my dojo). The level of sparring is highly dependent upon who shows up for a given class, but I typically have enough guys close to my size so that I can get some serious sparring in. That being said, I don't mind going light and focusing on control and technique if my partner is smaller or less comfortable with sparring.

    We mix in a good bit of Brazilian jiu-jitsu (about 40% of our time) and some Muay Thai, but we don't rank up in BJJ or MT. Knowing when to tap out in BJJ is very important, here. I am 45 and in relatively good shape, but aging joints are aging joints, and you do need to be careful.

    Personally, I really get a lot out of martial arts, and I am sure that I would not be in as good of shape now if I hadn't stayed with it.
    tastybasslines likes this.
  17. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    @elgecko No freakin' way would I want to take a roundhose to the face from somebody wearing those badboys.

    My vote would have been for "mixed." Mixed Martial Arts seems to be the most popular one right now. ;) :D
    elgecko likes this.
  18. Clark Dark

    Clark Dark

    Mar 3, 2005
    Ed Parker Kenpo
  19. Happynoj


    Dec 5, 2006
    I like turtles.
  20. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    elgecko likes this.

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