Help in choosing a martial art

So you want to learn a martial art and can’t decide which would be best for you?

Firstly I wanted to get this bit out the way. This short article will not point to a specific martial art. Each and every one of us has a different requirement whether that be, self defense, spiritual and mental health/strength or fitness or a combination of those and maybe even more. With so many variables it would not be right to even create a shortlist. The martial arts already listed on this website should give you a good idea about which might fit into your requirements. As a general rule traditional martial arts will have more spiritual aspects while the more western martial arts tend to be less so. However be aware each teacher will teach the martial art their way and many will say their way is the best, regardless, do your homework and go with what and who ticks the boxes for your requirements.

So with that out of the way, you have decided to look for a martial art and want to find out how to go about choosing one. Here’s what I would do:

  • Firstly decide what you want from the martial art, are you looking for spiritual enlightenment, self defense, weight loss, a confidence boost, fitness and health or a social outlet etc.
  • List the martial art schools available to you within your acceptable travel radius and maybe check to see if there are reviews for them. Find out how long the school has been running (longer is generally better, but not always), how much do they charge, do you have to sign up for a period of time, what gear/equipment do you need and what time/days they train that suit you. Create a shortlist.
  • Check out the area and go and look at the facilities. Can you park or get there and back easily with public transport?
  • If the place looks OK, ask if they do trial classes or if you can sit in and just watch what and how the art is being taught.
  • While there, find out what qualifications and experience the instructors have, but use this as a general guide only, some qualifications mean nothing, experience often counts for more. Most importantly, do the instructors display good knowledge and skill, are they confident, in control, organized, coherent, show respect/humility and even friendly? This bit is important and the most difficult part to work out especially for a beginner. Ultimately you don’t want to waste your time and money being taught inefficiently or incorrectly.
  • Also ask yourself these questions – Does it look like you will get on with the people going (speak to some and ask questions). Do the students look disciplined and well supervised? Do you feel comfortable? How is the atmosphere? Does the teaching style fit into what you want from this school?
  • Ask the instructor some questions if you have any at the end of the class. If they are evasive answering questions or pushy with trying to get you to join be wary.

Finally, you can always change your mind and try another school if you are not happy or even moon light and try two or three before making a decision (if you are presented with a contract read it carefully before making a decision and signing it). However once you are happy that you doing the right martial art in the right school for you, do try to go regularly and even practice at home.

Good luck.