Martial Arts

Discussion in 'Lifestyle, Health, Fitness & Food' started by theo, Feb 14, 2013.

  1. Alberto7

    Alberto7 ΩGJ :3

    Messages:
    4,609
    Likes Received:
    296
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Location:
    Montréal, QC
    Personally, I did not choose to go back into martial arts to learn self-defense. In fact, I don't even think shotokan karate is very effective as a self-defense tool until you're well into your shodan, maybe even nidan training. I feel the self-defense part that eventually comes with it is just an added bonus. I suppose it's worth noting that in my style of karate (JKA Shotokan), we only begin semi-free sparring at the brown belt level, and free sparring is only introduced at the black belt shodan level, with some choosing not to start doing it competitively until their nidan level. We begin training for it early on in our lower belts, but only in very controlled settings following rigid timing, always knowing what punch will be thrown at us and when, with surprise punches having a limited number of choices.

    I went into it mainly to develop my flexibility, agility, precision, stability, overall body strength, and as an outlet to control my emotions and inner self, which I've been struggling to keep in check for some time now. I also love to challenge myself with physical training that isn't just lifting a bunch of iron and/or running from A to B. I chose it for the art side of it as well. I love the fact that it combines physical exertion with beautiful moving shapes that can be perfected over time, all while teaching a new, perhaps more fulfilling way of life.

    Yep, it's been absolutely great so far. Much better than I expected when I started. I know I've only been doing it for 5 months so far, but I haven't felt this fulfilled by something I do since I picked up the guitar. Sensei was happy that I went to the tournament. She kept telling me how invaluable an experience it is and how lucky as a lower belt I am to be able to hear commentary about the tournament from all of the black belts and world-class fighters I got to meet and exchange ideas with.
     
  2. theo

    theo Got Hype(machine)?

    Messages:
    4,066
    Likes Received:
    450
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2008
    Location:
    Melbourne, Au
    Alberto7 I totally relate with what you're saying. 100%

    At my club we start sparring right from the get go, but in a very controlled manner. It's not until 1st kyu that there's officially 'full contact' sparring. Although it does happen of course.
     
  3. Alberto7

    Alberto7 ΩGJ :3

    Messages:
    4,609
    Likes Received:
    296
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Location:
    Montréal, QC
    Anyone with experience in aikido? I can't be bothered to read the whole thread. :lol: One of my sempai, a 1st kyu, opened his own aikido school this year along with another dude and he invited me to try out a class some time. Never tried aikido, but it sure looks pretty cool, and I'm a fan of its soft style.

    My other question is... I'm still very early into my karate training. As much as I'm into it, I've only been doing it for 5 1/2 months. Would starting another martial art interfere with my karate given that I'm so new to it? I imagine it as learning to speak two languages at the same time, where you can mix them up by accident, or reading two or three books at once, where I'd momentarily mistake one character for another.
     
  4. theo

    theo Got Hype(machine)?

    Messages:
    4,066
    Likes Received:
    450
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2008
    Location:
    Melbourne, Au
    It's up to you at the end of the day, do you have the time required to practice and train in both styles? Although cross training can be really beneficial, it's something I'd personally suggest you delve into once you're starting to become fairly proficient at your primary style and you want to expand your knowledge outside of your clubs syllabus.
     
  5. Solodini

    Solodini MORE RESTS!

    Messages:
    3,306
    Likes Received:
    176
    Joined:
    May 7, 2011
    Location:
    East Lothian, Scotland.
    I'd say they'd probably complement each other, more like playing two styles of music and seeing how they bring improvements to your understanding and ability with each other. Awareness of how other styles move will make you more discerning in how you move, so you can make conscious choices which work for you in different settings.
     
  6. theo

    theo Got Hype(machine)?

    Messages:
    4,066
    Likes Received:
    450
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2008
    Location:
    Melbourne, Au
    ^ I do agree with your point solodini, but not too early on.

    Think about guitar, when you first pick it up you learn things in a pretty linear fashion.
    Same with martial arts in my opinion. At the end of the day it's really a deep understanding of the human body, it's mechanics and how to exploit those mechanics to your own advantage. Once you start getting the co-ordination down and grasping the how and why behind all the mechanics then definitely branch out. But don't get too involved too early or it could be like trying to learn a paganini song at your first guitar lesson.

    Obviously I'm using extreme examples here, I just think there's a certain point where it could be too in depth too early and you could end up feeling more bewildered than informed. Without having trained with you in person there's really no easy way to judge. I'm not here trying to say "don't do it" by any stretch of the imagination, by all means, if you feel ready, then you probably are. Just want to draw attention to the possibility that you're not quite ready for it yet too.

    Regardless of what you choose, keep us informed and let us know how you're progressing! :)
     
  7. ghostred7

    ghostred7 Banned

    Messages:
    1,877
    Likes Received:
    153
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2011
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    I also agree w/ Solodini. They are very complimentary of each other. One style I studied under while in the Army was Shisei Ryu, developed by (then) LTC Ducote, USAF. It was essentially a mix of Okinawan Karate and Tomiki Aikido (ish). Like others have said...it's up to you, your mind, and control over your body.

    You may find that the hard-linear aspect of Karate isn't for your personal mechanics. It wasn't for me, which is where I started. I didn't find "home" until I found Kenpo. The mixture of hard/linear, soft/circular, and locks/throws was perfect for me (still is...now if I can find something I like here LOL).
     
  8. asher

    asher So Did We

    Messages:
    9,033
    Likes Received:
    686
    Joined:
    May 24, 2010
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    How good are you at compartmentalizing?

    I suspect there's some value to the advice of waiting a bit to get a better handle on karate before branching out, but if you're good at being able to compartmentalize - "when I'm doing karate, I move like this and do all these things and have these reflexes, when I'm doing aikido I move like this and do these other things and have a different stance and reflexes" - then you should have no problem, and in fact I'd recommend you experiment, as that'll make it easier to compare the two and see how they might work with each other.
     
  9. Alberto7

    Alberto7 ΩGJ :3

    Messages:
    4,609
    Likes Received:
    296
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Location:
    Montréal, QC
    Whoa, some sound advice here. Thanks guys!

    But yeah, I feel like I've been relatively quick at developing a decent grasp of what I'm doing in karate, and, so far, I feel perfectly at home doing it. I'd say I'm good at compartmentalizing, at least on an intellectual level, but I don't know how that'll go when unconscious physical reflexes are involved.

    I think for now I'll just try out that free aikido class whenever I have the time, to see how I like it. However, I also think I want to play it safe. I'll wait it out a while until I feel I have a good enough grasp of karate before I jump into anything else. I feel like I need to have a better control over my body before I begin getting it used to perform different movements.
     
  10. asher

    asher So Did We

    Messages:
    9,033
    Likes Received:
    686
    Joined:
    May 24, 2010
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    If you're able to be mindful of how your body feels and moves through every action, you should be just fine.
     
  11. zilla

    zilla Grand Poobah

    Messages:
    649
    Likes Received:
    44
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2010
    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    Aikido will focus a lot more on circular body movements, joint locks, and breakfalls - especially rolling. These will be very different, but also complimentary to what you will be doing in Karate.

    Alberto: if you can, I would highly recommend a Yoseikan Aikido school if you can find one in your area (I think there are a few in Montreal) - they combine a lot of elements from aikido (body movements, joint locks, pressure points), judo (throws and grappling) and shotokan (striking and kicking).
     
  12. ghostred7

    ghostred7 Banned

    Messages:
    1,877
    Likes Received:
    153
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2011
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    I completely agree w/ this. If you can't find this, maybe something like Shinkendo? It was founded by Toshishiro Obata (aka: Master Tatsu...the guy that trained the Foot clan ninja in the 90s live action TMNT). They have 2 main arts they teach - Traditional Japanese swordsmanship and Aikibudo. Aikibudo half is basically the Samurai hand-to-hand and historically where Aikido is rooted from. Basically founded on the 2 main components of feudal era Japanese Samurai that he studied from homeland. They follow traditional belting as well: white --> brown --> black. Everyone is same rank until tested to be instructor quality.

    I would also recommend maybe checking out Kenpo. It really is a bastard art (that I love mind you). It borrows heavily from Karate, Shaolin, Aiki, Judo, and JuJitsu. The mutt-nature of it allows for quick personal adaptation (at least for me).

    Side note - cool article about how he put a 13cm gash in an old-style helmet: Kabutowari – Helmet-Splitting
     
  13. Solodini

    Solodini MORE RESTS!

    Messages:
    3,306
    Likes Received:
    176
    Joined:
    May 7, 2011
    Location:
    East Lothian, Scotland.
    I love that minimal belt system. Instructors' lack of encouragement and appreciation of students' progress is probably why everyone is so tetchy about needing belts to mark progress, though.
     
  14. asher

    asher So Did We

    Messages:
    9,033
    Likes Received:
    686
    Joined:
    May 24, 2010
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    That's on ....ty instructors not emphasizing progress and not achievements.
     
  15. Solodini

    Solodini MORE RESTS!

    Messages:
    3,306
    Likes Received:
    176
    Joined:
    May 7, 2011
    Location:
    East Lothian, Scotland.
    Seems to have affect huge swathes of martial arts, though. People scoff at someone saying they're a black belt now, because being a black belt has become the goal with minimal time dedicated, even if that doesn't actually mean being any good.
     
  16. Alberto7

    Alberto7 ΩGJ :3

    Messages:
    4,609
    Likes Received:
    296
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Location:
    Montréal, QC
    Interesting. I don't know what style of aikido my sempai teaches. All I know is that the business card he gave me says "Ecole d'Aikido TAMASHII" (Aikido school TAMASHII). I don't know if that's just the name or an actual style; I haven't seen him in a while so I haven't had a chance to ask him.

    And yeah, the 3-color belt system is pretty neat. Then again, belt color doesn't really mean much other than to track progress, though it's easy to get hung up on a rank. Like asher said, that's why having a sensei/instructor that is good, down to earth, and keeps you motivated is important.

    Also, I love the saying "black is the new white" when applied to the martial arts, because it sets higher standards for the art. Black just symbolizes mastery of basics, an whole new world of cool stuff and a lifetime of learning is opened up. At that point is when you're really just starting to make something serious out of your art. That's how I think about it anyway. A way to keep my eye on the target without idolizing the black belt. (Don't get me wrong, I do consider earning a black belt a huge achievement and something to be admired, but it's not the end all be all.)
     
  17. theo

    theo Got Hype(machine)?

    Messages:
    4,066
    Likes Received:
    450
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2008
    Location:
    Melbourne, Au
    I've been with my club for almost 6 years now. Still haven't graded to black.
    When you sign up the club sets a goal date, that was two years ago for me.

    I used to train really hard for my gradings and try to get prepared for them in the minimum time, after a while I realised that a belt is just a piece of cloth, it really doesn't make you any better or worse. Don't get me wrong, I'll get there one day, but my mentality now is just to take each class as it comes and make the most of each training session for what it is. Not to revolve my training around syllabus and grading requirements.

    Also I really got into Bo and no one else at my club does much work in that area, it's also not part of the grading syllabus. Speaking to the head instructor the other day and volunteered to start teaching a Bo weapons class and draw up a syllabus plan for it. Pretty positive feedback, so that'll be fun.
     
  18. Humanoid

    Humanoid SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    7
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2007
    Location:
    Oulu, Finland
    I agree. We only have white, green and black. It's good to remember it's not about the grades but your own development. Of course grades can keep you motivated, but then, if the grades are the only thing that motivates you maybe you are on a wrong track :)
     
  19. Solodini

    Solodini MORE RESTS!

    Messages:
    3,306
    Likes Received:
    176
    Joined:
    May 7, 2011
    Location:
    East Lothian, Scotland.
    Exactly. It seems to me to be the sort of thing you should do for the love of it and of real improvement. Otherwise you might as well be giving people a sticker for attending and grade them based on the number of classes they've been to rather than their level of ability.

    I relate things to what I understand to be the traditional belt system: you're a white belt until you're a black belt; a beginner until you're an expert. I don't think most people can be experts in most things in any less than a decade. Think of your musical development. Many of us will have had lessons as youngsters. How many years of those did we have? Do we think we could hold our own in a jam with experts after that long? Can these black belts hold their own against experts? If not, I think they're deluding themselves and that's really my issue here. When competitions are divided by belt level, if a black belt isn't expected to be able to hold their own against someone with 20 years of experience who is also a black belt then there's some discrepancy in the grading.

    By contrast, Keenan Cornelius got his black belt in BJJ and started owning legends in competition, and at least holding his own competitively when he wasn't winning.
     
  20. zilla

    zilla Grand Poobah

    Messages:
    649
    Likes Received:
    44
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2010
    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    traditional styles never really had a belt system per se.

    You would start with a white belt simply because the belt was made of white cotton. over time, the belt would become dirty with sweat, blood, etc. and would eventually turn black. Then, as you kept training, the fibers in the belt would start to fray and break off, making the belt look white again.

    one of my favourite quotes is this: "I have a belt. It holds up my pants."
     

Share This Page