I do have some sympathy with people completely new to the idea of Martial Arts Training, as when you look at whats available, the choices can be somewhat overwhelming and confusing. There are so many styles and different schools on offer, and many claim to be everything to all people. My advice to potential new Martial Artists is to first try to decide what it is that you wish to achieve, what are your personal goals and what would you like for your Training to deliver. Then you can set about finding a School and Instructor that can help you to achieve this. When it comes to pure fitness benefits any School can help to deliver this. So the next Question is do you want to be a competition Fighter? If so Sport Martial Arts is the way to go. Though what is the difference between these sport martial arts schools and Street fighting schools? Well. Here is my take on it. Though first. Remember that the Martial Arts are full of opinions. There is no "best" martial art. Anyone that tells you otherwise is either a beginner who still has much to learn, or a student that learns from a class whose lessons build egotistical behavior. You see it is important to realize that ego is the thing that starts most street fights in the first place. You know the "what are you looking at" type of mentality. I recently viewed a testimonial on another schools website, from a proud student, announcing that recently in a nightclub a guy was staring at him, so he went over to him and confronted the man. He then proudly announced in his statement "Now i never back down. My Training has taught me that". My question for you is this. Which one is the trouble maker in this scenario? A secure Martial Artist is not Threatened by the mere glare of another person. This student will be fighting often if this is how he reacts. So who is the thug here? Self defense street fight knowledge should make you safer and more secure. Not arm your ego with an excuse to start fights everywhere you go because "Dont you know who i am? Im a Blackbelt dont you Know!". It is just as important to know when to walk as it is when to stand. If a student does not grasp this then when they are out having a drink, they will get their partner and friends in to many situations regularly, some of which even the best combat training may not be able to get you out of. Remember that in a sports fight arena your loved ones are not in there with you so its only yourself that you need to be concerned with and a Referee will always step in when you are being overwhelmed. Therefore there can be much more at stake in real life. Self defense based training must be tasked with teaching and developing within the student a Humility, and presence of mind in order to recognize the path of avoiding trouble in the first place. To learn how to punch is important. To recognize when not to takes strength of character. Remember this is not sport martial arts. We have not stepped in to the ring therefore we dont have to fight. If you do find yourself in a street fight there is no trophy to be gained. Its much more important than that. The prize is going home to, or protecting that which you love. Your life. Your family. Your health.
Modern Street fight training should cover any likely situation that you may face on the streets outside your house, in today's world. Martial Arts can be Great fun, though its important to know when the Training techniques that actually work in realistic scenario. Any Good Street Defense Instructor will tell you this. You see most street fights involve untrained thugs, who are likely to push you, grab, strangle, throw a bottle, or have mates who join in. There are multiple variations to train for, of which to list all would be impossible. Though here is one example. Is it raining? Learning tournament kicks are great fun, challenging and develop great skill. Though as a street fight expert you must know how to adapt these in to something that works. If you try a high kick when stood on wet grass, a drain cover, or on a wet toilet floor, you will soon find your self landing heavily on to the ground, not somewhere to be in a street fight as this is when the other guys "mates"decide to come in and give you a boot. So therefore developing skill in the dojo is a Great thing that takes and cultivates a mindset of discipline, though the student who wishes to learn practical defense skills must belong to a school that teaches Skill to adapt. This is needed in order to make it all work. You see. Anything goes in the street, which makes adaptation the key. The student must be able to think and and stand on their own two feet, as the instructor cant be there with you, and so your lessons must prepare you for this.
There is another important aspect also to consider when choosing the School that you will join. The mindset that your class develops in its students is the glue that will bind all of your training together. You see i find that some people wish just to learn how to beat people up. Martial Arts can be such a positive experience that if this is all that you take from your training you are kind of missing the Greatest lessons that Martial Arts has to teach. Yes its obviously on your tick list of things to learn from your class that you develop a Skillful effective fighting ability. Though for what purpose is the important definition. In my School we train for Self Growth through Martial Arts, which enhances our combat ability. The lessons are challenging and exciting and those who apply themselves develop a passion for their own development because the environment is a positive one, not one of bullying . When this happens they come back as they feel for themselves the benefits. Instructors should inspire students not show them constantly that they are better. You see if one of my students throws a punch in the street, i know that it was because it was the only option they had for their own safety, as they were forcefully put in to that position by another. We train for violent situations, though the environment that we train in is not one of violence. Its one of intensity and focus and empowerment. Learning to maintain control and awareness even as the punches are flying, will serve you much better than losing control, therefore your place of training must reflect this. A good Martial Artist does exactly what they need to, by design, learned from their training. Therefore we hold on to that which is most important. Our Humanity. By Holding on to this even in a street fight, we avoid becoming the very people that we are training to avoid. The Violent ones. The Thugs. You see the Real Challenge is in Training the mind as it is this that your body serves. It was said to me once by a Great Martial Artist and Inspiring Human being that if you have a Violent mindset you will lead a violent life. So on that logic, if you develop a powerful yet peaceful focus in your study, add to this expert training in street defense and you will always see the most peaceful way through any situation that you may face. Trouble finds some people, perhaps some are looking for it.
Remember. These are just some of my opinions and they evolve as my experience deepens. I have written them down here to provoke you to develop your own thoughts upon what can be a wonderful, character enhancing subject. One that can be a life study if you want it to be, as it is for me. My wish is that you Develop your own opinions. If you approach your training with commitment and positivity you will only benefit from the experience. So good luck. Look for not the best school, but the school Best for you.