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Help me find a martial art

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I find myself wanting to study a martial art, but as my immediate goal is to open the MO, I should begin with chi kung, right? Should I limit myself to that for now? I was browsing thru the yellow pages, only one listing includes chi kung, but there are lots of ads for the other types. Tai chi interests me as well, but I admit to being attracted to a hard style for the self-defense benefits.

Tae kwon do is out (too much show), and probably karate. I have heard good things about the Filipino martial art, and Brazilian jiu jitsu. Aikido has always interested me too.

As I have already admitted, I am somewhat overwhelmed with the amount of choices available. I do have a pretty solid base for cultivation, weight-lifting, calisthenics, decent diet (boy that's subjective!) running, zazen, some of the cool AYP exercises, stretching, yoga, etc. I would like to find an MA that would complement these.

I hope this is not too many questions at once, but do any of you have suggestions as to what might be a good MA to start with? I am also wondering how hard it will be to find a teacher that is "awake". I guess I have an idea that a lot of these places are basically set up to teach the masses self defense, etc. It would be really great to find a teacher to really help me grow. Any ideas?

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I feel it is more about the teacher first than martial art. You can have a good martial art with mediocre teacher or mediocre art with great teacher.

 

Also, if your going to be doing it long term it should be enjoyable.

 

Some dojo give free classes to try it out. At very least I would sit and just watch classes and diffferent schools to feel the vibe of the place and teacher. Also, the students, I have been turned off some schools from the students. The school I train in has a very relaxed and laid back energy but the training is hard.

 

Also, having had a BJJ teacher and also having more laid back qigong teachers I would personally find it hard to back to calling someone sensei or sifu or master every sentence but maybe that's just me.

 

The MA and meditation teachers I am attracted to basically see themselves on the same level as there students just having fun and training together.

 

Cam

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An excellent point. I sure hope spirit points me in the right direction, there must be about 50 to choose from!

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I feel it is more about the teacher first than martial art. You can have a good martial art with mediocre teacher or mediocre art with great teacher.

 

Cam

BJJ and Aikido are good in the sense that, in the larger clubs, you have the 'teacher' show/demonstrate a technique/concept but your teacher is really the principle and the partner you have at the moment. I kinda agree I don't like the dynamics too much of the 'guru'. But it's unavoidable. At lease in the two arts mentioned, it's not in your face. Don't look for an 'enlightened' teacher. You are already enlightened, just need a reminder..and the hard training in aikido and bjj or judo without all the extra nonsense is pretty cool. Good luck and keep us all updated on what you finally choose.

I don't remember if I read it here or not, but there is alot of weird drama in martial art schools where you can't really show results and just follow the instructor by faith. For example, someone who doesn't really know his stuff won't last long or earn respect in a BJJ or Judo or some aikido schools. Places where you practice rote techniques that don't really work, lend themselves to environments where the teacher is treated like a 'god'. Alot of taichi and karate, etc. are like this--too much BS and nonsensical time wasting for me. Schools that have 'randori' practices tend to weed out a lot of nonsense. Proof is in the pudding so to speak.

Just some tidbits for thought

T.

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Don't look for an 'enlightened' teacher. You are already enlightened, just need a reminder..and the hard training in aikido and bjj or judo without all the extra nonsense is pretty cool.

 

NICE!

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I don't want to come off that Ime dissing Aikido it's lots of fun and definetly works but a good BJJ will take 9 out of 10 aikido people down and submit them fast.

 

I am not talking about hardcore aiki jitsu O'sensei learned but the majority of aikido you find.

 

My aikido teacher in NYC would break my arm before I could get the take down. Maybe after 10 years of BJJ I could do something. But he is top of the food chain martial aikido.

Edited by Cameron

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What a good BJJ does to an aikido practitioner.

 

Except Max of course.

 

normal_pic0732.jpg

:D

but you didn't show what happens next, the dog on the right is just about to do a brutal koshinage on doggy on the left!

 

T

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I would say become a qigong and tai chi master and forget the hard style. This is in the spirit of tao and lao tzu, to be like water which benefits all things.

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I don't want to come off that Ime dissing Aikido it's lots of fun and definetly works but a good BJJ will take 9 out of 10 aikido people down and submit them fast.

 

I am not talking about hardcore aiki jitsu O'sensei learned but the majority of aikido you find.

 

My aikido teacher in NYC would break my arm before I could get the take down. Maybe after 10 years of BJJ I could do something. But he is top of the food chain martial aikido.

I think if Aikido was practiced more according to it's principles, this wouldn't be so true. Energywise there shouldn't be a difference between someone coming in to do a takedown or a strike. The problem with aikido practice is that you practice the same move no matter how the attacker attacks. THis is not really 'listening' or realistic fighting. Sometimes people wonder why the teacher doesn't do the move exactly the same way everytime he/she demonstrates..this is because the uke is attacking differently each time. Most aikido dojo's don't teach this way, even though they may give it lip service. If we were given more freedom to handle uke's force the way it's coming in without being 'corrected' it might lead to more realistic practice. The way people are practicing aikido today gives one a false sense of security regarding fighting--and basically will never work. In aikido your partner rarely resists your technique so you never really learn it like in BJJ or Judo. You have to just realize what you are practicing is very simple energetically..meaning uke is coming in with a simple, obvious, dumb force. Arts like BJJ, Judo the 'opponent' comes in very complex ways and will change. That's what's more realistic about it. They will attack and grab in unpredictable ways. How many times have you experienced or seen an aikido practicioner ask his/her partner to grab the 'right way' so they could do the technique. That's what I mean.

But it's alot of FUN! and you will make great friends..it's one of the best things i've ever done in my life..

T

Edited by thaddeus

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Cameron- ROFL! man that got me laughing, first thing in the morning!

Thaddeus- thanks for the great input!

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I would say become a qigong and tai chi master and forget the hard style. This is in the spirit of tao and lao tzu, to be like water which benefits all things.

GrandTrinity, I think you'd be really surprised about BJJ. Jiu-Jitsu means gentle art. Ideally it can be a way of ending conflicts without needing to resort to strikes unneccessarily. To use Tai Chi or Kung Fu, or boxing for that matter in a situation where someone is really trying to hurt you, I think you end up needing to execute powerful strikes until your opponent is basically physically crippled from further attacking you. I think all the styles have their unique merits, and I do think BJJ is actually very much in the spirit of the Tao. Actually, one of my BJJ teachers has a Masters in philosophy, quotes Lao Tzu and says the Tao Teh Ching is the only book you really need to study. :lol:

 

Sean

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If we were given more freedom to handle uke's force the way it's coming in without being 'corrected' it might lead to more realistic practice. The way people are practicing aikido today gives one a false sense of security regarding fighting--and basically will never work. In aikido your partner rarely resists your technique so you never really learn it like in BJJ or Judo.

 

Our teacher would make us do Randori for 20 minutes before the class end- that's basically one guy in the center and about 4-5 guys attacking him in any way they want to including resistance. Every 5 minuts the person in the center would be replaced. So much fun....

 

 

Actually, one of my BJJ teachers has a Masters in philosophy, quotes Lao Tzu and says the Tao Teh Ching is the only book you really need to study.

You are lucky to have a great teacher. With the teacher like that it doesn't matter what MA you study.

 

I don't want to come off that Ime dissing Aikido it's lots of fun and definetly works but a good BJJ will take 9 out of 10 aikido people down and submit them fast.

Wow, Cam, that's a nice claim. :blink:

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I was reading about BJJ, and it describes it as mostly a "ground fighting" technique. The stuff about it being gentle is good, but isn't there a need for strikes some times? Does BJJ include those?

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Not a claim Max I practiced at 5 aikido dojos with some of the best aikido people in the world. Yes, they are good. But after seeing top BJJ people I don't think they would have a chance.

 

I am not going to get into an ego match with you about technique you might as well gauge an opponents eyes like you said but in a CONTROLLED setting with RULES I don't see a TOP BJJ guy have any problem with MOST aikido people.

 

I am not talking about any of my teachers who can kick ass in aikido I am talking about 90% of aikido people you would find. I have travelled to quite a few dojos and did some camps maybe I saw more practitioners than you.

 

If your going to study aiki jitsu O'sensei learned that's cool and not what I am talking about.

 

:D

but you didn't show what happens next, the dog on the right is just about to do a brutal koshinage on doggy on the left!

 

T

 

 

[email protected] Koshi nage. I trained with probably the best Koshi nage guy in aikido. A good BJJ guy(Black belt) would take your back and choke you if you tried koshinage.

 

Man i really didn't want tog et into this but your just not doing koshinage or shihnage or irimi nage to a good BJJ guy. You would be choked out fast and easily.

Edited by Cameron

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Pissing contests aside. I think Cameron had it right(before his big assed ego stepped in). A great teacher and a good atmosphere means more the particular art.

 

If you're thinking of making a major commitment then do this. See whats close to you. Sit in on a few classes at different schools, regardless of what they are. Don't prejudge.

 

Talk to people after class. Find out the places philosophy, schedules and prices. Take claims with several grains of salt. Learn and compare. Judge the sensei by the students.

 

Personally, I've done some shotokan karate(high school), Tae Kwon Do(college), and then settled down w/ Ki-Aikido for 13 years. We certainly weren't the toughest, but it was very hands on, healing, weapons, meditations.. it had it all .. for me.

 

I think its easier to stay long term w/ something that is more path like, a do. Thats not to knock other schools or philosophies. There are great eclectic schools out that where you learn Q & D (quick and dirty), fast and effective. That is a good and important lesson for the street, but for life, a Do school.

 

Michael

Edited by thelerner

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Michael that was my original advice to but my badass martial artist ego stepped in to assert it's opinions!

 

Is it just a coincedence that the art I decide to practice is the absolute best?! Probably if I studied Tae Kwan Do I would find a reason to say it is the best?!

 

They are all better than sitting on the couch watching Desperate Housewives lets just all agree with that.

Edited by Cameron

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Not a claim Max I practiced at 5 aikido dojos with some of the best aikido people in the world. Yes, they are good. But after seeing top BJJ people I don't think they would have a chance.

 

I am not going to get into an ego match with you about technique you might as well gauge an opponents eyes like you said but in a CONTROLLED setting with RULES I don't see a TOP BJJ guy have any problem with MOST aikido people.

 

I am not talking about any of my teachers who can kick ass in aikido I am talking about 90% of aikido people you would find. I have travelled to quite a few dojos and did some camps maybe I saw more practitioners than you.

 

If your going to study aiki jitsu O'sensei learned that's cool and not what I am talking about.

 

I agree. Even with aiki jitsu, the BJJ person will prevail. Btw, I've studied all three more than cursory so it's not an armchair opinion..Cam is right.

 

[email protected] Koshi nage. I trained with probably the best Koshi nage guy in aikido. A good BJJ guy(Black belt) would take your back and choke you if you tried koshinage.

 

Man i really didn't want tog et into this but your just not doing koshinage or shihnage or irimi nage to a good BJJ guy. You would be choked out fast and easily.

 

That would be true if the aikido person looks at his art as just throwing technique..like looking at taekwondo as just kicking technique. We can all agree that aikido is based on sword movements. Many martial arts evolved from their weapons technique and I think I can say without too much argument that aikido is based on sword technique. With that said, an aikidoist would never turn his back to his opponent. So how can we have a technique like koshinage. It would only appear under certain circumstances. A good aikidoist is always aware of his opponent's 'ki' (for lack of a better term) he never just does a technique because it's his style to do so, so I would say the koshi would only be done when it was safe to do so..i.e. the bjj guy has committed and is off balance and unable to control himself.

I think I alluded to this earlier. The problem I see with the way aikido is practiced is that the intention to do the technique is already predetermined. 'Now we practice koshinage'. That's why aikido doesn't work.

The same is true when an 'applications' class is taught in Taichi. One doesn't 'do' the technique, it just happens, based on the energy that is being handled.

Cam, you mentioned Rickson before..totally agree. Did you see the DVD Choke? Anyone who sees that will know exactly what I mean. Rickson embodies this to a T--he's the man, and would make a great taichi, aikido, bjj or whatever master because he understands how to be like water..

T

 

Personally, I've done some shotokan karate(high school), Tae Kwon Do(college), and then settled down w/ Ki-Aikido for 13 years. We certainly weren't the toughest, but it was very hands on, healing, weapons, meditations.. it had it all .. for me.

 

Michael

Forgot about Ki Aikido. It will be interesting to see how this evolves. Tohei Sensei is truly remarkable. His 4 principles are original. He would be awesome to study with. But you can get most of that stuff if you study Japanese Yoga (there's a book by that name). He basically got all his internal ideas from studying with that guy--maybe his name is nakamura, not really sure right now. Then he applied it to aikido to try to make sense out of what O-sensei was doing and saying. So Ki-aikido is the marriage so to speak of Aikido and Japanese Yoga.

I think American Yoga is taking some interesting and innovative evolutions, and I believe the same will be true of Ki-Aikido.

T

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I think I alluded to this earlier. The problem I see with the way aikido is practiced is that the intention to do the technique is already predetermined. 'Now we practice koshinage'. That's why aikido doesn't work.

 

yep...

 

that's pretty much the biggest problem with aikido.

the problem is it's a HUGE problem!

 

however, it is common to pretty much all traditional martial arts.

 

learning techniques is just not an effective or efficient way to learn.

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learning techniques is just not an effective or efficient way to learn.

Hmmm... This is really a form vs. emptiness debate. I think except for in extremely rare instances of intrinsic talent, it's rare that technique (form) isn't needed. Rolling around spontaneously with your friends in the grass all day (emtpiness/flow), you might stumble across some things (which you hopefully remember afterward), but I think there is just no question that you are going to be a better fighter if you learn the techniques and then train with them live. IMO technique is only a dirty word when it's disconnected from live sparring ... and this is pretty common sense to most professional fighters from what I see. Like, there is a lot of technique to boxing ... people do not learn boxing by just getting in a ring every day and just "getting in the flow" and wildly punching at each other. :rolleyes: They learn an applicable technique, they drill it, then they try it out in the battlefield. A similar thing with any art really. Some of the worst worst art I ever see is from people who think there are no techniques in art, that no teacher or rules are needed and all you need is a canvas, some paint and to get out of your own way. Yeah. :blink:

 

Sean

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Hmmm... This is really a form vs. emptiness debate. I think except for in extremely rare instances of intrinsic talent, it's rare that technique (form) isn't needed. Rolling around spontaneously with your friends in the grass all day (emtpiness/flow), you might stumble across some things (which you hopefully remember afterward), but I think there is just no question that you are going to be a better fighter if you learn the techniques and then train with them live. IMO technique is only a dirty word when it's disconnected from live sparring ... and this is pretty common sense to most professional fighters from what I see. Like, there is a lot of technique to boxing ... people do not learn boxing by just getting in a ring every day and just "getting in the flow" and wildly punching at each other. :rolleyes:

 

Sean

 

i like scotts discussion of 'mechanic' as opposed to 'technique'.

a technique is generally a whole series of movements designed to counter one specific attack.

see the problem with this? it's applicable only to a limited range....

 

a mechanic however is how something works. you can explore the mechanics of a punch and then take that to be your own and flow with it.

you can take the mechanics of a joint lock and make that applicable under any situation.

 

but to train a set technique, well you are setting yourself up for failure.

 

i used to try getting my aikido techniques to work on friends and family, but they never did unless the complied or i 'muscled' it through cos i was stronger than them..... a persons reaction to a technique is NEVER the same in real life as it is in training. plus when you train sparring in whatever art you are training, you are training with a partner who is used to those exact same techniques and has built in cooperation (whether they are aware of it or not) to those particular techniques..... so when they occur they'll just go with it, because thats how they have been training.

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