Fighting and martial arts

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 28, 2016 2:51 PM GMT
    Hello everyone!
    After some years of pilates and (light) weight-lifting I'm considering a change and, as I was fascinated by martial arts as a kid, I'm considering joining a dojo.
    Where I live I can study/practise Karate, Wing Chun and Taekwondo; before choosing I'm collecting information about their story and their characteristics.

    There is one aspect, though, that makes me doubt about martial arts being "compatible" with me: I don't like the concept of "fighting".
    I know I can challange myself and I'm not afraid to take on a difficult situation (either in my job or in my personal life) but physical fighting sounds completely "foreign" to me.

    As a good friend of mine suggested, I could still focus on "fighting the art itself", mastering the skill and learning the proper "forms/techniques/art", leaving aside the fighting; as this friend doesn't have practiced Karate for years, though, I would like to hear your opinion, too.

    Thank you in advance!

    P.S.: this is my first post icon_smile.gif As I am not a native speaker be patient and feel free to correct me icon_smile.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 29, 2016 3:47 PM GMT
    There's nothing wrong with learning a martial art for the sake of learning the art. Finding the right dojo/school is the main challenge. I started Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and really enjoyed it because I find it's very strategic. I have no plans to compete, or use it outside of training it. I just really like the athleticism of it and the art of it. But when I did start it, I probably visited and tried about half a dozen schools (it was in a big city) to find one that fit _me_. I ultimately chose my school because it was BJJ only (no other arts, no MMA) and because everyone was very friendly, willing to help out a newbie, accepting of everyone, and just had a general welcoming atmosphere with no ego's, or focus on actual fighting (even though they do quite well at competitions for the students who choose to do it)

    The sparring is still real, but the overall culture is not about fighting, or even self-defense; it really was about the art as a sport.

    Spend your time to look around at what's available to you and don't rush the decision. When I moved away from my starter city, I chose not to join clubs in cities where I couldn't find a club that matched my philosophy. I would rather not practice BJJ at all than join a fight/MMA-dominant school.
  • Destinharbor

    Posts: 4346

    Aug 29, 2016 8:28 PM GMT
    I'm not up on all the various forms but I took Shotokan and the first thing they taught was that it was an art form and philosophy first and anyone who studies it has an obligation to not fight when at all possible. So the training involved mostly learning form and "kata" which is a specific order of punches and kicks (without an opponent). You do spar but if your punches or kicks are properly focused, you should just barely touch your opponent's gee (uniform). A hard hit is penalized unless your opponent walks into a properly focused punch.

    Not all forms of karate do things this way. Many are taught by ex-mil guys and are much more fight oriented and frequently mix various forms. Find a dojo that interests you and ask to watch classes at various levels of accomplishment. You'll see if what they are doing is right for you.

    I loved it and it did actually give me some confidence that I could disable an opponent (unless he had a gun) if I had to. The key to that is the kick routines, especially a side thrust that can shatter a kneecap at the distance of a leg, longer than an arm and more powerful, too. But ultimately, it was the formality and elegance of the routines that attracted me. And the open front gee with well built guys all around.
  • leanandclean

    Posts: 232

    Aug 29, 2016 11:50 PM GMT
  • Brandon_Dale

    Posts: 16

    Aug 30, 2016 2:34 AM GMT
    Your in the same place I'm in bud ^.^ I'm really excited about learning all the different techniques but i know I still am young and need to get my mind and life straight before I can fully devote myself to the arts. And get the proper teachers to hand down their knowledge. Just keep your mind open and ready for whatever may come into your life, but never forget about your goals and the vision that you've set out for yourself, and everything will happen as it should ^.^
  • HarborFighter

    Posts: 29

    Aug 30, 2016 3:46 AM GMT
    Hello. It is very good to hear about your desire to take up a martial art. My name is Tom and I am a full-time boxing coach. I also compete in Masters Boxing in South Australia. Before I moved to Australia, where I now live with my husband who is also a boxer, I owned and ran two boxing gyms in Oregon USA. I was also very fortunate to be able to travel a lot for the sport. I have done three big trips and many smaller ones. I call the three big trips my FightOdysseys. My first FightOdyssey was back in 2003, after I had opened my first gym in southern Oregon. I drove around the US for 3 months. I logged a total of 16,000 miles on that trip and boxed 42 guys. I left from Oregon, drove south to Los Angeles, drove east to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and then north to Boston. While in Boston I stayed with a fight bud. I also had my dog Rocky along with me for this fantastic journey. My friend in Boston kept Rocky while I flew to Iceland, London, and Edinburgh, and back to Boston. I then got back in my car and drove back west to Oregon. I boxed in many cities along the way in the US and I got to box in the UK as well. This trip was life-changing.

    Since then, FightOdyssey II and FightOdyssey III have taken place. They were smaller than FightOdyssey I, but were still very successful. FO II was the southwestern US plus DC, and FO III was Chicago, NY, and DC. I have also organized many boxing events around the US during my time as a coach and competitor.

    I have now booked FightOdyssey IV. It is going to be awesome. It won't be as long, time-wise, as FightOdyssey I, but it will be much longer, distance-wise. I am going around the world. I have organized boxing camps in London, Frankfurt, Barcelona, NY, Boston, DC, Cincinnati, and Los Angeles. This fantastic voyage will take place this coming December and January.

    I wrote all of the above to simply say that boxing is in my blood. I love the sport. I don't actually consider boxing a martial art, but it is a sport that I have been involved with most of my life. I first experienced the desire to learn boxing as a kid in Texas. I didn't take formal boxing lessons until after my teenage years, but once I started, I never looked back. I believe that fighting is part of being a man. It is part of our genes. Many men will never actually fight, and many men will never even admit or know that they have that deep-seated fighting gene inside of themselves. And that is OK. But I wanted to write you to encourage you. The fact that you are reaching out for encouragement and/or inspiration tells me you have the desire to pursue this facet of yourself...through sport. And the fact that you say fighting is "foreign" to you tells me that you are at least thinking about it and wondering about it. So I strongly encourage you to start training, whether you end up fighting or not. I wager that if you train seriously and learn forms and techniques, you will eventually feel that deep need to engage.

    Let me take a little detour here from boxing. I studied and trained intensively in Taekwondo for two years back in the mid 80s. I only learned the forms. I did extremely well. I won a gold medal in the Northeastern US Taekwondo Championship in form. I never took that particular sport to the level of combat. Even though I did not take part in actual combat, I felt I learned some incredible lessons about myself through having mastered the forms. I felt that, after having been a shy kid growing up and after having spent years being afraid of the idea of fighting, that I could take myself to the next level and experience what it feels like to fight another man. So...back to boxing. I did exactly that. And I have never been happier.

    Boxing, on a very pure level, is not about hurting another man, but about finding a BOND BETWEEN two men. There is no tighter bond between two men than when they step into a ring and engage. If you learn one of the fighting arts, even WITHOUT the eventual intention of engaging in an actual fight, I can guarantee you that you will slowly but surely feel that desire come up from inside you. The desire to fight. The NEED to fight. You are a MAN, and once you have decided to allow that feeling to be a part of you, you will feel very complete.

    But you don't need to start out with any fighting sport with the intention of taking part in a match or a fight. Just start training in a sport you feel drawn to, and train well. Train thoroughly. Train honorably. You will see where it takes you. Someone else in the blog talked about learning the art of a sport and that with that particular sport, the obligation NOT to fight, was included. I understand this fully. I do not believe in learning a martial art, or boxing, so that you will know how to go out and start picking fights. It is NOT about that. It is about learning the Manly Art of Self Defense. Then you will know yourself in a deeper, more complete way.

    I feel very strongly about this, my friend. I have spent my life devoted to boxing. At first, as a kid, it was only a fantasy-like wish of mine to be a boxer. It was not until I was 30 years old that I joined my first boxing gym. But as I said above (way above...I write a LOT) once I started, I never looked back. My very first living memory is of me at age 5. My dad and granddad were watching Friday Night Fights in Port Arthur, Texas. I walked into the room and saw what was on TV. I IMMEDIATELY KNEW I wanted to do what those men were doing on TV. I felt it deeply and basically and it was a primal surge going through my young body. was also my first hint that I liked MEN AND THEIR MUSCLES. And for many years...through my teenage years...boxing became a big turn-on for me. But when I started actually learning the sport I discovered that I loved it for the sport itself. Now...when I box, I box. There is NO eroticism experienced when two men are engaged in a real fight, be it a boxing match, or whatever. It is the real thing with me as it is with any two men who really engage in combat. And as I said before, engaging in sparring, boxing, or fighting, creates an incredible bond between the two men in the ring. There is nothing like it.

    So, my friend, after all this writing I've done, I hope you will go ahead with your wishes. Get some training. Learn technique. Find out who you are.

    I am Tom.
  • Red_Wolf1987

    Posts: 44

    Aug 30, 2016 6:03 AM GMT
    I've taken karate for two months and I really enjoyed it. I think out of wing chun, karate, and tae kwon do, karate is a best introduction to martial arts. Tae kwon do is a little more difficult to learn IMO and is not as a well rounded martial arts style as karate. Wing chun is similar to aikido and also tai chi, so it has more philosophy and feeling/thought to all the movements and attacks/defense; so it kinda takes more practice to get all the flow and intricacies. I know some wing chun, its a very impressive martial art, for example a lot of attacks are also defensive and vice-versa.
  • Brandon_Dale

    Posts: 16

    Aug 31, 2016 8:43 AM GMT
    I love wing chun ^.^ but I'm a ball of energy so I make time to train, mostly in everyday life. But your right, the philosophy takes time and should not be over looked. I feel so many people just go right to training, but without the mindset the style is sopposed to teach, you just have boxing, in a different form. I study muay Thai for my physical training, and wing chun for aerobics and philosophy. So find what styles fit you best, learn about them, try to fit them together, and most importantly take your time ^.^ theirs so many martial arts and all of them are awesome in their own way
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 04, 2016 5:49 PM GMT
    First of all, thank you for all your replies and feedbacks!

    I agree with berimbolo and Destinharbor when they say that finding the "right" dojo/school is the main challenge.
    I'm going to use the month of September to explore my options, to visit the dojos/schools and to talk to the teachers.
    In Italy all the courses start in September (as it is the month after the Summer vacations), so gyms usually offer a first trial session and I can understand better what I'm going to do during a lesson and (possibly) how much "fight-oriented" the the dojo/school is.

    Brandon_Dale, for me doing sports has always been a way to get more "balanced", to learn new things about myself, and it also helped me gaining some self-confidence when I needed most.
    So I wish you to keep up your dedication to the art: there's no rush for you to become a master, just continue training and learning. icon_smile.gif

    Thank you HarborFighter for sharing your experience, too!
    As I mentioned doing sports (track-and-field and then pilates) allowed me to learn more about myself... So I have no doubt that, if I start practising martial arts, I'll find out things I did not expect or I did not know how to express. Thinking about it, I've always thought about not being able to (physically) defend myself when needed. Can this be the trigger for my "fighting gene" to express? I'll keep you updated on that, for sure! icon_smile.gif
    And good luck with your next Fight Odissey! You got me really curious about going and watch a real boxing match; it should not be much difficult, as my hometown has a boxing tradition (if I excluded boxing from my options, it's just because I perceive it as more "fight oriented" than a martial art, maybe prejudicially).

    As for "which" martial art I should choose Red_Wolf1987, Karate looks indeed the be most doable option (I'm just considering my job and my gym), at least until I have the chance to talk to the Taekwondo master.

    Thank you again and have a nice day/evening!