Help - Cardio/Flexibility: Aikido, Judo, Karate

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    Aug 10, 2009 10:08 PM GMT
    I'm thinking about taking a martial arts class at the community college nearby in hopes to get a little more of a cardio workout as well as improving flexibility.

    My Choices:
    Tai Chi

    Which do you all suggest being the most cardio and calorie burning martial art form while also improving flexibility? Any input would help. Thanks a lot!
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    Aug 11, 2009 3:32 PM GMT
    Based on my experience, I don't think you'll get a serious cardio workout out of any of those. Oh, there will be moments, but not enough to give you the benefits of either traditional cardio exercises or HIIT.

    For flexibility... we'll, it's not the actual focus of any of them, but I would say that (of those choices) Aikido will develop it most, followed by Tai Chi.

    EDIT: Not trying to criticize any of the choices! There are many great benefits from practicing a martial art, and I'm sure you will get something out of it, no matter which you choose.
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    Aug 11, 2009 3:43 PM GMT
    Depending on what style of Aikido you find, it can be quite a workout. Aikido Yoshokai has, erm, extreme conditioning, if you can find it. (1000+ rolls/falls in a night, dragging each person in the room around the floor in laps, 1000+ sword cuts in quick succession, handstand pushups...) The Portland club has a particularly diabolical group of instructors in that regard. icon_smile.gif

    Don't worry-the introductory/all levels classes are very manageable, so that everyone has a chance to train. Ask about their advanced classes, though; those tend to bushwack me on a regular basis.
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    Aug 11, 2009 3:44 PM GMT
    Its hard to say one would give you more of a cardio workout than another.
    Different schools emphasize different training techniques, drills are very cardio intensive, so is sparring, in pretty much any practice. You should sit in on a class with each type and talk to the instructors. Don't tell them what you're looking for, ask about what they do in class, so they give you an unbiased opinion of what it's about.

    Judo is pretty ground and grappling oriented, Aikido is very aggressive with grappling but with more kicking than Judo, Karate (from what I've seen) is more defensive with more kicking and blocking.
    Tai Chi is meditative, wouldn't expect much from that unless you need to focus.
    Another option is Tae Kwon Do which is very kicking focused and flexibility is a big focus.
    Depending on the school you go to there is a wide range of variation in technique, focus and how traditional the school is.

    If you're serious you should set aside a month to visit each place once and the places you really like a few times to decide what's best for you.

    Finding a good martial arts studio that fits your needs is like finding a lover... very personal and when you find the right one, it can change the way you see yourself and committing to it long term is a joy.

    Good luck
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    Aug 11, 2009 4:21 PM GMT
    based on the options you presented, i would say your be bet would be aikido. however, there are many different levels of quality within each of the arts you listed. i have to admit, i'm biased toward the internal end of the martial arts spectrum. i've been studying tai chi (chen-style taijiquan) since my early 20's. i can say, had i not started with tai chi, i most certainly would have studied aikido.

    aikido's founder, morihei ueshiba, was a brilliant fighter and beautiful human being. there is a strong spiritual component to good aikido, and it is a pretty intense workout. you will find a great deal of cardio and flexibilty training integrated in these studies.

    it is difficult to find a good tai chi (taiji) class. most classes i've seen are SEVERELY watered-down, westernized, new-agey programs far removed from tai chi's martial roots. avoid any class that tells you that tai chi is not a martial art; they have no idea what they are talking about. if you do find one, make sure it is one of the primary family styles (chen, yang, wu, sun, wu-hao), and if they don't know, don't go. make sure they extensively cover the qigong aspect. if they don't, don't waste your time.

    i can't really speak for the other options you listed; i don't have any significant experience with them. again, bear in mind that my opinion is biased toward the internal end of the martial arts spectrum. good luck in your search. may you find the perfect art for you.
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    Aug 11, 2009 4:29 PM GMT
    I think Aikido is what you want overall, but I am not sure if you will get what you want from any class. I helped teach an Aikido class and also took a Judo class at a college. In a 50 minute time block You are given ten minutes for changing, ten minutes for warming up, ten minutes of instruction, and the rest is actual practice. That leave 20 minutes to work up to a cardio level of exercise and good luck on that when it is you and another beginner fumbling on the floor.

    That said, you will burn a more calories well as improving your balance and flexibility taking a class like that than you will by not taking one.
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    Aug 12, 2009 7:46 AM GMT
    Find a Krav Maga class nearby. You will not find a better workout and you will also learn real skills that would help if ever you need them. Every gay man should take a few Krav Maga class. Regular martial arts are cool, good workout and good exercise. But if a gay basher ever wants his way with you, Krav teaches real world self defense. It is the self defense system of the Isreali army meant for real world defense, not earning belts of various colors. It takes the best of all the martial arts and puts them in one system that you can really use in a real street fight. Just a thought.
  • leyndurmal

    Posts: 1

    Aug 13, 2009 9:36 PM GMT
    Does anyone have experience with capoeira? What goes on in a class? I'd like to start a martial arts as well, and capoeira looks cool/there's a class nearby, but I don't know much about it.