So you are ready to get started in the martial arts?
Ready to begin your journey of self-discover and mastery?
The excitement is there, and we certainly want to build on that, but how does one connect with the best martial art that aligns with your goals?
Let’s explore a few of those ideas in this weeks post…
Start with a list of goals and reasons why you want to study the martial arts. What is your motivation right now? Self-defense, fitness, spiritual refinement, competition?
Your reasons are your own, but not all martial arts are created equal. Some are very specific in what they aim to teach, while others might be a combination of goals.
Once you have your self discovery checklist, the nest step is to start exploring schools and martial arts clubs in your area. Combine this with some online research into history and tradition of the martial arts you find and you will begin to get an idea of what art might be a good fit.
Much of course is going to depend on where you live- in my area of New York there are about ten commercial martial arts schools within a 30 minute drive, and a dozen or so smaller groups and non commercial more traditional schools- one of the advantages of being just outside New York City.
But what if you live in a less population dense area?
The martial arts community is very small- asking some friends or co-workers who might be taking martial arts classes will put you in touch with other groups and clubs.
People know people- even going into a gym or fitness studio might have them renting out time to school.
There are more “martial arts” around vs. what you might be aware of.
As you refine your list, the next step is to start visiting schools to check out a class. Different schools have different ways of handling this- some you can drop in any time, others only on specific nights so training is not interrupted.
Watching a class is very important as you will be spending a good amount of time learning and physically training in class at the school or club- it should be a positive and nurturing place.
Pay attention to the teacher or head coach and the senior students in the class- the ones who have been practicing the longest with that school. How do they represent the art and the school as that will reflect on the teachings and transmission of the head teacher.
Does the personality of the head instructor match your goals?
While they are not there to serve you- unless it is a transaction based for profit commercial school, being able to understand and get along with the feeling of the school- harmony/wa is KEY. It’s not enough to just match the style of the martial art to your goal, but also the feeling of the teacher and students as in many ways you are becoming part of a martial arts “team” by joining, learning, and growing together.