Martial Arts are widely known across the world from Aikido to Yaw-Yan. Steeped in mysterious, and sometimes just misunderstood, history these arts can benefit people in various ways, from Self-defence to better health. In modern times where there are different schools the world over the hardest thing about martial arts is the question "Which art do I choose?"
I was about 10 years old when I started my first Martial Arts class, it was Spirit Combat International Aikijutsu. The class was in community centre in Dunfermline. It seemed at the time a good way to get kids into martial arts and self-defence, however as I get older and look back at what they taught maybe wasn't necessarily the best but it could be considered my entry martial art. Later in life I would try Karate, Taekwondo, Aikido, Jujitsu, Judo, before settling down with Shotokan Karate. Recently earned my 1st Dan Black Belt after what could be considered a lifetime of trying to find the art for me.
However this is not a story of my journey in any form of Martial Art, that is for another day, it is about why people should start looking at getting onto a traditional Martial Arts class. Also if we have a little time why we should avoid the MMA fad.
Firstly lets look at the different types of Martial Arts such striking, grappling, internal, and weapon based. However just because one art fits into one category doesn't mean that it doesn't fit in any others.
Now there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of Martial Arts out in the world today so for most of us we'll have a choice of what style we want to take up. However you have to remember that one art may not be the best on it's own. If you practice BJJ you'llWar spend most of the time on the floor in a ground fight, not the best place to be in a street fight.
Let's talk about the street for a second before we continue, how many times have you seen a street fight that was 1 on 1? Not very often I bet. That is because we humans tend to subscribe to the idea of the Pack Mentality, safety in numbers. This allows the weakest coward to act like a big tough guy because he knows that he's got people watching his back. Grappling arts like BJJ will be a little out of their depth in this situation, no matter how effective the UFC makes them look (minus 1 point to MMA). For self-defence I would suggest that BJJ practitioners take up a striking art to help boost their skills in and out of the Dojo.
Let's take a look at some of the benefits of Martial Arts. Martial Arts have a lot of benefits such as confidence, discipline, better health (make sure you don't overdo it however), new skills, better social aspects, and of course self-defence skills. No matter what reason you take up a martial art, you will benefit from it in a number of ways. When I started karate a few years ago I had no idea it would help with my Non-Epileptic Attack Disorder. The benefits more than outweigh the costs, who can really put a price on mental and physical well being.
At this point I should warn you, if you are looking at taking up a martial art do your research. For every decent martial art school out there, there are more who would fall under the banner of McDojo. If the instructor talks about how they are a 12th Dan, or they know the No-Touch Knock Out then walk the other way. All you have to do is have a little bit of knowledge and the ability to convince you're audience that you've spent years training instead of just watching movies and/or Youtube and you've got yourself a student. By the way I am in no way telling you to open up your own McDojo, when people open up a fake MA school they discredit proper schools and spit on the history of established Martial Arts. So do your research, go to a few free lessons, and never sign up on the first lesson. You may have to visit a lot of schools to find the art that is right for you. For me it's Karate, for you it may Judo, or Kung Fu.
Before I sign off let me talk about the MMA. I hear from a lot of so-called "Experts" who have never ever studied Martial Arts that certain arts are "BS" because they don't get used in the UFC or MMA. The UFC and MMA believe it or not is not the standard that any martial art should be judged against. MMA is just the modern incarnation of Vale Tudo and other full contact fighting tournaments. You have to remember that many of these arts have been around a lot longer than the UFC. Schools that teach MMA are teaching people to fight with little control and zero discipline. Cage fighting is just a slug fest to see who is better on the night. Martial Arts teaches you discipline, respect, and hopefully a sense of honour. MMA teaches you the opposite. I am of the mindset that the UFC and MMA actually harms the image of traditional martial arts.
In conclusion get yourself into a Martial Arts class, you'll thank me later