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Kimberley
5/25/2011 8:04am,
Hi,

I am a complete beginner but looking to start a martial art but I don't know which one. I have thought about what I want so maybe some of you would be kind enough to help me out with suggestions that might suit me, my frame, abilities and desired characteristics in a martial art. I am in North London so there is lots available. The more I google, the more confused I become...

ME:
I'm 30, female, but fairly strong for a girl. Currently 125lb and 5ft 5 inches though I'm trying to lose a little extra flab and around 10lb

I have a good centre of balance despite one weak ankle (I broke it a few years back and it just isn't the same)

I have good stamina (I can not sprint to save my life but am good at long distances - I can power-walk for miles)

I have fairly long limbs, big hands and feet and quite quick reaction times

I smoke but am reasonably fit otherwise


WHAT I would like in a martial art :

I am not looking to become a pro fighter, but would like to be able to kick the arses of my non-trained flatmates (male). Increased ability to defend myself if a real-life situation were to occur (I am female so it's not likely to be a street fight, more likely being grabbed or mugged).

I won't lie - I also want some impressive-looking moves ideally.

Really after a good mixture of striking, kicks, throws and grappling.

Something which relies on a little philosophy and values such as serenity, respect etc. Will teach me discipline

Will give me a fairly good workout as I refuse to become a jogger or gym-bunny.

Is accessible and taught by nice, friendly people

Has alive training where I will get a few bruises and a bit sweaty, but not all battered up. I don't need to break any more bones.

Is fun and will make me feel like I am achieving something by practising it


So far Shorinji Kempo looks interesting. A friend recommended Ju-jitsu. Also on my radar are Wing Chun and Wu shu kwan.

I will get down to a few classes to check them out but I want to make sure I have a few decent things to look into and make sure I'm not missing anything out - which is where your expertise comes in...

Thanks,
K

syberia
5/25/2011 8:33am,
Ok. Welcome to Bullshido, Kim.

First thing: if you let us know where you're at, locals may be able to recommend schools near you.
If you're looking for a combination of things, look into local MMA places, or find and/or crosstrain in Judo, BJJ, boxing, kickboxing, karate or, and I'm hesitant to add, TKD. Depending on the schools, of course, look for places that spar, allow you to cross train and are flexible with you. Make sure that they don't make over the top claims, offer realistic goals and ideas and don't charge you for every single thing. Ask questions, go to try out classes and learn as much as you can about the instructors, thier experience and thier teaching methods.
If it sounds to good to be true? Probably is.

As for disipline? That's all you, babe. No-one can magically become disciplined by turning up three times a week at classes. What you put in you get out. If you're looking to improve your movitation and attitude, start by making yourself a realitic plan and goals and sticking to it.

MA is good for fitness, but may not provide a well rounded regime. Many places offer fitness planning or classes, which is awesome. But if you can't get to the dojo all the time, having a secondary workout plan is a good idea. Whether it's at home or in the gym doesn't really matter.

bombom
5/25/2011 8:39am,
Welcome to bullshido.

You are ahead of the curve in wanting to find alive training, good for you. Combat sports are going to be good for what you want, a good work out and realistic self defense training.

Judo is an awesome choice, really cool throws. Hitting people with the planet is fun.

BJJ is good as well, great grappling. You will learn how to deal with someone who is already grabbing you.

Muay Thai is a great striking art, it also has a strong in close clinch game.

Kempo, and wing chung are frequently not good choices, though there are some schools that train in an alive fashion. I suspect the same is true of Wu shu kwan.

Once again, welcome to bullshido, and good luck finding a good school.

bombom

bombom
5/25/2011 8:40am,
Of course, Syberia posted a much better response before I did.

Hiro Protagonist
5/25/2011 8:41am,
1. Best upload a picture of you, so we can assess better.

2. Muay Thai is what you're looking for,
or probably a sport called San Da.

Kimberley
5/25/2011 9:31am,
Hi,

Thanks for the info so far and the welcome.

Syberia, I'm in Finsbury Park, North London - there is a jujitsu school in Archway that I was thinking of checking out. Anyone know about this? I hear a lot of good things about MMA but I think it can be fairly expensive and I am pretty skinted at the moment. (another reason the non-profit shorinji kempo style was attractive to me). I agree with your comments on discipline :)

BomBom thanks for your comments - seems there are lots of judo fans on here. Yeah its a shame about the lack of 'proper' sparring and realistic force in many WC schools etc, as the art itself really attracts me.

Hiro, I know nothing about San Da at all, sv I'll have a look into it. I struggled to find any photos which would show you my frame in which I'm not drunk or are unpublishable! Here are a couple (still a bit drunk in one!) I stopped drinking this year but no-one takes photos of non-drunk people.

http://i928.photobucket.com/albums/ad128/Mudskippa/BerwickWeekendMay201019-Bethnextdoorto2ndhotel.jpg

http://i928.photobucket.com/albums/ad128/Mudskippa/12BilbaoBethRichintown9Jul2010.jpg

Thanks for all your help so far,
K x

Soldiermedic
5/25/2011 3:20pm,
1. Best upload a picture of you, so we can assess better.

2. Muay Thai is what you're looking for,
or probably a sport called San Da.

I cant believe she actually fell for that.

Anyway, welcome to bullshido, and thanks for being one of the small percentage of our already small percentage of female posters that has entrusted us with your pictures.

a quick googlemaps search finds a lot of chun, kung fu, and aikido, one booj and one capoeira school.

But I saw a trad jj school http://www.archwayjitsu.com/trainingtimes.htm

and a couple of mma/kickboxing schools. I would stay away from the school touting itself to teach "SAS" combat arts

judoka_uk
5/25/2011 3:35pm,
If you want to gain some usable skills then Shorinji Kempo is unlikely to provide them as Kempo is 9/10 a load of rubbish. The same applies for most 'Jujitsu' clubs, although not to Brazilian Jiujitsu a.k.a BJJ.

How far are you willing to travel, because if you're willing to go a few tube stops then you're absolutely spoilt for choice in London.

If you want all rounded - striking and grappling, but can't afford MMA then there is Shidokan Karate in London:
http://www.shidokan.org.uk/Dojos.html

Shidokan looks like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_R6loHvzdg

If being punched in the face isn't your thing, but you still want something that can teach usable skills, from a self-defence situation gives you skills to get away from someone grabbing you and is cheap -Judo.

The Aston Martin of Judo clubs in London is the Budokwai, if you want to see proper Judo. That's the place. It is a little more expensive than other Judo clubs, though.
http://www.budokwai.co.uk/

A full list of clubs in London can be found here:
http://www.britishjudo.org.uk/thesport/findclub.php

Although judging by the photo on the club website its unlikely you'll get a good workout at the one in Finsbury.

Judo looks like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PTM964fh0Q

Shidokan and Judo are both Japanese so come with a little bit of philosophy behind them, but they won't try and turn you into a monk.

danniboi07
5/25/2011 3:37pm,
I hear a lot of good things about MMA but I think it can be fairly expensive and I am pretty skinted at the moment. (another reason the non-profit shorinji kempo style was attractive to me). I agree with your comments on discipline :)

BomBom thanks for your comments - seems there are lots of judo fans on here. Yeah its a shame about the lack of 'proper' sparring and realistic force in many WC schools etc, as the art itself really attracts me.

While I was in Judo, I paid $30 a month which, according to Google, is about 18.4 pounds. Most Judo schools don't operate for profit. If that's affordable, I'd suggest it. Although it doesn't have the striking you would be looking for, it can be very useful for helping lose the 10 lbs plus being more comfortable in a defense situation.

Some schools might have both a Judo and a striking art package. I'm not familiar with schools in London, so I'm afraid I can't help but keep an eye out.

The_Beak
5/25/2011 3:41pm,
SANDA:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_ZMcTtt6m8

San-da/San Shou has the kick-punch-throw.

Also take a look at the link in my sig.

Snake Plissken
5/25/2011 3:46pm,
I seem to recall several UK posters stating, on numerous occasions, that most martial arts instructors hold day jobs, which makes their teaching a side project, resulting in mostly low fees.

Is this not the case in your area?

Permalost
5/25/2011 3:49pm,
Welcome to Bullshido. Judoka_uk should be listened to.

judoka_uk
5/25/2011 4:03pm,
I seem to recall several UK posters stating, on numerous occasions, that most martial arts instructors hold day jobs, which makes their teaching a side project, resulting in mostly low fees.

Is this not the case in your area?
She lives in London, our capital city. Everything is expensive in London and space is at an absolute premium. So unless you are operating out of a rec centre or school hall or own the building then you're going to have a massive rent to deal with which jacks up the price of everything.

Also there are lots of young professionals in London earning alot of money so selling something young and sexy like MMA means you can make money off them. Hence you price appropriately.

Of course that's not so great for the majority of people who don't earn city boy salaries.

Cullion
5/25/2011 4:10pm,
Shorinji Kempo shouldn't be confused with other forms of Kempo. They do engage in randoori ,spar with hard contact and provide a workout.

However, it isn't a straightforward combat sport and can come with a large dose of buddhism on the side.

I'm not suggesting that they are crazy, weird buddhists who will try and pressgang you into shaving your hair off and giving all your possessions away, so it might suit you just fine. But if you don't like the idea of a martial art coming with any kind of religious strings attached then it might not be for you.

If your budget is tight then you might want to look around at university clubs that let non-students join. Boxing, Kickboxing and Judo can be learned inexpensively this way in most UK cities.

If you sign up for an inexpensive student kickboxing club, make sure the instructors and at least some of the class and the compete in full contact events (i.e. events where you actually try to knock the opponent out, rather than just play tag for points).

If not, you might be learning how to fight from people who've never had somebody try to knock them out. That is a bad idea.

Anything else I might suggest in London might be too expensive for you (e.g. cost you ~100 a month if you train regularly enough to actually get good at it).

Snake: In the last 10 years dedicated martial arts gyms have become more commonplace in the UK, and you can usually find an MMA gym producing at least amateur competitors in cities with a population of 250,000 or more. But she likely cannot afford to join one based on her original post.

Kimberley
5/25/2011 4:10pm,
Hey guys,

Thanks soo much for this info - it's exactly the sort of useful stuff I needed, including some stuff I'd not heard of or considered before, which is great.

I'm going to take some time to go through all your input and post back if I have any more questions. Just wanted you all to know how much I appreciate your help so far.

And yeah I thought you were probably yanking my chain with the photo thing, but I don't mind playing along for a bit of help. Besides you might never have seen a girl with long monkey arms and size 8 feet before (think that's a 10.5 in the US or something)...

Cheers fellas :)

judoka_uk
5/25/2011 4:22pm,
On the plus side for Shorinji Kempo you will have the added fun of explaining to everyone you know why you have a swastika on your gi!*


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLt85gxf8xc

http://i832.photobucket.com/albums/zz250/VQ1E4/Misc/shorinjiswastika.png

Sounds pretty heavy on the religion and 'dead pattern' kata to me. Not something I'd look at to give me usable skills.



*Yes I know its an ancient buddhist symbol.