View Full Version : I'm scared in here!

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8/16/2007 9:18pm,
Going to take the plunge, here goes...
I'm a 39 year old female, fairly fit, and have been previously a cert. personal trainer. That however was a few years ago and not as "slick" as I used to be. I have always wanted to take martial arts, but have never really found something I would like to indulge in. I took Tang Soo Do privately for 5 weeks once, and it was a great workout, but spent lots of time bowing and doing memorized moves. I could tell it would take me 100 years to figure out how to actually defend myself in a bad situation. I heard that Krav Maga was a great self defense class with no BS attached but there aren't many instructors. There also seems to be a martial arts class on every corner where I live, and I don't want to trial and error 100 places, many of which seem to rush people to get their next "belt" so they can make more dough. I need some advice on a no-nonsense, no dance move, seriuos get fit instruction that will help me defend myself. Also, for my 13 year old daughter. I joined this site to get advice from you folks that know what you're doing and have "been there done that". I am a pure noob, so fire your best shot! Thanks everyone...

8/16/2007 9:19pm,
Welcome aboard, cravatts! The Bullshido staff would welcome you personally, but the thing is they’re busy keeping the peace, so they’ve apointed me, a bot, to pat you on the back and assure you that in no way will you be harmed during your stay here at BS.net. Your views on the martial arts, your philosphy, maybe even your entire reason for being will be challenged, shattered, reorganized, melted down, and forged into something new and shiny, but we swear it will only hurt a little bit… at first.

8/16/2007 9:28pm,
Welcome :)

So what advice would you be seeking? I can assure you that I am an inarguable fountain of knowledge just waiting to spout pearls of genius onto this thread.

8/16/2007 9:35pm,
Welcome I am 33 yrs old and just about 9 months ago started an 8-step preying mantis class. It is alot of memorization and I actuallly like the way it is taught I guess I grew up on too many afternoons watchingKung-fu theater. I suggest seeing what is offered in your area try a few out and decide what class is right for you. I liked the class Im taking so well I got my wife my 9yr old son and my 5yr old daughter going with me. All martial arts if you take them serious are alot of work so dont think it will be a breeze nomatter what you choose too do. Good luck and have a good time here, I hope you find what your looking for.

8/16/2007 9:45pm,
I'm really just trying to find the best type of style to study in, as there seem to be so many martial arts forms. My biggest issue I suppose is that there are SO many martial arts places out here, everyone and their kid seem to be going to, and I don't want to end up just learning some standard moves and theories. I guess what I'm trying to say is....I don't have a lot of time and patience, and I want to study self defense that works for me. I don't want to be "disrespectful" to any particular style or philosophy, but I want something that doesn't focus too much on tradition so much as really getting to the nitty gritty of moves and self defense and so on. I don't know if I would every really use a full spin backkick in real life, but maybe... :-) Too many styles, don't know where to start or how to find a good instructor that isn't just in it to push people up to sell belts and such. Does this make any sense? Sorry...I'm sure I sound lost.

Sam Browning
8/16/2007 9:52pm,

If you go to Bullshido.com the above link on selecting a martial arts school may prove useful.

8/16/2007 9:58pm,
Start with the basics:

How far are you willing to drive/commute?

How much are you willing to pay?

How much sparring/contact do you want?

Would you tend more towards grappling (judo, jiu-jitsu) or striking (boxing, kickboxing, muay thai) or both?

8/16/2007 10:27pm,
In what part of town do you live?

In Fort Worth check out:

Travis Lutter www.travislutter.com (http://www.travislutter.com)

Paul Halme www.peakbjj.com (http://www.peakbjj.com)

In Dallas:

Saekson Janjira www.saekson.com (http://www.saekson.com)

Guy Mezger www.guymezger.com (http://www.guymezger.com)

Felipe Espinoza www.dallasjiujitsu.com (http://www.dallasjiujitsu.com)

JD Shelly www.ndbjj.com (http://www.ndbjj.com)

Tomer Litvin www.siamstarmuaythai.com (http://www.siamstarmuaythai.com)

Carlos Machado www.carlosmachado.net (http://www.carlosmachado.net)

Any these schools will give you a GREAT workout and teach you to fight VERY well. Most have competitive amateur or professional fighters training there. Some have childrens classes.

If you're still in good cardio-condition, you'll have a leg up on many new students, and you may be able to progress even more rapidly.

8/16/2007 10:35pm,
Check out our article on Bullshido.com http://www.bullshido.com/
"Finding a Good Martial Arts School" on the left.

8/17/2007 6:09am,

Firstly, with self defence the most important factors are awareness, avoidance and de-escalation. A lot comes down to not putting yourself in a position where you have to fight. Geoff Thompson's work is usually highly spoken of in this context, and it might be worth acquiring one of his books.

Let's carry on, assuming that everything's gone wrong and you do have to fight. It can take a significant amount of training to overcome someone with a substantial strength and weight advantage. Hence, having a weapon of some description is recommended if such is legal in your area. I'm a Brit and very little is legal to carry over here, so you really ought to get advice from someone who knows better (such as one of our resident Law Enforcement Officers), but I believe firearms and pepper spray are usually high on the list of choices.

If you're going to fight another person unarmed, and want training in this, it's important to understand how riddled with fraud the field of martial arts really is. A great many people are not teaching their students how to fight, and they get away with this because most people do not frequently end up in situations where they need to fight.

Brazil has a history dating back several decades of "Vale Tudo" matches, "no holds barred" fights in which two competitors fought unarmed until one surrendered or was rendered unconscious, the only further restrictions being put on them being a ban on eye gouging and biting. These were brought to a wider audience with the initial UFC fights in North America.

This testing ground has provided us with quite a bit of data on how different arts stack up. Combat sports that bear a close resemblance to fighting seem to perform significantly better than arts in which the training solely involves punching air, going through moves on a compliant opponent, or sparring to first touch ("point sparring"). Also, pure grappling arts tend to dominate pure striking arts, and a mix of both is better than either alone.

The synthesis of striking and grappling used in the most modern versions of these competitions is known as "MMA training" (MMA standing for Mixed Martial Arts, which is what the NHB competitions came to be known as), and would be taught at an MMA gym. This is generally considered the strongest of fighting styles. As with all the styles I'm going to mention, a large part of its training involves hard sparring - a slightly lower-intensity kind of fight that takes place between training partners with safety equipment designed to limit injuries.

Of the pure grappling styles, the one that had most success in these surroundings was Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (henceforth BJJ). BJJ involves grappling your opponent to the ground and taking advantage of the ability to incrementally improve your position to gain dominance and submit the opponent with an armlock or choke (leading to a dislocated joint or unconsciousness in a "real" fight). It is easier to negate the advantages of a bigger and stronger opponent on the ground than at any other range. This is arguably one of the best styles for female self defence, as females are more likely to be attacked by someone who wishes to take them to the ground anyway, and a woman who has a potent ability to defend herself once there is much less likely to end up the victim.
(Note: while this is undoubtedly effective, you will find yourself spending most of your training time rolling about on the floor with sweaty men. Many women don't care for this, and female representation is often higher in striking arts which entail more physical discomfort but less sacrifice of personal space.)

BJJ has roots in Judo, another highly successful style. Judo also teaches groundfighting, though not generally to the same level; it focuses more on powerful throws that land an assailant on the ground hard. It also has strong arguments in its favour as far as female self-defence goes in that it is very difficult to get a good judo player onto the ground in the first place if they don't want to go there, and judo players are adept at breaking grips their opponents have on them.
(Judo has a higher female representation in my experience, is very widespread and usually cheap, and often has dedicated classes for children or teenagers. While it tends to be more purely sport-focused than BJJ, it's widely seen as an excellent fighting base.)

There's also wrestling, which has its advantages, but I'm not sure how easy that is to come by outside the educational system. From there we get onto the striking styles. Defeating someone much larger and stronger than you is harder to accomplish with striking than grappling, but
the best female kickboxers are more than capable of destroying a large untrained male.

Muay Thai is popular and proven, using punches, kicks, knees and elbows to knock an opponent out. Boxing also gets much respect; boxers only punch, but they're very very good at it. From there we head towards rarer arts, such as savate and certain offshoots of Kyokushin Karate (much of karate is pretty dire, however). San shou also deserves a mention - it's a mixed striking and throwing ruleset originally designed for kung fu styles to compete under.

Kung fu or karate styles that don't engage in any kind of competition or sparring, aikido and tae-kwon-do are all generally seen as poor choices for improving fighting ability. I've heard that Krav Maga can be very good, but has poor quality control when it comes to instructors.

Hope this helps.

8/17/2007 6:48am,
Karate is a great and solid style for women. Mui Thai is too... but why mess up beautiful faces? Goju Karate is great for women because it is no nonsense, straight to the point and effective. I study Uechi, which is based on hard conditioning... not recomended for women and probably not available in TX.
I have cross trained with pretty hard core goju schools and found that they train women in ways that can maximize their effectiveness. Women and men are vastly different, arguing the point here is superfluous and ridiculous.
As a martial artist, you will be expected to toughen up. You will be hit and be expected to hit unbreakable objects. You will become quite strong, pretty quickly.
You must remember that the greatest benefit to you will be a sense of security. Most people do not have to deal with physical conflict often. However, knowing how to break a hold and smash someone's knose in, is a great comfort.
Thats just my not so humble opinion. - S

8/17/2007 7:07am,
Read what Sophist just wrote. In fact, sticky plz.

8/17/2007 7:27am,
That is an excellent post sophist.

krazy kaju
8/17/2007 8:04am,
The best styles for self defense are:

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Muay Thai (or "Thai Boxing")
Kickboxing (not 'fitness' kickboxing)

Not in that order.

Krav Maga is hyped up because it is a style taken from the curriculum of combatives the IDF uses. However, the majority of Krav Maga schools grossly lack any sparring or grappling. Also, Krav Maga utilizes what is known as the "kung fu flurry," which is a strategy where you unleash a 'quick' flurry of strikes while your opponent stands motionly waiting for you to hit his groin and gouge his eyes out. This, of course never happens. That is why Muay Thai is a much better alternative to Krav Maga, because Muay Thai is based on actual, solid, tested, and applicable techniques.

The worst styles to train in are:

Tae Kwon Do
Choi Kwong Do
Kung Fu (any and all styles)

The above are styles that usually train in a way that does not teach self defense or how to fight. These styles usually teach ineffective techniques and do not train in an alive manner against a resisting opponent.

8/17/2007 8:24am,
what sophist said. one of the most poignant posts i have read on bullshido.

8/17/2007 8:42am,
Hence, having a weapon of some description is recommended if such is legal in your area. I'm a Brit and very little is legal to carry over here, so you really ought to get advice from someone who knows better (such as one of our resident Law Enforcement Officers), but I believe firearms and pepper spray are usually high on the list of choices.

Fortunately, Texas is a "Shall Issue" state, and the DFW area has dozens (and dozens) of places to take the requisite CHL certification course. In fact, if I recall correctly, Robert DeFranco, who runs the DFW Gun Range (http://www.dfwgun.com) and teaches such a course, is also a Machado black belt in BJJ and offers BJJ classes at his facility.