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daysleeper
1/16/2008 3:50am,
Hi all,

I came upon this site while searching for info on what might be a good place to go in my area (Crystal Lake, IL vicinity) to learn Tae Kwon Do. Yes, I read the rule
{9. Tae Kwon Do bashing is acceptable, but only if you can bring some new analysis to the table.}

which leads me to believe it isn't looked upon too favorably here, but it does sound interesting to me.
Well, any insight the members here have to give is helpful to me. Obviously, I don't want to waste any time at a school that has a bad reputation, but I'm finding little in the way of knowing what kind of places to avoid.

For reference: I have ZERO prior Martial Arts experience, I'm female, 36, and in internet addict physical condition.

Oh, I should probably explain why I want to learn? Self-defense, primarily. For example this last weekend when a group of us were being stalked by a drunken, hostile idiot. Not carrying pepper spray, I felt very vulnerable. I want something practical, in a situation like that. I've also just have an interest in martial arts... I think I've watched every episode of Human Weapon at least twice and it fascinates me. I'm not afraid to get hit or kicked, but I'm really not looking to wrestle anyone.
Once somebody is dazed or on the ground, i plan to run.

Also, since I have a lot of leg strength but little upper body strength, something with a strong kicking focus seems wise.

Your thoughts?

:5help:!!

KungFuBot
1/16/2008 3:51am,
Welcome to Bullshido, the best Martial Arts forum on the entire Internet, daysleeper. Seriously, you won't regret your choice to join us. We're a great bunch of folks, except for Hannibal. And Sirc. And TaiGip. And MMA Kid. And... well, you get the point.

JohanSon
1/16/2008 5:51am,
Hello daysleeper.

If you want to train something with lot's of kicking I would suggest you check out savate and/or muay thai. Both martial arts are effective, muay thai is maybe a little more hard core, and it's easy to find MT gym, while savate is pretty hard to find. But if you do have savate and MT in your area go and check both (you can usually get free 1st lesson), and than decide what you like more.

If you are looking for self defense I think you should also think about grappling, I know you said you don't wanna wrestle, but it's essential to know a little about groundwork.
Check out BJJ or Judo, you may like it ;)

And read this article:
http://aliveness101.blogspot.com/2005/07/why-aliveness.html

Lot of usefull information :)

pauli
1/16/2008 10:51am,
welcome to bullshido!

my advice is that if you want to train for self defense, you need to remember that you aren't the one who decides how you're attacked, and how you're forced to defend yourself.

Asriel
1/16/2008 11:39am,
TKD is nearly the most impractical thing you could study for Self Defence. Check out some videos on youtube and you'll see what I mean. Ok, jump spinning kick some dude in the face and you'll be the man but the reality is that you'll probably fall over and he'll stamp on your head.

jnp
1/16/2008 11:47am,
. . . and in internet addict physical condition.
That made me chuckle.

Welcome to the site.

Judo is almost always readily available. It's inexpensive. It has functional groundwork and throwing someone to the ground is a good way to stop an altercation without hitting them.

It will take at least a year or so of dedicated practice before you'll be able to throw a bigger albeit unskilled opponent however.

Bran Lydster
1/16/2008 11:52am,
Welcome and what they all said pretty much.

senseipookie
1/16/2008 12:02pm,
It will take at least a year or so of dedicated practice before you'll be able to throw a bigger albeit unskilled opponent however.

Good point (and welcome to the site from me too). Anyplace you go, expect at least a year before you have the skills to do much with any type of training. Just because you have been shown something and can do it once or twice in a safe dojo environment doesn't mean you can actually use it for real. Time and practice will get you there, but it won't be right away. Also remember that if you train hard at least twice a week, you will be in better shape and stronger than you are now. You may end up actually getting some upper body strength.

Also, as Asriel pointed out, TKD looks cool and has lots of powerful kicks, but most of them are pretty high and flashy (your leg strength is good but how about balance and flexibility - do you feel comfortable kicking a 6 foot guy in the head in an icy parking lot?). In our style we have a general rule that kicks are stomach/ribs and lower (some of the best self defense kicks are to the legs) and hands/elbows are for upper body attacks. There are some good TKD instructors out there, but most of them are really flashy tournament stuff with lots of "Little Dragons" running around. Go check out the classes and see how practical the training really looks. And check out a few other schools in your area just for comparison sake. Make sure you have an idea of what you will learn before you start and end up potentially disappointed. If they train with resistance and real contact then you will get some skills that may help, but if it's all passive LARP type practice then you will just end up with a false sense of confidence that may get you hurt.

And be very careful about contracts, fees, etc. - make sure you read fully and are comfortable with everything before you sign up.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes

AeroChica
1/16/2008 12:11pm,
Welcome, from another mid-30s chick in 'sedentary desk job' shape!

I second all comments to study a grappling art - jiu-jitsu is great because it starts with strikes and throws, so you have the skills to deal with someone close on. I started boxing in April (I have some physical limitations that prevent me from taking some of the other arts) and I still don't really have enough power to hurt someone with my punches. If I land something perfectly then yeah, you'll know about it - but stop some drunk high on adrenaline? Not very likely. It takes a long time to build enough strength in a striking art to be able to use it for self defence, but you can gain useful skills in jiu-jitsu, judo and whatnot much more quickly (bonus - useful for subduing unsuspecting husbands and unruly children too!)

leere_form
1/16/2008 12:31pm,
welcome to bullshido!

my advice is that if you want to train for self defense, you need to remember that you aren't the one who decides how you're attacked, and how you're forced to defend yourself.

quoted for truth. good post.

with that in mind, pick a martial art where your opponents are free to use their full strength creatively against you, so you're constantly forced to adapt to new situations and develop your own strengths and technical creativity. TKD does not allow opponents to use their full strength against you, nor does it have a very permissive ruleset which approximates a real situation.

if you want the most permissive, full-force martial art, go train MMA. if that doesn't sound like fun: next down the line in force and permissiveness are muay thai and brazilian jiujitsu, then boxing, judo, sambo, wrestling, etc.

if you were training for fun, i'd say train whatever you want and don't worry about street people.

but since you want to learn how to fight/defend yourself/hurt someone against their will, expect some bumps and bruises, and expect to end up places you'd rather not be, having unpleasant things happen to you.

not as unpleasant as being raped or killed, surely, but getting choked and punched still isn't everyone's idea of a good time. ;)

calmman7
1/16/2008 1:18pm,
Welcome. Let me just say there is a ton of misinformation on the net. You are in a good place for the good info.
Just my thoughts... the kicks look great in TDK and some folks use them well (maybe). If you didn't play soccer or even if you did, low kicks work better and sometims a right cross or and elbow or knee work even better.
At the same time, don't discount being aware of your situations, being loud when needed and of a good comfortable pair of shoes.

ask for some school advice and check it out for yourself.
Best of luck to you!

Asriel
1/16/2008 5:11pm,
Also, if you have some schools that you're thinking about checking out, post them on here and you may find that some forum members have had experience with them and give you advice based on their experience.

leec123
1/18/2008 9:11am,
Welcome and what they all said pretty much.

i will second that

with the muay thai, you should be able to cover the basics ina couple of months- enough to boot someone in the leg hard enough to make them think twice, and throw a reasonable punch.
any reputable JJ school (of any denomination)will also teach some valuable grappling skills.

If you can afford it, do both. Or have a look at some local MMA gyms, they may be able to accomodate you

keep everyone posted

leec123
1/18/2008 9:29am,
but since you want to learn how to fight/defend yourself/hurt someone against their will, expect some bumps and bruises, and expect to end up places you'd rather not be, having unpleasant things happen to you.

not as unpleasant as being raped or killed, surely, but getting choked and punched still isn't everyone's idea of a good time. ;)

Good Post.

Back to the issue at hand

Before you start anywhere, check out some of the threads on here regarding choosing a good school/instructor. Also check out the threads on contracts

One more thing, seeing as you are completely new to MA, just remember, your training WILL hurt, either through knocks etc or you using your body in new ways. This is normal.

Once again, good luck

Augusto
1/19/2008 2:45am,
Once somebody is dazed or on the ground, i plan to run.


Hello.

People has mentioned good options here.

You said it, running is an extremely effective way of self defense, so, whatever you do, keep in mind a running routine in addition to anything you train.

Anyhow, conditioning will make you better in every MA, and it's healthy!

daysleeper
1/19/2008 5:05am,
Hello everyone, thank you for the warm welcome =)

I truly appreciate the advice, and I've been busy looking into your suggestions.
I still need to find the time to read through forums here about choosing schools and contracts, that's my next step. I'll tell you what I have found in the last few days, based on your comments.

I watched some TKD videos on youtube and took note of the heavy focus on kicks, high kicks, spin kicks, fancy kicks, and yep... not what comes to mind for practical self defense. I re-watched some of the Human Weapon Muay Thai episode and thought oh crap, that looks pretty tough. I also watched a documentary (I think on youtube?) about Brazilian JJ.

We checked the area and found a local MMA place, it's called Team Curran martial arts. On the forums here, they have a good review from about 6 months ago.

They have classes in Muay Thai and BJJ. I was able to watch a class of each. One of the classes, the guy who owns it was the instructor. (If anyone is interested, I can go into detail of each class) The instructors were very friendly and answered all questions.

Seriously, I have doubts on whether or not I can handle either right now. After seeing just what the warm-ups entailed with jumping rope and jogging, etc I doubt I'd have enough energy left to finish the class. There is no "beginner's" exclusive class, they have everyone together and say go at what pace you can. I don't mind that, it's interesting to see what the advanced members can do.... and for the MT class they had 2 instructors, one for lower skills and one for advanced. Still, coming in right now I'm positive I wouldn't make it through an hour of either MT or JJ, at any pace. So i know now what I need to work on to get to that point (cardio endurance and flexibility)

Another thing that puts me off is having to sign a year contract... seems a bit long to me and I don't even get why it's necessary... but I need to read about that here and see if thats the norm or what.

Anyways I want to reiterate how grateful I am to you for taking the time to share your opinions with me. I am so happy to have found this forum and I will do a lot of reading here before I join up anywhere. It is a bit intimidating, there's so much to learn.


Please feel free to add any comments/crits about my experience thus far!