We had an awesome launch with our kickboxing class! Come check out this new program with Jarrett McBride. Kickboxing is essential for those looking to enter the Roch NY MMA arena. It’s also a fun way to get in super amazing shape.
Terms like "Karate" and "Ju-Jitsu" may seem standard, but they are not! There are soooooo many different styles of martial arts out there. That can be a good thing! It means that just because you tried training once and didn't enjoy it, you don't need to cross off martial arts for good. You may have just not found the right kind.
Part of finding the right school also means finding a style of martial art you enjoy.
Striking or Grappling?
There are arts that teach striking, which is punching, kicking, etc. And there are arts that teach grappling, which involves throws, ground-fighting, etc. In my experience, people tend to gravitate towards one or the other. However, that is changing with the popularity of MMA. Does punching a bag sound like fun? Or would you rather learn how to throw someone to the ground? Figuring out if you're a striker or a grappler is the first step.
How Competitive are You?
Some people thrive on competition. They want to get their moves to work on a fully resisting opponent. Others are looking for personal growth and development, and don't really care about besting someone on the mat. Different arts will have varying views on competition. For example, Aikido is non-competitive. Techniques are practiced and perfected, but generally the art is more about personal development. Judo, which is also a grappling art, is extremely competitive and has matches worked into almost every class. Other arts like Jiu-Jitsu and Karate have a little bit of both. Deciding what your goals are with the art will also guide you to the right program.
How Much Punishment is Acceptable?
Martial arts are a contact sport. Other humans will be trying to punch you, choke you, and/or put you in various contorted positions. You'll get pinched and bruised. Your muscles will be sore the next day. However, the amount of physical punishment varies greatly.
Keep in mind, much of this also depends on the instructors. There are also people who opt out of the combative part of class. Even in full contact karate, you can participate in everything except fighting. You'll work up a sweat, perfect your kata, but pass on the actual combat. People also do this in BJJ and Judo. As long as the instructors are fine with it, you shouldn't have a problem.
Take some time to try out different arts and programs. This is one of the reasons why we have so many at our school! Different people will gravitate towards different kinds of styles and training. Never feel rushed to settle on one style. You'll be happier long term if you find a martial art that fits with your personality and preferences.
Parents in particular have a hard time making class sometimes. As a new parent, I understand now why making it to class can be difficult when you have little ones. I own a dojo and I've had to miss training because Asher needed me! But, I think I've got some strategies for making it to class when you've got kiddos.
We are very kid friendly. There are things at the dojo that most kids can't resist, like foam swords, punching bags, a pull up bar, and kick shields. I've seen kids entertain themselves for an entire adult class - and still not want to leave - by playing with those objects alone. Our dojo is one big open space, so you can keep an eye on them while training. Water breaks, class breaks, and partner rotations all give you a chance to check in as well. We also have a desk where kids can work on homework or read while you're training.
Get them Involved
We have a family class that is free for members to attend every Saturday. Kids can practice with their parents and get an idea of what martial arts are all about. We have later kids classes that happen right before adult classes start up. One of our instructors brings his son to the kids class and then stays for the adult one while he watches. It's a great way for the whole family to get involved.
Timing is Everything
There's only so much you can do to time out naps and other activities for little ones. If Asher happens to tire himself out around five thirty, I know I'll make the Basic Jiu-Jitsu class. Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn't. But I do everything I can to get the timing. It isn't a science, but getting him to sleep, or planning other kid activities to allow yourself time to train is possible. We have another student who drops his daughter off at her guitar lessons while he trains.
Managing kiddos and training isn't always easy. We've tried to make it easier with our scheduling and relaxed, kid friendly environment!
Turn on UFC and what do you see? People in all out Beast Mode cracking open faces and breaking bones. Whoa. No thanks. To quote many of my friends and family over the years: "Why pay someone to beat you up every week?" Well, because martial arts aren't all like that!
Okay, full contact karate and BJJ can have their moments. But if you're interested in martial arts without all the GRRRR, there are options!
Allow me to introduce: AIKIDO
Aikido is known as "the gentle art." The class has more of a Yoga feel than a competitive one. Aikido focuses on joint manipulation and off balancing. In training, you learn how to feel the momentum of your attacker and then use it against him/her. Students practice on training partners, but in a non-competitive way.
Instead of competitions or tournaments, Aikido has seminars. Sometimes guest instructors will come in and give lessons. Other times the class will travel to another school. Joint training sessions with other area schools are also common.
When people are nervous about taking a martial art and fear injury, I usually guide them to Aikido.
That being said, you often get out of training what you put in. BJJ and Full Contact Karate (Ashihara) can be done gently and without injury. Just like it is possible to get injure someone if you land an Aikido technique full force. But if you're looking for a martial art that is gentle, non-competitive, but still can be used for self defense and personal development, Aikido might be a perfect fit. We have Aikido for Kids and Adults.
The world of uniforms can be pretty confusing to new martial artists. Open up Amazon and you'll see martial arts uniforms on there for thirty bucks, so why are we asking you to buy one that's twice as much? No, we aren't evil money hungry jerks looking to cheat you. The uniform is actually pretty important- especially for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
If you or your child are taking BJJ, you need to get the right uniform. ASAP. Why?
In Jiu-Jitsu people are grabbing that uniform by the collar and sleeves as hard and fast as they can. Grips play a huge role in this sport. A BJJ uniform is made to handle that, and the quilted material is pretty forgiving on the skin. Those cheap standard student uniforms are NOT the same. If someone grabs those super hard and fast they can cut into the skin, leaving what looks like rug burn on the neck, upper arms, and wrists. A proper BJJ gi will eliminate a lot of those types of injuries.
A BJJ uniform is thick, quilted, and designed to withstand the rigors of training. Again, people are grabbing at the uniform pretty aggressively. You can buy a cheap $30 uniform, and it will maybe last a few months. They tend to rip along the sides and under the armpits. In Jiu-Jitsu, you are also fighting on the ground. The knees on a BJJ uniform are reinforced, so they tend to last for a long time. My oldest one is over two years old and it's just starting to wear out- and I train all the time. On a cheap standard uniform the knees are usually the first thing to go, I've seen it happen after only a couple hours of training.
The Right Cut
Again, grip fighting is a major part of BJJ. If you have a standard student uniform, chances are that the sleeves and overall cut of the gi will be on the larger side. This is because those uniforms are not specifically made for Jiu-Jitsu. I've gone up against people with giant sleeves, and even my little hands can grab onto those suckers and wrap the material around the wrist- resulting in a death grip that is nearly impossible to break. BJJ uniforms have a slimmer cut to make it harder for opponents to catch the sleeves and collars. If you're a woman, I recommend getting a uniform specifically made for females. The sizing and cut will be different, and you'll be much happier with the fit.
You wouldn't wear hockey gear to play baseball, right? We need to think about uniforms in the martial arts the same way. Plus, if you're looking to compete you'll absolutely need the right uniform. Many major tournaments regulate them and won't let you participate if the uniform isn't right.
There was a time when I felt that "karate birthday parties" cheapened the martial arts and were just wrong. BUT, I have since learned how important and awesome having martial arts incorporated into a birthday party can be. I don't care how people experience the martial arts, it's the exposure that counts. If a child goes to a birthday party and discovers martial arts THAT IS AWESOME!! Their life has just been changed in such a positive way!
Plus, the fact that kids want to share the martial arts with their friends makes me feel so honored and happy. Recently we put on a birthday party for one of our students. Seeing how proud he was to demonstrate and show his friends his skills, it was awesome. That truly made my day.
We are now offering free birthday parties included with our kids memberships. I hope more kids get exposure to the martial arts and learn these amazing life skills. For more information, contact Brennan or myself. We'll be more than happy to help put together a memorable day for your kiddos!
Many people take advantage of the New Year to set goals for themselves. When it comes to training, this can initially be pretty easy. Set a goal to train a certain amount of time each week.
But there is a reason why New Year Resolutions tend to, well, not work so good. Setting out to make a change is one thing, but until that new thing becomes part of your lifestyle these changes may not last.
With martial arts, it's best to adapt a lifestyle that compliments your training. There is so much crossover into daily life, no matter what kind of martial art you're taking.
Weight loss and getting in shape are always popular resolutions. Here's a secret: I run because I don't want to be dead on the mat after two rounds. Here's another secret: I eat decently so I feel light and energetic during training. These things do lead to weight loss and fitness, but they also link directly to martial arts training. It works because it's part of the overall lifestyle.
Aside from the physical stuff, there's the mental aspect too. Staying calm when someone is trying to punch you or choke you out-- Under those circumstances, staying calm when work gets stressful seems easy, right?
Work your New Year Resolutions into your martial arts lifestyle!!
When Sensei Leigh and Sensei Brennan aren't training, we're keeping you updated on the happenings here at Rochester Phoenix Martial Arts!