Choosing Martial arts should be easy
I considered introducing martial Arts like Karate, Kung Fu or Kickboxing to my daughter when she was about 6 remembering all the great experiences I had when I was 13 years old. She is petit and like any parent I thought she'd get strength of character, avoid bullies and generally become awesome. And I just wanted to be part of that special time again. So I gave it a go and wasn't prepared for it to be so difficult.
I went to a local club which turned out to be a full time Jeet Kune Do (Think Bruce Lee) and the anticipation was great: Training what my hero trained. Or so I thought.
Boy was I wrong: I was generally growled at by the Neanderthals behind the counter when I asked the easiest of questions. I have nothing but respect for JKD, but these guys were surly and took advantage in their ego and left me rethinking getting involved. I tried again somewhere else, who were way slicker in their approach but after a year I was left seriously out of pocket and my daughter was mixing with the wrong kind of people. But that's a story for another day!
What I didn't realise back then was that I should have prepared to know exactly what I want and how to ask for it. If you go to a café for a coffee or to a bank for a loan you'd be prepared?Wouldn't you?
In the next 10 days I'll share 10 ways to choose the right club and not regret your choice. Some of it will be criteria to judge the place you've walked into or rang and others will be preparing you for some decisions which as an adult you have to take responsibility for. Remember this is not a dance club you're going to be at, it's a place with some seriously focused people and you want some of that. If not then dance, or juggling, or cheerleading is OK too.
Back to my daughter. I realise that she already had strength of character, she learnt how to deal with bullies and she was already awesome. Martial arts helped a little along the way ;-)
And a last thought; think of Martial arts like yoga - it should be part of your life but not consume it and it should be a positive and challenging influence. In my opinion!
Next time I'll give you an introduction into how to prepare to evaluate your experience to have the best experience.
So last time we set the scene on why you'd want to start martial arts. The first and most important is to understand why you're going and for this I want you to be fully prepared.
Normally you've talked to someone, seen a movie, been in an incident but something has spurred you to a decision to make the move. It is a known fact that some people have to see something from 7 to 16 times before they take action so don't worry if you haven't made the move yet.
Now make the decision. It's your decision. You must evaluate and take this decision seriously as you're going to pay money and spend your time.
So let's prepare by checking your pre-conceptions which we will elaborate on in future blogs.
1) Attend and evaluate your first lesson. It should be free or up to £5. Clubs tend to make the first class free to make it easier for you to understand all the benefits!
2) Bullies can't be fought with violence but they can with confidence. Most Martial Arts generate confidence better than anything else but be aware some are false confidence.
3) Fitness is a by-product of martial arts but not your only objective otherwise you'd join a gym (dull!).
4)You're going to have to turn up regularly or deliver your child at the right time. If you don't then be prepared for press-ups or a dressing down. Remember this isn't a dance club.
5) It's not going to be easy to get your black belt and it shouldn't be. That's all.
6) You're going to have to buy uniform. If you played Sunday football and turned up in your favourite Premier team's colours you'd be thought of as odd. It's the same here. You shouldn't pay more than 15 for a top and 20 for trousers. Don't buy a pack - you don't need it yet. Turning up in a crazy T-Shirt is seriously disrespectful. Plain black or white will do.
7) Learning a thousand techniques or dancing on the floor clinched to another man isn't self-defence. But it is good fun and that's fine. If you want real violence then there are some serious places you can go but you won't become a better person for it. It is art but you'll be punched in the face often and that's not great; unless you like that kind of thing.
8) It won't be like your old club or your perception of a club. Let it go, and enjoy it.
9) If the person often running the class is lower than a brown belt or is not a senior student then RUN! - don't look back. They are what we call a McDojo.
10) Respect your instructor, even if you don't agree with what they say.
Next time we'll take you through everything you need to know on evaluating your first lesson.