Aikido, Muay Thai, Shotogun Karate, Kung Fu, Tae Kwon Do... which one?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by ravenvii, Jan 12, 2008.

  1. ravenvii macrumors 604

    ravenvii

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    #1
    I'm looking into taking up martial arts to occupy myself and get myself into fit shape. I'm considering Aikido, Shotogun, Kung Fu, Muay Thai, and to a lesser extent, TKD.

    I think my favorite one is Aikido and Shotogun.

    I want a art that will put me into a good shape. I'm not looking to fight, nor do I really need any self-defense. It's just something to get me into shape and hopefully enjoy. Wushu sounds cool, but I'm not sure about that one, heh.

    I'm wondering about any of your views on any of the styles

    Also, any recommendations for schools/dojos/whatever in San Francisco?
     
  2. Raid macrumors 68020

    Raid

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    #2
    Well if getting into shape is what you really want to accomplish then I say go for Kung Fu or Muay Thai... those are two very physically demanding martial arts! Kung Fu might be a better art as it promotes both flexibility and strength and it's not so hard on the joints the Muay Thai would be!

    While I know where your coming from, (I study Taijutsu to keep active myself) you still might find you need to supplement some weight training, depending on the kind of training/exercise you get from the dojo.

    P.S. ( I've wanted to say this to you for a while) The arrow on your 'tar is pointing the wrong way! :)
     
  3. aaronlow5000 macrumors newbie

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    #3
    Seeing that you are in the San Francisco area, you might want to check out: http://www.sfshotokan.com/ I study this style of Shotokan. While I do not think you can just go to practice and get all the fitness you need out of it, I like it a lot. You have to practice by yourself at home, etc. If you're interested, there's more info at www.ska.org
    -Aaron
     
  4. NAG macrumors 68030

    NAG

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    #4
    I did TaeKwonDo. And since this is the internet I'll give you a simplistic summary of it. Outside of all the normal martial arts stuff (discipline, physical training, etc...) it is mostly kicking.

    PS: I thought I'd be more helpful. Don't pick the style, pick the group. Look for a group that matches your needs and will help you learn (both physically and mentally).
     
  5. ravenvii thread starter macrumors 604

    ravenvii

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    #5
    From looking around, those classes are expensive. I'm wondering if it's worth it taking martial arts classes at the YMCA? It's so much cheaper, but I wonder if it's another of "you get what you pay for"?
     
  6. NAG macrumors 68030

    NAG

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    #6
    A group at the Y might be okay. Might not. It is like any other school. Shop around and find a group that is good for you.
     
  7. Greasyman macrumors member

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    #7
    I've taken karate, tkd, akido, and krav maga. Never got really good at any of them but did enough to know what they're about.

    Krav maga is by far the best work out, very intense. IMO,it's also by far the most practical and effective for real world self defense. Picture UFC, MMA style fighting without any rules. It's all about practical self defense and beating the crap out of your attacker(s).

    Akido was on the opposite end of the spectrum. Very graceful and gentle, but unless you're really expert not all that practical. It was also not very strenuous. It's kind of fun but not for me.

    Tkd and karate are generally similar, though there are many styles. Some schools teach a very traditonal style, other's a more modern style. Some stuff isn't very practical, some is. The workout and skills learned really vary from school to school.

    I never did Kung Fu but I know it's similar to karate and tkd, but tends to be a bit more graceful and acrobatic, though it really depends on which of the many styles you do. I believe wushu is one of the more acrobatic and flashy styles, very impressive to watch and looks like you need to be really athletic to do well.

    I've also taken a couple of tae-bo or cardio kickboxing style classes, which were very intense and a great workout, though you don't really learn to fight in those classes.

    Try to go to a school that doesn't make you sign a long term contract, just go month to month, that way if you don't like it you can quit and try another style or school. Most schools let you do a trial class, but it can be hard to tell with only one class if you'll like it.
     
  8. rendezvouscp macrumors 68000

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    #8
    I took Tae Kwon Do at a YMCA and I would definitely suggest that you go to a class and sit in if you're interested. The school basically rented the time slot from the YMCA and had no particular ties to the YMCA.

    I'll echo what's been said before: it's probably best to just sit in on a class or two to get a feel for the school, people, and the workout to see what is the best fit for you.
    -Chasen
     
  9. adroit macrumors 6502

    adroit

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    #9
    I took TKD and Muay Thai.

    I found TKD to be somewhat boring, and it wasn't a good workout at all. Mainly just practicing the moves and the fights wasn't really any better either.

    Muay Thai was my favorite. Very intensive and it was a great work out. A great way to learn your strength and flexibility at the same time. And definitely very useful in the real world.

    Several of my friends took Akido and said that it is mainly learning the graceful moves. Probably not a good workout either.
     
  10. Kamera RAWr macrumors 65816

    Kamera RAWr

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    #10
    I gotta throw my .02 in! Kung-Fu is a very effective and well developed system... any of them... Wing Chun, San Soo, Tiger, Crane, etc. The list truly does go on, haha. I did Wing Chun for a while and enjoyed it immensely. It has a lot of practical applications. Its definitely more "in fighting" you might say. Always closing the gap and getting close to an opponent. I always felt in Wing Chun one goal was to get in VERY close, inside the average untrained fighter's comfort zone. The sticky hands exercise is wonderful for close quarters combat. You eventually learn to do this blind folded and are supposed to both attack and defend based on pure feeling (physical, I mean).
     
  11. ravenvii thread starter macrumors 604

    ravenvii

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    #11
    I did some looking around, turns out the YMCA isn't such a good deal after all.

    I've narrowed it down to Aikido for now. I've wanted to get into Aikido for a long time, so I figured I'd finally get into it now. And I'm in an incredibly bad shape, Aikido would probably be a good workout for mw for now :D

    I'm very interested in Muay Thai and Wushu as well, so I'll probably get into those later down the road to diversify.

    But small things first ;)

    I've narrowed the dojos down to three dojos (mainly because of cost. The high-priced dojos have a high likelihood of being "McDojos" I hear).

    • San Francisco Aikikai (looks like the more traditional of the three, and associated with the New York Aikikai, which I visited a couple years ago and really liked)
    • Noe Valley Aikido (teaches Iwarma (spelling is probably wrong) school of Aikido which has a heavier focus on weapons, which is awesome, and they train weapons at a park, which is cool)
    • Golden Gate Kokikai (they didn't say the price on this one, and it's at a YMCA, but it's literally a block from my apartment, so I'll go check it out on Tuesday just to see).

    I'll visit one tomorrow, another on Tuesday and then last one on Wednesday and then join the one I like the most.
     
  12. MacHipster macrumors 6502

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    #12
    I took Tae Kwon Do for a number of years as a kid, but as others have mentioned, it is the least practical for self defense. As an adult, I researched different styles and schools in my area (at the time) and chose Shotokan Karate. My reason was that the head of the school was a Master and was two steps removed from the founder of that style. Yes, he was very old, but he was still in excellent shape.

    The problem with martial arts is that many schools are scams. You have to be mindful and research the instructer's past. There are signs to see if a school is shady or not, such as making you sign long-term contracts, having to buy equipment directly from them, won't show you their credentials. Many of these scam schools are run by people who took a few years worth of a style and then opened up their own school without truly being qualified. Also, check to see if they're backed by a reputable organization. The great thing about public classes, such as classes offered at universities or local public places, is that they do thorough background checks on instructers. It's a good place to start, I think.

    That was long, I'm sorry. Good luck!
     
  13. Counterfit macrumors G3

    Counterfit

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    #13
    My brother does capoeira in the Boston area. I've seen a few demonstrations of it, including one on a pedestrian street in Ottowa. Very nifty.
    I recommend that or krav maga. :D
     
  14. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #14
    Well you're in SF, so consider yourself lucky. SF has one of the highest dojo/resident ratios anywhere, or so I've been told.

    My experience is with Ed Parker-style karate. Very efficient, very effective. Personally, I like my art to come with a healthy dose of self-defense capability. And I like that the studio I was in was very into teaching the "modern" weapons - clubs, knives, guns - but also kept the more traditional weapons around.

    Look for an instructor that is amazingly good. These are often found in the least likely places. Small hole-in-the-wall martial arts studios are where you often find the best teachers. Ask around if you know anyone taking any classes already. Any decent school will let you watch a couple of classes before charging you anything. Take advantage of this. Observe the class. Watch the interaction between instructor and students. See who teaches the classes - often the head instructor doesn't teach all (or even most) classes.

    Meet some of the other students. Assess their personalities. Does the studio attract people of similar martial interest to you? Some schools attract the "wrong" kind of martial art students, and some instructors are OK with that. See what range of experience the students have. It's nice to see a broad range, although there will always be fewer higher-ranked students than there are n00bs.

    Most definitely. Anyone can teach martial arts at the Y. It's best to seek out a true master.
     
  15. Marble macrumors 6502a

    Marble

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    #15
    You'll love Aikido. The noncompetitive aspect of the art often translates into the social side of training. You're a lot less likely to feel threatened or bullied at an Aikido dojo, in my opinion.
     
  16. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #16
    You shouldn't feel threatened or bullied at any dojo. If you do, the instructor isn't doing their job (or is deliberately fostering such an attitude among their students), and you should be looking for a different studio.
     
  17. NAG macrumors 68030

    NAG

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    #17
    Yeah, I'm not familiar with any martial art that makes it a point to beat you up.
     
  18. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #18
    Oh, you really should. Those are the best ones! I would leave class almost every time with new bruises, cuts, and scrapes. And would have learned something valuable from each one.
     
  19. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #19
    They know that's one reason why people go. They just don't want to advertise it as a way to learn how to kick ass. ;)


    Just know or recognise that some forms of martial arts is very "linear"....you may learn to defend yourself and wait for an attack, but it's very back and forth, not side to side. I learned Shotokan for 2 years, and Goju-ryu for 2 years. Both are karate, and both seemed very linear. TKD is supposed to be MORE linear, although TKD students may give me an earful and tell me otherwise.
     
  20. Greasyman macrumors member

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    #20
    I did exactly one class of capoeira. It's very difficult and you have to be very athletic to be good at it, kind of like break dancing. Unfortunately I'm not very athletic.

    On the other hand, while it helps to be athletic, krav maga is simple and straight forward enough that you can be fairly effective even if you're out of shape. You don't have to leap into the air and spin around and kick your attacker twice in the head before you land, you just punch them in the face and kick them in the balls. So easy even I could do it.
     
  21. Teh Don Ditty macrumors G4

    Teh Don Ditty

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    #21
    I used to do Aikido way back when. After reading this thread, I've been inspired to go back.

    Thank you. :)
     
  22. ToddW macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    Some tips about choosing the right martial art for you:

    -make sure you are able to view a class first before you sign up for anything
    -sign no contracts, this isn't a gym, its a way of life
    -in todays world it is all about self defense, and preparing yourself mentally

    If the right dojo is chosen you can find something that will help you in your life on a day to day basis and help you condition your mind and body for anything that may come your way. It is really hard but well worth it!
     
  23. khammack macrumors regular

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    Portland, OR
    #23
    I've done both judo and aikido. I found judo to be a better workout. I'm currently doing aikido, not judo. Much of what is said here about aikido is true; it's more graceful, less strenuous. Also, I've tried aikido more than once. I didn't appreciate aikido until I had experience in other arts. It's like a "meta-martial-art"; it's not really self contained and it is more about principles than techniques.
     
  24. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #24
    Japanese arts (and their descendents) tend toward the linear, while Chinese arts (and their descendents) tend toward the circular. In general terms, of course. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

    I always appreciated that the Kenpo Karate I studied borrowed aspects from both.
     
  25. Marble macrumors 6502a

    Marble

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    #25
    Not sure I agree with you about that distinction between Japanese and Chinese arts. Perhaps Aikido is one of the exceptions you mentioned, but it would be a big exception! It's just full of spirals, circles, and pivots.
     

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