Martial Arts School
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Taking classes at a martial arts school is an excellent way to improve your fitness while developing valuable self-defense skills. While many people associate martial arts training with childhood, thinking that it's something people do when they're young, the truth is that people of all ages enroll in these classes and it's never too late to learn martial arts techniques.
Choosing a Martial Art
There are dozens of martial arts, and just as many variations within each discipline. The best way to choose the right martial art is to try out a bunch of different ones and see which one you like the best. Picking up some martial arts videos from a store or your local library can help you get a grasp of the basic techniques. However, it isn't always feasible to try out multiple martial arts before committing to classes, so there are a few tips you can use to figure out which martial art might be right for you.
Karate classes are popular with martial arts students of all ages, but certain arts are better suited to certain body types. Judo, for example, is an excellent choice if you've got a short, stocky physique, since it's geared towards throwing techniques and favors people with low centers of gravity.
Jujitsu is also a good choice for shorter people, regardless of your body frame. Quick, wiry types who would normally be at a disadvantage against taller, bigger and stronger opponents also favor jujitsu because of its emphasis on speed and skill. Because it is heavy on fast, high-kicking attacks and defenses, taekwondo is a very good choice for people with tall, slender builds. Also, keep in mind that you're not limited to martial arts if you want to improve your ability to defend yourself; boxing classes also provide a great workout as well as fighting skills.
Selecting a Martial Arts Instruction Center
The first thing you'll want to do is check with any martial arts schools you're considering to ensure that they're registered with the discipline's national or international governing body. This ensures that instructional standards will be in place, and also that your advancement from belt to belt will be universally recognized.
After gaining permission, stop by a class or two to watch. Pay attention to the manner in which the instructor interacts with the students, and how much personalized instruction is available. Do the students seem to be enjoying and challenging themselves?
Finally, remember that while martial arts are all about discipline and mastery of form, classes can still be casual. Some students thrive in casual learning environments, while others benefit from rigid, inflexible class structures. You should make an honest evaluation of your own learning style and think about what type of environment you learn best in, then seek a school and an instructor that can meet your needs.