by Tom Cako
What should a beginner consider when deciding to start the path of a martial artist? What are some questions they should ask themselves?
Why do I really want to start?
Are you looking for something to get in shape, looking to learn self defence? Do you need structure in your life? Discipline? Looking to excel in a “sport”, wanting to be competitive? Just curious?
These are some questions you should ask yourself before you begin. Many Senseis come from different back grounds and disciples and have their own philosophies on how things should be done. Find a dojo which you think will coincide with what you think you want. This might change down the line.
2. What type of Discipline are you looking for?
There are no better or worse martial arts! In the end I believe they are the same and just “different ways up the same mountain.” If you’re looking for striking, punches and kicks you might look for something like Karate, Taekwondo and Kick Boxing etc…. If grappling is what you’re interested in wrestling or Judo might be a consideration. If you interested in something gentler, maybe Tai Chi or Kung Fu could be an option. Educate yourself and talk to current students of the discipline and ask questions.
3. Picking a Dojo (school)
This is a very important step. This is where you will be spending your time and learning not just technique but building character as well. All school dojo’s can be different. Some follow a very traditional and strict regime in the classes. Some have a more team comradely going on. Some even have a very “relaxed” approach. Go to the Dojo, watch the Sensei teach, observe the students and see if this is what you want to be a part of. Also, something to consider is the location of the Dojo. Having a dojo closer rather then further will help you be more consistent with your training.