Martial Arts: “Should I do it?”

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Martial Arts: “Should I do it?”

Driving through Anytown, USA, one might see a Karate School and think something like “Should I do it?”, or “Is it worth it?”  The simple answer is: Yes.  There are things that you need to look for in undertaking Martial Arts to keep yourself safe and to ensure that your Instructor is competent, but yes.  Martial Arts is an extremely valuable tool in your arsenal of self defense weapons.  The argument can easily be made that it is the most important Self-Defense decision that you can make.

There is always an excuse or even logical-sounding reason why you CAN’T do something….anything.  And, as with any physical activity that you have to generally pay for, you are more than able to come up with 3,471 reasons why starting or continuing in Martial Arts is not important, or just downright not needed.  So, we will skip that long list of reasons why you need not join a Martial Arts Club, and start on the list of reasons why you SHOULD! shaking-hand-befiore-match

Reason number one: YOU.  This is the only reason on my list, as it is all-encompassing, simple and true.  You are the reason why you should undertake Martial Arts.  Martial Arts will help you with, train you in, and improve upon:  Self-Respect, Self Esteem, Self-Image, Personal Defense Ability, Self-Confidence, Physical Fitness, Goal-Reaching, Personal Achievement, Situational Awareness, Humility, Spirituality, Respect for Others, Directly (positively) affects heart health, Mental Acuity, Increases Energy Levels, Coordination, Focus, and the list goes on.  The point here is YOU.  Do this for you, as it is literally the only reason you need.

What you need to know about Martial Arts is that there are thousands of different styles and thousands of schools out there.  You need to find one that fits you.  I hear this question a LOT: “How much is it?”  This is a valid question.  You need to find a school that fits your budget.  But more importantly, you need to find a school that suits you and your needs.  One of the biggest tell-tale signs of a school that is focused on money more than Martial Arts is the 10 or 11 year old Black Belt.  I know that this will offend some Martial Artists out there, and it is not meant to.  It is a simple fact.  A Black Belt is something that is taken very seriously as a point of life achievement, and I personally do not think that young children should be given the chance to earn a Black Belt until they meet a certain age, perhaps 16 or so.

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Another thing to look at is the main Instructor’s involvement and interaction with the Student and the School.  Is he or she aloof and detached, or does the Instructor invite you to work out, engage you, and generally take interest in your betterment?  After all, that is why you are there.  Find out about Credentials, though not as important to me: Is the Instructor Certified to teach?  There are some schools where the Instructor is not part of a larger Certifying body, and in that case, I tend to look at Instructor ability.  However, credentials are a very important aspect of an Instructor’s resume, and ANY school that is not accredited is a school that you should take an extra strong look at.  Lastly, does the school offer a trial period?  A lot of schools offer a free class, a few classes, a week of classes, two weeks or even a month.  Take advantage of that and USE IT before you commit.  Make sure that the School will meet your Self-Defense needs!

As with any endeavor that targets your ability to defend yourself, it will take work.  Hard work.  And the harder you work, the more dedicated that you are, the more you will get out of it.  Don’t let yourself talk yourself out of it.  Learning and studying Martial Arts is immensely valuable.  The reason to go for it is YOU!

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Andrew Patterson
Andrew Patterson is a life-long Martial Artist, holding a 5th Degree Black Belt in American Kenpo Karate, 1st Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo, a U.S. Army Infantry Veteran, and is the State Representative for the International Kenpo Karate Academies in Oregon.
  • Melissa Alyse

    I guess my main question would be is it necessary to learn and study Martial Arts as a lifelong hobby? Or does it just become a part of your life permanently? I think the main reason I would embark on the journey to learning Martial Arts would be for self defence…so I wonder if I would only commit to learning a certain amount or if I would continue on with it for a long time. Is it common for people to sort of fall off the wagon?

    • Andrew Patterson

      Well, I suppose that any level of training would benefit you, as long as the Instruction is apt, and you apply it as necessary. But Martial Arts is a life long study, and it is not all about fighting off masked ninjas and other types of assassins. Martial Arts is very important in its positive functionality in anyone’s life, from the young boy that is a little too hyperactive, to the older lady in a nursing home that is having trouble with her mobility and everyone in between. Some people are only interested in the weekend seminar here and there. As a Martial Arts Instructor, I would encourage you to take it further that that and commit to a life long study of it, as it will benefit you immensely, and it is an extremely fun challenge. Thank you for your reply! I appreciate you taking the time to read my article!

  • I wholeheartedly agree with your sentiment here Andrew, the main reason to do Martial Arts should be for YOU. The personal reasons may vary considerably, it is rarely just as simplistic as ‘learning how to fight’. For some it is confidence building, for some it provides routine and structure, for some it might be to gain some self discipline in life and others may enjoy the physical endurance and control it fosters and of course there are those who learn for the self defense aspects. There are probably many more reasons than I can think of but the self improvement that each reason can bring is totally worth it!

    • Andrew Patterson

      Thank you for the response! I appreciate it.