Hobbies are a great way to spend your time and improve the quality of your life. Martial Arts is one such hobby. Getting the hang of a new hobby is never easy. Things get worse if you have no idea how it’s done, what you need to do it, or where even to start.
Whatever the issue you are facing, this ultimate guide to the martial arts hobby is here to help.
What Is Martial Arts All About?
You may know the fast-paced, slick Jason Bourne moves, inspiring Karate-Kid style kicks or the legendary Chuck Norris fights. All of that is martial arts.
Why Are They So Different?
Well, that’s simply because martial arts encompass many different disciplines. Simply put, martial arts is the art of fighting. That’s to be expected since it was named after the Roman God of War. It puts together a series of fighting moves that you can learn and practice.
What makes martial arts different from any other form of fighting is that it has a specific code, which means you can’t just pick any random moves. Moreover, it encourages disciplined fighting, not just aimlessly throwing punches.
Martial arts is a popular sport, but it comes in many different styles. You may want to know what these are before you settle on the one that suits you best.
Just like any other form of art, there are many ways of doing it. From Karachi, Taekwondo all the way to Mixed Martial Arts, there is a whole host of fight forms to choose from.
There are three primary forms of martial arts:
This involves going at your opponent and striking them with a part of your body. This could mean punching, kicking, elbowing, or all three. Some of the striking martial arts include Boxing, Muay Thai, Karate, or Kung fu.
Grappling is mostly about trying to throw your opponent to the ground. It involves grappling on any part of their body and getting them to fall to the ground. Here we can talk about martial arts like Sumo, Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling, and Shuai Chiao.
Some forms of martial arts specialize in the art of using weapons such as swords or sticks. Examples here include Kendo, Bojutsu, and Fencing.
What Makes Martial Arts Such A Great Hobby?
Apart from the apparent advantage that martial arts gives you so many options to choose from, there are many other reasons why the fighting arts makes such a great pastime activity.
It helps to keep your body in shape. It might even help you lose weight, plus it is a great way to make your body increase endurance and boost your metabolism. Martial arts usually involve a lot of physical exertion, which helps to build stamina.
If you have ever been in a situation where you couldn’t defend yourself or your family, you probably felt helpless. Martial arts is a great way to take your power back and learn how to fight back in life-threatening situations.
Feel like a hero
It’s one thing watching the great martial arts moves by heroes in the movies. It’s a whole other feeling when you get to do it yourself. You’ll no doubt enjoy the feeling that martial arts can give you. You will soon be feeling like a hero yourself once you get the hang of it.
Martial arts is an enjoyable activity. As you immerse yourself more and more into doing it, you will indeed find yourself having loads of fun.
One of the most incredible things about martial arts is that it’s not just about the physical workout. Your brain does a lot of work too. In the end, you increase your ability to handle stress, think clearly, and make more positive decisions.
Which Martial Art Is Best for Me?
With so many different martial arts forms to choose from, how do you settle for one (or a few)? There’s really no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to martial arts. What works for one person might not work for everyone.
Finding the right form of martial arts for you is an individual process. It involves your personality and what you intend to achieve from martial arts. The right one for you will depend on several factors, like how often you want to practice and how comfortable you are in groups.
It might be best to shop around a little bit until you find what feels most comfortable for you. Most gyms/dojos/schools will allow you to lurk around and watch the sessions. Some will even let you into a session for a week or so, free of charge.
So, take advantage of this and try out a few martial arts to see what you enjoy the most. It goes without saying that if you don’t enjoy it, you will not stick to it.
Are All Martial Arts Spiritual?
Whether you are looking to find your connection with the force or need some self-discipline training, you will want to know if there is anything more to martial arts.
While some art forms are deeply rooted in the spiritual, not all martial arts are practiced spiritually. As they evolve, some of the mystical aspects are waning off.
The long and short of it is, martial arts can be profoundly spiritual or not at all. Some forms of fighting are just about physical activity. Others will delve more into your connection with your inner being and becoming one with the universe.
Wherever you fall on the spiritual spectrum, you are bound to find something that works for you.
How Can I Learn Martial Arts?
Once you choose the right fight form for you, you will want to start learning. Understandably, you might have questions about where to begin. You may be wondering whether you need to take a class or if you can learn at home.
The great news is you can learn either way.
Learn martial arts at home
It’s possible to learn martial arts at home by watching trainers or buying an online course. You can find some handy resources on YouTube. All you have to do is to choose an instructor who appeals to you.
Do a little bit of research about what they are talking about, check out a few testimonials, and see if it’s a good fit. The great thing about learning at home is that you can pick and choose whichever you like with no commitment.
That way, you can experiment with different martial arts before you settle for a specific one.
You can start by practicing some moves and recording yourself. While you do so, you can playback to see if you’re doing it right.
Sometimes, having a structure to follow works better, so an online course will help you learn faster. On Udemy’s online learning platform, you can find mini-courses both free and paid that will get you started.
Many other online courses can help you learn martial art from the comfort of your own home. For instance, Global Martial Arts University is a great place to start looking for training and resources. There are many other courses available online which are well worth looking into.
Learn Martial Arts in class
While individual training helps, it’s not always the best way. It may be a more effective way of learning martial arts by attending classes. In class, you can put theory to practice and get the chance to face a real opponent.
What is more, as you practice with a real-life coach, they will correct you, which will help you to learn faster. On top of that, learning together with other people will give you accountability partners.
Who Can Do Martial Arts?
Martial arts is a universal sport; anyone, anywhere, anytime, can learn martial arts. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how you look. As long as you are committed to doing it, you’re good to go.
You don’t have to be in good shape when you start, although it does make it easier. You will learn the ropes and get toned as you go.
You might even be thinking martial arts is only for those with six-packs and big builds. We’ll have you know it’s not. Some forms of martial arts like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu teach the art of self-defense for the scrawny.
What Gear Do I Need for Martial Arts?
What you need depends mostly on the martial arts you choose. Here are some of the gear pieces you will need.
A Uniform or Gi’s
This is probably the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of martial arts; the white robe-like uniforms. You will need one of these in most martial arts.
However, hold off on buying until you settle for a style. The type of materials used, and the strength of the uniform depends mostly on what it is used for.
For sports that focus on grappling, such as Aikido, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and Judo, you will need an explicitly designed outfit for this type of fight form. Grappling uniforms are meant to withstand being pulled and tugged on all the time.
Because of that, the Gi you will need is made very differently from the ones in the other martial arts.
In the traditional striking martial art, you will require a Gi designed to be flexible in letting you move around easily. The material will not have to be as strong as for grappling sports, but it has to be breathable and comfortable.
For the non-traditional martial arts like boxing and MMA, you may not need the traditional Gi. Therefore, if the prospect of a uniform is not for you, then you could give the modern martial arts a try.
See the latest Martial Arts gear here on Amazon
While the risk of getting hurt is usually not high, you will need some gear for extra protection.
Here is a list of padding equipment that you may have to buy:
The exact protection you will need will depend on the art form you choose to engage in. But this essential list is good to get you started.
Remember, you don’t have to wait to buy all of these before you start. And as a newbie, you likely won’t have to use many items. There’s very little chance that you begin with the actual sparring before you pick up the basics. So you will be good to go with just the groin and mouth protector and then work your way as you go.
For most of the striking sports, you will need a pair of gloves designed for the sport. For example, if you go with boxing, you will need some boxing gloves. It’s important to note that martial arts gloves are all specialized. Therefore, only buy when you’ve picked the sport for you.
For martial arts like karate, you will need a pair of specialized karate shoes for your feet. These are designed to prevent slipping.
The belt is used to show the practitioner’s proficiency level. A white belt is the starting point for all martial artists, so you will need to get yourself one of those. Once you get into the rhythm of things, you will start to move up in color. The next belt you will progress to depends on the activity you are doing.
But don’t buy the belt until you fully subscribe. They are also slightly different belt colors for each sport.
Some martial arts forms use specific weapons, such as swords, nunchakus, escrima sticks, or fans. You can purchase these online.
However, it’s not highly recommended that you teach yourself weapon arts at home. It’s safer to do this under the guidance of trained professionals.
That being said, your first purchase as an absolute beginner should probably be a wooden sword before you progress to the real thing. Yes, we get it you’re excited, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Whether you want to train at home or equip your home gym for extra practice, you will need some home gear. These will include things like training mats or punching bags. If cost is an issue, you can buy an empty punching bag and fill it yourself.
Some Tips to Get Started
What to look out for in a training gym
Research your local area to look around for gyms and clubs in your area that have martial arts. Visit them and have a feel around the ambiance of the people and place. Here are some things that you should watch out for:
Martial arts involve a lot of sweating, and let’s face it if the gym is not concerned about proper cleaning up, the place is going to stink and might just put you off your new-found hobby. So before you sign up, have a look around and see how well maintained the place is.
How do students relate to each other?
While this may be hard to judge initially, if you visit the place two or three times, you will see how respectful other students are to each other and the instructor.
This is important because you won’t feel comfortable to ask or try out the new moves unless you are in a safe place. No one wants to learn anything new with a bunch of bullies.
If you look around the gym for a day or two, you should be able to tell how the instructor behaves. If they are overly aggressive or just downright abusive, you may want to pick another place.
Another thing to consider when you choose your sensei, is if their teaching style matches your needs. For example, if their style is deeply spiritual and you are just looking for self-defense, it might not be the best place for you to be.
If you want to do martial arts as a hobby, you’re probably not thinking about going into it competitively, so you need to choose a place that will allow you to grow into it without pushing you too hard.
The many benefits of martial arts come through practice, training, and sticking with it. You are not going to build up that stamina in the first day or week. This is why you need to be passionate about it.
What’s more, you need to remember to take it slowly. Especially if you are self-training, going for 6 hours of practice a day in your first week is a bad idea; you could hurt yourself badly.
We get why you would want to do it. It’s exciting. But it would be best if you pace yourself. As with any other physical activity, grow into it progressively.
If you’re going to enjoy this new hobby, you need to maintain the nutrition to match the physical activity. You may want to include some good supplements in your diet. Remember to consult with both your trainer and your doctor to see what works best for you.
Can I Still Do Martial Arts on A Tight Schedule?
You don’t have to commit to doing martial arts every day. Even if you can spare an hour a day three times a week, you can keep up and have fun while you’re at it.
If you decide to take classes, they will most likely have a tight schedule for weekly lessons. However, most schools don’t fix a time for you to attend, so you switch things around until you come up with a schedule.
If you have a busy work schedule, it might work better to fix a plan for your martial arts training and stick to it. It’s also a great idea to look for a place near your home, preferably where there’s no commute. That way, you can find it easier to stick to your schedule.
There you have it; all you need to know about starting a hobby in martial arts.
Start digging around and see what works for you. Once you do, get right on it, you’ll be well on your way to reaping the fulfilling life that comes with martial arts.