Martial Arts for health - any physical sport or general exercise programme contributes to health and well being. Add to this the discipline and focus inherent in many martial arts and it's little wonder that people are attracted to the arts as a remedy for the stresses and tensions of modern living. Through these disciplines, many millions of practising martial artists the world over are actively improving their health, abilities, confidence and awareness.
Martial Arts for sport - many martial arts have a sport element where you can compete in club, national or if you're fortunate, international competition. Martial arts like Judo and Tae Kwon Do have Olympic events while others, like Karate and Jujitsu, have championships organised by their (many) respective governing bodies. Then there's the professional combat sports like UFC, K-1 and the Kickboxing and Thai Boxing circuits. Obviously these professional sports require an extra degree of dedication on the part of the individual , strict training regimes coupled with a superior diet and of course a higher pain threshold!
Martial Arts for self defence - many martial arts evolved on the ancient battlefields. Military in origin, they slowly evolved over the centuries into specialised schools which preserved the techniques inherent in the art. These techniques form the basis of many traditional martial arts practised world wide today. These battlefield honed techniques, are now used in the pursuance of self defence. Many 'modern' self defence systems, those that don't aspire to be martial arts in the traditional sense, continue to utilise techniques derived from these original ancient sources, fine tuning them for modern use.
Martial Arts for self discipline - the martial arts are about butt-kicking, violence, mayhem. using your skills to teach someone a lesson, learning how to maim or kill - RIGHT? A sad and ignorant misconception derived from....who knows? The movies perhaps, the media? Truth is, Martial artists are among the least aggressive and brutish people in society. Martial artists are unlikely to initiate a violent or aggressive exchange preferring instead to, 'walk away.' With a physical confrontation often being viewed as the last resort by most and a a failure by others.
Junior Black Belts - no nine year old black belts at any of our clubs! Minimum age requirement to be a black belt candidate with us is 18 years.
Grades - some clubs don't issue grades others do. We grade, but not on a regular basis - how long from white to black belt? Seven to ten years.
Sport Ju-jitsu - a fast paced sport, blending a variety of fighting skills. Although owing its conception to Ju-jitsu, the sport is not hampered by 'style' or 'system,' and the skills employed can be found in a variety of martial arts - want to know more? - click here
Choosing a school - so just how do you go about choosing a martial arts school? How do you know that it's reputable, that the instructors trustworthy and safe? Governing bodies and associations abound in the martial arts world, there's no all seeing all knowing single governing authority that you can approach for advice. Ultimately, your decision will be based on what you see, what you're told by the instructor and by word of mouth.
Speak to the instructor ask him about the club. How long has it been running? How many students does he have? Ask him to explain a little about what is taught. There are so many martial arts styles around that you need to know the specific style to help you with your research; generic answers like 'we teach karate' won't help with you much, so ask the instructor what style.
What's the organisation that the club belongs to? Make a note so that you can research them as well. If the answer is 'I don't belong to an organisation' be wary. Most clubs are associated to an organisation for the insurance cover. This doesn't mean that no organisation equals no insurance, martial arts insurance cover for student and instructor can be purchased by the individual. Just ensure that the instructor and their students are suitably covered. Training without insurance cover is of course your choice, but any reputable club would not allow it.
Ask the instructor if you can sit in on a class to watch. If he refuses, on the grounds that 'his secret ninja death touch techniques can only be demonstrated to members of the club,' avoid the temptation to call him a prat leave quickly and inform anyone that's interested to avoid at all costs.
What qualifications to teach does the instructor have? A black belt doesn't necessarily equal a competent or qualified teacher. What if the club doesn't use or recognise grades? It would be unfair to dismiss a non black belt wearing instructor merely because he has no belt - research, ask and question. If you like what they teach, what you're told and feel safe then train with him.
However, if they are advertising themselves as a genuine black belt then they should be able to substantiate that, if not, and they're a green belt masquerading as a black then any grades they test and pass will be worthless.
Of course, the proof in how good any pudding is, is the taste. So have a go, join in a training session. Try them for 2 or 3 weeks and if you're not happy move on...
It make take a while, but you'll eventually find the right club for you or your children.
Training with us - we take students from 7 years and upwards with classes at 4 venues in the Luton and Dunstable areas of Bedfordshire. See our 'training venues' and 'how do I start' pages' for more information.
Got a question - click here for our frequently asked questions database and if you can't find the answer email us.
IAJJ Newsletter - Latest club newsletter click here
Tradition or Revolution? - tradition shows us where we’ve been, who we were and points us in the direction of where to go. It’s a way of recording and preserving history and provides a solid foundation on which to build. Tradition fails us - in martial arts terms - when we rely on it as the all encompassing rule book of how things should be: ‘we do it this way because this is how it’s always been done.’ Even when, in our own hearts, we know there’s room for improvement or change.....
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