Nowadays, there are a lot of martial arts to choose from. But how to actually start the martial art you want?
In general, the easiest way to start any martial art for beginners is to first get to know the martial art. After you know the basics of martial art, start looking for a gym to attend. After comparing and choosing the right gym, all you have to do is show up to classes.
Let’s dive deeper into how this can be done step-by-step. We will also go through some tips when choosing the right martial art to start.
How do I start learning martial arts?
When it comes to starting and learning martial arts, there are really no right or wrong ways to go. Some people prefer doing it on their own, while others like to be instructed all the way along their learning process.
Next, we will go through the different steps that you could go through when first starting to learn martial arts. These steps are doable, no matter what the reasons are why you start martial arts. Some could start martial arts for self-defense purposes, while others just want a hobby or to stay in shape.
1. Choose the right martial art for you
The first step when it comes to learning martial arts is choosing the right martial art to train. This can depend on a lot of things, and the decision might be easy if you live in a smaller city where is only one or two martial arts available to train.
After all, the biggest barrier is the distance between your home and the martial arts gym. On top of that, other factors could be, whether you prefer grappling art or something that includes punches and kicks.
The third factor is how suitable the martial art is for self-defense. That is a reason why a lot of people start training in martial arts.
Then the fourth factor, is how well the martial art is suitable for staying in shape or for weight loss. All these factors should be considered when deciding on the martial art. I have a small cheatsheet for you below, to help you choose.
Grappling martial arts:
- Brazilian jiu-jitsu
Martial arts that include punches and kicks:
Best martial arts for self-defense:
- Krav Maga
- More best martial arts for self-defense in this post. (with explanations)
All of the martial arts are suitable for staying in shape and losing weight. In the end, it comes down to how hard you train and your eating habits.
Now, at last, I think you have a martial art in mind that you would like to start training. There are a lot more than I included in my list but these are the most common that I have seen.
2. Learn the basics of the martial art
After you have a certain martial art in mind, the next step is to start learning the basics and the background of martial art.
This can be easily done by watching some YouTube videos or reading online from different websites, such as mmaturtle.com (biased opinion), but you get the point. Learn the essentials of martial art, before you sign up for a class.
Another way you can further educate yourself about certain martial art is to take online courses about them. The learning experience will not be as a whole, as you would get from entering a gym. However, for some people, it is easier to enter a gym when they know the basics, and some extra beforehand.
This step can also be used when deciding what martial art you start to train. You can go through YouTube and websites about different martial arts, to decide whether they are for you or not. I have information on my website about a bunch of different ones, I hope you can find that helpful.
3. Choose the right gym where you start learning with an instructor
When it comes down to choosing a gym to train in martial arts, there are a few things to look out for:
First of all, the location of the gym. The closer it is to your home or workplace, the easier it is for you to keep training.
Having to drive an hour every time you go to train, is a lot of driving. The majority of your time spent would be used for driving to get there. Therefore, the location of the gym is really important.
Second, how well the gym fits your needs. Is the gym exactly what you want to train for. In Brazilian jiu-jitsu, for example, there are gyms that trach gi BJJ and others teach no-gi BJJ.
There are different sub-sections for every martial art. Every gym, no matter how strictly they follow the guidelines, is different. Most of the time this doesn’t matter if you just want to start training.
Third, how legitimate the instructors of the gym are. Do they possess a black belt or the highest ranking in certain martial arts? Maybe they have merited from competitions or something to show their competence.
The fourth thing to look out for is to look for feedback, that others have given. Many martial arts gyms have Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media pages. Maybe they have Google reviews. Look for those, and determine whether it is a good fit for you.
The fifth and final step is to go see the gym yourself. Usually, the first lesson or lessons are free of charge, with no commitments. Therefore, go see potential gyms, and ask people around how they feel and what their goals are. Find like-minded people.
4. Keep working on your weaknesses as you progress
Martial arts come down to three aspects:
Obviously, when you first start, the part you lack the most is the technique. That is mostly what you will learn in the classes. There are also different types of techniques, that you might be weaker at.
As you progress, focus on developing your weak parts. At some point, if you are not in great physical shape, doing some additional cardio or weight lifting can greatly improve your performance in martial arts.
5. Attend competitions to test out your skills
Some, I would say most of the martial arts have competitions of some sort. They are a great way to “benchmark” your skills.
You can compete as a beginner after you handle the basics of martial art. There are competitions for white belts in BJJ for example. You don’t have to wait until you are a black belt to compete.
Competitions can keep your motivation up as well. You will look forward to testing your new techniques at competitions. If possible, keep an open mind towards competitions. They are not necessary but highly recommended.
If you want to compete in martial arts before you choose which one to train, make sure that has competitions. Krav Maga for example was made purely for self-defense and does not have any competitions.
Things to consider when starting to train martial arts
There might be some thoughts on whether you can start martial arts or not. Keep your physical capabilities in mind when choosing the right martial art for you.
No matter how old, obese, skinny, young, or whatever you might be, there is almost certainly a martial art you can train.
I have posted things to keep in mind when starting martial arts as an older person, you can read that in this post.
In conclusion: with these steps, you should be able to pick and start the martial art you want. On the other hand, the process does not have to be that hard.
You could just pick a gym and attend the first class. That’s all it takes. Showing up the first time is the hardest.
Hopefully this list can help you to pick and start the martial art of your dreams.
Have a wonderful day!