Martial arts is about the journey itself, not so much the end goal. Taking on martial arts is like taking on a pet. There are specific pets that would suit someones lifestyle. There are also specific martial arts that would suit specific lifestyles. Questions you must assess:
- Is your body conditioned enough to take on martial arts that are heavier on the body? For example, I wouldn't recommend a 50 year old to take on Judo or Wrestling.
- Is there a specific subset of a martial art that you prefer?
- What is your time and schedule like? For example, MMA training would require more time as you are learning various styles combined, therefore you must dedicate more time.
- Are there any injuries that you currently have which may prevent you from doing harder martial arts like MMA, Judo, Wrestling etc?
- Do you have a wife, family, kids and mortgage etc? If so, the thought of MMA competition and training may be a daunting thought as you begin training - people have jobs to go to, families to support and mortgages to pay. It doesn't help taking sick days because you banged your leg up or you have dislocated ribs (YES - these things can happen, it is a slight chance but the chance is still there).
- Do you have a job where you are client facing? If so, going to work looking banged up may not be a good look and your manager may not be happy with this.
When you look at most of the MMA fighters or greats, they all have a base art they trained. Once they had done their time with this base art and built their foundation, they moved toward the MMA spectrum. Generally speaking, they fall underneath two categories - they are either strikers or grapplers.
Striking = the art of attack with limbs.
Grappling = the art of attack with any form of a seize or hold (Grappling is defined as when anyone grabs or grips someone - standup or on the ground).
Ronda Rousey was a world class Judoka (Grappling) who completed at the Olympics. Holly Holm was a world class kick boxer and boxer (striking) who was a world class amateur kickboxing champion and professional boxing champion. These are only two examples, but there is always a base and that base is required to understand the basics of combat.
It is simple to say - if you focus on one martial art instead of a mix, you will be more proficient in that field, and more effective. You will easily achieve all three (3) objectives. Most martial arts offer entry level competition and if you find the right gym, you will easily be in shape for this. I would also add - you NEED to train where they focus and dedicate time to sparring. If they do not or the sparring is always very soft, I would recommend you find somewhere else to train, unless your body is not capable of training in a sparring focused gym - a lighter style of martial arts training is better than no martial arts training :|
I would recommend this:
- Pick four different martial arts to do a trial lesson in different gyms - two
striking and two grappling over a span of two (2) weeks.
- Post trial lessons, assess how your body is and assess if you liked what you learnt - maybe keep a journal as to what you learnt,
how you felt, how you flowed with it all and how you felt the next
- Post trial lessons, take a few days off and assess what your preference is for training:
- Did you feel as though you preferred one form of martial art as opposed to the other (striking or grappling) ?
- Did you find yourself more fluent in one martial art more than the other?
- Did you find your body struggled with one martial art more than another?(Be careful with this - you may feel tired for days doing any martial art for a first time).
- If you did like both forms of martial arts, can you see yourself dedicating more time to MMA which will allow you to develop an understanding of all forms?
- Did you feel as though you were totally disinterested in one form as opposed to the other? (e.g. someone may not not like ground work so they would opt out to focus on BJJ and focus on Muay Thai/boxing/kickboxing instead).
Once you have done the above, you will easily be able to assess this and decide on your path for training. Good luck, all the best and to anyone reading this, all the best with your decision making. I wish you every success in your martial arts training :) I am happy to answer any questions should anyone have any.