Martial arts are a great way of keeping your body agile and flexible. It is also one of the best known forms of self-defense. However, one needs dedication and willingness to invest the requisite amount of effort, so as to truly benefit from this discipline. Learning it at home in the absence of a trained instructor is rarely profitable. You also need to understand and analyze its various forms, and choose the one that suits you the best.
Identify Your Purpose
People may pursue martial arts for a variety of reasons, like interest in the culture and heritage of the country where the particular art form originated, or as a solution to their fitness woes. Some people may decide to learn it with professional interest, while others may look at it as the most handy form of self-defense. Thus, be clear about what you expect to gain out of your training.
Know Your Style
Once you are clear regarding the purpose of your training, you need to choose your style from the several martial art forms. The difficulty of these art forms vary extensively. Depending upon the difficulty level, the time and efforts also vary. Martial arts like Muay Thai (Thailand) or Western Boxing are pretty difficult to learn, whereas Aikido (Japan), various Kung Fu fighting styles (China), and Western Martial Arts (Europe) are considered soft styles. A grappling fighting art called Jiu Jitsu (Brazil/ Japan) is also comparatively easier. Tae Kwon Do, or Hapkido, both of which originated in Korea are considered semi-hard styles.
Identify If You Are a Candidate
Not every martial art form can suit people of all physiques and mental toughness. If you are not very young, or have a rigid body, then Wushu (China) may not be for you. In that case, you would benefit from another Chinese art form called Tai Chi. Similarly, Karate and Tae Kwon Do are not suitable for people with delicate frames. Combative styles or grappling art forms like Judo, Aikido, or Jiu-Jutsu rely on techniques, rather than the physique of a person.
Look for a Teacher/School
Learning martial arts at home with a couple of DVDs is not the correct way of acquiring proper training. Instead of learning it on your own, you need to find a skilled and trained instructor, who is capable of imparting a thorough and rigorous training. Look for schools which specialize in the martial art form of your interest. Do not forget to check the credentials of the teacher before paying for the training class.
Be a Keen Observer Before Joining
Observing the training session at your school for a few days before joining, can help you gain some insight upon the nature of training you will undergo. Starting right away can help some people, but observing a couple of sessions before joining has its own advantages.
Assess Your Resources
Last but not the least, your budget also determines the form you might take up. Some forms are more expensive than others, as you need to invest in high-end equipment. For instance, martial art form like Kendo requires you to shell out around USD 1,000 towards equipment, whereas Karate, only requires you to buy a white cotton uniform.
Thus, martial arts is only for people who have a good amount of determination and mental toughness.