I am interested in learning and practicing a martial art, but I really cannot afford to go to the dojos in my area. Also, most of them are Karate, and for some reason Karate doesn't seem to appeal to me...
Any suggestions on what to pick, and how to learn it for cheap?
I'm jumping into the conversation a bit late here, but I'll second the Taijiquan (T'ai Chi Ch'uan) recommendation. I started practicing Taiji about a year ago, beginning with DVD's and books and now more formal video correspondence lessons. Taiji classes are offered at many YMCA's, community centers, and health learning centers for little to no cost. For example, I live in Louisville, KY and the city has free taiji classes at the city health and welfare building every Monday and Wednesday evening free of charge. While this is targeted mostly at seniors and promoted more for the health benefits - taijiquan itself is a valid and viable martial art. (Plus, it gives me an excuse to buy swords. :) )
The warning I must give with seminars is to not rely on those skills without practicing a lot. To be able to apply techniques under pressure requires a lot of drills. For example, at the Army Airborne School @ Ft. Benning, we trained for three weeks for five to ten minutes of application -five jumps, which lasted about a minute or two each.
If you're looking for a practical martial art that also offers good workouts, Krav Maga, boxing or Muay Thai is the way to go. Boxing is a favorite of most people because of it's simplicity and practicality. That's what got me into it in the first place. Muay Thai is the same, but offers 6 more ways to strike. Krav maga is the israeli art of crazy, they do everything.
The drawback with boxing or muay thai is of course a lack of ground fighting skills, which is bad, because a lot of fights end up on the ground.
I would recommend that you really look at what you want out of it, and your lifestyle, what you do for a living, how often you're in situations where you feel like you may end up fighting, etc... but Krav maga is the best for if you just want to whip the crap out of someone.
I'm currently in Muay Thai and BJJ, because I do fight alot(I'm the neighborhood body guard more or less) and I like to end it quickly, but sometimes that's not always the way things go. Being on the ground is bad for multiple reasons, but primarily because concrete or hardwood floors are painful to land on and usually your attacker has buddies.
Another one you might like is Kempo or Kajukembo, both are more or less street fighting arts like Krav Maga.
The reasons most fights end on the ground tho is because most people who fight don't know what they are doing. They are drunken fools who throw big looping punches and then follow that by a hug. Someone who knows what they are doing standing up can avoid that situation by ducking, side stepping, counter punches, and etc.
No one smart goes to the grappling range by choice in a street fight. Most of your "street grappling" is going to involve getting back to your feet in case you get tackled, or if you're really unlucky and you picked a fight with a guy who wrestled in high school.
However, this is a really big topic: you need reversals and escapes from inferior positions along with sweeps from guard. Also, you need to know how to survive in an inferior position until you can escape. Anyone who claims to know how to fight should have some sort of ground game. Anyone who says, "you don't need to know how to grapple, just sprawl/sidestep/whatever" has a crap ground game and they're making excuses.
A video won't do good, how can you teach yourself something you don't know? Learning any physical activity has to be done with some one who knows what they're doing.
My dojo Goju Karate, charges $35 for the first month (that includes uniform) and $45 a month after the first. All the instructors have regular jobs, and all the money goes directly to the dojo, for bills and equipment.
Well any Martial Arts is pretty expensive in Germany. I'm not sure about the prices in the US.
I think you will see a quick improvement of self defense in Muay Thai (since it has pretty much just a couple of hits, blocks, kicks, defenses and you just train them over and over and just try to do that pretty hard and they do usually do a lot of sparring - from what I've heard and seen and experienced of it), Kickboxing, Boxing or Krav Maga.
Sure there are lots of other MA's out there, but many of them will take a couple of years to see lots of improvement and to be able to use them. Of course it all depends on the personality and progress you already got, the people you wanna defend yourself against, the situation and so on.
Otherwise I would recommend if you live in a bad neighborhood or such, to buy your wife a pepper-spray or something like that and a whistle, to make her feel a little more safe already, if you need a little more time.
This is excellent information and nowadays a variety of self defense items such as stun guns, pepper spray, and personal alarms, etc are made to be disguised as everyday ordinary items, like cell phones, pens, perfumes, and pagers. Any of these items can be purchased online at www.businessforceltd.com if you cant find a store in your city or cant get out to purchase them. Self defense items are a necessity for all people because you never know what situations life may bring you
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