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Both contact martial arts, like karate, and non-contact arts, like tai chi, are great ways for almost anyone, of any age, to either get healthier or maintain physical fitness. Indeed, one beauty of such arts is that they really are available to anyone. That being said, any endeavor is usually more successful if one lays the groundwork before starting the journey, and martial arts training is no exception.
A large percentage of people quickly abandon martial arts, largely because they are unprepared. Here are some ways to avoid becoming a statistic yourself.
Start with an Open Mind
Often, the first step is to unlearn what you have learned, because many times, movies and television control our notions of martial arts training, and these depictions are often wildly inaccurate. It takes many months before taekwondo participants experience the thrill of competition, and it also takes many months before tai chi practitioners mimic the fluid motions that models make in exercise videos.
In many ways, martial arts are completely different from the Western ideas about fitness and exercise, so be prepared to embrace and appreciate the difference.
Part of an open mind includes respect for the elements of martial arts, along with a knowledge of what (or who) those elements are.
Sensei: Most Senseis are nothing like Mr. Myagi. While they are there to teach, their most important task is to motivate their students, and that often means they appear antagonistic. Furthermore, the Sensei is not a personal spiritual guide. When questions come up, try to work out the issue for yourself before approaching the Sensei.
Dojo: A place to learn the martial arts is much like a church in the West. Always be quiet and respectful, and never come late to a training session if at all possible. Furthermore, before you walk in the door, know something about the school because you do not want to train at a pace that is either too fast or too slow.
Uke: Contact martial arts feature sparring partners. While it’s important not to injure your uke, it’s also important not to hold back, because both of you are there to learn. Before getting started, it may be best to have a brief conversation to set some ground rules
If you break one of these rules, and it’s almost inevitable that you will at some point, do not apologize. Just do not make the same mistake again.
Be ready to keep up with the other students, and be ready to push yourself. If you are not willing to do these things, you are not a bad person, but you probably do not need to participate in martial arts.
Try something simple, like one of the best resistance bands to build strength, some light jogging to increase endurance, and some quiet meditation to focus on what the martial arts can do for you.
Get Ready For The First Day
Do not schedule your first training session until you feel that you are ready because the martial arts are not to be taken lightly. But when you are ready, you are ready, and there is no reason to wait.
For the sake of everyone, be sure your toenails and fingernails are trimmed. Wear comfortable clothes (shorts or sweats are best) and take a bottle of water.
Whatever form of martial arts you choose, it can offer a lifetime of physical fitness and mental clarity, if you are prepared to accept the challenge. So, take a few days to get ready for your first day, because that investment of time makes a tremendous difference in the results.
Joe Fleming is the President at ViveHealth.com. Interested in all things related to living a healthy lifestyle, he enjoys sharing and expressing his passion through writing. Working to motivate others and defeat aging stereotypes, Joe uses his writing to help all people overcome the obstacles of life. Covering topics that range from physical health, wellness, and aging all the way to social, news, and inspirational pieces...the goal is help others “rebel against age”.