The hardest part about finding a good place to start learning self-defense is finding a place that makes you feel comfortable. You want a place where you feel welcomed and like you belong. When you are learning how to protect yourself, you don’t want your environment to be daunting or intimidating. So how do you start looking?
Well, first, find out what is near you. Also, keep in mind that the pandemic is causing a lot of gyms and studios to offer virtual classes, something you might want to take advantage of! Below I will be linking a couple sites that might be useful to those in the NYC area as well as a few other locations.
Which Form Is Best For You?
Finding the right type of martial art to learn self-defense can be tricky. If you are interested in the martial art that I do, Choi Kwang Do, here is a link to look at the school locations.
Choi Kwang Do is focused on the whole body above self-defense. There is no sparring but the reason for that is to protect the body while it is not in danger. Sparring puts the body at risk for injury and being injured makes it more difficult for you to protect yourself. The techniques are based in deep research of the human body including biomechanics and kinesiology and classes incorporate yoga-based stretching to help protect the muscles and joints from damage. Since this martial art is still relatively new the community is small but spread out on an international scale.
If you want something more physical, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu might be the way to go. For my NYC friends, here is a link to finding some schools to check out in the area.
BJJ puts self-defense as its primary focus. It is defined as a combat sport and will teach you aggressive take-down techniques which focus on dominating your opponent. This entails a lot of joint locks and choke holds in order to get your opponent on the ground to best control them. This is a very intense form of martial art and can be somewhat intimidating but the community is known for its compassion towards classmates.
If you want to simply get in a good workout while also learning good punching and kicking form, I would suggest finding a boxing gym. With a boxing gym you can determine whether or not you want to be in close contact with others. Some gyms will just have you punching targets while others will put you head to head with other classmates and instructors.
Here is a link to find a boxing gym in your area.
Another combative form of martial arts is Krav Maga. Krav Maga is similar to Jiu Jitsu however they include more striking and grappling techniques. Krav Maga will also teach you how to utilize everyday objects to help defend yourself effectively. Much of their focus is on enabling smaller individuals with the confidence that they could fend for themselves regardless of the size of their attacker.
Here is a link to start learning Krav Maga from your living room!
These are just a few of the forms of martial arts but hopefully this can help you start figuring out what is best suited for you. Everyone is different and whether you want to take it easy or hit the ground running, there is an option for you!
What other martial art forms do you want to know about? Let me know in the comments!