I’m going to be covering the question of am I too old to start training in martial arts. The answer to that is it all depends on your age in relation to your goals with training for martial arts. For example, is your goal in your martial arts training to become physically fit? Is it to be combat effective? With that in mind your age and your overall physical fitness is going to determine the answer to the question am I too old to start training in martial arts.

Now first off if you’re in your twenties you are definitely not too old to be starting martial arts. I hear people say that all the time that they didn’t start when they were a kid, I can never be good. Granted you aren’t going to be as good as somebody who’s started at age four and is now twenty-five and they’ve been doing it all their lives. You’re not going to have any chance of catching up to them unless they injure themselves or they stop training for the next ten to fifteen years while you start training and do it consistently.

That being said there are other ways to match your skill to theirs if that’s a concern of yours. One thing to do is to simply improve your skill in an area that they don’t have. This person has been training taekwondo their whole life hasn’t had training in jujitsu or boxing. That’s something you can train alongside your taekwondo training to sort of get an edge up on them to close that gap with experience.

But as far as physically goes, if you’re in your twenties and you’re in you know decent shape then there’s really no reason why you can’t start martial arts. It’ll take a bit longer to sort of build flexibility you know anywhere from about two to four years. As opposed to you know being a child and being very malleable and you can sort of gain flexibility within a year or less. If your goal is fitness than twenty is not too young. If your goal is combat effectiveness than twenty is not too young you just have to make sure you dedicate the amount of time and consistent training.

If you’re in your thirties the same thing pretty much applies. If you’re in decent shape and those are your two goals, fitness or combat effectiveness. than it’s just a matter of devoting consistent time to training and having a little bit of patience with your flexibility.

Let’s say you’re getting into your forties and fifties. Well then that’s when a little bit more of the the question of what your goals with your martial arts training starts to come in to play. If your goal is to be combat effective and your body is still in decent shape, when I say that I don’t mean so much you know your body fat, I mean do you have accumulated injuries throughout life. If you had bad knees from football in high school or have a bad elbow from your job or anything like that that’s definitely going to factor in your effectiveness with certain martial arts. For example high impact martial arts like taekwondo or kickboxing will take a toll on your joints and if your joints of are you taking a beating over your lifetime then that may not be the martial art you want to start. You may want to consider more of a soft style of martial art like tai chi.

So let’s say you’re in your twenties and thirties and you’re in really bad shape. You’re really out of shape, really overweight but it’s your passion, you want to start martial arts training. Are you too old? If your goal is to become combat effective then for you it’s going to be a little bit more of an uphill battle. I would suggest before jumping into a hard style versus soft style you might dedicate a little bit of time beforehand to just basic fitness training. Start walking a couple of miles every couple of days until you start to feel your fitness improve. Then you know moving up to a jog then improve your diet a bit so you can cut back on some of the weight so the training will be a little bit easier, little bit safer on your joints. Once you get that little bit of a basic jump start with your fitness then you can hop right into the training for combat effectiveness and a hard style now.

If your goal isn’t to be combat effective and it’s just fitness and you can skip with the preparation and just go straight to jumping into martial arts training with the soft styles. Something that isn’t so high impact and of course that will be an excellent way to lose weight in itself or to get back into shape as long as you’re eating sensibly. You should be able to jump right into that.

So I guess to sum it up when you’re asking yourself that question am I too old to start in martial arts it really just comes down to what are your goals and how old does your body feel? For me I’m pushing thirty one and my body feels like it’s fifty. I’ve just accumulated so many injuries throughout my martial arts career. Even though to normal people standards I’m still a young person my body has gone through so much physical trauma as any fifty year old. If you’re wanting to start a martial art for combat effectiveness then those old injuries will be a factor in how effective you can be with that certain styles you choose so it’s very important when you’re choosing a martial art to research it and decide if that something you’ll be able to physically do.

I’ll leave you with an anecdote. When I was younger and training we had this guy come in who was forty nine. He first started with a white belt. Over the years he just kept coming in and training once or twice a week and by the time he was fifty four he became a black belt. He ended up being one of the most flexible males in class. It was pretty inspiring.

To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today!

A lot of new people that come in are wanting o learn about training with us. Some of the questions they have are regarding how they might grow in their self-defense training.  Will you become a ninja by working with us?  Probably not.  In this post, I’ll try to explain the difference.

I was inspired by a recent post which talks about the difference between MMA fighters and ninjas.  Of course, there are several differences to consider.  It’s worth a read.

Here at Frank’s, we train fighters.  Will you become a ninja by working with us?  The answer, of course, is no– but will you gain valuable skills which can help save your life in a street fight?  Of course, the answer is yes.

A lot of people want to know how to get the best use for their martial arts training and there are a lot of opinions out there on the internet.  One of the things, for sure, you want to know is: will your training actually help you in your everyday life?  Unless you’re planning to become a ninja, we encourage you to consider training as a fighter.

Take a recent example.  Jon came in last year around this time and wanted to improve his abilities to protect himself in the case of a fight.  At the time, he had no prior fighting experience.  Within the first couple weeks, training was brutal for Jon– but he fought through it.  By the time summer came around, Jon was ready to take on anyone who challenged him.  Jon became a fighter.

There are several things to keep in mind.  With our training, we do have access to training equipment, but we don’t have the equipment you would need to be a ninja.   If you need your ninja history and equipment fix, it’s in a whole other category by itself.  We train fighters for combat.  You can get your ninja stars elsewhere.

The new year is of course a really busy time for us as people are considering getting martial arts training.  We would be glad to speak with you if you have ideas for how we might be able to assist you in achieving your self-defense goals this new year!

image of action figure of Bruce Lee

Seventy-percent of all people who start martial arts training start because, you know, maybe they feel weak, they’ve been bullied, they feel like they’re in trouble. There’s a lot of reasons why people start, but it’s typically because there’s a weakness. Your self defense instructor might not want you to know: if somebody doesn’t think they’re weak they typically won’t start martial arts training in the first place.

And guess what, chances are, your martial arts instructor either was bullied as a child by their siblings, by school members or they felt insecure inferior in some way or another. That’s the truth with me.  I was bullied as a child–  by my brother and by people at school, and one day I just got tired of it I said enough is enough.

Think about this, if somebody feels strong and confident they don’t feel the need for martial arts. Your instructor probably started off needing this training that he or she gained from martial arts. That’s why most martial arts instructors are so kind and so gracious and so generous because they understand what it’s like to be on the other side and, therefore, they’re gentle.

There’s a Japanese saying that says “he who must prove how good he is, is unsure himself.” I’m all about self defense, I’m all about physical training. We’re not going to meditate in my class and talk about peaceful things, but the truth is I haven’t been in a street fight for 21 years and I’ve been doing martial arts for 22 years. I’ve been in a sanctioned mixed martial arts fight, sanctioned boxing, sanctioned grappling tournaments, I’ve done some real fighting, but haven’t had a real fight because I haven’t done anything worth fighting for, since then.

It’s just not worth it because if I’m going to go to jail, the other guy is going to jail.  The other guy is probably going to go to the hospital or might even die and if I have to fight, it’s a life or death situation. Most life or death situations you can avoid or get out of. So I don’t fight and I don’t see the point of hurting people. I don’t have to hurt you to feel better about myself. I don’t have to hurt you to prove it.

So I want you guys to be aware of that and here’s the thing– if you come up to a martial art instructor and he’s got an attitude or he has something to prove or he’s very aggressive– not necessarily aggressive in his teaching, but aggressive towards people, he’s a bully.  And what he’s done is he’s now reversed roles. He was bullied most likely and then he found the power and now he believes he can bully others and you have to be careful and avoid those people.

So just watch out.  Beware if that man or woman that’s the instructor is just very aggressive and mean– beyond reason– then walk out. Also understand, too, that there a lot of instructors that spar with their students. I spar with all my students because I know I have the control. If your instructor typically hurts students, some day he’s going to hurt you. People like that, once they don’t find value in you, they’ll turn on you. Those that gossip to you will gossip about you. Find a good, wise martial art instructor.

You can learn about the resources we are designing for trainers and students by visiting our Martial Arts Training Resources!

Image of two girls performing martial arts

Which martial art is the best martial art? So a couple things we need to consider before deciding which martial art is the best martial art.

So first and foremost what is your purpose for practicing the martial art? Is it to defend yourself in the streets or to go out in the ring and win matches? If you’re going to use it on the streets, I will prefer something that is more close range and that has a lot of hitting mainly because wrestling on the street, or grappling is actually a better word for it, is not safe because your enemy may have a knife or they could be stronger or heavier than you. There’s no weight class when battling on the street. So a martial arts that focuses on hitting and joint locks and lots of joint manipulation, especially small joint manipulation is key for a good martial art that is suitable for the streets!

If you’re going to go for the ring you can choose any martial art that you want to choose based on your preferences. For example, if you’re a hitting person like me then go for western boxing. And if you’re grappling person and then go for something like wrestling or jujitsu. So that’s kind of up to you, you know?

So I’m going to focus more on the street side on this topic because most people thinking about a martial art think that they’re going to use it to defend themselves because there’s a difference between martial arts and fighting sports. For example, boxing is a fighting sport. Wing Chun is a martial art.

First first things first, practice makes perfect. So even if you’re doing the best martial art out there that is created by aliens, if you are not practicing hard enough then you’re not going to be any better than someone who doesn’t study martial arts at all. So practice, practice, practice!

Another thing to keep in mind is that quantity is not always good, so just practicing three times a day for 6 days is not good because you also need to recover, your neurons need to learn the movement patterns, stuff like that.

Something I get a lot is “Is boxing or kung fu better?” Well it depends, whoever practices more will win. Of course there’s some advantages to both martial arts.  For example, a boxer would be better with angles, a kung fu guy would be better with kicks and different fist strikes and different joint manipulations.

Another thing to consider is ranges. You’ll need a martial art for each range. So there is a kicking range, a punching range, elbow and knee range, grappling range, and ground fighting range.

When it comes to kicks there’s no better martial art better than Kung Fu types and taekwondo. Also lots of mai tai and American style kickboxing and French kickboxing. So practice a combination of these.

For the punching range there’s no better punching sport than boxing. Practice your jabs, your crosses, your hooks, upper cuts, your hooks to the body, body shots, everything. Also learning some type of Kung Fu is going to help you because they have all kinds of fist strikes.

Practicing using your elbows and knees are going to help you in close range battles tremendously because when someone is trying to stab you with a knife and comes close to you and you can’t kick them the only option is to elbow them. By protecting your body at the same time or knee them in the groin because that’s the safest option.

For the grappling range, which is when someone really gets close to you and tries to throw you to the ground or tries to get you into a joint lock, Brazilian jujitsu and wrestling are really good for these type of situations. Other than that you could also use Judo for throws because if you are good at throws then you’re going to devastate your opponent and just break them.

To put this all together the idea is that you will create a new type of mixed martial art of your own. There’s a quote from Bruce that says “absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own.” So if you take that advice, you will learn martial art skills that will be best suited for you that can be used on the street.

You can learn about the resources we are designing for trainers and students by visiting our Martial Arts Training Resources!

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Have you been asking how you should choose a martial arts school? That’s a great question. It comes up a lot. I think that you need a mixture of everything. A good foundation in self defense and a good understand of how people attack you. I also think that you need a long term view on your martial arts. Your martial art has to be of some benefit to you in the long term that doesn’t have anything to do with conflict because you may never ever use your martial law for conflict in which case why would you invest all of that time into training the first place.

Where to Start

The first thing that we’re looking for is a school that’s somewhere relatively local. There’s no point in having a great school if you’re not going to be able to get there and you know going to be able to maintain it. Becoming good at martial arts isn’t an overnight thing, it takes time.

The Right School For You

The next thing I’d be looking for is some nice people. Sometimes people running schools just aren’t nice people at all. They enjoy inflicting pain on you making things as uncomfortable for you as possible. When I first started my aikido training there was a guy that was training with us. He would come into our class and he would have bruises. And I’d say what’s that about? In some respects when you do your martial arts training it is good to shake you up.

Some mistakes I made when I first started training– I was so enthusiastic and I was running all over the place I was having to wake up at 6 AM. I burned myself out in the first 2 years. If you’ve read our previous posts you know that we advocate a mixture. I’m not really too interested in mixed martial arts because mixed martial arts is solely designed for kicking people up. I ain’t really interested in kicking people up. The way to get around that problem is to start off with one martial art. Once you’ve been there for maybe one or two years, start to think about training in another school. And always remember this is your training, this is your life, make sure that you are happy training. It’s the most important thing. If you are unhappy then it’s a frickin’ waste of time!

Go to Training

The things to watch out for, that you are not looking forward to going to training. It should be a pleasure, you should be missing the people, you should be enthusiastic. If you are hesitant or have a feeling of dread this isn’t the right school for you.

If your instructor or your teacher is afraid of you seeing other martial arts and they’re afraid that you might leave then this isn’t the right school. The teacher should be relaxed. Teachers should be okay with you looking about and happy that you’re exploring.

The new movement of a aikido or the new wave of aikido is to look at everything, what people are asking for, what can be included in your aikido. Aikido can be expanded, it’s an inclusive way of thinking not exclusive.

You can learn about the resources we are designing for trainers and students by visiting our Martial Arts Training Resources!

Here’s an idea to help with motivation, and help with retention for Karate Instructors.  You can pass out martial arts certificates based on random things– or specific specific things– like, the “best listener of the day”.  Another award might be “best kicker of the day”. There are a variety of options when you use your creative mind.  This kind of change of the patterns of the class and gives instant gratification as students are earning their belts.

Other ones might be for kids that are just “excited to be here”. For some of the credit kids that maybe aren’t athletic or they don’t get awards and are overlooked, and they’re struggling — you can provide mini-prizes to keep them engaged.

You can also create a “best ‘blank’-of-the-day”, but you could do punch or you could do striker, best yell of the day, etc.  You could also use a concept like rope skipping.  We do rope skipping and I have that’s a jump rope that has no middle and with the best or most 30 seconds of jump roping.

At one time, I had off site locations so you could list them all on one certificate. Pass out stickers for the kids to put on their certificates so they get a certificate and then maybe give one, two or three stickers they can put on their certificate to customize it and make her/him look and feel part of the cool groups.

The students used to stick them on their shirt — and I made them stick them on the paper because it usually will stay. I find if I say, “Hey guys we’re going to pass out this best kicker of the day certificate at the end of the class”, I’m gonna see who’s got the best kicks for the day. Or who’s going to be an all star for today.

It’s one of the things that I found that really motivates a lot of the kids– and they’ll perform at higher levels than you even expected– its like wow they really working hard for that!   It gives them some self esteem, it helps them with their spatial awareness, etc.

Another one we put stickers on is “other things you can do”. Yes like I said you can incorporate your school curriculums. For a hi-tech folks out there, you could put a QR code right on the certificate and then their mom or dad could scan it with their smartphone and you could take him to whatever page you want– whether it’s a video of the class or picture of the class or your enrollment page.  You know could you be creative on that tip.

Other things that I found that works really well in addition to the stickers, is putting your name on it.   You have parents sign a release where you can take pictures and photos what I would do it my next location is free do the certificates what the pictures of the kids are so for example let’s say this was an actual face of a kid.  You would have a blank space that they would say “best ‘blank’-of-the-day” and then have five blank certificates already printed up with her/his picture on it.  I guarantee you, if his or her pictures on the certificate they’re gonna keep it they’re going to treasure it. You can also change the borders of the certificate– some don’t have borders and some have borders.

What I found, kids that get the outstanding student once, they seem to always get outstanding ones so they’re good.  Let her/him know that they’re good, but kind of change up to certificates. Change up the borders, and colors of the certificates.  Hopefully these tips help you generate your own ideas for helping retention in your school!

You can learn about the resources we are designing for trainers and students by visiting our Martial Arts Training Resources!