Here at FQ we firmly believe that martial arts are for everyone. You can find a million motivational quotes about how martial arts teach you so much, but there’s truth behind them – it’s more than just a way to get in great shape.
However when you’re taking the first step on your martial arts journey it can be more than a little daunting trying to work out where to start. As we’re coming up to the end of 2020 and that classic ‘new year, new me’ period we thought it would be good to give our three biggest tips to new martial artists to help anyone who’s resolution is to finally take up whatever martial art catches their interest.
Find The Right Sport
This one can be a little tricky because there’s factors that aren’t necessarily in your control (like if you think you’d love to try BJJ but the nearest gym is hours away) but the first step an aspiring martial artist needs to choose what they want to learn. Would you prefer a more traditional martial art like Karate? Something that’s focused on competition like Muay Thai? Prefer the idea of learning grappling and ground fighting in BJJ? Or want to learn to combine them all in MMA? There are loads of different forms of martial arts, and you’re the only person who knows what one you’d enjoy most. Our advice is to take advantage of the free trials offered by most gyms and give a few different styles a try to figure out what works for you.
Take The Plunge
This seems like an obvious suggestion, but one of the hardest parts about starting to learn any new skill is taking that first class. It’s really common for beginners to feel like you’ll make a fool of yourself or that people will judge you, but you have to remember that everyone else in the gym has been in your shoes at one point in their life. Find a gym you think suits your needs and book that trial class. As long as you come along ready to learn, listen to advice and with a positive and respectful attitude you’ll quickly find yourself part of the gym family.
You Get Fitter By Doing It
Another common misconception for beginners is that they aren’t fit enough to take part in a martial arts class. Any gym that accepts new members will understand that people’s fitness levels vary and the vast majority either offer beginner specific classes or will be able to cater to complete novices in their standard classes. The whole point of martial arts is that they’re a training method whereby you get fitter and learn a new skill – the expectation is that you push yourself as hard as you’re able to do. As your fitness improves you aren’t meant to find classes easier, you’re supposed to be able to push yourself harder. The fun and feeling of accomplishment you get from learning something new is a key motivator for a martial art and will keep you coming back for more. Getting fitter, losing weight and building lean muscle will all come with time.
That being said, to make sure you’re getting the most out of your training you should make sure that you’re eating healthily and maximising your recovery between training sessions.
Consistency Is Key
This kind of builds upon the last point but from a slightly different angle. No matter what your goal is when you start out as a beginner martial artist – from getting fit and healthy, earning a black belt or becoming a world champion – the key to it all is consistency. The saying is that ‘hard work beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard’ and it definitely rings true. Someone might have some kind of genetic gift that makes them a fantastic martial artist, but if they don’t take it seriously they’ll never progress as well as someone who turns up every class and puts the time in.
Staying consistent can be a challenge as motivation or time constraints can limit the classes you can make it to. We’d always recommend remembering that something is better than nothing – a few rounds of shadow boxing might not be a replacement for attending an hour long class but if it’s focused and done with intent it can still push you and is a lot better than spending the whole evening watching netflix!
Get The Right Gear
Okay, okay. We’re a Fight Gear review site and are always testing out different companies’ products – we’re basically always going to say that the right gear makes all the difference when it comes to training. Obviously you need to make sure you have the right kit for whatever sport you chose because, for example, training BJJ needs a different equipment than you’ll need to train Muay Thai or there might be some specific stuff you need for MMA. Ultimately though what you put in your training bag are the tools you need to learn and improve in your chosen martial art and they should reflect your goals and there’s a lot of choice out there. For just boxing gloves alone there’s a huge variety of brands that pitch their products at different levels and budgets, and further considerations if you’re a vegan martial artist or want to find a product tailored to your gender. Our advice will always be to do your research into what you need, look for reviews and try to find the highest quality product available in your budget!
Do you think we missed anything? What would your tips for beginners be? What was your experience when you started training? Let us know in the comments!