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Looking for advice on what and where to train.


White Belt
Nov 24, 2005
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I'm looking to start training again, primarily to get in better health. I have about 6 years of karate and TKD, but that was 10+ years ago. I'm really out of shape, and I'll probably be puking and generally dying when I start training again. I've been starting a regular cardio routine, but it's boring and hard to stay motivated.

1. What are the some of the more practical styles? I'm going to devote a fair amount of time, so I should make it useful. For example, some ground techniques probably aren't practical for me, since going to the ground in a streetfight is usually a bad idea.

I'm asking because there seems to be 40+ martial arts schools in various styles within a 10 mile radius and I'm not sure where to go.

2. Which style would be the most helpful for shedding weight? This is a top priority. I know all combat training is physically taxing, but some seem very anaerobic, which wouldn't be as helpful. Or is it less dependant on style and more on the class/school? I'm aware there are classes like cardio kick boxing, but that conjures up images of Taebo, which isn't what I'm looking for.

3. What are some criteria for selecting a place to train? How do I avoid McDojos? Any pros/cons for picking a smaller school versus a 'professional' school? For example, one of the schools near me is Professional Karate Academy in Red Bank, NJ. They claim to be a top 10 martial arts school in North America, whatever that means. That's great and all, but I feel kinda intimidated to even walk into a place like that.

Sorry about the newbie post. I did do a lot of forum searches, and I'm big time into watching MMA, but it's difficult to apply knowledge of how pros/experts fight to my own situation.

Pointing me to some online resources is great, too. Thanks!
If you are just focused on pure striking, then boxing and/or muay thai is going to be the most practical as they've both shown themselves very functional and useful in MMA and will give you a great cardio workout.
These are just my opinions but:

1. For standup: Muay Thai, Boxing. For ground: Wrestling, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Sambo.

2. Any of the above or any combination of the above will give you a great workout. But you won't lose weight unless you are also eating right as well.

3. Legitmate schools will usually be run by former pros with real fights - verifiable records. You want a school that actually has people who regularly compete in competitions. Schools that actually put their skills to the test against other schools and fighters. Schools that have real sparring.

No need to apologize for the post. There's a school directory at the top of the forum, and you can also use the search funtion to search for threads on schools in your area. Try the grappling forum too.
Find a good Karate DOJO like Kyokushin or similar style :) Sorry i am a karate Nut hugger :) But yeah kick boxing and Mui Thai rox hard as well.

Your best bet is to go to the gyms/dojos and have a look. If u like what u see then stay if u dont move to the next dojo/gym.
If you're generally interested in striking alone, then the best bets would be boxing, kyokushin karate, and muay thai.

By the way, you said that it's been 10+ years since you've last trained. Since you've had your cardio going, it will be much easier for you, though I'm not saying you won't have a hard time at first.
Most gyms will let you try out the class a couple of times to see if you like it. Give a MT place a go, then try Karate, then TKD, and the Jui Jitsu, and see what's best for you. I prefer a gym that offers MT, boxing and Jui Jitsu.
i agree , if u wanna do striking go for karate or watever if u wannado grappling: wrestling and sambo are always good and if u want to do submissions then do BJJ since it owns everything
With reference to your "training" protocols, I think approaching martial arts as a means to getting in shape is the wrong way to look at it. You need to have a solid athletic base, and while martial arts will certainly help in developing your "work" capacity, it won't necessarily help you lose fat. Fat loss is a direct byproduct of proper nutrition. Training has at most a 10 to 20% effect on fat loss efforts. Here's what I would do to prep for whatever martial art you choose.

1. Develop your work capacity through high intensity interval training. Use a 1:3 ratio of work to rest. So for example, hop on the treadmill. Sprint at 11mph and then jog lightly at 5.5mph. Alternate this pace for 20 minutes. Do this 3 times a week. You should make your work rate atleast double your rest rate. So don't jog at 4.5mph and then run at 7. There needs to be a sufficient differential when using this modality. You'll be in a lower intensity fat burning heart rate zone when you are jogging lightly. The sprinting will help maximize your VO2 Max and your anaerobic capacity, which is what martial arts is all about. Remember, K-1 guys have the highest VO2 maxes of any athletes. No doubt about it, martial arts is an anaerobic activity.

2. Stay away from long slow cardio. It burns up precious muscle, raises cortisol levels, and begins to over time take away your fast twitch, explosive capacity. Fat will come off through diet, not through training.

3. Begin a basic weight training routine to further develop your body's fast twictch muscle fibers. Focus on big compound movements. Train three times a week for an hour. Learn how to squat and deadlift properly. Those two exercises will develop your kicking power tremendously. In addition these two exercises are severely taxing to the CNS, utilizing over 70% of your body's total musculature. Upper body movements should be focused on rows, dips, presses, pull-ups etc. No wrist curls or tricep pushdowns.

If you have any more questions, feel free to PM me. I've laid out the bare basics, but I can help you design a program that fits your needs/schedule/individual considerations.
i think you'd like muay thai a little more than boxing since you have abackground in things like karate and TKD

BJJ at my school is very very very physically taxing. Not because of the 20 min warmup, but because of the 30 min non stop sparring that goes on afterwards. All I can say after a class ends: goddamn.
i say boxing, just because you can find a good gym just about anyhwere, my cousin used to live in the middle of nowhere in freakin buttfuck ontario or something and he still trained at a gym that had t some top notch fighters and a womans world champ(name?) trains there. and it doesent get much more practical than boxing.