Martial Arts

I´m curious who of you is practicing martial arts and what style did you choose and why? What brought you into it and how long have you been practicing it?
And even if you don´t practice any martial art yourself maybe there´s something about it that fascinates you? Or you just like to watch martial arts movies or MMA fights?

I have been fascinated with martial arts since I was a kid (which kiddo didn´t like Bruce Lee and wanted to beat up bad guys?) but I only started about 10 years ago to actually take the first step of this neverending journey. I started with Wing Chun for about a year but then the “coach” (he wasn´t really into this traditional stuff and had a MMA background) quit over night so I had to look for something else. I was looking for something that didn´t require “exams/tests” for each level in order to advance (which in a lot of cases is just a money making model) and also something that was physically challenging so I ended up signing up at the local Muay Thai gym where I still practice, sometimes more sometimes less. Since it´s a very demanding style physically you can´t avoid injuries really and so I f*cked up my shoulder quite a bit over time which forced me to take it down several notches. I never did it to compete but more as a type of workout that has its roots in self defense which I´ve always been more into than competition.

Over time I also checked out some other styles like Jui-Jitsu (unfortunately the instructor also quit these classes because there weren´t enough people attending, I liked it a lot), Tai Chi for a more health based counter part to the intense Muay Thai (and even here the instructor who is a good friend of mine quit his classes because he left the country) and Iranian Kung Fu Toa. The latter was pretty interesting because it involved all kinds of techniques including various weapons but my working schedule back then didn´t allow regular training so I couldn´t get deeper into it.

Bruce Lee was my first contact with the physical aspect of Martial Arts when I was a kid and when I got older I also discovered his philosophical approach to the whole topic and fascinated me even more. Looking forward to your input and maybe some links to watch and recommendations of people who did their own thing despite practicing a more traditional style first (DK Yoo comes to mind here).

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In 2007 I started training Muay Thai pretty intensely. I was 18 at the time. I became pretty much obsessed. Sparred several days a week, shadowboxed several hours a day, everyday. I got a pretty nasty leg injury that lingered and got worse over the years, finally resulting in surgery (damaged veins). Ultimately I quit after 2 years because it became mentally unhealthy for me. I knew I did not want to be a professional fighter, and the obsession was just draining me. So I pretty much quit cold turkey. Since then I’ve dabbled in it again a few times, but I always end up quitting after a week or two. I’m much more interested in boxing now, and my hands were always my strength. But the cost of gyms has gone through the roof since 2007. Oh yeah, my masters were two old Thai men, brothers. Very small guys, the elder brother was a former champion, had something like 350 fights, and the younger had around 120 fights. They knew what they were doing.


I have done 3 Chinese kung fu styles and Japanese judo, Wing chun is definitely gold, developed by nuns to defend them selves against men, by learning the strengths and weaknesses of structures of the human body. And working out how to exploit structural weaknesses and the strengths to you every advantage in quite an efficient way.

It amazed me the first time I seen a grown man make a fist and try to hold it in position while a child pushed it aside with thier pinky finger…it’s also so fluid to watch chi sow (sticking hands) rolling…it’s like a dance…

Completely useless without it’s stance however so once the fight goes to grabbing, grappling or holding the technique is ineffective. Which is why it’s good to learn a jujitsu or Judo as well…

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In the past i was into Karate (Shotokan-Style). I trained every day like 606 did and i was quite obsessed with it and I also combined it with a gym. I was proud of my body, my performance and the healthiness I gained . It gave me stamina, strength and energy, stability on unstable grounds and speediness - not forget to mention a quick reaction in certain situations and a feeling of preparedness. Performing Katas freed up my mind too. I loved it.
Some day during a training i didn’t warm up my body enough and i got a pulled muscle in my left shoulder - very painful!! I didn’t recover from it fully - also other more important things came into my life at that time. This was the end sadly - who knows, actually it is more a question of time which i don’t have at the moment…

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I love martial arts training and have done a few different styles over the years, from traditional meditative to full contact. I have no preference when it comes to style - the instructor is vastly more important to me. Whether traditional or modern, some of them actually don’t even have basic knowledge of the theory behind execise. That’s not acceptable, and I’ve seen it even in so called top level “masters”.

Also, a big part of martial arts training is personal development in my opinion, so if I don’t get along with the instructor I walk away. I’m not fussy and get along with most people, but some instructors are just too full of themselves.

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I train martial arts since i was a child, started with Taekwondo, then Wing Chun (Iadarola style), Tai Chi Yang, Filipino Eskrima (a bit of Warriors and Sayoc but mostly Balintawak), Jeet Kune Do (Salvatore Oliva style), ACT (Armed Combat and Tactics) and MMA.

Currently I only train MMA.

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That is something that has always been fascinating me how you can take down even the strongest bodies quite easily with proper technique when you know the physical weak spots of the human body.
Unfortunately the Wing Chun style is split up in different schools with different lineages and they’re notorious for hating each other. Pure drama that’s why I didn’t bother with it anymore after my coach quit.

That sucks! I often tend to overtrain and get really sore so I have to take a break for several days. Not the best option either because your body breaks down way faster with a training habit like this. Have you tried doing some Yoga/stretching to help with the injury? I made good experiences with that and the Tai Chi classes helped a lot in locating internal tension and loosen up. That alone is worth a lot because you don’t exhaust as fast anymore when you don’t waste energy being constantly tensed up during workout.

That is very true, it helped me a lot in terms of confidence and self awareness. And the phylosophies of Bruce Lee are universal, lots of inspiration for all aspects of life and also thought me a lot about approaching music differently as well.

I was in university when I signed up for my first martial arts classes. My friends gave me grief about guns being more effective for self-defense but somehow I got a couple of them to join me in Brazilian Jujutsu (BJJ) class. Actually it wasn’t that hard because they had already watched some UFC fights. Among the 3 of of us, one of them had greater talent for it than the others, and thus was soon submitting me and my other friend in sparring.

I went on to try other martial arts off and on, not really committing long enough to any particular one to achieve anything. Part of it was moving from city to city and part of it was the struggle to balance my time between work, music, and training. I also lost some training time to injury - fortunately too serious.

I currently practice Chen-style Taijiquan. I had heard about “six harmony skills”, but needed a few years to understand how to make it work physically. There are bascially 2 aspects to 6H - ground/gravity force manipulation (aka “jin”) and “the suit”, which some call “functional qi”.

When I started the Chen-style, I was cross-training in Japanese Jujutsu (mostly standup grappling) and BJJ. The Japanese Jujutsu folks were also investigating 6H, as their system was kind of a cross of re-imagined Aikido, Sumo and Judo, using 6H as the engine. I once thought Sumo was just for big, fat guys but actually there’s a lot of throws and other moves that require real technique, not just brute strength and size. I never particularly good at standup grappling - be it from Sumo or Judo, but the few times I “won”, it did feel satisfying to slip my center of gravity under the partner and feel him get light and thus vulnerable to a throw/takedown, using a bit of 6H. - the few times I made it work. There was one BJJ sparring session in which my partner was trying to force an arm lock on me, but was baffled because I simply relaxed and let his force go to the ground, so basically all that pressure he was straining to apply just went to the mat instead of my body. Generally though, it’s difficult to use 6H in sparring because it’s such a different way of using the body - for example using the “suit” to “unfurl” the punching arm instead of the normal movement pattern (hip rotation combined with a pushing action instead of a “pull”).

Now I only practice the Taijiquan. I struggled to find a balance between work, music, and training; so the other martial arts classes just had to go. While some Taiji people do spar, I enjoy the flexibility to practice whenever I want, without being bound to a class schedule, because there are a lot of things that can be practiced solo - the forms, the silk-reeling exercises, the “standing pole” exercise, and other training methods. I like the movement practice and slowly getting better at using the “suit” to wind/unwind the body. I do have a teacher working with me to reality-check me.

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Southern Praying Mantis. (Tong Long)
Yellow belt.
Been doing it for 8 months. Gave it a try as it is not sport oriented, no competitions. Also has minimal kicking and throwing which is good for me, (spinal injury a few years back)
I really like the internal aspects of it, and the forces the body can generate once you have the correct structure. Also, the essence of it is appealing… absolutley destroy anything in your path. Loads of fun.
Love it.


I did Wing Chun while I was in highschool, it was pretty great and the sifu there was amazing 2nd generation from Yip Man and 3 gen Yang T’ai Chi Ch’uan. When I left he pointed me to some other styles with good teachers in the area I was moving to. I have moved many times since then and haven’t had the chance to keep it up but I think the most important thing by far is having a good teacher. I think I would be way more likely to get into some serious T’ai Chi Ch’uan at this point in my life though.

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As a kid I did some judo for a few years.
In my twenties I was fond of karate.

Now I wish I had discovered yoga sooner.
Not a martial art, but I find everything I liked in combat sport, minus combat and injuries that went with it.
I found that yoga can be pretty intense, and does wonders for the back, while strengthening the whole body. Love it !


I’ve wanted to get into Jiu jitsu for a while but simply cant afford it. If/when I come into more consistent cash flow its next on my list. I’d also like to get more strength at the gym in the meantime…maybe gain another 15 pounds or so.

I dont know anything about MMA, cant stand watching it and never pay attention. But I would like to know how to properly defend myself (I hear BJJ is most practical for this) and I’d like the confidence that comes with all that. Joe Rogan has piqued my interest.

For now I’m taking piano lessons to plug up holes in my playing which are numerous. Maybe when that’s done and my work is in better order I can get started…


Started with muay thai early last year as a way to build confidence (always been one of those slightly nervous types) which was pretty f’n rad. When it came to (light) sparring I found there was too much to focus on - so I wasn’t enjoying it so much. Same gym was also offering western boxing so I switched to that which I much preferred.

Took several months after quitting work to focus on study and not being able to train. When I came back late last year they were no longer doing the boxing so I’m back doing MT. Had the past coupla weeks off for reasons, but really keen to get back into it.

Started grad school this week - still trying to get my schedule sorted but if I can swing it I’m thinking of switching back to boxing since the university club has apparently got an excellent reputation. Plus it’s significantly cheaper.

Also started aikido a coupla times over the years because IT LOOKS F’N RAD!! Not exactly useful though. Wouldn’t mind crosstraining boxing with Judo but I really need to finish my studies first.

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I used to watch Samaria Sunday religiously as a kid. Channel 66, Midwest thing. Every Sunday just loads of martial arts movies back to back. Took some Karate lessons as a kid thinking Mr Miagi would show up but my instructor was kind of an asshat. Didn’t last long.

My 9 year old son is currently going through a ninja phase now though which has been awesome. Maybe not for the furniture in the house or the walls but fun none the less.


If you train seriously, and as you improve over time, your confidence will truly go through the roof. And it permanently transforms your body. Your general fitness ‘floor’ changes dramatically. I was 140 pounds when I graduated high school. After 1 year of Muay Thai I got to about 165-170, without lifting a single weight, or taking any protein or anything.

(I know you were referring to BJJ. I’m just referring to martial arts in general)

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Wow really? Are you an anomaly or is that pretty normal? I’m sure just by virtue of you training so much you would need to consume more calories thus you gain a lot of weight. Last year I gained 15 lb of weight training and upping my protein intake and calories I’m pretty happy about that, but if my weight ceiling can increase that much more drastically via MMA then that is pretty cool

I used to work with a guy that was a Jiu Jitsu black belt. Treasurer of the mma association of Chicago or something. He was a short dude but super strong. One of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. Massive respect for anyone that can master that sort of thing.

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Question to those who have martial arts training, or currently enrolled in a school: do you think it’s okay for people in their 30s trying out a practices like Wing Chun or Muay Thai?

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Haha awesome! A lot of MA practitioners here! I was 32 when I started MA. I vividly remember being 9 years old watching black belt theatre on channel 69 on Sundays. I was soooo into it but sort of lost it along the way with career and relationships and adulting.

It’s never too late I thought to myself and I chose Hapkido because of the versatility of the Art. You use both internal / soft style and external / hard style. Plus I mean it’s fun to get your throws in and study and apply joint lock techniques. Who doesn’t like to lock and throw people around? :grimacing: 4 1/2 years later I made it to 1st dan.

Recently I met up with a very cool crew that studies Shuai Jiao (Chinese wrestling) which is a lot like Hapkido and Judo and it is deeeeep. It’s one of those things that you can start easily, but take it as far as you want to.

Like others I train for self improvement. Self defense is a bonus I guess. I don’t compete or anything but I feel confident enough to adequately defend myself and my family if needed. It gives me a physical, mental, spiritual balance and as soon as I bow and my feet are on the mat, I am in flow state for an hour or two. I am in a place where I’m not training as often but I’m still very much into it and want to get back in the groove. Been doing HKD for about 9 years and Shuai Jiao for about 6 months.


As far as I concerned you’re never too old to start anything. But I hear you’ll get your ass kicked by a bunch of kids, so be ready for a humbling experience