What You Need to Know Before Your First Martial Arts Class!

August 5, 2017

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What You Need to Know Before Your First Martial Arts Class!

Your first Martial Arts class can be a little unnerving. There is the anticipation of what you will be learning, along with the fear of the unknown. Martial Arts school in general can invoke a feeling uncertainty when you are first exposed to them. The load “Kiai” omitted by 20 or more students in unison can shake you to the roots of your soul. The snap of the Gi, while a perfectly executed punch or kick comes within inches of you, sinks in the realization that this is not a game. And, the acrobatic and sometimes unnatural contortions, exhibited by higher ranking students can leave you questioning if you have what it takes to participate in Martial Arts.

Take a deep breath. These fears and concerns are felt by every new student around the world. You will get through your first class, and every class thereafter will get easier. Through your training you will establish new friendships, and these new friends will help guide you as you share in a journey of self discovery.

Your Martial Arts training begins the moment you walk through the door on your first day. Expectations will be made of you immediately. You will be instructed on how to enter the Dojo, and what signs of respect you may need to demonstrate to the school and higher ranking students. Most schools prohibit the wearing of shoes; you can expect to be required to remove your shoes all most immediately. The proper way to wear your Gi, and tie your belt will be shown to you.

Don’t expect these lessons to come from the schools instructor, in many traditional schools you don’t want this instructions to come from the instructor because discipline will accompany that instruction, these lessons will be shared with you from your fellow students. In most traditional Martial Arts schools, students are responsible for passing basic instruction down to the less experienced. No one tells these students to help each other; it is just the beginning of a life long bond that created.

If you are attending a completely traditional martial arts training school there will be no private instruction, you will be involved in group classes. At first this can be confusing. The instructor shouting out cadencies and students changing position on every command, you will feel out of sorts. Your responsibility is to watch and mimic, you will not get much hands on training from the school instructor. The best you can hope for is the aligning of your form as he passes by, or the sudden standing on your back leg to insure your stance is strong.

These forms of teaching dates back for centuries, watch, mimic, experiment, and learn. Many traditional schools adapt this method because the masters of centuries ago first learned their art by watching and mimicking various animals in combat. While frustrating at first, you will feel a since of pride the first time the instructor passes by with only a nod of recognition instead twisting you into an uncomfortable position.

From the very first day of mixed martial arts training there are no breaks, you will be exposed to difficult positions that use muscles you never used before. You will be forced to test your body, and mind, by holding positions longer than your body can do so comfortably. As you start to look for relief from the burning deep in the muscles; you will look around and see every one of your peers pushing themselves further, and you will find the inner fortitude to press on.

Over time your body will grow strong and flexible. The unison yell of “Kiai” that once shook your nerves, becomes a war cry that invokes a release of adrenalin, and the snapping Gi becomes a relished sound of perfection. Then one day you see that new student and recognize the blank stare in his eyes. As you calmly offer him some assistance tying his belt for the first time you realize – you have become a Martial Artist.

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