If you’ve decided to join a martial arts class, congratulations! Know that you are taking a positive step toward better health, beginning an exciting new hobby, and equipping yourself with the skills you need to be in control of your own safety and security.
However, there are a few other things you will want to know as well before you arrive for your first class. To help make your first class go as smoothly as possible, we’ll cover those things below.
1) Martial Arts is for all Ages, Body Types, and Genders
If you’re worried about being the odd person out at your martial arts class, don’t be. Martial arts is something that attracts all types of people. It can be enjoyed by young and old, small and large, men and women. Your martial arts class will almost certainly not be comprised entirely of muscled-up people in their prime of life like you see fighting in the UFC (though there might be a few of those type there as well!), so have no fears about whether or not you’ll fit in.
2) You Probably Won’t Win Many Matches in the Beginning
If you go into a martial arts class expecting to dominate everyone when it comes to grappling and sparring, you’re probably going to be in for a surprise. People who have been training for any decent amount of time will probably be able to best you in these contests, even if they seem unimposing. If you think about it, though, that’s a great sign; if beginners were able to go in and mop the floor with trained fighters, there would be no point in training.
There is a point in training, though, and there’s no shame in being the inexperienced fighter. Everyone you’ll go up against can remember when they themselves were just starting out and they themselves were the person getting beat time and time again. Their only goal will be to help you get better, not make you feel bad about getting beat.
3) You’re in for Some Hard Work
Martial arts makes for a grueling workout. There’s a reason, after all, that even the most fit athletes in the world can only fight for a few rounds before they start wearing down. This is great news if you are looking to get in shape, because martial arts will quickly improve your cardio and quickly help you burn a large number of calories.
It’s also something that you will want to be prepared for, though. Many new martial arts students walk into their first class expecting a light workout and walk out feeling like they’ve been run over by a bus. If you’re not in shape yet, you can expect to get in shape quickly.
4) You May Need to Purchase Some Equipment
Different disciplines and different classes have various requirements for the type of equipment and clothing that you will need. For example, some classes require you to wear a Gi, while others don’t. Some classes require you to purchase your own gloves, shin guards, and so forth, while others will provide these things for you.
Since you won’t know what you’ll need to buy until you have a chance to speak with the instructor, it’s a good idea to get in contact with them ahead of time. It’s also alright to show up for a class not knowing what you need, but just understand that you may not be able to fully participate until you have the right equipment.
5) You May get a Few Bruises
Martial arts classes are designed to prevent injury as much as possible. They certainly are not a full-contact free for all like you might see in an actual competition.
With that said, accidents do happen, and some classes go a little harder than others. Going hard isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since sparring and grappling with another person at or near full speed is one of the best ways to learn and practice. However, you do need to keep in mind that minor injuries are possible. Your training partner should do their best to keep you and themselves safe, and you should do the same. If you follow the rules and keep in mind that you are just training, not trying to kill someone, you shouldn’t ever have to deal with any serious injury. However, a few bruises from time to time is certainly a possibility.
6) You’ll get More out of it than You Might Think
Martial arts offers a number of considerable benefits – many of which you may not yet realize. Some of these benefits are obvious, such as the ability to defend yourself from an attacker and a great workout to help you burn calories and get in shape. Other benefits of martial arts aren’t quite as well known, but they’re certainly there nonetheless.
One of these benefits is increased confidence. Being good at something always improves a person’s confidence, and this is doubly true when it comes to being good at fighting. Knowing that you can take care of yourself and knowing that you excel at the oldest competition known to man is certainly a reason to hold your head high.
Another benefit that many people don’t think of is the fact that when you join a martial arts class, you’re not just joining a gym, you’re joining a community. The people in martial arts classes are often a tight knit group. There’s something about sparring and grappling with someone that forms a close bond. Also, whatever view you might have of the people who train in martial arts, you may be surprised to find that they are among the nicest, friendliest people that you will ever meet. Bullies simply do not last in martial arts classes, since it takes a high degree of humility to spar and grapple with people who repeatedly outdo you until you are able to get to the point where you can actually compete.
Confidence and community are just two of the benefits you’ll be able to look forward to, and, once you’ve made it through a few classes, chances are you will realize that martial arts has a lot more to offer than first meets the eye.
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