Starting a New Martial Art: Where to begin?!
Joining a martial art isn't exactly like signing up for seasonal baseball or basketball.
Here are some ways to prepare yourself for and conquer your first martial arts class.
Talk to the instructor ahead of time.
I had a friend who signed up for a martial arts school that apparently had a hazing ritual for its new white belts. Everyone took turns kicking him while he stood there with armor on. Not the best welcoming ceremony for a new face!
When you call the school in advance, you have the opportunity to make sure the class will meet your expectations by asking questions: should you bring running shoes? Will I be expected to spar right away? How difficult is the first class going to be? Will I be allowed to take breaks if the training is too rigorous?
Bring a friend.
Besides the obvious reasons of fun and general safety in numbers, bringing a friend can also help you be more at ease during partner drills and stretching drills if you are uncomfortable with close contact with strangers right away.
Plus - plenty of martial arts schools offer friends and family discounts if you sign up together, so it can't hurt to ask!
Watch tutorial videos in advance.
To make the most of your first day of class or your one-day workshop, try scanning Youtube to see what kinds of kicks, punches, and techniques you'll be learning. If you memorize everything before the class - bravo! Now all you have to do is show up and follow along, without the stress of getting it right on the spot.
This gives you the opportunity to get more out of your class. Your instructor can spend more time adjusting your technique, so that the class is spent perfecting your skills rather than memorizing.
Don't be intimidated by a new martial arts environment. All black belts were once white belts, and your instructor and his or her team should be more than willing to slow down to match your pace, and to accommodate your questions and requests.
And hang in there - our first free workshop is on October 12 from 5pm - 6pm. Register here! We'll see you soon!