/ Shotokan Karate or kick boxing

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iusedtoclimb 28 Nov 2019

So I’m considering do one or the other. I’m 50 and want something that will physically challenge me nothing slow but also means I’ll be in one piece to go to work the next day. Anyone got the experience to recommend one over the other 

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bouldery bits 28 Nov 2019
In reply to iusedtoclimb:

You could try climbing?

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jasonC abroad 28 Nov 2019
In reply to iusedtoclimb:

Used to do a lot of karate, did some Shotokan which I found good to learn as they concentrated on the basics and did them well, but I think it depends on the club and the teacher.  Move on to a small club in London that was physically much more demanding than the Shotokan but I got really fit.  Went back to a similar club a few years ago and it was murder, took me a week to recover (I'm 51).  I got injured and never returned.

Kick boxing can be much harder training wise, though I've not done it, my ex neighbour was a instructor and ex-world champ and his club/gym was well know for being hard, so again I guess it depends on the club.

Good luck with either, sort of interested in having another go myself.

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Clarence 28 Nov 2019
In reply to iusedtoclimb:

I have done both and they both have things to commend them. Karate has a rich tradition and is a very sociable art but you need to choose a good school that likes sparring and bunkai (practical applications of the techniques) or it can become a bizarre combination of line dancing and aerobics. Kick boxing on the other hand is very practical and pared down to the essentials but I missed the group structure, the tradition and all the camaraderie that goes with the belt. I didn't miss the hordes of kids though

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cap'nChino 28 Nov 2019
In reply to iusedtoclimb:

Unless you have fairly flexible legs, I would advise just Boxing.  I did shotokan for years, but I found lack of flexibility in legs really held me back, I imagine Kickboxing would be the same.  With boxing training you would still get a leg work out if you do the strength and conditioning components of the training (vital). Can't speak for kickboxing but guess flexibility is key. 

You'll find shotokan is very traditional and a lot of dojos wont do much sparring, so the practicality of the skills you learn is limited, you'll have killer thighs though. 

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Mark Edwards 29 Nov 2019
In reply to iusedtoclimb:

So much depends on the instructor. Most clubs will do a first lesson free offer, so find all the clubs you can and take the lessons and see which one you prefer. As you are already considering kick boxing why not add Tae Kwon Do and Tang Soo Do to the list?

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cb294 29 Nov 2019
In reply to Clarence:

> .... a bizarre combination of line dancing and aerobics. 

I am going to steal that line for the benefit of my karate friends (I do judo).

CB

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cb294 29 Nov 2019
In reply to iusedtoclimb:

Shotokan or other traditional karate styles that focus on forms will do wonders for your flexibility. I am actually thinking of taking it up in addition to judo because I am too lazy to daily stretching routines for myself at home and I have become stiff with age (51).

CB

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Guy Hurst 29 Nov 2019
In reply to iusedtoclimb

I'd say a karate club offering a good mixture of kata and sparring would be ideal. The kata is good for flexibility and stamina, and the muscle memory gained is vital when it comes to sparring. Look for a club which enters teams of fighters in lots of tournaments, in both sparring and kata classes.

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RawPowa! 29 Nov 2019
In reply to iusedtoclimb:

I've done both and I'm around your age. Karate is a really good foundation for other martial arts but I got a bit bored to be honest. Good for flexibility. I did Muay Thai briefly and plan on going back, I found the training very intense and if you're looking for self defence I think it's incredibly practical. The training is hard though, i found I had to train for the training Can't see myself doing a lot of sparring unless i develop a love of pain...

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ScottTalbot 29 Nov 2019
In reply to iusedtoclimb:

If you're doing it for exercise, I'd go with Kick Boxing, or actual boxing. Growing up, I did various Martial Arts and a bit of boxing, and found these two to be the most physically demanding.

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planetmarshall 29 Nov 2019
In reply to cap'nChino:

> Unless you have fairly flexible legs, I would advise just Boxing.

+1 to this. I did Shotokan up to about 2nd Dan level as a kid, if I could have the time back I would have done good old fashioned Boxing or Muay-Thai (Or these days probably a decent MMA class).

I suppose it depends what you're after. For self-defence purposes you really need to get stuck in - there's no point in doing choreographed routines all the time. That's what boxing does and does well. But you might not be interested in that aspect - many boxing classes won't make you spar if you don't want to, but you'll be fit as f**k.

Post edited at 11:55
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Pan Ron 29 Nov 2019
In reply to iusedtoclimb:

Muay Thai/Kickboxing is high risk for not leaving you in one piece the next day.

Have you considered BJJ?  Its about the most effective martial art out there for self-defence, does not involve striking, yet is a serious physical challenge that can leave you on the point of puking after just a few minutes strenuous rolling.  Its a full-body workout and I find it far more satisfying than working through katas.

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Timmd 29 Nov 2019
In reply to cb294:

> Shotokan or other traditional karate styles that focus on forms will do wonders for your flexibility. I am actually thinking of taking it up in addition to judo because I am too lazy to daily stretching routines for myself at home and I have become stiff with age (51).

> CB

On a slight hijack, it's handy reading people your age talking about becoming stiffer with age, it's a good prompt to head off things like this happening with daily stretching. I've recently pulled a hamstring just a tiny bit stretching towards doing the splits, it happened while cycling but it's the first time I can remember that happening (while cycling).  Warming up before stretching could seem to be wise.

Post edited at 15:39
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Moley 29 Nov 2019
In reply to iusedtoclimb:

I did shotokan up to 1st Dan grade and was instructing and judging, really enjoyed it but have to give up the sport due to lifestyle and work changes. I changed to running, that I could fit in anytime.

But, I was in my 30s then (60s now) and all was easier. Personally I enjoyed the traditional disciplines of shotkan but others may  be better suited  to more freestyle or sparring martial arts.

Starting at 50 is fine, but you seriously need a very good instructor who will understand age limitations and pace you accordingly, not just fitness but with regards to joints, ligaments etc.

Good luck.

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Timmd 29 Nov 2019
In reply to RawPowa!:

> I've done both and I'm around your age. Karate is a really good foundation for other martial arts but I got a bit bored to be honest. Good for flexibility. I did Muay Thai briefly and plan on going back, I found the training very intense and if you're looking for self defence I think it's incredibly practical. The training is hard though, i found I had to train for the training Can't see myself doing a lot of sparring unless i develop a love of pain...

What do people think about combing karate and taekwondo, to do with the likelihood of picking up tweaks and injuries, and their compatibility? Somebody tried to steal my Cotic Soul while I was riding it this summer, I'd quite like to give somebody a surprise if they try similar another time, and it goes differently to me easily escaping. I've been told I've 'a certain air' about me, which is nice, but it may mean that's why I can be a target.  Hope the OP doesn't mind this.

Post edited at 15:57
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planetmarshall 29 Nov 2019
In reply to Timmd:

> What do people think about combing karate and taekwondo, to do with the likelihood of picking up tweaks and injuries, and their compatibility? Somebody tried to steal my Cotic Soul while I was riding it this summer, I'd quite like to give somebody a surprise if they try similar another time...

If we're talking about self-defence, then I suggest you take a dedicated class by people qualified to give such instruction. It's very different from 'martial-arts'. I'm not saying an expert boxer or Muay Thai fighter couldn't hold their own, but at the end of the day sparring is a sport and about competition. Not gouging out eyes or crunching testicles (for example). 

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Timmd 29 Nov 2019
In reply to planetmarshall: That seems like a slightly binary interpretation of my question*? Possibly I'm having a slow day and haven't got the gist of what you're saying.

* I'm not trying to be a smarty pants, more I'm confused, as it were...

Post edited at 17:28
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iusedtoclimb 29 Nov 2019
In reply to iusedtoclimb:

Thanks all really appreciate the responses. I’m really undecided. I’m going to go and have a look at the club that offers both and try one and see how it goes.

I’ll keep you posted 

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PaulScramble 29 Nov 2019
In reply to iusedtoclimb:

I have done Krav Maga and Ninjutsu, considering Wado Ryu or Japanese Jujitsu. With regards self defence, any martial art will make you a much better fighter than most people out there. When you get older (I'm 46), recovery takes longer, so a full contact system like Krav, MMA, boxing, kickboxing might be a rude awakening for you.

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Clarence 29 Nov 2019
In reply to PaulScramble:

Wado Ryu is a good choice, knee-friendly stances lots of tai sabaki and some fun elements of Ju Jutsu thrown in at the top end. Lots of good work on getting back to a full syllabus with extensive bunkai and traditional knife/sword defences has been done by Iain Abernethy. I have dan grades in Shotokan, Enshin and Wado but as I started creaking in my 40s I found Wado to be most conducive to walking home from the dojo.

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RawPowa! 30 Nov 2019
In reply to Timmd:

Don't bother with Taekwondo, it's fairly useless as self defence as it relies mostly on high kicks which leave you vulnerable if they don't connect and essentially rely on your opponent standing there and copping it. Not so good if they're already punching you in the head.... I think boxing would be most useful for what you're after. I found with my limited experience of Muay Thai that the instruction of basic technique is better in karate, you spend so much time doing basics over and over and over. I also prefer the way punching power is developed in karate over boxing. But having said all that I think boxing would be the go for someone older who just wants a bit of fitness and self defence.

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Mark Edwards 30 Nov 2019
In reply to RawPowa!:

> Don't bother with Taekwondo, it's fairly useless as self defence as it relies mostly on high kicks which leave you vulnerable if they don't connect

In my opinion that’s a pretty limited view. OK, the point scoring aspect in say the Olympics might make you think that but there is more to it than that. Look at it as teaching accuracy at the very limit of where you can kick. If you can be accurate at head height then leg or chest height isn’t going to be a problem. A bigger problem as I see it is teaching kicking using the top of the foot which is only really useful if you are aiming for the balls. If you can accurately kick concrete with significant force with the ball of the foot without breaking your toes then legs or ribs aren’t going to be a problem and if they can’t stand or breathe you have time to run away. If your opponent is already within leg range, grab hold and use your hip flexibility to put a knee to the ribs with attitude. I was demonstrating this to a police cadet, when he did really well. A few months of trying not to breathe (and absolutely, positively, not laughing) whilst the fractures in my lower ribs healed wasn’t fun.

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RawPowa! 30 Nov 2019
In reply to Mark Edwards:

It's surprisingly hard to kick someone in the head, it requires enough space to do the kick then you have to land it and because it's a ranged attack you get a fair amount of time to move. It's also hard to kick someone in the ribs without hitting the elbow which is bad news if you're kicking with the ball or top of your foot. I sparred with some taekwondo aficionados a couple of times and essentially if you close the range you can land a lot of punches and they don't know what to do about it. They didn't have a lot of experience but you want a self defence style to be effective before you've done it for 5 years. I think part of the problem with Taewkondo is it's more of a sport sparring style where every 'hit' is a knockout, the real world isn't like that.

I've also had my ribs broken a couple of times during sparring and guess what, i kept sparring. It's not as effective as you'd think, nothing like the power of a Muay Thai round kick with the shins. I can do both kicks and the power I develop on a heavy bag is massive compared to a karate mawashi geri, plus I don't have to worry about breaking my toes.

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Clarence 30 Nov 2019
In reply to RawPowa!:

> It's surprisingly hard to kick someone in the head, it requires enough space to do the kick then you have to land it and because it's a ranged attack you get a fair amount of time to move...<snip>...t's not as effective as you'd think, nothing like the power of a Muay Thai round kick with the shins. I can do both kicks and the power I develop on a heavy bag is massive compared to a karate mawashi geri, plus I don't have to worry about breaking my toes.

The better Karate teachers teach high kicks as building technique and flexibility rather than something to be used in practical application. I have never used a mawashigeri in full contact sparring or competition. A good solid knee to the thigh has always been my favourite kick or if I am feeling flexible a shin to the kidneys is as high as I go. Kicks above hip height are not traditional, they were introduced in order to show off rather than for any good reason.

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deepsoup 30 Nov 2019
In reply to RawPowa!:

> I've also had my ribs broken a couple of times during sparring and guess what, i kept sparring.

There should be some sort of a Godwin's law for 'martial arts' threads.  Even if the OP expresses no interest in 'self defence' at all, it is inevitable that someone will turn it into a 'self defence' thread, then someone will turn it into a bit of a pissing contest, then someone will contribute some outright rufty-tuftier-than-thou macho bullshit like the above.

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deepsoup 30 Nov 2019
In reply to planetmarshall:

>  .. but at the end of the day sparring is a sport and about competition. Not gouging out eyes or crunching testicles (for example). 

If the real-life Timmd resembles Timmd on here at all, he's a ridiculously nice chap.

There is nothing 'realistic' about some kind of instructor eschewing any kind of sparring and instead teaching the "gouging out" of eyes or the "crunching" of testicles in the expectation that he would actually do those things for real during some kind of confrontation.

For a nice normal person, anybody who is not a psychopath really, the difference between simulating those things during a 'self-defence' evening class and actually doing them for real, even in extremis is vast.  There are profound inhibitions that would need to be overcome there, I'm not a psychologist but I think there are barriers there extremely unlikely to be broken down during a remotely enjoyable 'recreational' class.

It strikes me there would be a certain irony about such a 'self-defence' instructor eschewing any kind of sparring, for example, as 'unrealistic'.

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planetmarshall 30 Nov 2019
In reply to deepsoup:

Oh absolutely, and I echo your point about macho posturing.

Timmd expressed a simultaneous interest in martial arts but also being able to give someone a kicking if they tried to pinch his bike. The point I was making is that the two goals are not necessarily compatible, and if the goal is solely self-defence, then there are classes available that emphasize that particular aspect without getting bogged down in the more traditional aspects of martial arts.

It's just that having done this kind of thing for a while, and being in the odd situation of actually having to use it, there are a lot of deluded people out there who think that a couple of Karate classes will enable them to defeat the laws of physics.

Post edited at 22:11
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Minneconjou Sioux 30 Nov 2019
In reply to iusedtoclimb:

> So I’m considering do one or the other. I’m 50 and want something that will physically challenge me nothing slow but also means I’ll be in one piece to go to work the next day. Anyone got the experience to recommend one over the other 

Is it fair to assume that you do have some interest in the martial arts piece of this question rather than just wanting a way to get fit? If not then you can just join a kick boxing fitness class that doesn't teach you how to fight or any other number of fitness programs.

The next question is; "why a martial art?" is it to learn how to fight, to have some self defense or because you like the tradition/history and style of movement? Possibly all of these?

The most useful martial art i.e the one with the most practical application, is BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) but this is essentially grappling (wrestling). For the most part, the workout comes when you "roll" with a training partner and it can be one of the most intense workouts you'll ever go through. Because there is no striking there is a good chance that you'll get to work the next day but do be prepared to pull muscles and strain tendons especially if you haven't got a lot of flexibility.

If you really want to learn striking then Muay Thai, kickboxing or boxing (not a martial art) will be the most useful. If you want these to have any practical application then you'll need to spar and you might get hurt. In any case, remember that consistent blows to the head (even in sparring) will be causing some damage.

The other stuff works ok at fitness/flexibility but the practical application is mainly confined to the particular discipline i.e. Karate is really useful in a karate competition

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planetmarshall 30 Nov 2019
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

> If you really want to learn striking then Muay Thai, kickboxing or boxing (not a martial art) will be the most useful. 

Probably derailing the thread even further now, but in what sense is Boxing not a martial art?

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Minneconjou Sioux 01 Dec 2019
In reply to planetmarshall:

> Probably derailing the thread even further now, but in what sense is Boxing not a martial art?


Good question. I guess it just isn't widely regarded as one. Nor for that matter, is Judo. I'm not sure you'll get a definitive answer to this. 

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Timmd 02 Dec 2019
In reply to RawPowa!:

> Don't bother with Taekwondo, it's fairly useless as self defence as it relies mostly on high kicks which leave you vulnerable if they don't connect and essentially rely on your opponent standing there and copping it. Not so good if they're already punching you in the head....

That's interesting. I tend to skirt around and away from people with a certain vibe, or energy as new age people put it. In having an active person's legs I figured kicking people in the ribs or knees could be effective. I'm a chilled sort who's never fought outside primary school, but the annoyance at somebody trying to take my bike could be enough for me to attack somebody if I had the muscle memory. Shaking off some of the effects of bullying and Catholicism leaves me wanting to fight back a little bit more.

> I think boxing would be most useful for what you're after. I found with my limited experience of Muay Thai that the instruction of basic technique is better in karate, you spend so much time doing basics over and over and over. I also prefer the way punching power is developed in karate over boxing. But having said all that I think boxing would be the go for someone older who just wants a bit of fitness and self defence.

Some friends go to a karate class which they recommend, the guy who runs it is a part of the 'Sheffield alternative scene'* and is a chilled guy. I may start with that.

*We're all alternative, but most of us conform on the outside.

Post edited at 12:59
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In reply to Timmd:

Forget trying to beat up the thief, just make sure everything is insured. Then keep as much distance between yourself and any trouble would be my advice.

"my style? You can call it the art of fighting without fighting" ;-) 

Post edited at 13:37
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Timmd 02 Dec 2019
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

> Forget trying to beat up the thief, just make sure everything is insured. Then keep as much distance between yourself and any trouble would be my advice.

> "my style? You can call it the art of fighting without fighting" ;-) 

Yes, they could always have a knife. I didn't quite mean that as a first choice, I think my nature will always be to run away.   

Post edited at 13:51
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cb294 02 Dec 2019
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

Traditionally you distinguish straightforward sports (i.e. disciplines with competition rules or even Olympic participation) like boxing or judo from traditional martial arts (e.g. traditional Japanese Jiu Jitsu, not the modern competition form or BJJ, which are both reverse engineered from Judo) that are supposedly lethal and may have a good dose of mysticism (e.g. various flavours of Kung Fu or Aikido), and more modern fighting systems (Krav Maga and the like). 

The distinction is not really logical and consistent, more traditional consensus.

Disciplines like Tae Kwon Do or Karate (even though there are many different styles that can be more or less sporty or traditional) do not fit in neatly anyway.

CB

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cb294 02 Dec 2019
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

When I taught Judo classes at my university, every year lots of girls (mainly) wanted to join during freshers week to "learn self defence". I always told them to join the athletics club instead and focus on 400m sprints*.

I have been practising Judo for 45 years, and am a big beardy 100kg guy with quick reflexes (still....), so I could probably defend myself using my sport, but have barely needed to do so (once since leaving school, when some puny arsehole pulled me off my bike, not good idea). Running away is almost always the better option. 

I definitely do pyjama wrestling as a sport, not a martial art!

CB

* they would of course be very welcome to try the sport, but teaching them some stupid self defence tricks does not do anyone any good. 

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RawPowa! 09:32 Tue
In reply to Timmd:

What I'm getting at is that people don't go down like a sack of spuds like they're supposed to when they're drunk or full of adrenaline. There is an idea in some styles of karate that one good blow will take care of someone. Probably not so much in a style like Shotokan but it is a thing in the karate world. 

Honestly though if you do karate for a while and enjoy it then stick at it, you'll get the most benefit fitness wise if you're doing something you're keen on and keep turning up once or twice a week.

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RobertHepburn 13:48 Tue
In reply to iusedtoclimb:

I have done Karate, Judo and Japanese Jitsu, and Jitsu was definitely the most fun and realistic in terms of real combat. Judo and Karate are probably slightly better for fitness, and both can work well as sports, but it all depends on the class. Jitsu is very much a mix of judo and karate, with some wrist locks and kick boxing thrown in as well.

Jitsu does drills for multiple attackers, surprise, weapons and close quarters. Real combat tends to involve some or all of these things e.g. normally someone attacks you because they think they can win, and they stack everything in their favor. One of the best was the grab drill, where you stand in a circle of opponents and they randomly grab you any way they like (arms, chest, neck, hair etc) and you have to deal with it. Grabbing and dragging, or someone else attacking whilst you are grabbed, are I think very common real world attacks, especially on women, yet most martial arts do not train for it. 

When martial arts were invented combat was real. The problem is that in the UK is that for most combat is rare, and many teachers of martial arts classes may never have used their skills in a real fight. There is really good book about all this (Meditations on Violence) that any martial artist thinking about self defense should read.

Good luck with whatever you choose!

Post edited at 13:49
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