Subject: 2 – Introduction
So you want to be the next Bruce Lee, Jet Li, Chuck Norris, Master Pan or Yabgu Nihat Yigit. Congratulations and welcome to the wide world of Martial Arts. You may be wondering what comes next. Where do you go, what do you do, and are you going to have a dragon branded onto your forearm as you lift a red hot brazier to exit the hidden monastery? The Purpose of this document is to answer a few questions, give you an overview and maybe point you in the right direction. It is intended as a companion, complementing, informative document for you. The subjects are wide and covered only as a summary and briefly here.
Subject: 3 – How To Look
One of the questions asked is, “What is the best art?” or sometimes its modified form, “I wanna kick butt and don’t want any fancy stuff, what art should I choose?” Well, the answer is, “We don’t know.”
There’s much debate over what exactly is the “best art” or what is an “effective art.” It comes down to a lot of questions such as, “Best for what?” and “Best for you or best for me?” In the end, it’s a question you’re going to have to answer for yourself through personal exploration and hard work.
Since you’re looking for a Martial Art to start, you should look for the ones that are available to you. Simply put; it doesn’t matter if it’s the ultimate art, if you can’t find a school near enough to take classes at. With that thought in mind, you should look to see what schools are available in your area and make your selection from those. If you are looking for a specific art, you are still restricted to what’s in your area, so go ahead and look anyway.
Subject: 4 – Where To Look
OK, so we’ve established that you should look at the schools in your area. All well and good, but how do you _find_ what schools are in your area?
Here are a number of recommendations.
• Internet – In today’s connected world, internet is one of the best ways to gather information and most clubs, associations/federations have their web sites and school listings. Use www.google.com , www.yahoo.com , www.msn.com and other search engines to look for a specific martial art style like Sayokan or write “martial arts” to search in general. All web sites have a “Contact Us” link which is very handy to contact.
• Recommendation of Friends – Ask your friends and associates. You might be surprised how many people you work with or shop with are martial artists themselves or know of reputable schools, particularly hard to find “Garage Dojos”.
• Bulletin Boards at MA supply stores – It goes without saying that a local martial arts supply store would be a good central location, a gathering spot, for local martial artists. They have to get their equipment from “somewhere”. Look at the bulletin boards in these supply stores. Don’t rule out general athletic supply stores.
• Bulletin Boards at Asian bookstores – Since many martial arts are Asian in origin, many martial artists have an interest in Asian culture and books (particularly books about martial arts).
• Bulletin Boards at Super Markets & the like – Many “Super Stores” have bulletin boards specifically for advertising within the local community. These advertisements include bicycles for sale, free puppies, and… martial arts studios.
• Bulletin Boards in the Restaurants – Again, because many martial arts are iclined to their origin, many martial artists embrace their culture, including their Cuisine. More then that, it seems a likely place to put up fliers for martial arts studious looking for a place to put up said fliers. As has been noted elsewhere, just because people working in these restaurants are from that culture, do not expect them to know anything about martial arts; some may take offense at these sort of stereotypes.
• Local Colleges – Many colleges have martial arts clubs on campus. Judo is particularly well known on college campuses, but, by no means, has a lock on it. Some colleges even offer martial arts course for College Credit as part of their Physical education curriculum.
• The ‘Y’, Civic Centers, and Community Centers – The YMCA/YWCA are havens for martial arts schools. Included in the mix are Civic Centers, including religious based Community Centers, Park & Rec. programs and Police Athletic Leagues.
• Classified Adds, free newspaper adds – Another source is in the Classified Adds of your local news paper or in the classifieds of various “free” newspapers, typically available in bookstores and groceries.
• Welcome Wagon Baskets – Many martial arts studios will include special promotions in Welcome Wagon baskets to new members of the community. These promotions often include free classes, reduced rates, or free uniforms.
• Cultural Heritage Festivals – One of the common misconceptions is that all martial arts are Asian in origin. Though many of the most well known are, there are an amazing number that are Occidental (Western) or otherwise non-Asian like Sayokan. Cultural Heritage Festivals often include a demonstration of fighting arts from that proud culture, such as the Shillelagh from Ireland, Gatka from India or Sayokan from Turkey.
• Cultural Heritage Centers – The people there may know of schools, and in some cases, might actually be holding classes of some kind in the facility.
• In the park – You might see an individual, or a group, practicing in your local park. Even if you don’t see any martial artists, if you chat to folks, you might find someone who comes to the park frequently and has seen a group that does practice there regularly.
• Local corporations – Many companies, especially larger ones, sponsor or publicize employee group activities. These are not necessarily restricted to employees of the company.
• Road Signs and Posted Advertisements – Most martial arts studios will put up advertisements and fliers on telephone poles or at Mall entrances. They will also often put up “directions” signs pointing towards their school from major roads.
• Yellow Pages under “Martial Arts” or “Karate” – As always, the Yellow Pages has a section for those willing to pay for advertising their phone number.
Tanyu (Sayokan, 7th SAN)
Guro (DTS KALI)
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