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Martial Arts Helping Your Children Protect Themselves

(category: Martial-Arts, Word count: 636)
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Did you know that a child is reported abducted or missing every 40 seconds in the United States and that most potential abductors make their first contact with the children they abduct within one quarter of a mile from their homes? With summer approaching and children having more time to play with friends during the day, it is now more important than ever to start (or continue) giving your children the tools they need to protect themselves:

Never leave young children unattended anywhere and have older children practice a buddy system with their peers. Teach your children their full name, your name, your address and telephone number. Teach them how to dial and use 911 or your equivalent emergency number. Teach your children about strangers, to never talk to strangers and to never go near strangers.

Give your children the confidence, strength, skills and mental awareness they need to defend themselves if they ever find that they are in a shady situation with either a stranger or someone they know - enroll them in a martial arts class. It can make all the difference. Training martial arts can give your children four important skills that will not only help them defend themselves against a possible abduction, but will also help them in other areas of their lives. Read on to find out more:

Martial Arts Increases Confidence. Martial arts can help your children increase their confidence by giving them the skills and practice needed to get in tune with their minds and bodies They will begin to not only understand their actions and options, but themselves as a whole. Martial arts training also gives children the skills and abilities they need to know that they can defend themselves if the need arises and this confidence in their abilities carries over into all aspects of their lives. Confidence in themselves and their lives help them become less likely to fall prey to the convincing persuasions of potential abductors. Confident children appear to be (and are) strong individuals and are less likely to become victims of all forms of violent acts.

Martial Arts Increase Strength. Martial arts training use the entire body during each and every session. This means that when practicing martial arts, your children will be conditioning their entire bodies to become stronger and more physically fit. If they are physically fit, they increase their chances of fighting off or getting away from a potential abductor. Furthermore, regular physical exercise can help decrease the chances of obesity, diabetes and heart disease in your children.

Martial Arts Teach Self-Defense Skills. Rest assured, martial arts training doesn't focus on combat and fighting. It does, however, teach skills that your children can use for self-defense should the need arise. The various skills taught in martial arts can give your children the knowledge they need to handle many situations and the peace of mind you need to know that your children are trained to protect themselves.

Martial Arts Improve Mental Awareness. Training martial arts is not a mindless activity. It requires complete concentration and focus at all time during training. This concentration will also carry over to all parts of your children's lives to help them be more aware of themselves and their surroundings. They will be less likely to just "zone out" and be caught off guard in a potentially harmful situation.

If you are interested in learning more about how martial arts can help your self confidence, please contact one of my three locations in Bellevue, Lynnwood or Kent, Washington at 800-508-6141or martialadvice@hotmail.com to set up a free 2 week trail orientation.

Also, please see our web pages at www.kungfutemple.com and www.martialarts-instruction.com

Sincerely,

Robert Jones

Master Instructor

6th Degree Black Belt

Owner, the Academy of Kempo Martial Arts

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Martial Arts The Number One Way To Combat Bullying

(category: Martial-Arts, Word count: 659)
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As parents, we do everything we can to protect our children from harm and to provide them with the skills they need to be healthy, successful adults. The problem is, we are not with them all the time. What our kids do at school is sometimes a mystery to us. Are they polite to their teachers? Do they participate in class? Are they bullying other kids? Are they being bullied? There is something you can do to help get them on track to be successful in school and to avoid the bully-trap - even when you're not around: Enroll them in a martial arts class.

One of the biggest misconceptions about enrolling children and teenagers in martial arts is that the kids become aggressive and, therefore, a likely bully. The fact is, however, that martial arts do just the opposite. Bullies often have sense of superiority over others and their environments and lack impulse control. Often time, bullies don't know how to manage their anger so they take it out on people they deem weaker than themselves. Many times, bullies are being, or have been, bullied at some point in their lives as well. Martial arts help solve these problems.

Martial arts can also help kids who are being bullied. Bullies thrive on attacking (physically or emotionally) people that they see as weak. Kids who are bullied often have (generally as a result of the bullying) low confidence levels, inability to concentrate on school work, lack of focus and high stress levels which make them look even weaker. Martial arts help solve these problems too.

The many benefits of martial arts for children are a great way to combat bullying, but as you read on, you'll see that the benefits extend way past bullying and will help your children succeed in other areas of their lives as well:

Concentration and Focus. Training martial arts is not a mindless activity. It requires complete concentration and focus at all times during training. The best part about this needed concentration, however, is that it carries over into all parts of your children's lives. You'll notice (and your children's teachers will probably also notice) that they will be able to focus more on their school work and they might even have more successful grades.

Confidence and Control. Martial arts will help your children get in tune with their minds and bodies. This will help kids better understand themselves, their actions and their options. They know that they don't need to lose their temper to handle stressful situations and they'll also know that they have the ability to physically defend themselves if needed. All of this knowledge will increase their confidence and over all demeanor making them appear (and be) stronger individuals and less likely to be a victim of a bully. It will also help prevent them from bullying others because they will be more aware of themselves and those around them.

Stress Reduction. You probably already know that physical exercise is a great stress reliever for you. Do you also know that it works for your children as well? Any type of exercise such as jogging or playing sports can relieve the physical stress that your children feel from daily life - and it may be more than you'd expect. Training martial arts goes one step further, however. It will also help your children relieve their emotional stress because martial arts require them to concentrate their training, not dwell on their problems.

Respect. If you send your children to the right school, their martial arts instructors will both command and deserve respect from all of their students. They will also be able to instill in your children that all people deserve respect, especially adults.

For more Info please see our web pages at www.kungfutemple.com and www.martialarts-instruction.com

Sincerely,

Robert Jones

Master Instructor

6th Degree Black Belt

Owner, the Academy of Kempo Martial Arts

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Tai Chi For Over Fifties And Under Fifties

(category: Martial-Arts, Word count: 682)
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Tai Chi is an internal martial art which can be soft and gentle. It can and should be practised in a flowing way for practitioners of any age. Particlularly, in China and the est nowadays, people ove r 50 are taking up tai chi whilst the younger generation in china are not so interested in such a traditional art!

Tai chi has been proven by the 3000 years of Chinese experience and recent medical studies into te benefits of qigong [tai chi is acomplete qigong] to be beneficial to the health of the individual practioner. Complete recovery of from diseases from cancer to colds has been documented through diligent pratice of tai chi.

Tai chi can also be used to control arthritis. It is recommended that you learn under a highly experienced instructor, who has over 10 years of experience and has learned in China or from a well-recognized master with verificable "lineage". This is because you want to be learning the real thing and benefitting by clearer mind, healthier body and gradual recovery from any health challeneges you may have experienced or be experienceing.

Tai chi chuan means "supreme ultimate fist". What does "supreme ultimate" mean to you? Tai chi is really about the cultivation of mind, body, spirit and also to kinds of energy, which we don't have a proper concept of in the West. Those are internal energy, or chi which is present in the body from birth and we also get it from air and food. External energy is the energy that is in the universe. We learn to build up the chi in our bodies in tai chi and that helps us to improve our health. This is the medical aspect of tai chi. We learn to utilize the external energy in tai chi which is the martial aspect of the martial art of tai chi.

Tai chi is said to have been invented approximately 5000 years ago, legend has it either by a Taoist priest named Chang Seng Feng or passed to the ancient Chinese people by a group of people reputed to have been 7ft tall and these people - "the sons of reflected light" are said to have taught the arts to the chinese which has made their civilisation so advanced since as long as 3000 year ago as documented by discoveries of the porcelain and silk items in archaeology.

Chang Seng Feng is reported to have witnessed a fight between a crane and a snake and noticed the yielding and striking qualities of these animals and designed tai chi based on observations of nature. Tai chi is thus performed slowly and changingly, "flowing like a river" to promote longevity and health. does the tortoise or the elephant move quickly and fast? And how long do these creratures live for? Is it not possible then that we should slow down in our lives and relax like these long-living creature to improve our own chances of living long lives?

We imitate the movements of many animals in the tai chi form - a sequence of movements or postures which flow into each other. These stretching and strengthening exercises have very poetic names, beautiful such as White Crane Spreads Its Wings, Golden cock Stands On one Leg and Fair Lady Weaves The Shuttles.

Tai chi is a healthy exercise which improves circulation. The author used to be a medical student at Sheffield university and notes that Tai chi was used in the Royal Hallamshire Hospital to aid recovery for heart attack patients. Tai chi incorporates breathing and movement as well as internal assage of the body's organs and stretching of muscles, tendons and ligaments. Keeping a clear mind is important and whilst the exercise is anaerobic, i.e. not strenuous, the body feel invigorated after proper practice and one can feel energy circulating in the body after practice -so don't overdo it. The key is consistent daily practice and taking responsibility for your health 100%

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The Philosophy Of Samurai Swords

(category: Martial-Arts, Word count: 766)
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Decorating your 21st century interior in a Japanese manner has become very popular. The Japanese artifacts, like the samurai swords, are proof of great taste not only because of their eye catching colors and shapes but because they hold a lot of meaning. They represent moral values like patience, discipline, honor, loyalty and determination. The modern world has forgot some very important codes, but their symbols still exist as a reminder in the Japanese works of art that distinguish some homes or offices.

The samurai swords, for example, are very used objects of decoration. People who appreciate martial arts or the Japanese life style often hang them on walls. Owning samurai swords means you appreciate Japanese history and the virtues that this object stood for in an antique society. For those of you with the good idea of buying samurai swords here are some hints about these beautiful and meaningful objects and their philosophy. Knowing how they are made and their value will make them more treasured decorating objects.

The value of the samurai swords comes not only from their handcrafting, but also from the fact that they are a symbol of the worrier. The samurai swords define power, duty, responsibility, self-defense and ethics. The samurai swords were weapons used by a class of people who cherished their freedom above all and defended it with great skill. The samurai swords were used in hand to hand combat which was a very demanding perhaps the most, form of combat. Having to fight with a sharp weapon required skill of body and mind, abilities, reflexes and technique. Only through a lot of practice, exercise and patience one could become able to handle the samurai swords in order to protect the code of honor.

The Samurai (knights-retainers) were also called Bushi (warriors) and their most treasured weapons were the samurai swords. They considered the swords a part of themselves and sometimes believed the swords were the soul of their worriership. They gave their samurai swords names and awarded them medals. Some samurai worriers even died trying to retrieve their treasured samurai swords for their Shogun (the most powerful samurai worrier for a period). Bushido means Way of the Warrior and the heart of the Bushido philosophy, which lead their beliefs and conduct, is freedom from fear. This meant they had no fear of dying. They were able to use their peace of mind to give themselves power to serve their master faithfully to the death. Therefore, duty and loyalty were a great part of their philosophy. Their way of life ranked them at the top of the social hierarchy in Japan for hundreds of years until 19th century.

Artisans of ancient time put a lot of thought in the creation of samurai swords. They had to create weapons that were not too heavy to handle, nor too rigid to brake off. They discovered sharp samurai swords, used against an armor, broke and that samurai swords made of soft steel were flexible and light. So, they considered the most appropriate weight for samurai swords would have been around 2-3 pounds. However, to create such samurai swords would have meant a lot work.

There were many methods used to handcraft samurai swords. Some used the repeated and tiring process of heating and folding of steel. The blades had to be polished afterwards carefully and the smiths engraved their signature on their work of art. The samurai swords were proof of great handcrafting skills, which meant that the person who created them possessed some unique virtues. Like for any art object, to create samurai swords meant to put soul in your creation, to invest patience and will together with intelligence to obtain the best results possible. A lot of artists worked on their detailed ornaments of the hilt, on their handle bindings and sheaths and the results were samurai swords worth being worn by worriers.

These virtues have been forgotten as the modern society no longer cares, respects or praises the military man as much as in the past. The samurai were (and still are) highly appreciated figures of history. The samurai swords were priceless and were identified with the worrier class. Made from the heat and pounding of skilled smiths, the samurai swords brought honor and the spirit of the true worrier to those who carried them. Because of this, many modern people buy samurai swords as a reminder of that time and those values. Samurai swords decorate today's homes, as symbols, for those who know what true beauty means virtue and honor.

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The Three Horsemen

(category: Martial-Arts, Word count: 310)
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Self doubt, indecision, & fear the three horsemen that destroy your chances for success. If you have one of these feelings the other two are nearby. If you have doubt in your abilities as a fighter or are incisive on how you are going to fight your opponent, fear will automatically kick in & take over. Your chances of being victorious before even entering the ring will be knocked out. These emotions will effect your performance due to the mind / body connection. You will hesitate on fully committing to your techniques & combinations while fighting. You will telegraph your movements due to indecision and your speed of your techniques will slow down due to being stiff & rigid.

Like animals, which sense fear, humans are no different. The vibrations of fear pass from one mind to another just as quickly & surely as a human voice. Your opponent across the ring will sense your fear & use it to his advantage. The three horsemen need to be mastered before claiming your title in or outside of the ring.

Here are some tips

1. Think from your opponents mind, what would he do?

2. Watch & analyze your opponents fights to get a sense of his game plan

3. Focus & remind yourself of your strengths as a fighter.

4. At night before going to sleep rehearse your fight plan in your mind & what you will do to counter attacks

5. Have a flexible fight plan ready in your mind & stick to it

"IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE VICTORY YOU MUST PLACE YOURSELF IN YOUR OPPONENT'S SKIN.IF YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND YOURSELF, YOU WILL LOSE 100% OF THE TIME.IF YOU UNDERSTAND YOURSELF YOU WILL WIN 50% OF THE TIME.

IF YOU UNDERSTAND YOURSELF & YOUR OPPONENT YOU WILL WIN 100% OF THE TIME."

Tsutomu Oshima

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Your Habits Will Determine Your Future

(category: Martial-Arts, Word count: 449)
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We all have dreams, desires, goals and it's great to daydream about what it would be like holding that title belt high in the air feeling the energy of the crowd cheering you on. Back to reality now and here's a question for you. How much time do you put into a day to make that dream come true? The time you spend training or doing something productive to get closer to your goal or dream, compared to sitting on your couch watching TV.

Don't get me wrong daydreaming can be productive if you know how to creatively visualize. Realize that your habits will determine your future. Successful people have successful habits, unsuccessful people don't. To get your dream to materialize you need a plan to structure your time into productive slots. All successful people have a plan, follow it, and gauge their progress by it.

Work towards making the majority of your time being productive towards your goal, i.e. training and conditioning, read and view material that is going to help you become a better fighter such as viewing video of your fights and your opponents to see what you need to work on.

IT'S ALL ABOUT WERE YOU PUT YOUR FOCUS

Ninety percent of your focus and energy should be directed at your fight plan and career if you want to succeed in the MMA world or in any goal in life. Instead of coming home from a long day at work kicking back with a beer and watching the game, put on an instructional dvd to help you learn new techniques or improve on your speed or power.

Go to the gym left weights, do cardio, strength train or work on techniques with your sparring partner. During work or on your way home visualize yourself in a match performing a technique you have recently learned, so it becomes ingrained in your subconscious and is in your arsenal. Build on your strengths, not on your weakness.

There are three kinds of people, people that make things happen, people that watch things happen and people who say what just happened. Which one are you? So if you keep asking yourself why your fight career isn't happening take an honest inventory of yourself because it's about were we put the focus in our life that determines were we are going.

If you keep on doing what you always done you'll keep getting what you always got. Making your dreams become reality is not about luck, or "if it's meant to be it will happen". It's not hocus-pocus; it's all about were you put your focus.

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Martial Arts Home Training The Tools For Perfection

(category: Martial-Arts, Word count: 188)
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All the martial arts have been altered due to the function that mechanical devices play whether it be weapons, dojo mats, breaking boards or even the uniforms we wear - all these paraphanialia indentify the martial arts into their systems and style.

The main players in shaping our new martial arts would surely be the non-contemporary wooden dummy, ving tsun rings, iron palm ointments and even the system of using forms and karta have developed the martial arts into their current form.

Even today modern training tools are common and again the martial arts are evolving and growing with new training products such as the Wavemaster, the BOB training dummy, the Focus Master. All with a common idea, to create a well rounded combat system.

Ideally a martial arts solo training tool definately has to be workable for all and based on great background ideals and through constant drilling develop into sound physical application. The ideology and theory would have to take into account all the history of the combat technology of man and give this competition and street application.

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The Bo And Other Long Wooden Staff Martial Arts Weapons

(category: Martial-Arts, Word count: 794)
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Besides rocks, one of the most basic of all weapons throughout mankind's history across most cultures has been the long wooden stick. This makes sense since sticks were always readily available in the forests or could be easily made. The Asian martial arts took the long wooden staff into an art form as many martial art styles include the long staff in their systems. Some styles even have traditional weapons forms or katas featuring the long staff. Some systems of martial arts train with weapons such as the staff through practical techniques only without the use of set forms.

Unlike many martial art weapons such as swords, knives, kamas and sais which are short range, staffs are long range weapons with superior reach. This enables the user to attack and defend from a distance which can be frustrating from the point of view of an opponent who has a short range weapon. Long range weapons are also useful in keeping multiple opponents out of reach too. Of course, long weapons such as the staff cannot be easily concealed like short range weapons so they can be cumbersome to carry around.

One of the most popular martial arts weapons from the Japanese karate styles is the bo. Even today, the bo is usually the first weapon taught at karate schools and is the most common weapon seen at tournaments. The bo staff comes in different variations. There are heavy bo staffs which resemble thick poles which are considered more traditional and there are lighter versions which are tapered at both ends. There are also multi-sided bo staffs such as octagonal but these are much less common than the usual round, circular versions.

Although there are one handed swings, most bo techniques involve both hands holding the weapon. Various strikes and blocks can be performed with either end of the bo as well as the sides and middle. Bo users take advantage of the entire weapon as techniques can be executed with any part of the bo. For the majority of techniques involving the bo, the user holds the staff near the middle with both ends protruding out equally. Traditionally, the lead hand (furthest away from the body) has been the right hand.

Contemporary weapons forms competitions have caused the bo to evolve where competitors now use extremely lightweight bo's and some even have reflective finishes giving a more flashy visual appearance when the user is performing a bo form. Unlike traditional bo forms, contemporary creative open forms with the bo involve more complex spins and even tosses. Some martial artists do not consider some of the modern bo forms observed in the competition circuits to be true weapons forms as some competitors emphasize too much baton-like twirling action rather than actual combative techniques. It could very well be a matter of personal taste. This is why in most of the large open martial arts tournaments, weapons divisions are split into traditional and creative.

Chinese kung fu styles also utilize the long staff although there are some differences in techniques when compared to Japanese karate styles. Instead of holding the weapon in the middle most of the time like a bo is held, Chinese staffs are usually held near one end which has the effect of elongating the weapon even more. Taditionally, the lead hand is the left hand with the right holding the bottom end of the staff. However, there are techniques which involve switching sides as well as using the bottom end to strike too. In addition to strikes executed while holding the weapon with both hands, there are more single handed techniques with Chinese staffs than with Japanese bo staffs. Like their empty hand kung fu forms, Chinese staff forms have more circular, swinging techniques than in Japanese karate styles.

Contemporary wushu forms use a much lighter weapon than in traditional kung fu staff forms. Wushu stylists also use staffs or cudgels that are made of a unique white wax wood from trees that are grown only in China. Staffs made of this type of wood are not made with precision like Japanese bo's. The wushu staffs are naturally tapered with a thicker bottom and thinner top. The white wax wood is extremely resilient as users of this type of Chinese staff perform techniques which involve smashing the entire weapon on the floor at full force.

Korean kuk sul won also has the long staff in their system and the techniques used are like a blend of Chinese and Japanese moves. Although all martial arts styles that utilize weaponry have more complex and possibly more impressive looking weapons, the long staff has remained to be a favorite for many martial artists.

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How To Choose A Martial Arts School

(category: Martial-Arts, Word count: 1127)
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To reap the best benefits from martial arts, they should be taken as long term activities rather than short term. Given this suggestion, one should not just simply walk into the closest martial arts studio and sign up right away without doing some research. Not all martial arts are alike and not all schools or studios are alike either. Therefore, it is important to really think about what your own needs are with respect to martial arts training.

The discussion of which martial art style to take is too extensive for this article. So what I will say here is that there are differences in the various styles of martial arts which may result in some being more suitable for certain individuals compared to others. Do some research on the different styles and do visit the classes of different studios that teach different martial arts if possible. But more important is each individual school's approach to teaching their martial arts. Many martial arts schools teach only techniques and forms (set routines) that are specific to a traditional style. These schools follow the ways that the original founders of each martial art style developed and they have continued with minimal variance over the years. Other studios like to borrow techniques from a variety of martial art disciplines and integrate a mix into their programs. Some schools are non-traditional and adopt a more open free style system which incorporates traditional martial art techniques with gymnastics and open choreography of forms. There are many clubs that do both traditional and open styles. Each school will claim that their martial art style and method of teaching is superior to others. Prospective students must not take these claims too seriously and choose an approach that would be best suited for them on an individual basis.

Many advertisements for martial arts schools push the backgrounds of their higher ranking instructors as a way to attract students. It is important to realize that the more degrees (or dans) a particular black belt has don't always mean that the individual is a better instructor. This is the same with instructors who have very successful competition records. There is no correlation to the number of world championship titles won with how good an instructor is. The term 'master' should also be taken with caution. A master doesn't always make an excellent instructor. The teaching style of different instructors can vary. Some use the old Asian masters' approach where discipline is strictly enforced much like in the military. While general discipline is actually a good attribute to learn from martial arts training, some of the old ways of teaching, particularly reprimanding students vocally or physically for incorrect techniques may be considered a bit harsh for today's society. This is why it is important to watch classes of prospective martial arts schools you are interested in. You want to see the teaching style of an instructor to determine if it's a style that would be compatible with you or not. Ask questions after instructors have finished teaching. If you have the gut feeling that certain instructors will not be right for you, move on to find another club. Most legitimate schools will allow prospective students to witness or even try out a class for free before joining.

Related to teaching styles, some instructors emphasize safety more than others. The use of protective equipment and certain rules while sparring are factors. In addition to asking instructors, also ask other students about injury rates and their general feedback about the classes (ideally when they are outside of their schools). Another point on the students is that some schools attract a certain type of student profile. Observe the other students and decide whether these are people you would like to train with.

Some schools are very much into competition with active encouragement of students to participate in tournaments. In fact, some schools even make this a requirement in order to advance through the different levels. Other schools have been known to restrict competition only within a particular circuit. For example, many tae know do clubs only participate in tournaments that are strictly Olympic style tae kwon do and never go to events that are open to all martial arts styles. There are schools in the complete opposite end where they do not believe in competition at all and pretty well keep to themselves without any interaction with other martial arts clubs. Many Chinese kung fu clubs do not compete and some styles of martial arts such as aikido do not offer any competitive outlet. Many martial arts schools choose to have a relaxed position towards competition where they leave it up to individual students to choose whether they want to participate in tournaments or not. Some schools have special competition teams where additional training is available for those students who wish to compete. So as a prospective student, you should consider what involvement you would like in competition if any. If you know that you never want to compete, you should not get locked into a school that requires tournament competition. If you have a desire for competition, don't join a studio that shuns competition.

Some martial arts schools teach in community centers, school gyms and even church basements. Some have bare bones studios with outdated equipment. Some schools have the latest martial arts and fitness equipment with sparkling clean change rooms and facilities. All of these will factor into the membership fee of each school. You have to determine what you are willing to pay for and what type of environment you will feel comfortable training in.

Many schools require annual contracts while some are on a month to month basis. There could be initiation fees. There could also be testing or grading fees for advancement. All of these extra costs will add up. Ask what happens if you have to freeze your membership due to extended illness or injury.

If one doesn't really know whether martial arts is an activity for them in the long run, the option of taking short term courses such as those offered by community centers may be a viable alternative to making a full commitment to a dedicated martial arts club with its own studio space. But do be aware that although martial arts can be very enjoyable from the first day you put on a karate uniform, it is a long term activity and one must have patience in order to benefit the most from martial arts. Fortunately, there are many options in the form of different martial art styles and schools to choose from in the market today. Just make sure that you do some preliminary research before committing to any particular club.

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