This is part two of a continuing series on martial arts myths. Be sure to read part one of dispelling 5 martial arts training myths here.
6. You need to start when you’re young
According to statistics gathered by the Sporting Goods Manufacturing Association, Racquet and Sportclub Association, International Health, and Martial Arts Industry Association, approximately 6 million martial arts participants are between the ages of 6 and 11 and 1 million are between the ages of 12 and 17. An additional 3 million participants are between the ages of 18 and 54, while 100,000 are 55-years-old or older.
“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” — Henry Ford
If you’re an adult looking to learn the martial arts, it is not too late. In fact, age is not a factor in martial arts training. If you have the desire to learn, you can acquire great skill and knowledge. It all comes down to your dedication and determination to pursue it.
7. Martial arts are about fighting
Martial artists do not look trouble but prepare for it should it occur. Taking martial arts lessons help you grow physically, mentally and spiritually. A martial artist seeks to avoid violence, not start it. Martial arts are about defending yourself, your family, your principles and your honor. They are forged in philosophy, humility, and self-restraint. Fighting is not. Fights are ugly, brutal and are about power and violence. To a martial artist, if you get into a fight, in many ways, you have failed. A fighter’s first choice is violence. To the martial artist, violence is the last choice.
8. Your body type or size dictates what style you should learn
It’s a commonly held misconception that your body type influences what martial art you should learn. For example, if you have long legs, some people believe you should learn a kicking based art to take advantage of the extra reach. Others believe that if you are short and stocky, you should study grappling based martial arts to maximize their lower center of gravity. Rather, a good martial arts instructor will tailor the martial art to your size, shape and reach. Therefore, find a good instructor that teaches what you want to learn but make sure they will adjust and tailor things to your specific proportions.
9. Martial arts are only for men
While martial arts only used to be taught to men in ancient times, that is not the case in modern times. In fact, some martial arts were even founded by women; for example Wing Chun Kung Fu. Today, women own their own martial arts schools and are high ranking instructors with huge followings. Many martial arts classes have upwards of 50% or more women in them. The self-defense benefits alone make martial arts a good fit for women willing to learn.
Some prominent women in the martial arts include:
- Jessica Alba
- Lucy Liu
- Jennifer Aniston
- Sarah Michelle Gellar
- Naomi Watts
10. There’s one best style that rules them all
The debate over which martial art style is the best has been going on for centuries.
Many people confuse the latest martial arts trend for the best martial arts. Others believe that if a style is taught to the military has to be the best. While others think the best styles are used in MMA fights.
So, who is right?
The reality is there is no single best style for everyone. That’s because not everyone is taking martial arts for the same reason. Therefore, finding a martial arts style that will match what an individual wants to learn and accomplish is a better way to determine the best martial arts style for them.
Consider the following scenarios.
1) What if someone wants to learn weapons? A style that doesn’t teach weapons isn’t going to be the best for them.
2) What if someone wants to compete in MMA matches? A style that exclusively teaches knife fighting won’t be the best for them.
3) What if a police officer wants to learn joint locks for his job? A style that doesn’t teach them won’t be the best for them.
Simply put, there is no ultimate style that rules them all for every single person.
And, even if one existed, consider the following…
What if two people from the ultimate style fight each other and one gets knocked out or choked out? What happens there? Was the style the most important variable or was it the individual executing the style that made the difference?
Clearly the style doesn’t predict how well people will execute it under real pressure. What style you take is a piece of the puzzle. Not the whole puzzle. Finding the best style for you starts with identifying what it is you specifically want to learn and then going from there.