Learning a martial art is good for the body and mind. If you live in a rural or sparsely populated area, it can be difficult to find a school - or you may not be able to afford classes. Nothing can replace the experience of training with an instructor. But if you want to learn on your own, you have a few options available.
Part 1 of 4: Choose Your Style
Step 1. Ask yourself why you want to learn a martial art
The reasons can be many. Maybe you feel out of shape or you don't want to be mistreated anymore.
- Martial arts allow you to increase self-respect. Thanks to the training, you will begin to know yourself better and, consequently, to understand and respect others more.
- Martial arts help you identify and overcome your weaknesses. They test you and make you stronger at the same time.
Step 2. Research the different martial arts
Before you start kicking trees and punching walls, find out. Don't choose a discipline just because it is "fashionable". Find something that you are really passionate about.
- There are many different types of martial arts. There are the harder ones that rely on strength and the gentle ones, which focus on manipulating energy.
- Researching martial arts will allow you to broaden your knowledge of fighting styles. It is a great idea to know as many styles as possible if you want to learn a martial art.
Step 3. Choose the style that suits you best
Some martial arts focus more on strength, others on agility. Think about your natural qualities and which ones you want to enhance through training.
- If you like traditional martial arts, try Kung Fu or Aikido. These classical arts place great emphasis on the philosophy behind the fighting style.
- If you have long legs, you might want to try Taekwondo, which gives priority to kicks. If you are more squat, try Jiu-jitsu, an art based mainly on grappling.
- There is no right martial art, only the right one for you.
Step 4. Evaluate how much time you can devote to training
To learn a martial art you need dedication, whatever your choice. However, some of them take longer than others.
- If you choose Capoeira, a mix of dance and wrestling, you will have to spend a lot of time learning complex movements.
- Other arts, such as boxing, or Jeet Kune Do, are based on the efficiency of movements and simplicity. Consider that you will also have many more resources at your disposal if you choose a well-known discipline.
Step 5. Find materials to help you learn
When you have decided what to study, find useful resources and equipment. Read books and watch videos on the internet.
- Invest in a punching bag if you want to get the most out of your training.
- There are many schools that offer martial arts courses online. The serve is not as effective as that of a school, but you could still learn more than if you trained yourself.
Part 2 of 4: Training the Body
Step 1. Start slowly
Start with the simplest things and don't go straight to overhead kicks or acrobatic moves. Start with the basic principles of the style you have chosen.
- Pay attention to footwork when exercising. After each hit or combination, make sure your posture is correct.
- Imagine an opponent in front of you. Practice hitting, but never let your guard down.
Step 2. Practice
The only way to excel in a martial art is through training. While many people think of kung fu when it comes to martial arts, that expression has little to do with fighting. One possible translation is "hard work".
- Try to train consistently. For example, when hitting the sack, try to always target the same spot. Don't punch at random; slow down and engage. First comes the precision, then the strength.
- Push your limits. After the first few weeks of training, increase the duration of the exercises. If you started with 50 kicks, try 100 kicks. Don't overdo it, though: your priority must be to avoid injuries. Know your limits and work to overcome them.
- When training alone, it is particularly easy to develop bad habits. Always spend time taking care of your posture and analyzing your movements during training.
- Learn new techniques. When you think you master the basics, move on to the more complicated techniques. Never forget what you have already learned, though. Improve your knowledge of the martial art you have chosen with exercises on all the techniques you have learned.
Step 3. Find a training partner
It is difficult to develop the skills necessary for a martial art on your own. The best solution to this problem is to find a person to practice with.
- Your partner won't have to practice the same martial art as you to be useful to you.
- Try asking your friends who love martial arts to train with you. It will be easier to learn together.
- If you have friends taking martial arts classes, ask them for advice or try to get them to train with you.
Step 4. Fight with an imaginary opponent
If you can't find a training partner, practice empty boxing. This exercise requires you to imagine an opponent in front of you and always stay in motion. You'll need to visualize the enemy's moves, as well as yours.
- Start at a quarter of your normal training speed. Starting slowly will help you get to use the correct technique at maximum speed. Remember that the goal is accuracy, not speed.
- When you box empty, take into account the rhythm of the movements. The fight is all about timing. If you find yourself accelerating too much, relax and slow down.
Part 3 of 4: Staying fit
Step 1. Do exercises that are useful for your fighting style
Each art uses different muscles in a particular way; some give more importance to the legs, others to the arms. While you should try to build your whole body, find exercises that target the most stressed muscles.
- If you practice ground wrestling, find core and back exercises.
- If you prefer direct arm strikes, find exercises to strengthen those limbs.
Step 2. Incorporate cardiovascular activity into your workout
Don't just focus on building strength. If you want to become an effective fighter, you will also need good stamina. Go for a run or ride an exercise bike. Any exercise that can allow you to elevate your heart rate will be fine.
- Another effective way to raise your heart rate is to perform bodyweight series without pauses. These workouts don't require the use of weights. Try pushups, situps, or aerobic jumps to start with.
- Look for other exercises to integrate into your routine to avoid boredom. Try different workouts to target all the muscles.
Step 3. Stretch
Flexibility is important in almost all martial arts. During your workout, you will be working on muscles that are often neglected, and stretches are the only way to keep them from becoming stiff.
- Stretch during workouts, but also before and after them.
- Leg raises are very helpful in improving the flexibility of the lower limbs. Raise your leg in front of you, always keeping control of it. Do not kick the limb upward, slowly raise it. Repeat the exercise on the side and behind you, to cover all possible movements.
- Don't worry if you can't stretch a lot. Some days you will be more flexible than others. Push to the limit and over time you will notice progress.
Step 4. Give your body a chance to recover
Learning a martial art means taking hits. You will fall and get hurt. Take care of your body to keep exercising.
- Massages are very useful for promoting muscle recovery, especially if you are of a certain age.
- Remember that it takes a lifetime to learn a martial art. Don't worry if you have to skip a training day. Better to train responsibly than not train at all.
Step 5. Look after the effectiveness of your workouts
You don't need to spend all day in the gym to learn a martial art. Just follow an efficient training program and dedicate only the time you want to exercise.
Aim for 40-60 minute workouts. If you exercised for a longer period you would probably waste time
Part 4 of 4: Changing Your Diet
Step 1. Choose a diet that suits you
Martial arts require a lot of physical activity, so you will need to feed your body the right way to continue training. Find foods that you like that are suitable for you and include them in your diet.
- The most important criterion in choosing a diet is that it is balanced. It must include a good mix of proteins, carbohydrates and vegetables.
- In addition to basic nutrients, your body needs many vitamins and minerals to function at its best. You will be able to get most of them from a balanced diet, but you may need supplements.
Step 2. Make sure you include plenty of foods in your diet
It's important to find foods that you enjoy and are good for, but you shouldn't eat just those. Experiment with other recipes and cook the dishes in different ways.
Eating different foods allows you to get a wider range of nutrients. The more varied your diet, the healthier you will be
Step 3. Eat several meals a day
Aim to prepare 4-5 small meals a day, more than healthy snacks, instead of 3 large meals. Change your eating habits to encourage training, but definitely avoid overeating.
- Try to space your meals by 4 or 4 and a half hours. Drink throughout the day, and if you need to snack, choose a mix of fresh fruit and dried fruit.
- If possible, avoid eating for at least three hours before bedtime.
Step 4. Avoid processed foods
When training to learn a martial art, it is important to eat healthy. Avoid junk foods and don't drink sodas. Your goal is to have a balanced diet based on healthy foods.
- Sugars and refined flours are highly processed foods. Instead of eating cakes and snacks, go for fruit.
- Replace sodas with fruit or vegetable juices. Drink green tea instead of coffee. If you have a blender, you can make lots of juices by mixing fruits and vegetables together.
- The best way to learn a martial art is to attend a school and have the help of a professional. It is possible to learn the basic movements on your own, but if you want to become an expert, you will need to find a school.
- When you are still a beginner, do not train too much during the first few days.
- Set yourself weekly goals. Make workouts harder and harder as time goes by.