BJJ Kimura in Gi

5 Tips for Starting Your Martial Arts Journey

Starting something new can be terrifying and exciting at the same time. Some of us just jump in and hope for the best and others do tons and tons of research before doing so. Either way, we are excited that you are excited to start this journey. Below are five tips to ease you into it to maximise enjoyment and longevity in your practice.

1. Pace Yourself

This is our biggest tip – Ease in. Start with one or two sessions with at least a day spaced apart. Even if you have a good fitness level it can still shock the system. This can be due to a variety of reasons such as moving in a way you don’t normally do. For example, in Muay Thai and Boxing, a common warm-up and conditioning tool is skipping and that same movement is used in techniques to be ‘light on your feet’. If this is something that you are not used to, you may tire out quicker than you expected. Additionally, finding something that you really enjoy can be in a sense addictive, you can find yourself wanting to push forward and attend ALL classes. (remember our previous post on motivation and consistency?)

Professor Kyle says, “Allow yourself a day off, especially when your body needs it. This isn’t to say find an excuse not to train if you’re a little tired. But if you are really run down, you’re putting yourself at risk of injury and illness if you go too hard.”

2. Make Sure the Coach Knows that it's Your First Session

We know walking into a new environment can be daunting and you may be a little nervous to talk to people. We’ve been there! However, it is important that the coach knows you are new to the gym and/or the martial arts discipline. This means that the coach is able to pair you with a suitable and experienced partner who can guide you through that first session; make some modifications as needed or get you working on some basics so that you can have a strong foundation to build upon.

Starting something new requires you to take a step outside of your comfort zone. It is completely normal to feel scared or nervous. Lean onto your coaches and training partners for support.

3. Focus on "Your" Journey

Looking to others who have been training in the discipline much longer is great! However, use it as inspiration and not comparison. Your journey is unique. Where you are in your journey is different from where another person is, even if it is also their first time at the club.

When learning new techniques, you are most likely going to look or feel awkward, and that’s ok! Remember, those who are great at it now started where you are! Embrace the uncomfortable and awkward learning stage.

4. Uncomplicate the Starter Kit

You do not need all the flashy gear to get started, however, we do advise that you invest in good quality gear! From gis, to rash guards, gloves, and mouthguards. We have gym branded essentials that were curated for quality. Head over to our online shop to order yours. For most of our classes, you can rock up regular gym clothes. We do have some boxing gloves that you will be able to borrow for your first class! Below is the recommended starter kit for each discipline.

BJJ - Gi

BJJ - No Gi

Hapkido

Boxing

Muay Thai

Wrestling

Women's Self Defence

Coach Min says, “Besides the basics (listed above), waiting a little bit before investing in extra gear gives you the opportunity to assess what you NEED. Ask around, talk to other members in the club and see what they like to use and more importantly, why.”

5. Test the Waters

One of the ways to gauge your process in your chosen discipline(s) (plural as a fair few of our members train in multiple disciplines) is to test your skills. Be it in-class semi-contact sparring or pressured drills. One of the things encourage at RDA is to compete- to test your skills in an unfamiliar setting with people you may not have the opportunity to train with all the time if at all!

If you are thinking about competing, please let your coaches know so that they are able to advise and help you through your preparation.

Coach Kane says, “Compete as much as possible to learn skills you can’t learn in training!”

Final Word

These are by no means an exhaustive list. Here at RDA, your coaches are here to help you through the process. Trust the coaches and have fun, make new friends, learn new skills, and feel accomplished!

Professor Kyle says, “Keep the hunger there, don’t let it get satiated.”