THINGS TO KNOW

1. You will work really hard — which means lots of calories burned.

When you first start with martial arts, the body is working in ways it hasn’t had to in the past, providing an overall boost to your strength, cardio and dexterity. Taking in all the details and techniques you’re learning can distract your mind from how hard you’re actually pushing your body.

2. Martial arts is for everyone, big or small.

Despite what you may think, not everyone who takes martial arts is a blood-thirsty behemoth. In fact, there is typically a huge diversity of students. Whether you’re six feet tall or you’re shorter then the average fifth grader, self-defense is accessible to anyone.

3. It’s important to go in with an open mind.

In order to gain the full experience of a class, you should leave all of your preconceptions behind. This includes but is not limited to thinking martial arts is “just a bunch of rolling around with sweaty dudes!” Open up, take the blinders off, relax and enjoy the class. Learn what that instructor has to teach you. That one technique you learn that day may help you in the time you actually need it.

4. You will get a great workout while learning how to defend yourself.

I think it goes without saying, but martial arts classes will give you a serious advantage come a street brawl. There is a chance you’ll get into a physical altercation at least once in your life, so it’s only smart you know how defend yourself in case someone breaks out the fisticuffs. Martial arts is a self-defense sport first and foremost.

5. You will get a bump or a bruise every now and then.

While the classes are very safe, accidents do happen. I’m not saying you’ll leave the studio looking like a month-old banana, but this is a contact sport, so don’t be surprised if you hit your funny bone once or twice. 

6. You’ll get more out of it than just sore muscles.

Having a tough time handling stress? Do you have a hard time controlling your breath during a tough workout? These are just a few of the issues you can expect to tackle in a martial arts class. Your ability to handle stress, pressure and pain and to make a clear, conscious and positive decision will be lightyears ahead after learning martial arts. In other words, you can expect to learn some unexpected lessons during class.

7. There’s no slacking in martial arts.

To fully experience martial arts, attending a class every couple weeks won’t cut it. Studying the art takes time, and practice is crucial if you want to see real results. It’s important for people to understand that martial arts is a lifestyle and not a hobby. You are learning new lessons and are tested every day. Consistency is really big. 

8. You’ve got to gear up.

Just like in most sports, the right equipment is essential for protecting yourself and others. Martial arts is no different, but the amount of equipment needed differs depending on the class. A mouthpiece and a groin protector are both key across any martial arts class, and studios often sell these themselves. 

9. Expect to become a part of a community, not just a gym.

Without a doubt, the most important aspect of martial arts is the sense of community that develops within the gym. The comradery between students and the instructors is key. Things in the martial arts are tough sometimes and you need people around you to push you. When you have someone you trust with your arm and your neck, it tends to go a long way.