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Daniel Labuz
10-20-2008, 02:54 PM
There is a gym near me that opened recently that caters to BJJ and Muay Thai, I looked at both and they seem both quite physically demanding.

I was going to do this about 2-3 times a week, along with my current training.

I was wondering if either of them had more focus on concentration (haha!) rather than technique and skills. I know of other martial arts that do this (Judo to name one) but there really isn't any availability of them near me. I was leaning towards Muay Thai because it looks more intense in the sense that it's more Asian oriented and they seem to focus a lot on concentration and meditation, but of course I know nothing of the two extensively so I could be wrong.

Basically I want something physically demanding but with a lot of emphasis on mental preparation and training. I want to learn how to clear my mind for tasks and challenges ahead, and I've read that martial arts are good for this, maybe not Muay Thai or BJJ, but those are really the only choices I have at this point. Other suggestions could be made as well, and I could search for other gyms near me.

Thanks!

Eric Hall
10-20-2008, 10:50 PM
I have heard many times and from many people, that they would give up all their training (of whatever martial art they are training in) for one month of BJJ.

I would suggest trying to find a Krav Maga gym. Any martial art that is used by Israeli Special Forces is a-ok in my book.

But only you can answer which would work best for you.

Mark Bennett
10-21-2008, 02:26 AM
Daniel,

Both are great arts in their own right, but both are very different (one a ground fighting art and one a stand up/striking art). They also make an excellent combination. ;)

My advice would be try both and see what you like best. Chances are that you will love both, and may have to do a split i.e. 2x BJJ and 1x Muay Thai per week, or vice versa. A lot will also depend on the quality of the instructors involved, and your connection with them.

Both arts focus very much on a combination of concentration, technique and skills, but in my opinion/experience neither focuses on the meditation side which some traditional martial arts do, although both need a high level of mental thought and preparation.

If you want something physically demanding you could not pick 2 better arts in my opinion. With BJJ training/rolling being slightly more intense in my experience.:eek:

Hope that helps.

Daniel Labuz
10-21-2008, 05:19 AM
Thanks a lot. I will check out the gym when I get back from vacation next week. Appreciate the insight and responses, thanks!

Not sure if I mentioned this in my first post, but in no way or form do I want to become an MMA fighter or even think about using the skills acquired to fight or hurt anyone, unless in a severe self defense situation. I'm what you call a pansy when it comes to fighting, I love to spar with gloves with my friends but I just can't actually fathom permanently disabling or killing someone.

George Mounce
10-21-2008, 05:53 AM
I'd say do the Muy Thai first, then get into BJJ if you aren't planning on doing MMA. Or vice versa. While its possible to learn both at the same time, you are short changing yourself IMHO. Learn one well, then learn the other well - you have your whole life to learn both.

As far as meditation goes, I suggest a book called Zen Training by Katsuki Sekida (http://www.amazon.com/Zen-Training-Philosophy-Shambhala-Classics/dp/1590302834/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1224593604&sr=8-1). Took my zazen to a whole new level.

Yael Grauer
10-21-2008, 07:13 AM
I can't speak to Muay Thai but BJJ has really improved my concentration and I do consider it a form of meditation... Just a lot of breathing and relaxing and focusing going on. It is fun!

Daniel Labuz
10-21-2008, 01:28 PM
I'd say do the Muy Thai first, then get into BJJ if you aren't planning on doing MMA. Or vice versa. While its possible to learn both at the same time, you are short changing yourself IMHO. Learn one well, then learn the other well - you have your whole life to learn both.

As far as meditation goes, I suggest a book called Zen Training by Katsuki Sekida (http://www.amazon.com/Zen-Training-Philosophy-Shambhala-Classics/dp/1590302834/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1224593604&sr=8-1). Took my zazen to a whole new level.

I've been looking at various meditation books, read a few Judo books just to get a feel for the martial art only to find out that there is no where's near me a Judo dojo. Anyways, I'll take a look at that book. Everyone can benefit from proper concentration, focus, and breathing techniques!

Ben Langford
10-21-2008, 06:10 PM
As far as the meditation and concentration goes, I find that nothing focuses the mind so much as direct physical competition with another human being.

My mind is closest to the Zen ideal of being "immovable" during an intense roll.

Grissim Connery
10-21-2008, 07:19 PM
bjj has taught me a lot about life in general, and i've never had to take that arrogant, formal martial art composure to my life to do it. basically you excell in bjj when you start figuring out truths to our physical/mental selves.

for example:
most every beginner in bjj tries to muscle everything. this is expected because it's the only thing a person will know how to do if they don't know any moves. now a person might get by for a little bit trying to muscle things until
a) he rolls with a dude who outweighs him by 100 lbs
b) he rolls with a purple/brown/black belt
one will quickly notice that their muscles don't mean a whole lot, especially after a minute or 2 of rolling. now if you watch that advanced grappler roll with the overweight dude, you'll see him handle the guy with relative ease compared to the new guy.

bjj then becomes a process of deductions
ex) you probably have 2 arms and 2 legs just like the advanced grappler. thus you have the same capabilities of him

as you progress in bjj, these deductions will go from really obvious to much more precise
ex) the darse choke can be achieved when you increase the distance between his elbow and his hip. this can be deduced from the fact that he's weaker when his elbow is further from his hip. this can be deduced from the fact that you're stronger when you're in a ball. this can be deduced from the fact that when you're in a ball, you have more potential energy. this can be deduced from the fact that when all limbs are fully outstretched, one limb must be pulled in to initiate movement. and so on...

if you want to have a martial art that teaches you to "concentrate" then just make sure you ask WHY when you're learning the art. "why does this move work?" "why does he beat me here?" "why am i getting tired whenever i do this move?" asking WHY will probably make you think/concentrate well in any martial art. thus i believe that bjj or muay tai are optimal cause you can learn how to concentrate and learn how to smash somebody on the streets.

and that's really the goal right? i'd rather choke somebody out then show off a solid horse stance when a mugger comes...

Daniel Labuz
10-22-2008, 06:17 AM
Thanks for the information, appreciate it.

Also, is it harder to get started in either of these? I have no prior experience in any grappling or striking sports, so would this be a factor in which one to choose? I'm sure I'll start out an extreme novice either way.

Anton Emery
10-22-2008, 08:49 AM
If you are interested in some further reading on training check out Matt Thortons blog, who i train under.

http://aliveness101.blogspot.com/

Like others have said, few things focus me more than intense physical combat with another person. There are times when i go into class, everything seems to be clicking, and when grappling its like my mind is still and my body is just doing what its been taught. Those are usually the times when i do the best.

Grappling with a fully resisting opponent has a way of making alot of other things in life seem much easier. I imagine its similar with Muay Thai or any other striking art.

Give it a try, and let us know what you think.


Anton

Daniel Labuz
10-22-2008, 09:34 AM
Yes, I will probably try this within the next 2-3 weeks depending on scheduling with classes and my usual training. I just need something to do during nights when there is no school work to be done, I'm sick of wasting time when I could be doing something productive!

Peter Dell'Orto
10-22-2008, 03:35 PM
My experience has always been it's the school more than the style. How you get on with your fellow practitioners and the teacher matters more than the style.

It sounds like this school runs both BJJ and MT classes, so you may as well try both. You'll be more well-rounded if you do both, and it's well worth trying both classes.

I have to say though, I don't really think of MT as being meditative or spiritual...wherever I've been that it was taught, it was always guys with gloves on kicking the hell out of each other. Even my kendo class was more meditative, and that basically involved kids in armor whacking each other with sticks. :)


Good luck with this! I'm always happy to see people try out martial arts. I was that skinny, picked-last, picked-on kid until I started doing martial arts...I finally found something physical I was good at. Or, not excruciatingly bad at. So they occupy a special place in my heart. :D

Grissim Connery
10-25-2008, 03:11 PM
Thanks for the information, appreciate it.

Also, is it harder to get started in either of these? I have no prior experience in any grappling or striking sports, so would this be a factor in which one to choose? I'm sure I'll start out an extreme novice either way.

don't worry about starting as a novice. everybody has to. you may find that your learning curve is a lot better than other people's.

if you want to excel faster and not be a novice for as long, follow some of these steps:

1. don't be stubborn, recognize when somebody's gotten the better of you and accept it
2. try to recognize patterns of when you are getting beaten - this could be a specific position or a certain movement
3. when somebody dominates you somewhere, ask them what they were doing afterwards - normally they know exactly what they did, and they also know how to stop it. if they don't tell you what they did, they either genuinely don't know, or they dont' want to tell you. if the latter is the case, then that guy sucks. if the whole school is like that, FIND ANOTHER SCHOOL. your school should be your team. you're not there to compete with them
4. try not to muscle moves - when you can roll and not get tired, you're probably using proper technique.
5. get a lot of different people to show you how to do a move - most the time, the instructor knows best, but sometimes random people can explain it in a way that makes sense to you

Derek Weaver
10-25-2008, 10:09 PM
I have heard many times and from many people, that they would give up all their training (of whatever martial art they are training in) for one month of BJJ.

I would suggest trying to find a Krav Maga gym. Any martial art that is used by Israeli Special Forces is a-ok in my book.

But only you can answer which would work best for you.

+1. I'm a Krav Maga practitioner (well, former and once again in the next few months once I get settled a bit more with some other stuff going on in my life) and wouldn't suggest anything else if people aren't looking to compete.

I've done a gun defense seminar with Sam Sade (awesome, awesome experience) and consider it the pinnacle of self defense. Contrary to popular belief, you never want to be on the ground in a street fight. You'll either get your head smashed against the concrete, soccer kicked by one of your opponents buddies or over powered. If you're on your feet you have a puncher's chance... or can still run. Krav will teach you TD defense, escapes and insane conditioning. To take a bare knuckle punch is largely reliant upon being in tip top conditioning.

That said...

If you're looking to satisfy an urge for competition, BJJ is best as it's more conducive to longevity in training.

I also spent a fair amount of time training in Muay Thai... absolutely loved it. Never did care much for BJJ as I like punching things more I guess. Muay Thai is intense in that the tolerance to pain and the timing and diversity of strikes are intense. Of course, this applies to BJJ as well, however in a far different way.

See if they allow you to do free or cheap intro. classes and then make up your mind.

Derek Simonds
10-26-2008, 05:18 AM
Lots of really great responses in this thread. Here are my .02.

1) I agree with Peter MT is an awesome art but I get no meditative benefit from it. The main reason I don't train MT more often is that I hate getting punched in the face. Pretty much that is a standard part of the deal with MT. I have also done Kendo and when you are putting on your armor at least you are meditating (or supposed to be) at that moment before the chaos starts.

2) I also agree with Ben. For me it is a stillness in my mind that settles in right before I grapple with someone. I can be laughing and joking around but when they say grapple I just flip the switch and everything changes. I watch video of myself grappling and see myself doing things I don't remember even thinking about.

3) Peter also nailed it with check out the school and the vibe. If you fit in with them and feel comfortable the rest will fall into place.

For what it is worth I do MMA two days a week along with No-Gi BJJ and BJJ 1 to 2 days a week schedule permitting. This way I am at least working a little on the stand up aspects of the game. In the end if you like the school and you practice your zazen on the side I think you will be amazed at the results.

One last thought. I am sure you are in a different place then I was mentally at the time. When I trained Akido we used to end our sessions with some meditation. Most of the time I meditated so well I would just fall asleep. Not exactly what I was after ;).

Reed Winn
01-10-2009, 10:13 PM
My qualifications for commenting: Been training BJJ for about a year and a half, competed some, observed MT people train.

Neither MT nor BJJ explicitly involve any sort of meditation or suchlike. On the other hand to get good at BJJ you have to use you head. You have to think hard about what you're doing on and off the mat. You need to visualize moves and practice a lot. There is always more to learn with BJJ.

In competition I find that all other thoughts are totally gone from my mind and my focus is 99% on who I'm fighting and the rest on my teammate who is giving me advice. You pretty much have no choice but to focus on winning. Competition is really fun, you get to see what you can do when you go 100%.

As others have said there are other benefits to learning BJJ. I would imagine they get more pronounced as you learn more but as I'm not that good yet I don't know. Learning to value technique over strength, learning control, base, pressure, how to tone yourself down to roll with smaller/worse people, etc all probably carries some sort of mental benefit.

With MT, if you want to actually be good, you need to get a really good understanding of timing and angles and such. The pain probably focuses you in some way. I don't know much about MT except that it's harder conditioning wise than BJJ.

If I were you I'd go with BJJ. I'm not sure where you are getting this idea that judo is full of meditation and such. From what I understand it's generally trained much like BJJ except possibly harder intensity, more japanese names and obviously a lot more standup.