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Start with Tai Chi! Relaxation, concentration, stretching, breathing techniques, and they are really combat moves slowed down so if you decide to move into another discipline, a lot of them will already be familiar.
Depends what you want to do, how you see your flexibility going. I was thinking abou going back to one. I did Kung-fu and semi contact fighting 7 years ago and really enjoyed it. Do think you would be more interested in the theory (Kata, sets whatever each style calls their set patterns) or the fighting/sparring side of it. I tried Tai Chi for a little while but found it a bit boring. At the time I was competing so it wasn't my thing.
Find out what's on in your area and go round them. They'll all tell you it's just the thing for you but look at how the instructor or sensei looks after the class and how much like an army drill seargant they are.
thanks for those! Ds (nearly six) does Tae Kwon Do with a charismatic Brazilian who also does adults, but I don't really want to barge in on ds's space there.
Tai Chi sounds really good - I tend to function on adrenaline and anxiety so starting with something that consciously slows me down would probably be ideal. For that reason, I probably need the physical/mental control aspect before the sparring bit.
Not Falkirk, sadly ... central/west London. Any recommendations there? - or further inspirations?
I do Shotokan Karate (when not pg) which I thoroughly enjoy. My club brings in other senseis from other martial arts disciplines from time to time. I think that aikido is fascinating. Again, a lot of control. If tai chi is too slow, I would try Aikido next. Aikido seem to work with your body weight and the weight of your opponent to get the advantage. Find out if clubs in your area have a trial evening.
Shotokan is great but I'm thinking that maybe you would like something less physical to start out with. I love the discipline that I see even the most scatterbrained child eventually gets taught.
but: I have just been surfing and where on earth do I start? There are dozens of organisations, dozens it seems of sub-sets of the art itself. Is it the sort of thing I ought to try to find a group lesson for, or is it like Alexander technique and you really need one-on-one? There's a rather corporate personal training outfit nearby which would do it, but I don't want to do individual tuition if it really ought to be a group experience ... help??
go for a group instruction club. I would make priliminary enquiries at one that has been established for a long time. My club allows interested people to sit and observe at the sidelines during a couple lessons to see if it is for you. (they may ask that you stay for the whole lesson as people coming and going is a distraction). Remember that the one that charges the most is not necessarily the best.
I don't think the style matters to a beginner. To start is more important.
Every martial art is the same in that way, they all divide into different groups under the same style (kung fu - Lau Gar, Wing Chun, Jun Fan etc, kickboxing - Tai, full contact, semi contact etc) and withing those, there are probably different associations that clubs are affliated with. Like Alux says, observing a few classes is the way to go. Whatever style and association you pick, have a great time.
Absolutely. He used to go on two Tai Chi courses a year as well, instead of going on holiday, before taking up with me (and indeed sloped off on one when I was pregnant with DD2). He will tell you about it with the zeal of a cult member, I fear.