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Climbing and Martial Arts
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By Shane Zentner
From Colorado
Jan 10, 2013
The Sun with Pikes Peak in the distance.  <br />South Platte valley, Fall 2010

Having become slightly bored with climbing(I'm scared to even admit this) and wanting to take a needed break, I am considering studying a martial art to pass the time and build strength, focus, awareness, and concentration. Can someone please provide guidance regarding a suitable art to study or is my logic out of whack.

Thank you


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By Unassigned User
Jan 10, 2013

judo

/thread


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By Mark Wyss
From Denver, CO
Jan 10, 2013
Mt. Baker

Sounds like you have the right idea. If I remember correctly, when Mark Twight lost a couple of partners he took some time off and did kick boxing a couple times a week. Good luck!


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By Devin Fin
From DURANGO
Jan 10, 2013
dream canyon fun!

ju jitsu !


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By koreo
From Denver, CO
Jan 10, 2013
sloping <br />

Shane Zentner wrote:
build strength, focus, awareness, and conentration. Thank you


All martial arts will do this including boxing. I think the best one for body awareness would either be kali or a grappling martial art such as brazilian jiu-jitsu or judo. My personal favorite is muai thai, but you can get a little/lot beat up doing that one. If you're looking for practical (real-world) applications you can't do any better than krav maga, jeet kun do in a close second.


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By Unassigned User
Jan 10, 2013

Another benefit of climbing is that your grip strength will be better than the average person. It is crucial in the grappling arts.


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By M Sprague
Administrator
From New England
Jan 10, 2013
Lichen head. Me, with my usual weatherbeaten, lichen covered look from scrubbing a new route.

Probably the most important is to find a good instructor. Some can really mess you up. If I were going to train again, I would probably do Krav Maga or Systema


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By Ali Jaffri
From Westminster, CO
Jan 10, 2013
At the village in Hunza Valley, Karakoram, Pakistan

Shane,
Id recommend Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Like most martial arts its excellent for endurance, but you'll find yourself gripping (somewhat similar to Judo) a lot building forearm strength.

You also dont get hit since there's no kicks, punches, knees or elbows which reduces the risk of injury.

Let me know where you're at in Colorado and I can recommend some places to train.


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By Bang
From Charlottesville, VA
Jan 10, 2013
Thanks Hank Caylor!

Spend a summer at Shaolin Temple?


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By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Jan 10, 2013

Brazilian jiu-jitsu.


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By Unassigned User
Jan 10, 2013

bjj is great, its quite popular,I trained under a Roy Harris blackbelt for awhile.


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By "H"
From Manitou Springs
Jan 10, 2013
Axes glistening in the sun

Krav Maga, incredible workout and you'll work out a lot of stress, while learning a proven combat system. Krav is not a martial art, there's nothing pretty about it. I was an instructor. One of the best true fighting systems.


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By A.Javi.Gecko
From San Diego, CA
Jan 10, 2013
V3, Castle Hill, NZ

Though I didn't do it concurrently with climbing, I did a form of Kung Fu for 9 years. It definitely taught me a lot about controlling breathing and maximizing explosive force (classic e.g. is flicking water from your fingertips, concentrating the energy of your whole arm into a drop of water). In contrary to the dynamic theory in kung fu, Yoga, while not as badass, uses very similar alignments (and your climbing antagonist muscles) in a static way while still controlling your breath.

I just explained some physical benefits, but I think the biggest benefit of mixing body arts (climbing included) is learning your body and your mental discipline. Most martial arts are high on discipline so that might turn into more regular and regimented climbing, more flexibility or better dynamic control. I'd research the mental and physical pillars of whatever martial art intrigues you and go with what matches your own ideals (this might be esp. important because some studios can be v. rigid). I'd also think about what you are looking to augment your climbing with (e.g. bettering your headgame might call for boxing/sparring vs more flexibility might call for stretching) and go from there.

Personally, the most useful martial art I learned was joint-locking and pressure points. After a couple years I know where the major organs/tendons/nodes and bones are and how to manipulated them for therapeutic and self-defense purposes.

Someday I'd like to learn tai-chi, I know its slow but it improves your static muscle control and flexibility (who else but a tai-chi master can spend 20 seconds controlling a head-high kick with perfect form). It teaches you self-defense theory and as for mental control, its name means "mastering life energy" how about that for a discipline!

If you just wanna play/have fun, many of my friends ABSOLUTELY LOVE capoeira (afro-brazilian dance fighting). Wicked cool martial art that has an interesting history and mix of media.


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By J Q
Jan 11, 2013
Me again!

Baguazhang is my favorite type of martial art. It can be hard to find an instructor in the USA but the eight palms are some of the most intense work outs you can imagine. I highly recommend. It improved my climbing and made me a stronger person.


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By Michael C
From New Jersey
Jan 11, 2013
Mt Minsi, PA

A few years back I trained BJJ with a Gi. It's definitely a good supplemental training for rock climbing. Training with the Gi and "hand fighting" will give you tremendous grip strength. Plus there's a good amount of "body tension" involved in grappling as well as keeping mental focus on body position under duress which transfers well in intense climbing scenarios such as bouldering. Occasionally, my instructor would teach Judo which is also a great martial art that could benefit someone's climbing.

One thing to be mindful of is that there's a lot of painful joint manipulation holds which can lead to injury. Beginners and White Belts are known to "spazz" and really crank on submission locks. Sparring with blue belts and above is usually safer because they are much more controlled. I had to throw that in there because I got really banged up in training and ultimately decided not to renew after 6 months when a newbie hyper-extended my elbow and I sat out the last two weeks of my membership.


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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
Jan 11, 2013
Stoked...

know quite a few climbers who have loved ju jitsu - as i think a lot applies across disciplines. They taught me how to do the diving roll and it has helped a lot with taking big falls bouldering.


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By Evan S
From Erie, CO
Jan 11, 2013
Me, of course

People get hurt grappling more often than they do striking. Wrenched shoulders, bent fingers, tweaks to the back and ribs... I'd do some kick boxing of some sort, and maybe Aikido for grappling and wrist strength.


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By Jeff J
From Bozeman
Jan 11, 2013

Evan S wrote:
People get hurt grappling more often than they do striking. Wrenched shoulders, bent fingers, tweaks to the back and ribs... I'd do some kick boxing of some sort, and maybe Aikido for grappling and wrist strength.


I have been practicing aikido for the past 10 years, over all the injury level is quite low for a martial art. it will deffantly help with focas, strength, flexability ect. I find that climbing and aikido complment well IMHO. The added grip strength of climbing applys ot many techniques in aikido. But as far as being a harcore kickbutt art that its not.


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By emmet
Jan 11, 2013

M Sprague wrote:
Probably the most important is to find a good instructor. Some can really mess you up.


I'll second this opinion. Unless there is a specific art/system you want to study, you may want to just find the best school/instructor in your area.


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By "H"
From Manitou Springs
Jan 11, 2013
Axes glistening in the sun

emmet wrote:
I'll second this opinion. Unless there is a specific art/system you want to study, you may want to just find the best school/instructor in your area.


+1 on this. An instructor can set the tone for the whole school, if the ego is not left at the door one can get hurt and that's not conducive to climbing for sure.

Whatever you choose to take up "empty your cup." That was advice I got when I first got into Krav, because I had studied several other systems year ago and kept trying to incorporate it all into Krav during class. That is disrespectful to the instructors and the school. There is time for that after class.


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By Mike Belu
From Indianapolis, IN
Jan 11, 2013
Summit of Rainier.

Move from NJ to LA. Go to a high school and befriend a hot cheerleader named Ali. Make sure she has a dick boyfriend named Johnny. Soon Johnny and his friends will jump you; you might have to take a little bit of a beating at this point. No worries, a highly skilled martial arts master janitor will bail you out. Hang with the janitor guy, fix up his crib and become a martial arts master. Its just that easy.


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By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Jan 11, 2013

Mike Belu wrote:
Move from NJ to LA. Go to a high school and befriend a hot cheerleader named Ali. Make sure she has a dick boyfriend named Johnny. Soon Johnny and his friends will jump you; you might have to take a little bit of a beating at this point. No worries, a highly skilled martial arts master janitor will bail you out. Hang with the janitor guy, fix up his crib and become a martial arts master. Its just that easy.


Brilliant! They should make a movie with this story. :)


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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Jan 11, 2013
El Chorro

M Sprague wrote:
Probably the most important is to find a good instructor. Some can really mess you up.


This ^^

There are LOADS of different disciplines that you can practice, but you aren't learning from a specific discipline, you are learning from your instructor.

I studied with a very serious and determined man in North Carolina for a large part of my adult life and while I definitely learned a lot about the art itself, I learned a lot more from my instructor as a person. Not only was he passionate about martial arts, but he was passionate about people, and teaching about self control, confidence, attention to detail and mental discipline.

Keep in mind though that if you do find the right person, he will not allow you to study with him if you are just doing it to "gain fitness" or "supplement your climbing." Of course he will appreciate that you have a life outside of training with him, but any respectable martial artist will demand a lot from you and it would be disrespectful to train if you were not ready to give what he may ask.

I have studied a few different martial arts, but Wado-Ryu was my favorite. It is sort of a hybrid between Okinawan Karate and Shino Yoshin Ryu (Jujutsu). There is a focus on striking, but the main idea is to get out of the way, while at the same time putting yourself in a position of power. This is done by using the attackers momentum - sort of "going with the flow of things."

This suited me because I am long and lanky, and not very powerful. I am good at keeping myself safe, but I will rarely be able to do much damage to someone if they are expecting me to attack. So a style that focuses on evasion was the best choice for me. It also seems to make the most sense in the real world, where the typical opponent is over aggressive and out of control and often stopped by a surprise strike to the body, a throw or a lock.


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By Shane Zentner
From Colorado
Jan 11, 2013
The Sun with Pikes Peak in the distance.  <br />South Platte valley, Fall 2010

As always, I have a wealth of information for my question. Thank you all for responding and not letting this spiral out of control into a flame fest.


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By reboot
From Westminster, CO
Jan 11, 2013

Ok, I'm really bored, so I'll put my 2 cents down.

Yes, a good instructor is probably the most important thing.

Before going any further, my background in martial arts is primarily Karate (I have a black belt, which when I received it meant I was considered a serious student of the art, nothing more). I've also dabbled with Aikido and boxing. But I'll speculate on forms like Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Krav Maga.

All forms of martial arts have advantages and disadvantages. They all have applications to self-defense, though some have very steep initial learning curve, while others are inherently ill-suited for facing multiple opponents.

For self-defense, forms like Krav Maga, Brazilian jiu-jitsu have the least-steep learning curve, but only against inexperienced opponents: the most effective forms initially are typically also the easiest to learn to neutralize against. Aikido probably sits on the other end of the spectrum: it'll be extremely foolish to use anything from Aikido until one is quite proficient. Strike-based forms, on the other hand, have a more linear curve: the better you can throw a punch or kick, the more useful it becomes, but you are not going to learn, in an afternoon, how to break a hand/arm/leg with joint manipulation against an unsuspecting opponent.

For strength building, wrestling and grappling based forms are probably the best. For power and flexibility, a strike based form is probably the best. And if you are really in a bind, you better hope you have firearms.


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By NC Rock Climber
From The Oven, AKA Phoenix
Jan 11, 2013
tanuki

There are a lot of good comments. I agree 100% with Ryan and reboot. Like them, I studied Japanese karate. I spent 15 years of my life practicing at least 4x a week (sometimes more), and trained in a dojo in Japan for 3 years.

The one thing I would reiterate is that the various styles differ quite a bit from school to school. Some styles have a reputation for having demanding classes and teaching effective techniques, but not all schools within any given style are the same. Within all styles you will find some quality schools and some that suck donkey balls. You need to sit in on a few classes and talk with the instructor. Go with your gut, but also be wary of any school that does not have you making contact with training devices and other students. If you can't strike a bag, perform a technique on an uncooperative adversary or take a punch, the stuff you are learning is probably not going to be worth much outside the school. Training for martial arts is not always pleasant; like crack climbing, to get good you have to endure a little pain.

Best of luck and have fun!


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