For a while now I’ve been studying various forms of martial arts. My first style was kung fu back when I was a kid. There was a class nearby that I used to go to and we learned all the basics which are stances, the proper way to punch and kick, etc. I think though that learning that as a kid is great. As you go, you also learn different methods of conditioning your body. For example, we used to punch a bag filled with mung beans that was hanging on the wall in order to be able to punch better. It wasn’t just about toughening the fist as much as making sure you have correct body posture. If you punch a bag incorrectly you will feel it.
I studied a few different styles every few years. What I learned in kung fu helped me in each of the other styles. For example, the stances might be different, but the principles are the same. Sometimes the techniques would be a bit different, but knowing how to do a stance in one style helps when you are doing stances in another style. I also studied karate which is a bit different from kung fu. The punches are a bit different, the stances are a bit different, and the general principles are a bit different, but being familiar with kung fu still helped. For example, karate is more direct than other styles. The blocks are hard, the punches are hard, and the movements are direct. Kung fu tends to be less direct, and more emphasis is placed on absorbing your opponent’s force. But they still both use many of the same principles.
Even when I wasn’t taking lessons I would still sometimes practice on my own. I practice my forms and techniques as part of my exercise routine. I train in my old uniform and I use a few other martial arts supplies from www.karatemart.com in my routine, too. You definitely miss out on something by not having others to train with but you can still get a good workout on your own. I want to make sure that I can still punch and everything and that I remember most of the techniques. I also want to keep up the habits that I’ve learned.
I think it would be cool to study an art that focuses on weapons. I know of kendo but I haven’t seen a school around here.