Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I start?
Give us call or send an email to discuss if you're a good fit for our group. If so, visit the school, sign a release form and give it a try.

What do you charge?
Fees are $50 per month. No contracts, no gimmicks.

I know nothing about martial arts. Will I be lost as a new student?
No. Instruction is mostly one-on-one so you will not be asked to keep up with experienced students.

I'm not in great shape. Can I do this?
We have students in their 60's and understand that everyone is unique. Jujutsu emphasizes using skill rather than power.

Is special equipment required?
No. Everyone is expected to wear a plain white training uniform. We do not require anything else.

Will I get injured?
Doing martial arts is a physical activity and movement means possible injury but we seldom see injuries in our classes.

Will I be able to defend myself in a fight?
There are too many variables to consider. Martial arts training gives you tools but that is not a guarantee of success.

Is your style better than style x?
Great question! I'd like to make the argument that style is only half the equation. The other half is knowledge and teaching ability of the instructor. Please also read "How do I pick the right martial arts school".

There are many styles of martial arts with origins in several countries. In martial arts there always seems to be "flavor of the month" where one style is what everyone flocks to. Remember how nothing was better than aerobics dance before Zumba or Tae Bo? In the U.S. soldiers brought Karate and Judo back from occupied Japan. Then Bruce Lee movies made Kung Fu king. Kickboxing became popular with Chuck Norris and Steven Segal movies brought light to Aikido. Everyone wants to be a winner so why not study what their movie idols are doing on stage? Most people get motivated by a flashy performance but quit when they realize it takes time and dedication to become good. Recently Brazilian Jujutsu and Krav Maga are winning the popularity contest. Brazilian Jujutsu started when a Japanese instructor of Judo and Jujutsu settled in Brazil to teach. The Brazilian practitioners created their rules for competition and placed an emphasis on ground work and renamed it.

Krav Maga is a mixture of several fighting systems including Aikido and Judo. Proponents may claim it is the best for "real self defense" because it is used by the Israeli Military but is it unlikely the US military lacks a similar dedication to protecting its troops? As a group, the Japanese Samurai probably spent more time over many generations training and fighting in close combat than anyone else in written history. Their systems of budo (martial arts) were the basis for Aiki-Jujutsu, Jiujutsu, Judo, Aikido and nearly all modern Japanese martial arts. That does not automatically make their system the best for today's martial artists. Their goal was to finish the opponent with minimum effort and speed so they could move on to the next person. This usually involved using a sword, halberd or spear and hand-to-hand combat was needed if you did not have your primary weapon. Even the legendary Katana (sword) could bend or break. Call or write us if you have other questions not answered here.

There are many martial arts schools in the valley. How do I know which one is right for me? The instructor is more important than the style. See "Is your style better than style x?" Some prospective students will choose a school based on trophies and accomplishments of the instructor but that's false logic. A 30 year old instructor who started when they were 5 and has 6 black belts may be incredibly skilled but that skill will not magically rub off on you. It takes a depth of knowledge and knowing how and when to transfer it to students that determine how much you'll learn. Remember, the best food is often found at restaurants run by old cooks who do not find time to make their place look clean and pretty. They're too busy doing what they love-- cooking!

Martial arts instruction runs the gamut from teaching a few people in a backyard to a warehouse full of shiny floors and wall to wall mirrors so you can admire that new belt you pay for every month. If your main goal is to socialize and not work hard for rank, then by all means choose the biggest place with loads of students. It will be fun and rewarding. If instead, you want to learn a system in depth with more personal attention then search out the smaller schools that do not have full page ads in the classifieds.

Our suggestion is to research every school within your comfortable commute and then visit the ones that make the cut. Sit in the parking lot and watch a class so you know what goes on during regular classes. Interview the instructor. Is he/she a salesman first and foremost? They have to pay the rent but high pressure sales probably mean their goal is making money, not sharing what they know. Beware if the owner/instructor sits in the office while a 20-something teaches classes. What level of instruction can you expect from a teacher that has five years experience in teaching? If you have the luxury of many schools in your area we'll try to help narrow the choices without, hopefully, too much bias.

Here are some reasons adults study martial arts- Self-defense
Become more fit
Make friends/socialize
Get a black belt Become more confident
Win trophies and medals
Let's look at each one in order.

If you do not want to spend much time, take a seminar geared toward personal protection. Learn a few basic techniques like striking the throat and kicking the groin and practice them often. If you want something more comprehensive then almost any style can be good if that is the instructor's focus. Instructors are really the key to learning practical self-defense. Do not assume that style X is poor for self-defense because it is wrong to apply generalizations or labels to any style.

If traditional arts interest you then look for a mainstream art that has a long history. If a style is unfamiliar use Wikipedia to research its history. Self-development will be a part of any martial arts study, including schools designed to prep people for competition but doing competition is not the same as martial arts. It creates all sorts of rules that can't apply to martial (combat) arts.

Become more fit-
Look for a striking, wrestling or throwing style. All of these activities can be great exercise. Even Tai Chi with its slow movements will give you a great lower body workout.

Make friends/socialize-
Visit the school to see if it has lots of students.

Get a black belt- A black belt means very different things to each individual and in each school, assuming they use belts or sashes for ranking. Colored belts are valuable within a school to know what to teach a student and sometimes to indicate who must be respected. A white belt in school A could be more capable of defending themselves than a third degree black belt in school B. There truly is that much discrepancy in the US because there are zero standards. All instructors hope that the pursuit of a black belt is secondary to learning the complete system because in many schools, including ours, getting the first black belt is where the fun begins- not ends.

Become more confident-
Any study of martial arts should make you more confident but beware of instructors who purport to teach real self-defense but lack the background to know what is truly effective. The street is nothing like the controlled atmosphere of a school. Having a black belt does not mean you'll do well in a street fights but even a little bit of study is better than none if you understand your ability and lack thereof.

Win trophies and medals-
As an adult there are probably better ways to feed your ego than doing martial arts but who am I to judge. Many Taekwondo and Karate schools sponsor competitive events for adults. Judo, MMA and similar competition are more likely to cause serious injuries such as joint damage but you may end up on TV or in the Olympics if competition is your primary goal.

How much should I practice to really learn martial arts?
When interviewed, many martial arts masters say the reason they can do amazing things is because they practice...a lot. Thinking about being great does not cut it. You must think while you practice and later you practice without thinking. There is no doubt that a martial arts instructor preached, "Just do it" hundreds of years before Nike made that phrase familiar. Repetition may be boring but that's how we became good at bicycling, driving a car, etc. We repeated the action often enough that it became an automated response. In a panic stop while driving, you do not think, you simply react.

Why do you only teach adults and not children?
We think that jujutsu is not the best choice for children. Jujutsu involves bending of the joints to create pain compliance and children have not fully developed their joints.

Is practicing the joint locks painful?
Yes. The purpose of joint locks is to create pain compliance. The level of pain you experience in training depends on many factors. The idea is to move in the direction that lessons the pain. If and when you run out of movement, you tap to tell your partner it is time to stop. Typically the pain only lasts a short time after the end of the waza (technique). There should be no permanent damage or extended discomfort.

Call or write us if you have other questions not answered here.