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How to choose a martial art in Reading

So you want to learn a martial art in Reading. There is a quite a range to choose from so it’s a good idea to know what you are looking for before you choose a martial art in Reading.

Combat Sport or Traditional Martial Art?

Your first decision should be whether you want to learn a combat sport or a traditional martial art.

Combat Sports

Combat sports are focused on learning to prevail against an opponent in the ring or in a cage. You’ll train to be fit and strong and get trained in specific techniques. The techniques you’ll learn will be quite limited but you’ll learn a lot about distancing, timing and ring tactics. The training is tough but can be fun and relies largely on your speed, strength and fitness levels.

It is easy and tempting to believe that because you can win some matches in the ring that you will be able to prevail in a real life conflict but this may not be the case. In real life there are no rules, no controlled environment and often you may face more than one assailant. Combat sports cannot prepare you for these eventualities.

how to choose a martial art in Reading

Traditional Martial Arts

Traditional martial arts come in many shapes and sizes. They tend to be a lot more comprehensive than combat sports who only focus on polishing and refining a small number of techniques. Traditional martial arts can teach a very wide range of skills potentially including strikes, locks, holds, kicks, throws, pressure points, weapons training and more.

It has to be said that many schools aren’t great at putting their skills into practice against a resisting opponent in sparring. They may teach fancy looking forms or kata but don’t really know how to break them apart and adapt them to a wide range of combat scenarios.

Make sure what you learn isn’t just for show but works for real against resisting opponents.

The Syllabus

Once you’ve decided whether to learn a combat sport or martial art you may want to decide what skills you’re looking for. Generally a martial art that has a wide ranging syllabus sounds better but, of course it will take longer to learn.

Weapons training is a popular and important part of most traditional martial arts. In the past all fighters would use a range of weapons and only rely on hand to hand combat if they were disarmed. Weapons training teaches you to move your body in specific ways so the weapon becomes a part of you. Power, coordination and fluidity are developed more quickly using weapons than with hand training alone.

The body trains the weapon and the weapon trains the body

A good traditional martial art will be able to teach so much more than fighting skills. You’ll learn the crucial skill of how to relax and stay relaxed under extreme stress. You’ll learn balance in every element of your training. You’ll learn the secrets of how to hold and move your body with extraordinary yet relaxed power. You’ll learn the philosophies that underpin the art. Many oriental martial arts are based on Buddhist or Taoist philosophies. In short, you’ll become a much more well-rounded person.

martial arts weapons training


Every school you go to has a different ethos. Some are brutal disciplinarians while others are far more relaxed. Some like to spend a long time doing basic fitness routines you can find anywhere while others focus your time on specific training.

Some schools really like you to part with your money. They have uniforms to pay for, regular gradings, training camps you’re expected to attend and so on. The costs can really mount up for students who are keen to progress.

Most schools teach children and if they are mixed in with adult classes they can be a distraction. Children require a lot of an instructor’s time and attention and often skills have to watered down to make them safe for children. It is common now for adults to be taught forms or katas that were originally designed for children. They made the children strong and flexible but had very limited martial applications.

The Jade Dragon School

The Jade Dragon School teaches traditional kung fu skills. Everything we teach is usable for anyone of any age. We teach you how to hold and move your body to get maximum power with minimum effort. Then we show you how to apply that power in a huge range of combat skills.

We teach no skill that cannot be effectively demonstrated to work against a moving and resisting opponent. This is far more rare than you can possibly imagine.

We place a high value on learning how to relax and stay relaxed even under extreme duress. It is the most important lesson for anyone to learn in this highly stressed culture we live in. Being relaxed makes you more rooted and stronger in every possible way.

martial art stance training

Our training is extremely comprehensive including learning 8 animal kung fu styles, weapons training, breath and internal energy training and more. See our full syllabus here.

We teach no children and have no cliques or egos to worry about. Everyone is friendly and helps each other to learn and succeed.

In short, if you’re looking for real skills trained in a friendly environment then this is the place to come.

For more information contact Paul Chapman on 07788 588815 or email the school.

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