Frequently asked questions
Do I need to be fit before I can begin training?
This is normally the first question I receive from prospective students. It goes without saying that for us to get the best out of life we should live a healthy lifestyle. Martial arts training maintains and enhances whatever fitness regime you may be following.
However, training is a process of building skill, strength and fitness over time, and you need to start somewhere. It really doesn't matter what your fitness level is when you start martial arts, as your fitness levels will only improve with consistent training. Don't let a lack of perceived fitness deter you from starting training. For many people their sole reason for starting martial arts training is to get in shape.
Am I too old to participate?
This is the second most popular question I receive from prospective students! How old is too old? The oldest student I taught was 65 years of age, and there wasn't anything in the training he couldn't do just as well as the students 30-40 years younger than he was!
Of course you will have to take your age into consideration if you have had previous injuries, etc. However in my experience I have never come across a student who felt too old to participate in the training once they had given it a go. Age can sometimes be used as an excuse to not do something that looks like it may be difficult, and you will never be forced to do something you are uncomfortable with in the dojo. I find that people with a positive attitude don't worry about how their age may affect them. Jump in and try!
How long does it take to get to Black Belt?
The answer to this question depends upon many different factors, and the length of time it takes will be different for everyone. Determining factors include natural ability, previous martial arts experience and attitude. On average a student who is training twice weekly as well as some self training at home should achieve their Black Belt within 4-5 years, but again I emphasise this depends on the factors indicated above. Its a cliche, but its the journey that is the most important element. The destination is just the culmination of all your experiences and personal development on your journey.
What is the difference between traditional Jujutsu and Brazilian Jui-jitsu?
Traditional Jujutsu is an ancient aspect of Japanese culture. It contains unarmed combat techniques that were used by warriors in real life or death situations. There are no rules in these situations, any technique can be utilised in order to protect the life of yourself, or those you care deeply about.
During the Edo Period (1603 - 1867) Jujutsu was at its most popular and was developed the most, due to this being a very peaceful time in Japanese history. There were many warriors but no battles for them to test their skills, so the testing was conducted on a much smaller level and usually with unarmed techniques.
In the latter 19th Century Judo was developed as a safe system to test martial arts skill without the risk inherent in applying techniques used for real fighting. Therefore, Brazilian Jui-jitsu, like Judo, is a modern adaption of past traditional techniques. Brazilian Jui-jitsu mainly focusses on ground fighting and is conducted in a competitive setting.
In the Genbukan the focus is on traditional Jujutsu along with modern self defence applications. The techniques come from schools that have lineages going back hundreds of years.
The student should find the system that personally fits them the best.