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Starting a Martial Art for the first time!

Paul Froggatt

Joining a new martial art is always a scary proposition. A number of questions and fears will

run through your mind, “will I be accepted?

Will I be any good? I don’t want to look a fool,” etc. etc.

The first step to joining any kind of martial art is always the hardest, but as soon as you make that step it is one that will invariably change your life. Paul Froggatt has been

attending the Long Eaton Tetsudo Club for a handful of months and has kindly spoken about his experiences as a new starter to the artform. It is quite refreshing to hear what a new beginner has to say about Tetsudo, we are so used to hearing higher grades sing the praises of the artform and not really what beginners think. I feel that this is one of the most important things we should be doing; listening to our new starters.

When I spoke to Paul, I asked simply how he find out about Tetsudo. Paul found Tetsudo

through a friend who visited the website and thought they could have a go. And while Paul’s

friend found it wasn’t for him, Paul himself fell in love with the artform.

I wanted to know what Paul felt before walking in that first time. His feelings were of

uncertainty because, “I didn’t know what to expect… would I be accepted?” but of course

the reception was very warm and welcoming. He first met one of our green belts outside

who spoke to him about the benefits of the artform. Nigel Law was very friendly and

introduced him to the class, everyone was very friendly and welcoming. Not such a scary

start as one might have thought. I asked Paul, now you have been here for a few months, what the best thing about the artform is so far. “It’s hard to say but I love the freestyle element and I really enjoy the fitness aspect.”

I think that most of us can agree that our favourite part of the artform is freestyle but to

hear it from a new starter is brilliant feedback for our martial art. It’s a unique part of our

style, showcasing the beauty and form of the human body in a combative but fun

environment. We all have something that is difficult for us to grasp within the artform, so I ask Paul what his happens to be. He replied, “all of the moves and move sets. Learning the kedhs, stances and turns is really hard.” I would agree here too. If you have not done martial arts before then this can be very difficult as many of the positions are not things that we tend to use in everyday life. But with practice and perseverance, they begin to cement themselves and they become natural to the student.

Speaking of natural, I asked Paul what he found came most naturally to him. He couldn’t

think what came naturally but said that freestyle and fitness were the closest things that

came to him. When training with Paul, I would agree that his freestyle for a new starter is

very good. His interpretation and involvement with freestyle is at a level beyond what is

normally expected. I would certainly say his natural skill is in freestyle.

Lastly, I asked Paul if he had any long-term goals within the artform. His reply is something

that many of us can relate to, “fitness and flexibility.” I agreed that this is a goal that many

of us in the artform set ourselves.

Tetsudo is not just about learning new moves or even self-defence, it’s about self-improvement and self-development. For most of us that is physically, especially at the beginning, yet as we progress through the wonderful artform that is Tetsudo we often ask ourselves if we can improve ourselves emotionally, mentally or spiritually. It is this journey that defines Tetsudo and Paul has started his discovery with a fantastic start.

Thank you, Paul, for your time and thoughts.


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