Starting Martial Arts

Starting Martial Arts.


There are plenty of different options available in London for the martial arts student these days.

Here are our top tips on what to do – and what not to do – when starting your martial arts training.

Visiting a martial arts school for the first time can be a bit daunting, so use these tips to help prepare for the experience.


Build a base of fitness first.

It’s hard to process new information when you’re exhausted, so try to build up a reasonable level of fitness before you walk into the dojo or boxing gym.

Distance running, sprints, press ups, squats and sit ups will help prepare your body for the intensity and endurance of a martial arts class.


Familiarise yourself ?with the martial art.

Watch some video clips of your chosen art so you know what to expect in terms of training and sparring.

Visit the venue for your class in advance to familiarise yourself with the location and layout.

If you’re really feeling nervous, then ask if you can view a class as a spectator.

We burn a lot of energy from nervous tension, so the more familiar your feel about everything, the less likely you are to feel nervous or drained.

Find out what equipment you will need, and what you will be able to purchase or borrow on the day of your first class.


Double check your kitbag.

Don’t be the muppet who holds up the class because they’ve forgotten their gumshield or one of their boxing gloves!

Check and double check your kit bag before you leave the house.

It’s a cardinal sin for the senior martial arts student to forget a piece of equipment, so get yourself into good habits early on and prepare your kit bag in advance.


Plan your meals and hydration.

Over time you will learn the best ways to fuel your body for martial arts training – what you should eat and drink, and when you should consume food and drink in relation to your class time.

As a general rule, try eating a light carb and protein meal 2-3 hours before your class.

Eat a medium sized carb and protein meal 30-90 minutes after your training.

Keep well hydrated during the day and avoid heavy drinking the night before your class.

If you are a smoker, then avoid smoking for at least 90 minutes before and after your class.


Listen and learn.

Remember that martial arts schools are usually quite big on discipline, and don’t take kindly to newcomers being loud, brash or disruptive.

Don’t talk, giggle or mess about when the instructor is speaking – martial arts training can be dangerous and you need to concentrate.

Make sure you don’t end up being the guy who gets his jaw broken in sparring because his mouth is open from talking!

Leave your ego at the door, respect your training partners and don’t expect to be a champion from day one.

When you’re starting martial arts training, don’t be shy about asking the senior students for help with things such as tying your belt or wrapping your hands.


Take care of your personal hygiene.

Martial arts training is often up close and personal.

Make sure that your nails are cut short so you don’t scratch or cut anyone.

Don’t turn up for class stinking of sweat – the unbathed tend to be the least of popular training partners!

Always also remember to tie back long hair and remove jewellery before starting martial arts training.


Don’t think you should be enjoying it.

Too many people view martial arts training as a social activity these days.

You can make great friends in the martial arts, and many clubs do organise social events, but your actual training time on the mat shouldn’t necessarily be fun.

Martial arts and combat sports are hard work and extremely challenging.

The fun bit comes from the satisfaction of knowing that you are stepping out of your comfort zone, pushing yourself and developing physical toughness and mental strength.

Don’t panic if the training seems tough – it’s supposed to be!



Good luck with your first martial arts class!

Contact us at 121personaltraining for details about our private lessons in kickboxing, amateur boxing and white collar boxing.

Visit our recommended martial arts school in Wimbledon.
 -starting martial arts.



Written by 

Sam is a Premier Diploma qualified personal trainer in SW London and is the founder of

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