Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between styles of martial arts?
There are many different styles of martial arts all over the world. Some of the more popular ones here in the US are Tae Kwon Do, Judo, Kickboxing, Tang Soo Do, Aikido, Jujitsu, Karate, and various styles of Kung Fu. Each style has a certain way of doing techniques such as punching, kicking, grabbing, throwing, etc. Some styles, like Tae Kwon Do, emphasize kicking but don’t have a lot of throws whereas Judo has throws but not a lot of strikes. Each style has its own creator, structure, and traditions some dating back hundreds of years.
What is the difference between a ‘fighting’ or ‘contemporary’ style and a ‘traditional’ style?
A traditional style is a system of martial arts that has been handed down and is taught basically the same way that it has been for decades or centuries. The only way that traditional styles change or evolve is when a group breaks off from the original system keeping parts or most of the system but changing other areas. A fighting or contemporary style is one that utilizes what works and discards anything that doesn’t and doesn’t follow traditional pathways very much. A fighting or contemporary style will generally be a blend of styles and will emphasize self-defense over tournament or sport. Furthermore, a fighting style is usually newer, the creator is still alive and teaching, and it encourages cross training and experimentation.
How long will it take me to become reasonably proficient and how long will it take to attain black belt level?
The time it takes to become proficient varies upon the individual and your own abilities. In most self-defense systems, you should feel that you can defend yourself reasonably well after six to twelve months. To reach black belt level in the Full Circle Systems, the same variables are in play, but somewhere between 3 and 5 years is about right.
Why do people bow when they are in a karate school?
The bow is a symbol of respect and is just like a western handshake or a military salute.
Is sparring necessary to learn martial arts?
Some martial arts such as Tai Chi Chuan or Aikido do not require sparring. Most other martial arts do. Since the Full Circle program involves dealing with an opponent it is necessary to practice in conditions like an actual confrontation. In this way you learn about reactions, timing, and speed. Our sparring is done on an individual level; that is, we try to match your sparring style and aggression level with others that are similar. Because of this we do not advocate a ‘full contact’, knockout, philosophy but a balance between reality and safety.
What are the chances of getting injured?
The chances of getting injured are small since the training is supervised with safety in mind and safety equipment such as mats are in place. However, as in any physical activity, but especially a self-defense program, bumps and bruises are to be expected.
Do you teach weapons?
Most traditional martial arts schools teach some form of weaponry such as the sai, nunchuku, or bo. However, these are taught as a tradition and not with practicality in mind. In the program at Full Circle we teach the stick and knife because in America that is what you will probably face and be able to get a hold of quickly. The weapons teaching is not included in our children’s (age 6- 13) group but is a separate class one day a week for those interested.
Why is the black belt level so important?
The black belt level represents years of hard work, focus, dedication, proper attitude, skill, and knowledge. Getting a black belt is like getting a college diploma.