Just moved, need advice :(

About six weeks ago, I moved to a very small town, about 45 minutes from the nearest city. There are literally no stoplights or parking meters in the entire county.

There are some martial arts folks in this town, doing hapkido under the auspices of "Karate for Christ." They seem very nice, but I have to be honest and say they kind of freak me out. I also looked at their "belt requirements" online and they seem to require a lot of things like Bible verse memorization, kata, and board-breaking.

Over in Beckley, West Virginia, the nearest city, the yellow pages list a karate gym and a "Korean martial arts" gym. I have not been able to locate anything like a Police Athletic League gym or a YMCA judo program within driving distance.

There's a well-reputed BJJ brown belt about an hour away, and my first goal is to get enough money set aside to at least get over there for open mats on Saturdays.

My main problem right now is money - dues and, even worse right now, gasoline. Once I have some money set aside, I want to get over to BJJ 2-3 times per week, and it's important enough to me that I know I'll get the money socked away. Eventually.

Until then, I have no idea what the hell to do. I've been weight training pretty hard, but other than that, I'm lost.

If you were trapped out in a barren wasteland with no money, no training partners, and an Olympic weight set as your only real resource, what would you do to stay sharp for a couple of months? Train with the Karate for Christers? Train harder on attributes at home?

("Sharp" in this case being relative.)

SDriver - that sucks. I would not train with the Karate for Christers. What I would do is get in the best shape of your life until you have the money to get over to bjj 2-3 times a week like you said. I would do mad conditioning (see www.trainforstrength for some ideas), do shadow boxing rounds in thai or boxing if you are familiar with these arts, etc.

I'm def. leery of training with the Karate for Christers ... I've done Scrapper's bodyweight stuff a lot before, and definitely like it.

Right now, my strength training is Pavel's basic "Power to the People" program, as I went quite a few months without weight training at all (just doing BJJ) and need to build my base strength level back up. I'm concentrating on deadlifts and military presses, as my only equipment right now is an Olympic barbell and plates.

I also have a homemade 35 lb kettlebell, so I might do 2-4 weeks on the barbell, then 2 weeks on the kettlebell, then 2 weeks with Scrapper's stuff, etc.

It's just driving me crazy not to be able to train. I think I'm going to have to find some room in the household budget to get over to train on Saturdays at least. :(

I've done boxing drills, and to a much lesser extent MT (i.e., "this is a low roundhouse. Do that 100 times"), but I'm still a beginner and I'm worried that if I do boxing drills, I'll inculcate even more horrible habits than I already have.

I really think you're right about just getting in good shape ... what do y'all think about the alternating weights, kb's, bodyweight? If I try to fit in all three at once at my age (34), I'll fry my nervous system, speaking from past experience.

I've also thought about just trying to round some folks up to roll, spar, etc., but I'm worried #1: without a real coach, someone will get fucked up, and #2: they'll think my 3 years of BJJ makes me some kind of authority, despite the fact that I'm a 3-year white belt.

(I'm asking this here rather than somewhere else because I figure JKD folks have trained with a lot of different protocols.)

Believe me, I know exactly what you're talking about man. It definitely sucks. Nevertheless, there's no WAY you should get involved with the Christers. Fatbuddha has the right advice. If you can find some people, hey, even better! Don't worry so much about low-level guys hurting each other. Proper attitude is more important IMO. Good luck!


Hi SDriver,

Where are you living at? I seen you mentioned Beckley WV. I live in Teays Valley WV and run my own gym. Drop me a line at Lowther.Scott@gmail.com and I might be able to put you in touch with some good guys.

Scott Lowther


Don't worry about developing "bad habits" when you train techniques solo. There's a large myth surrounding "bad reps" early in your training.

Most of us want to "make each rep perfect" but the truth of the matter is that we will perform them according to our ability, which does not start out very high. It's still necessary for good training to get the reps in, even though they won't be "with amazing technique".

It's a myth, though. You will rep as best as you can, and over time you will fix each small detail while you continue repping for the rest of your life. You will need today's muscle memory so that you can add a new detail next week. So, get in there and do those reps!

Good luck with training. Hopefully you'll get into that BJJ gym soon.


yep, put the word out that you want to get a group together and work on different aspects of the martial arts. You might find some folks who were dying to have someone with even 1 year of good training! Go for it!


I'll drop you a line today! Had a two-day conference and couldn't really get to the internet.

I'm in Pineville WV ... I interviewed for a clerkship over in Putnam County - is that where Teays Valley is? - but the one here worked out.

Starting next Saturday, I'm going to start driving over to Beaver (hee) to train with Bryan Atterson once a week, my old coach Phil Davis said he's wicked slick and a nice guy, I think he's affiliated with Jorge Gurgel. Hopefully I'll have the money soon to do it 2-3 times a week, I don't really mind the commute.

If you know anyone in Wyoming County, that would be so gnarly. I'll e-mail you my contact info today.