So who's into the art of pugilism? Me and K. Trian have benefited a great deal from training martial arts/combat sports when it comes to writing fight scenes in our books.

Anyway, my pugilistic history is fairly lengthy but unfortunately quite intermittent. I was lucky in the sense that my dad was/is a bit of a martial arts nut and I was 5 or 6 when he first took me along to train karate (no idea what kind) and then boxing but since I was so young, I didn't participate in the classes but we trained home together (my big sister trained with us as well since she wanted to be a warrior princess like Zelda from the Nintendo game ).

When I was around 10 or so, my dad (and consequently us kids too) got into Pentjak Silat and we trained that for a year or two but then my dad ordered the Ultimate Fighting Championship video tape and after that we were all sold on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Anyway, my first exposure to training in an actual martial arts club was when me and a couple of my friends found a Krav Maga club where the instructor didn't ask for our age (here in Finland you have to be 18 to train KM but we were sixteen at the time). That was cut short because we lived so far from the place (just going there took about one and a half hours).

I did return to Krav Maga when I was 20, trained almost a year before I moved on to Muay Thai which was simply amazing. I love the sport; there's something very graceful about the rough simplicity of it all. I trained MT for about a year but once again eventually I got tired of taking three buses and over an hour just to get to the club.

Next was Senshido, a modern RBSD (Reality Based Self-Defense) system. Since there was no official Senshido club in my city, the instructor came to teach us about once a month and the rest of the time we trained those things on our own.
I've never seen so many injuries than after one of our instructorless training sessions: one broken finger, two bleeding noses, bite marks (I had two on my right arm and one on my chest), a few concussions, and sore ribs, throats (from various chokes), eyes (yeah, we did eye gouging too though not full force but hard enough that one guy saw everything in twos for a few minutes), and groins (we did wear cups but it still hurt). Oh, and my right shin still has a dent on it when I kicked a guy, going for his groin, but he blocked it Muay Thai style i.e. with his shin. Since we didn't have shin guards... man that hurt! I actually saw stars for a while :P
I don't really recommend that kind of training to anyone but it was fun when we were young and slightly more stupid. I also got both of my thumbs broken in those training sessions (though not at the same time) and I had a splint and bandages on my right hand when I was supposed to meet K. Trian's parents for the first time, hoping to make a good impression Come to think of it, I've broken three fingers and one toe in training (my right middle finger works fine, doesn't hinder guitar playing, but it curves to the right a little bit). I've been lucky that I haven't sustained any permanent injuries when training like an idiot (I suppose this is one of those times when I'm justified in saying "do as I say, not as I do.")

It wasn't until I moved with K. Trian close to my old Krav Maga club and since I had taught the Mrs. what little I knew about proper kicking and punching technique, we both joined the club along with three of our friends.

That was a fantastic experience and after about 6 months or so we moved on to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Man, that was tough! The toughest training I've ever experienced and each trainee sustained at least a few injuries over the course of the basic course (about 3-4 months). I remember vividly when I sparred with a pro boxer who also did power lifting and worked as a bouncer. I tell you, when I grabbed his shoulders, it was like gripping a brick wall. Naturally I could do little else except be tossed about, twisted, and choked out in record time. It was a freaky group anyway: I was 6'1/170lbs and I was one of the smallest guys there and K. Trian was the only girl so she definitely had her work cut out for her but the BJJ class was probably one of the most useful, if not the most useful stuff she's learned when considering self-defense because it focuses quite heavily on controlling your opponent on the ground and fighting on your back.
Anyway, after BJJ me and K. Trian trained on our own for a while until we joined a boxing club last September. So far it's been amazing and I'm hoping to get to try my luck in the ring next spring.

We've actually made a plan when it comes to jumping from style to style: our main goal is self-defense but it's such a broad subject that there's really not much opportunity for the instructors to teach, say, a right hook as in much detail as in a boxing club so we'll do this until next summer, then we return to BJJ (my goal is to get a blue belt in about a year), and then when our grappling and striking have been honed well, we return to Krav Maga (or Defendo or Senshido, any of the modern RBSD systems but the KM school is a good one and it's a 5min drive from our home).

I really do want to return to Muay Thai some day and the wife also wants to try it out (she has the perfect physique for the sport: tall-ish, long limbs, very light bones, sinewy build so she'd likely be a head taller than her opponents) just because it's so... fun. I know, I know, it can be painful and uncomfortable but it's still nowhere near as brutal as those BJJ classes were.

I'm sorry but I honestly have no idea why my posts on AW always seem to end up being juggernauts like this so, uh, my apologies.

Anywho, are there any other martial arts/combat sports nuts here?