Play is The Way
If you were learning to play the guitar, you'd probably learn a few chords, put them to a song and then just "play" for a while.
If you wanted to learn to juggle, you might get someone to show you a few of the basic patterns and then you'd just "play" for a while.
An alternative route would be to just pick up the guitar or balls and play around with them without first receiving any tips or "moves" first. Then, as your awareness increased you'd build on it by adding chords or patterns and having a lovely time.
With either method you'd be both "playing" and "learning technique". Both parts are essential for fully "getting" a skill - and so that's why we offer both.
If you want, you could say you're "getting experience", but you're also gaining a comfort, feeling and awareness that develops better and faster when you're just playing around in a relaxed manner.
The point is that you can do them in either order.
And because of these benefits, we massively recommend everyone comes to the playtime sessions.
Playtime is amazing whether it's your first time, fifth or fiftieth. No matter how long you've been enjoying martial arts, you should come along to Playtime.
People PLAY Football
Right from the start, people *play* football. I've never heard of anyone saying, "I just need to learn to kick it properly first" or, "I've never passed to a centre forward before... I should get some lessons before I actually play a game".
Instead they show up on some grass with their legs and they play around.
Even now, if I went for a game of football I'm pretty sure I'd boot the ball in only approximately useful directions, I'd get tackled really easily and I'd be strategically awful... but I'd still just show up and play.
This is how we approach martial arts.
So What Is Playtime?
The Playtime sessions are like a five-a-side game of football with your mates - except with martial arts. You don't need to know anything to show up and have fun, you just need to show up and have fun.
"Is it just an open mat/free sparring/sparring session?" you may ask (if you've done martial arts before).
Pretty much, yes.
The idea is that we play at martial arts by... playing at martial arts.
In the classes we teach you specific ideas and moves and concepts; in Playtime you show up and either work on those things you've learned in class or you just have fun playing around. Either way you'll get better.
Playtime is also very sociable.
For many people, it's the best thing we offer at the gym. So come along, you'll have a lovely time.
And remember, you're already good enough to enjoy it.