When the girls were little, Joe and I bought two dressers for their room. We went to Mer-Hart Furniture and bought one of them used. It looked a little worn and dated, but it was made of real wood, and it was sturdy. We bought the other dresser new at one of those furniture outlet places. It looked really nice and modern, and we paid about the same price for it as we had the used one.
The new dresser started falling apart shortly after we bought it. It was made of fiberboard, and could not stand up to the abuse of young children. It became a useless pile of garbage within six months of purchase. The old, used dresser? We still have it, and it looks and works as good as the day we bought it, which was about fifteen years ago.
Moral of the story: I think a lot of people choose their martial art based on the same kind of criteria we used when we bought the new dresser. It looked really nice for a short while, but we didn’t fully consider it’s future value. Inevitably, it did not provide us with the true intent of our purchase, and we got no real return on our investment.
Traditional martial arts, like the old dresser, may not seem as bright and shiny and cool as some of the more modern styles, but they were built to last. If your goal is just to look good for awhile, then buying into a more demonstration-oriented system might be a good investment for you. However, if you’re looking for a solid product that is going to work for you when you really need it, and for years to come, your best bet may be to choose something that is old and used.