How long before I become Competent?

This is very subjective since “competence” is a relative term. However, a student who trains diligently twice a week for six months will begin to feel physical and spiritual benefit. One who has done so for a year should be better equipped to defend himself or herself in most circumstances. Still learning just the “moves” is not the main object, because apart from that, Martial Arts help you to develop your character and ability to focus, improving confidence and humility.