If you want to learn a martial art, you are probably already aware that there are numerous different styles you can take up. Each one has its own technique, and many require a special type of equipment, for example, punching bags which you can explore in detail here, in our recent post.
If you are interested in learning more about what type of martial art is more suitable for you, read on and see what differentiates the most popular styles. Based on this, and your personal preferences and skills, you will be able to make up your mind.
What should I consider before starting to learn a martial art?
There are multiple aspects to take into account before starting martial arts training. First of all, you need to feel comfortable about touching and being touched by other people because, well, this is what martial arts are about.
Secondly, and you will hear this a lot during your training, this is the type of activity that requires discipline and a lot of self-control. If you are the type of person who gets really angry when playing football with friends and losing, martial arts might not be suitable for you.
When you are training with a partner, you need to show respect and integrity, and this is what you will get in return. Despite the general misconceptions related to violence that have always been associated with these sports, martial arts, at their core, are really all about balance and the ability to control both your mind and your body.
However, to be able to grasp the real essence of these arts, you first need to achieve balance. Later, you will leverage it during your training or competitions. If you are the type of person who hates losing and takes things personally (and what can be more personal than getting punched?) you might struggle for a while before you will be able to truly enjoy any martial art.
Another aspect you really need to consider before you subscribe to any martial arts course is money. The more you evolve in this sport, the more you will want and have to invest in your training and in the equipment you might need such as gloves, mouthpiece, guards, pads, etc.
Moreover, time is also an important factor because you really need to have enough of it if you want to see results. Learning martial arts is not like going to the gym where you simply perform a set of exercises for 30 minutes a day and then you return home happily knowing your workout is done.
Martial arts require attention, ambition, and a lot of preparation. It takes years to truly evolve, especially if you plan on doing this at a professional level which involves competing. Learning a martial art can bring more balance into a hectic schedule.
However, if you are not in a period that allows you to really focus on this, you’d better postpone your plan or start with some regular workout programs before you begin martial arts classes.
Finally, as previously highlighted, martial arts are not about violence. They aim to help people become stronger, both physically and mentally. They require discipline, focus, and respect. If you want to learn a martial art because you want to be able to win your next bar fight, you are not starting in the right place.
These being said, there is one more thing we would like to add, before describing several martial arts in detail. There are numerous styles you can choose from, which means that there is no particular rule regarding age. Many professional fighters started practicing martial arts when they were little.
However, there is no age limit to this as you could join a martial art class such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that is suitable for anybody as it is not too physically challenging. Moreover, there are different other styles that aim to teach practitioners more about self-defense, rather than punching and kicking.
So, if you are not someone who aims to train their muscles to throw a heavy punch, there is definitely at least one martial art that would suit you.
Because we previously gave this example and now you might be asking yourself what Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu looks like, here are some characteristics that will help you understand if this is a good match for you.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a good choice for beginners who have never practiced any martial art before. The technique deployed in this sport is not actually aimed at beating the opponent, but rather on managing to defend yourself. The whole purpose of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is to enable the weaker and smaller person to defend themselves from bigger and stronger individuals.
The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu technique aims to enable practitioners to leverage the adversary’s moves and punches to their advantage, in order to avoid getting hit. This sport relies a lot on defensive shrimping and rolling and, during training, partners will typically learn different positions in which they have to submit one another.
Karate is one of the most popular martial arts in the world. In fact, it is the typical word that comes to mind when thinking about combat sports. Karate can be traced back to Japan. It has been practiced there since the 20th century when the Japanese started to learn this style from the Ryukyuans who migrated on their territory.
Karate involves a series of different moves and positions. It allows practitioners to punch, kick, use knee strikes, or elbow strikes. Moreover, you can use different sorts of open-hand techniques such as the palm-heel strike.
Karate is usually a good choice for those who want to learn martial arts at a young age. However, those who are fit enough and used to practice some sort of sport might also fall in love with this fighting style. Karate is great if you want to achieve more balance, gain more self-control, sharpen your reflex, and be able to defend yourself.
Jiu-Jitsu is also one of those styles that puts emphasis on enabling practitioners to defend themselves. There are different efficient techniques you will learn that will help you put your opponent to the ground in a matter of seconds.
If you are fast and agile enough, you can do this with individuals who are bigger and stronger than you and manage to defeat them before they get the chance to attack you. This sport is great for developing your flexibility, reflexes, and strength.
Judo is one of the oldest martial arts on our list. It dates back in the 1800s and it originated in Japan. There are multiple combat styles that draw inspiration from Judo. This sport is practiced worldwide by people of all ages.
What distinguishes Judo among other martial arts is the fact that it doesn’t rely on punching, kicking the adversary, or striking them in any kind. The main techniques used in this martial art are throws and chokes.
This is not the kind of training that will teach you how to hit. However, there are many advantages in taking up Judo including boosting your flexibility, balance, and reflex. Also, this is a great first step for those who want to become MMA fighters or try different other martial arts in the future because Judo provides the basic skills needed to throw the opponent to the ground.
You will also get the chance to improve your strength with this type of training and work all your body’s muscles.
Muay Thai originated in Thailand where it enjoys great popularity as it is being practiced on a large-scale starting childhood. This is a type of kickboxing that involves a wide range of moves. The name Muay Thai translates as the “art of the eight limbs”, which refers to the possibility of using your fists to punch, your legs to kick, but also your knees and elbows. The moves used to defeat the opponent are very fluid in this martial art.
Moreover, it is similar to Judo from one perspective as it also relies on clinching. During training, many practitioners use punching bags extensively to perfect their ability to strike. Muay Thai is a demanding sport that requires a good physical condition as training can often be intense and exhausting.
This kickboxing style is a very good way of training your whole body and increasing your stamina while also learning to be highly efficient at self-defense.
Besides these martial arts, there are many other styles involving similar techniques. However, these are currently the most popular options you can easily start learning either through class training or by using applications.