Tae Kwon Do, Muy Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. If you want to get involved in martial arts, you’ll have plenty of choices. Martial arts provide more than physical fitness. They involve intense dedication and study because they work mind and body. Choosing the best martial art for your individual goals and preferences is important.
Let’s kick start your research to help you pick the martial art form you like and can stick with. This quick guide offers a brief overview of four of the most popular forms of martial arts to help you decide which style is right for you.
Often abbreviated BJJ, this fighting art focuses on ground-based grappling techniques and is an offshoot of Judo. The goal is to get your opponent into a hold that forces them to submit.
You’ll learn how to defend yourself against a larger opponent by using leverage and proper technique. BJJ forces you to think about your opponent’s next move and how you’ll respond, making it a welcome mental challenge.
Muay Thai, or Thai Boxing, originated in Thailand where it is a well-loved sport and cultural art. You’ll use your fists, feet, knees, elbows, and a type of stand-up grappling called clinch. You learn technique through drilling combos on Thai pads before moving on to real sparring, so there’s a bit of a learning curve.
This intense fighting art combines flexibility, cardiovascular fitness, and total-body strength. Amateur matches are plentiful, so this is a great martial art if you’d like to try sparring competitively.
If you want to practice a martial art designed for self defense, Krav Maga may be what you’re looking for. The Israeli Defense Forces developed the art for combat situations and the name literally means “battle contact” in Hebrew.
You’ll learn how to throw punches, kick, disarm an attacker, and more. Teachers may even bring out rubber knives and other weapons.
Taekwondo was developed in Korea, and it’s even an Olympic event. You’ll learn how to punch, kick, and throw. There’s a big focus on drills, sparring, relaxation techniques, cardiovascular fitness, and more. Much of the sparring is done in full protective gear. This means you’ll have more equipment to purchase, but you’ll be well protected.
It’s a common form of martial arts, so it should be easy to find classes. The actual practice varies widely from one gym to the next, so learn about the gym’s program before signing up. Consider dropping in on a class and asking questions before making a commitment.