Can you believe there are more than 170 different types of martial arts?
Practicing martial arts develops focus, physical coordination, strength, and self-confidence. And you can start learning at any age!
If you’re asking yourself, “What martial art should I learn?” keep reading this brief martial arts guide.
Karate is probably the most recognizable of the martial arts. Popularized by the Karate Kid and Cobra Kai franchises, many children start out with karate. It is a great way to build confidence and make friends.
Karate focuses on striking. Thus it relies heavily on punches, kicks, and strikes with the hand open. This includes the classic knifehand strike, or “karate chop.”
Karate is a “hard style,” which means it has forward, linear momentum. It does not have as much physical contact as other types of martial arts. Karate emphasizes balance and develops clear thinking.
Kung Fu isn’t one specific type of martial art — it refers to a plethora of Chinese Martial arts (as opposed to Karate, which comes from Japan). There are many different types, or “families,” of this martial art. Some are based on animal movements. Others derive from the teachings of particular philosophers.
Kung Fu, of course, was popularized by the famous Chinese martial arts movies of the 70s.
Chinese martial arts are a “soft style,” which means the movements are circular. This does not mean there is less power in them, though. Kung fu develops speed, flexibility, and agility.
Since the movements are circular, this martial art often appears graceful and majestic. Many serious students of Shaolin kung fu eventually visit temples in China to enhance their studies.
This martial art has the most physical contact. This is because it mainly involves grappling on the ground. A variety of pins, chokeholds, joint locks, and throws are used to overcome your opponent.
Jiu-jitsu is based on the idea that the small can defeat the big. It teaches you to use your opponent’s own strength against them. By using basic physical principles like leverage, you don’t have to be massively powerful to be great at jiu-jitsu.
Jiu-jitsu is an extremely effective form of self-defense. Sparring is called “rolling,” since most of the action takes place on the mat.
If you are in the Sewell, New Jersey area, there are some great local classes for you to try out.
This is also known as Thai boxing or kickboxing. It is an extremely effective fighting technique used by the military in Thailand for centuries. It is also the national sport of Thailand.
This martial art emphasizes simplicity and power. Combatants use eight points of contact to strike: hands, feet, elbows, and knees. There is a special emphasis placed on forceful kicking.
This sport exercises the whole body and is great for burning fat and building lean muscle mass.
What Martial Art Should I Learn?
If you’re interested in learning martial arts, pick one based on your physical goals and preferred fighting style. You might also take into account comfort level or interest in a particular culture.
We hope this martial arts guide will help you answer the question, “What martial art should I learn?” If you enjoyed it, check out more of our articles on health and nutrition.