The idea might sound insane to some people: You’re going to pay money so you can go to a place every couple of days and get beat up. But, joining up to study a martial art can be extremely rewarding for your fitness and your overall well being. Picking the right system to study is crucial if you’re going to enjoy yourself and, ultimately, stick with it. Here’s a quick guide to help you figure out which one is right for you. And this list is just a start. There are plenty of other areas of study out there to explore. Remember that there are no superior martial art forms, just superior martial artists. All arts have strengths and weaknesses. Pick the one that suits you best.
The fighting arts can be divided into two main camps; Martial Arts and Combat Sports, the former being the original battlefield source. The unarmed Combat Sports can be further divided into three main categories; Striking, Grappling, with a 3rd category fusing a mixture of both (Mixed Martial Arts).
When deciding on a discipline to follow you should ask yourself a few questions. What are my goals? What style of fighting am I most comfortable with? What is my budget? (Important for longevity in the sport.) There are many more questions you could ask yourself, but we don't want to stifle progress or worse procrastinate.
Ok, so lets get started...
The following are a few of the more popular known combat sport systems out there to date.
Boxing is one of the oldest and most efficient combat sports in existence. Tracing its origins from as early as 1600 B.C., boxing utilizes punches, footwork, and head movement, encompassing the basic principles of self-defense.
The name of the game in boxing is to hit and not get hit (as a beginner you will train the basic fundamentals first before later advancing to live sparring). This means that practitioners are taught to deliver their strongest punches with the intent of out-maneuvering and incapacitating opponents through knockouts. Using correct form and technique, boxing is a very effect way to work the upper body and the legs.
Although most of the movements involve the arms, shoulders, and upper torso, a lot of emphasis is placed on good footwork as well, allowing boxers to move fluidly across an enclosed space efficiently. Furthermore, boxing is both an aerobic and an anaerobic exercise, training your cardiovascular strength while increasing your lung capacity.
Those who are looking at really rapid weight-loss can begin training in boxing because the sheer intensity of training is guaranteed to burn copious amounts of calories. In a safe, controlled environment, you can study the art of pugilism with a focus on technique and precision movement.
Equipment you will need to get started are, but not limited to..Boxing gloves, hand-wraps, gum shields and a big bottle of water.
Also known as Thai boxing, Muay Thai was developed over thousands of years and was well-incorporated into Thailand’s military training as Muay Boran (a weapons based version of Muay Thai) as a means to provide the army with invaluable hand-to-hand and close quarters combat skills.
It is one of the most powerful and effective martial arts in the world. Muay Thai is known for its tremendous power, maximum efficiency, and raw simplicity. Muay Thai utilizes a beautiful plethora of kicks, punches, knees, and elbows with devastating fluidity. It is often referred to as the “Art of Eight Limbs” because it incorporates the elbows and knees as additional weapons to the four limbs.
Furthermore, Muay Thai is an incredibly popular sport and has been for years. A great emphasis is placed on proper striking technique, utilizing the full momentum of the body to generate maximum power from the base of the legs and delivered with alarming accuracy. It is also immensely popular as a fitness program because it makes use of virtually every muscle group, maximizing the efficiency of energy expenditure.
If you’re looking to lose a significant amount of weight and gain lean muscle, then Muay Thai could be for you. A single one-hour Muay Thai session can burn up to a whopping 1,000 calories, making it one of the fastest and safest ways to get into shape.
Equipment you will need to get started are, but not limited to..Boxing gloves, hand-wraps, gum shields, knee shields and a huge bottle of water!
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art/combat sport that focuses primarily on grappling and ground fighting. It is one of the most effective disciplines to be used in one-on-one combat. Born from Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was developed by founders Carlos and Helio Gracie of the world-renowned Gracie family of Brazil.
The discipline uses leverage and body weight to gain advantageous positions while “rolling” on the mat. Through joint manipulation and chokes, the arms,legs and even clothing are used to source submission maneuvers with the goal of forcing opponents into disadvantaged positions where they are rendered defenseless and incapacitated.
A variety of different styles of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu exist, but in its purest form consists of various chokeholds and joint lock submissions, as well as positional techniques and ground control. The objective of training is to obtain mastery of ground control and submissions.
If you desire to learn a scientific and highly-technical form of martial arts, give Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu a try. Those who love to study and learn new things could get hooked on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Even more, it is a great workout that also helps strengthen the muscles and develop the core.
Equipment you will need to get started are, but not limited to..traditional jiu-jitsu kimono/gi and a belt.
No not WWE! Wrestling is also one of the oldest martial arts that has existed since the time of ancient France, first making an appearance in cave drawings some 15,000 years ago. Babylonian and Egyptian artifacts have shown ancient wrestlers performing techniques that modern-day practitioners use in the present-day sport.
Wrestling involves various types of grappling techniques, clinch fighting, throws and take-downs, joint locks, and pins. It is the art of gaining superior position on an opponent and rendering them incapacitated by using one’s own body weight as leverage. Wrestling is so effective, that it is one of the most widely-practiced martial arts today, with different martial arts also incorporating many of its methodologies.
Similar to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, those who are looking to focus more on the technical aspect of ground fighting should give wrestling a try. Learn how to use your body to gain tactical advantages over any opponent using superior positioning. Understand how to close the distance on a opponents, bring them down to the ground, and utilize your techniques to secure dominance.
Wrestling requires incredible full-body strength and conditioning, it will develop all the major muscle groups while melting away lots of fat to give you a lean, chiseled physique.
Equipment you will need to get started are, but not limited to..shorts, although It is preferred to use traditional wrestling singlets or compression tops and shorts, t-shirt and wrestling boots.
Mixed Martial Arts
If you’re not sure which combat sports to choose, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a good fusion of them all, well the most effective parts. From striking to grappling, MMA combines all systems of combat sport disciplines, bringing them together into a fluid and seamless fighting style that merges the best of all worlds.
Learning the fundamentals of various combat disciplines through MMA is challenging yet exhilarating. MMA first came to mainstream prominence nearly two decades ago, and today has become the fastest growing sport in the world.
Many people choose to practice MMA because it is believed to be the purest form of unarmed combat known to man. It will provide you with the best techniques in self-defense, equipping you with the ability to protect yourself in both stand-up and ground skirmishes.
As an added bonus it also encompasses the strength and conditioning of various disciplines, combining the fast-paced striking techniques of boxing and Muay Thai with the art of grappling in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling, MMA training will get you in shape quickly and efficiently. Those looking for the ultimate full-body workout experience need to look no further.
Equipment you will need to get started are, but not limited to..T-shirt, shorts, MMA gloves, wrist wraps and gum shields.
There are many more effective and well known sports, such as Judo, Karate, Taekwondo, Sambo, Kickboxing etc. but this was merely an introduction not an exhaustive list of disciplines.
Now its your turn. What discipline can you see yourself doing and why? Drop a message below and let us know or if you've already started, tell us how its going.