Monday, August 19, 2019

How to Choose the Right Martial Art

Aside from the basic gym membership for weight training and/or strength and conditioning sessions, taking up martial arts is arguably one of the most efficient ways to achieve your fitness goals. But martial arts offer several other benefits like mental health and the obvious self-defense benefit.

There is no denying that investing in your overall wellbeing is always a good idea, which is why a lot of people take up various martial arts.

Setting off on this new fitness journey can often be rough, either because you become too fixated on the doubts and the anxieties of starting. Or, you just don’t know which discipline to take up.

Thankfully we've compiled information on some of the best martial arts disciplines to get involved in.

Muay Thai

Not to be mistaken with kickboxing, which is basically a blanket term that covers combat sports that involve punching and kicking, Muay Thai is its own discipline. The century-old martial art, as most of us know, originated in the Southeast Asian country of Thailand. This striking discipline is referred to as the art of eight limbs. It focuses on striking with fists, shins, elbows and knees.

In terms of movements, Muay Thai works a lot of loose footwork and precise angles for offense, defense, and counter attacking. Expect training to focus on quick, crisp strikes using all eight limbs. This is coupled with a crazy amount of core strengthening work to prepare you for inevitable body shots.

Muay Thai is for you if you're a fan of striking disciplines but don't want to be limited to just boxing.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu rose to the global stage thanks to Royce Gracie’s UFC dominance in the early 90s. Royce took off various fighters across all disciplines while being the smaller fighter. His dominance opened people’s eyes in America to the effectiveness of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu involves building a solid foundation from the ground up and a significant amount of frustrations. Apart from the obvious physical aspects of the martial art, This discipline stresses technique over brute strength.

Jiu-Jitsu places a heavy emphasis on movements and stresses position before submission. For example, shrimping and bridging are two movements that will sew together all your moves.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu might be ideal for you if you don't find striking disciplines interesting and if you're a smaller individual. The other benefit is you can go "live" more often and spar harder than a striking martial art. Since there's no striking you don't take damage at the same frequency.


Professional mixed martial arts fighters like Georges St-Pierre, Lyoto Machida, and Stephen Thompson – elevated a relatively “old school” discipline into mainstream consciousness. Almost gone are the days when Mr. Miyagi’s techniques dominated dojos all over the world, as these aforementioned fighters effectively adapted the martial arts to fit modern combat.

Karate’s focus is, of course, striking; featuring fast, in and out movements similar to that of a cobra. It is a more – for lack of a better term – formal discipline compared to Muay Thai, and even uses a bit of grappling, throws, and joint locks.

Take up Karate if you plan on becoming an elusive counter attacker like Machida, or if you’re simply a hardcore fan of Daniel-san.


Judo rose to the big leagues thanks to prominent figures, well-regarded Olympians such as Kayla Harrison and Ronda Rousey. Like Karate, this discipline started in Japan as sort of an alternative to the traditional Jujitsu.

Training Judo is somewhat related to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, in such a way that it involves throws and takedowns, along with the purpose of immobilizing an opponent with joint locks, chokes, and pins. The key is using your leverage and balance to your advantage, displacing your opponent’s center of gravity.

A Judo match can quickly end in an Ippon – the equivalent of a knockout in boxing - and the feeling of achieving that, according to many if not all experts, can be satisfying.

Judo might be perfect for you if you're interested in a grappling discipline but are more interested in takedowns and high impact throws. Since Jiu-jitsu tends to focus a bit heavier on what happens once you end up on the ground.


A plethora of former and current mixed martial arts champions – some Hall of Famers – have a solid wrestling base. From Dan Severn and Randy Couture, to Matt Hughes and Brock Lesnar, to Henry Cejudo and Daniel Cormier, these fighters reinforce the idea that the wrestling is one of the best foundations for MMA.

Wrestling, whether Greco Roman or freestyle, features a great deal of throws (such as suplexes) and takedowns, which can frighten beginners. However, just like any grappling discipline, the sport compels athletes to build a solid groundwork full of break falls, rolls, and sprawls.

It is a rugged, grind it out kind of sport that considerably builds up an athlete’s physical and mental state.

Wrestling might be perfect for you in you’re interested in a grappling discipline that offers a rugged, grind it out sport that will prepare you for MMA.


Boxing, at first glance, may look simple, as it is mainly a combat sport where two fighters test their mettle with their hands. But there’s a reason why it’s called “the sweet science”.

There is a whole heap of intricacies in boxing that a casual eye could not see, which is why taking up the sport will introduce you to techniques other than just – well – throwing hands. There is always more to a simple jab-straight-hook combination, as the sport also relies heavily on footwork, angles, and head movement.

Boxing is an excellent base for striking enthusiasts who want to greatly improve their cardio and work on the abovementioned not-so-hidden aspects that somewhat separate speed ball savvy practitioners from bona fide fighters.

In Conclusion

There are a ton of factors that come into play when choosing a martial art to learn. Ultimately, it is all about making the necessary steps of beginning the journey towards your personal goals through these disciplines and/or sports.

Remember, it is never too late to start from the bottom, learn the basics, and eventually absorb and apply the complexities of your chosen martial art.