I absolutely love martial arts of all types.
I wish that I started when I was 5 years old, because it is truly one of the best additions to life that i can think of. Martial arts are not about fighting, or violence or aggression, they are about so much more. Martial arts are primarily a way of life, discipline, conditioning, perseverance, training, freeing the spirit and of course as a side-effect: self-defense.
I’m sure that there is at least one reason for everybody to learn a martial art, even if it is for exercise or for the social aspect of meeting like minded martial-artists.
Some Common Misconceptions about Martial Arts:
You have to be strong to do martial arts.
You have to be young to do martial arts.
You have to be fit to do martial arts.
You cannot do martial arts as a woman.
It takes decades to become good at martial arts so why bother.
These are all false. There is a type of martial arts for everybody, young and old, male or female, strong and fit or weak and unfit. There are aggressive and striking martial arts like Muay Thai (Thai kickboxing), and there are passive martial arts with grappling and using the opponents force against him like Aikido (Aikido was used by the Japanese Samurai).It does indeed take many years to become a true master at a martial art, but in one or two years of dedicated training you can learn many moves and techniques that you will be able to use efficiently.
I’m going to explain in detail about 4 of my favourite martial arts, each for a different type of person, so there will be at least one that will suit your style. Enjoy!
Aikido is one of the more recent martial arts. Having personally done Aikido for 2 years, I can say it is one of the most enjoyable and least stressful martial arts. It is a passive or defensive martial art, using the opponents force and strikes against him and immobilizing him in swift,short movements, with the option to just pin him down or to go full force and break joints or ligaments.
Since Aikido involves a lot of throws and pins, you really learn how to handle attackers. You learn how to fall and how to move your body when you get thrown around so that you get hurt much less than a normal person who doesn’t know the poper ways to fall.
Aikido is the one martial art that really caters for all types of people, from very young to very old. I know of 80 year old people still practising Aikido on a weekly basis, and they train with 20 year olds. It is also fantastic for women since it requires no strength in order to take your opponent down. I have seen demonstrations of a Aikido Sensei (teacher), a woman in her fifties, who took on 4 different big bodybuilders with little martial arts skills,she told them to attack her with everything they have, and she got them tapping out without even being hurt herself. I wish I had this on a video to show you!
Aikido would be my martial art of choice to recommend to most people for all the reasons above.
Muay Thai is Thai Kickboxing. It is consensus that it is the best standing-up martial art in the world. Muay Thai makes use of all sorts of strikes,kicks and punches, but also includes a lot of elbow strikes and knees.
It is a brutal martial art, definitely one of the more aggressive ones. Another benefit of Muay Thai is that fitness training is taken to a very high level. It involves jump rope, pushups, situps, sprints, weight training and much more, true and total conditioning of the body.
I ahve never taken Muay Thai yet, but being a guy, it appelas to me very much and I am waiting for a Dojo (training hall) to open up near me so that I can start taking classes.
I really got into liking Muay Thai after I watched the movie Ong Bak, which is a horrible story-line, bad acting, but incredibly good and real Muay Thai fighting. For any martial arts enthusiasts this movie is a must-see!
Muay Thai is a martial art I would recommend mainly for guys under 40, and for girls who don’t mind getting a little rough and want to get seriously fit.
Capoeira is AMAZING. It is a Brazillian martial art developed by the slaves in captivity.
It is designed to look like a dance, because slaves were not allowed to train to fight, thus it contains many faints, creeping movements, flips, somersaults and trick movements.
It is almost a combination of gymnastics and breakdancing, and people who are good at this martial art are very fit, toned and flexible. For me, the gymnastics aspect alone is enough of a reason to learn it, but it is physically stressful and requires a lot of training and conditioning, so it is definitely not for everybody.
For self defense it is also very effective, but I would say less than Muay Thai. Of course, the question of What is the best Martial art is irrelevant, because it various depending on the level of skill of the two adversaries. I haven’t done any Capoeira yet since I do not have a dojo near me, but it’s on my list to learn.
Brazillian Jiu Jitsu:
Brazillian Jiu Jitsu focuses on grappling but mainly on ground fighting. It is similar to judo, and is rated the best martial art for fighting on the ground.
Just like with Aikido, it uses the principle that you do not need strength to defeat a bigger and stronger opponent. All you need is proper technique, and usually opponents are defeated with joint locks and choke holds.
Personally I do not know much about this martial art, but since it is an essential martial art needed in UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championships), I have done quite a bit of research about it, and will at some time take part in lessons. I remember seeing a documentary about BJJ on the Discovery Channel, and they interviewed a master Sensei (teacher), who still practised BJJ on a daily basis, even though he was in his seventies, and he was still able to defeat opponents much bigger,stronger and younger than himself.
A video to make you go Woooooooooow:
Joe Eigo is an insane martial artist. Enough said.
Finally…Muay Thai vs Capoeira:
This is one of my favourite martial arts fight scenes :
I hope you enjoyed this post along with the videos, and i hope it inspired you to take up a martial art.
I know that it is hard to choose a martial art, but these 4 should have given you some idea of what style you would prefer. For the majority of people I would say Aikido, for guys, Muay Thai,for those wanting to learn flips, somersaults and breakdance moves then it is Capoeira and for those looking for a fun and effective martial art Brazillian Ju Jitsu is it!
If you’re into martial arts, I highly recommend the MMA Strength & Conditioning program.