So you’ve finally decided to take the plunge and take up a martial art. Maybe you want to do so as a sport or hobby or self-defence. To be honest with you, there’s a myriad of reasons one can have for wanting to study and learn a martial art and recognizing those reasons is the most important determining factor.
The first thing you need to do when choosing a martial art is to figure out all the reasons you may have for doing so. Is your sole reason for taking up a martial art to get in shape? If so you may find more benefits in any of the various forms of kickboxing. Their classes tend to be fast-paced and also usually include skipping and callisthenics. In addition to getting in shape, you will also learn to effectively punch and kick which not only will give you self-confidence but will also allow you to be able to defend yourself.
Kung-fu / Wushu
Maybe you’re looking to be able to do the fantastical kicks and moves you see all the action heroes doing in your favourite movies. Or would you want to learn something that seems more artistic? If so you’re better tailored to Kung-fu or more particularly Wushu, one of the more popular forms of kung-fu. Whether it is, Jet- Li, Jackie Chan or even Bruce Lee for that matter they all studied Wushu! This art consists of weapons training as well as flashy kicking and even lion dance training.
Karate / Taekwondo
A lot of people that get into martial arts once were participants in competitive sports and seem to miss that aspect of their lives. Although many Martial arts may fit this bill, I tend to recommend, Karate and Taekwondo. The reason I chose these arts is that both Karate and Taekwondo have tournaments based around semi-contact point fighting and weapons demonstrations. Point fighting is unlike real fighting in the sense that as soon as someone lands a strike, you stop fighting and start over again. There is less chance of injury and these competitions are less spirited and aggressive than full contact tournaments. In a weapons competition, you formulate an individual routine with your weapon of choice and have an allotted time frame to complete your routine. These competitions are a lot like a gymnastics or dance recital.
Krav Maga / Jiu-jitsu
Last but certainly not least are the people who would like to learn how to effectively defend themselves in real-life situations. The 2 most respected martial arts in my opinion for self-defence are Krav Maga and Jiu-jitsu. Both these arts consists of weapons training, defence against weapons, throws, joint manipulations and striking. What more can you need? The realism in these classes is what truly separates them from other martial arts. Not only do you practice each technique against a resisting partner but you spar at 100% at least 3 times per week. In other words, you’ll be fully prepared for an attack because you deal with real-life scenarios in each class.
The most important aspect of choosing your martial art is finding the one that will give you the most satisfaction in the long run. Millions of people can tell you that anyone particular martial art is the greatest but unless you enjoy it, you will not continue. When you feel you’ve found the right martial art, flip through your local phone book and find some locations that offer a free trial class. This way you will be able to know what you are getting into before obliging.