Martial arts are some of the most popular hobbies nowadays. With the growing world of fitness, any hobby that involves physical fitness is becoming popular. However, martial arts take a special place within the ranks of hobbies since they provide more than just physical workouts. Through martial arts, one can not only become physically fit, but they can also become skilled fighters, may that be for self-defense or career purposes. There is one issue, though. Not everyone has the same potential in all arts. Somebody large, heavy, and tall will easily overpower somebody short and skinny in almost any art form, or only by just running at them. So, what can you do if you are on the lower end of the BMI chart? Or, to put it better: what is the best martial art for skinny people?
The best martial art for skinny people is Taekwondo. A thin person will not be as successful in wrestling and grappling sports as someone heavier, but they can compensate with powerful, quick kicks. These strikes are the hallmark of Taekwondo.
I don’t mean to say that thinner people shouldn’t wrestle or train arts which are usually reserved for larger people, however, it is not far-fetched to say that training something like TKD would have more benefits in the short- to medium-term than the other styles and arts would. In today’s article, the point of focus will be Taekwondo, and more specifically, why Taekwondo is good for skinnier individuals. Read on if you are interested!
What is Taekwondo?
Taekwondo is a mostly kicking-based martial art, developed after the second world war. Contrary to common belief, Taekwondo is not Chinese or Japanese like the majority of the most famous martial arts nowadays. It actually hails from Korea. There were 9 traditional Kwon-s in Korea, all teaching mix-matched martial arts styles, which were put together by combining elements of Chinese, Japanese, and indigenous Korean martial arts styles. These 9 Kwons and a couple of important military figures decided to make an effort to unify these styles that the Kwons were teaching.
The person thought of as the “founder” of Taekwondo is Choi Hong Hi, a Korean general, who also came up with the Theory of Power. In this theory of his, he describes a bunch of observations and ideas on fighting and the physics of doing it effectively. One of the main ideas in his theory is the observation that the force of a strike increases exponentially with an increase in the speed of the moving object (leg, arm, weapon, etc.), but only linearly when the mass of the object is increased.
This would mean that a large and muscular opponent wouldn’t necessarily be able to deliver as hard a strike as a really fast one. Even though the difference would nearly even out when it comes to the actual force generated, from opponents nearly the same size and weight, the faster one is going to be the harder striker, usually by a relatively large margin. If you are interested in more articles on Taekwondo, check out these other ones, where it is compared with other martial arts like Aikido, Shotokan Karate, and more!
Why Is Taekwondo Good for Skinny People?
Okay, so Taekwondo is modern martial art, it has a lot of flashy kicks and also a well-thought-out theory behind it, but how does that make it good for skinny people? In this section of today’s article, I will go into more detail about the reasons why thinner people would benefit from training in Taekwondo.
So first, what difference does it make that someone is thin, from a martial arts perspective? Well, it means quite a lot, actually. There is a reason boxing competitions, the UFC, and Olympic games in martial arts all have separate weight divisions: heavy, large people have a simple physical advantage over smaller ones. They might be slower than them, but they definitely hit harder and are probably less prone to injury.
When choosing a martial art, one should absolutely take into consideration their body type. Of course, the heaviest man alive could possibly become a highly-skilled Capoeira fighter, it isn’t impossible, but it is quite near it. If you are thinner, you will benefit a lot more from martial arts styles that don’t favor close-range combat. If you find yourself facing a larger opponent, they can literally grab you and slam you to the ground if you are skinny, so maybe it would be useful to start with longer-distance arts, which would help you develop your basic skillset to handle an altercation.
Taekwondo is kicking based, and the Theory of Power is, as mentioned, somewhat based on the idea that faster movements equal more power, much more so than the mass of the moving object. You could use your thinness, and you could develop your leg muscles to a point that you can use them very efficiently and with a lot of striking power.
Wrestling and grappling are also worth considering for skinny guys, but I would recommend choosing something long-distance first until you put on some muscle or get a better idea about fighting.
If you don’t like Taekwondo, perhaps you would like Muay Thai or Western Kickboxing. With Muay Thai, you will get into the closer range, but you will learn how to handle the situation with your elbow and knees, much rather than with the weight of your body. If you are someone who spends a lot of time in bars and clubs, and you know you might need to deal with close-quarters fighting at some point, Muay Thai should probably be your first option.
Western Kickboxing is also great for skinny people. It is a mixture of all the kicks and punches which make sense and are effective. Western martial arts in general are based solely on functionality, with little philosophy behind them, and this is the same with kickboxing. You can use your skinniness to your advantage here as well, since you can deliver faster punches and kicks, and will also probably have better stamina. Choose whichever one you prefer, and have fun training!