Which Martial Art Should I Learn First? The Complete Guide


Which Martial Art Should I Learn First? The Complete Guide

Have you ever wondered what martial arts you should pick, or pick first (in case you’re planning on picking more)? Well, if you have, you’ve come to the right place. Martial arts are quite diverse and there are a lot of them to pick from. If you add modern combat sports to the poll, the list becomes even bigger and the possibilities may seem endless, although they are not. Ultimately, it all depends on what you want to do with yourself, i.e., what you want to achieve with your training. 

So, in order to help you choose and finally decide, we have decided to make a guide of the best martial arts for your training, hoping you will find our article helpful. 

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)

Volkanovski Against Holloway As Early As Next Month, Two More Title Fights Are Expected

What Is MMA?

Mixed martial arts originated as mixed combat sports in Ancient China and Ancient Greece. The Chinese combat sport of Leitai is one of the first mixed combat sports and utilised elements of different kung fu styles, boxing and wrestling. In Ancient Greece, such an example can be found in the art of pankration, a very specific martial art that combined boxing – which was very popular in Ancient Greece – and wrestling – which probably originated in Mesopotamia or Ancient Egypt. Pankration was extremely popular (even the most popular sport, according to some historian) in Ancient Greece and there is vague evidence that similar mixed combat sports were practiced in Ancient Japan, Egypt and India. Different hybrid martial arts developed as centuries passed, but despite a large number of historical influences, modern MMA is considered to stem from Brazilian jiujitsu and vale tudo; the latter is yet another full-contact hybrid combat sport that originated in Brazil. Vale tudo events date back from the 1920s. MMA events continued to develop as decades passed until 1993, when the first official global MMA event – the UFC 1 – was held in Denver, Colorado. This is the official “birth year” of MMA and one of the most important events in the evolution of mixed and hybrid combat sports. UFC 1 was televised and it was in a review by critic Howard Rosenberg that the term “mixed martial arts” appeared for the first time.

Here is our article about history and origins of MMA.

What Does MMA Training Look Like?

MMA training builds you from outside as well as inside. You will gain confidence, a lot of it, just make sure to use it the right way, and not to look for a fight around every corner. MMA training sessions have a lot of benefits. One of the biggest benefits of MMA training is a significant increase in strength. This is due to the different styles and techniques that are associated with MMA training and require full bodywork. Strong fitness training is also included in MMA training. By gradually increasing endurance, your heart, lungs, and other body systems will be at much higher levels. With MMA training, your level of overall fitness will drastically improve. MMA fighters are perhaps the most trained athletes of today. Students are taught to be persistent and never give up, which significantly reflects on their persistence in everyday life. After an MMA training session, you will feel satisfaction in other segments of life. Many participants felt drastic improvements not only physically but also psychologically.

Here are our MMA training guide and the breakdown of the benefits of MMA training.

Is MMA Good for Strength, Cardio, and Weight Loss?

MMA definitely is good for all three elements. Unlike some other martial arts, who focus more on one element or the other, MMA gives you a complete package that focuses on all elements – strength, cardio and weight loss. Due to the fact MMA is really demanding and physically straining, it is a good cardio exercise and we all know that cardio exercises are good for losing weight, but it will also increase your strength, which is an essential element for MMA fights.

Be sure to also check out our 5 step process to lose weight with MMA.

Is MMA Good for Self-Defense?

The simplest answer is – yes, it certainly is. How? Although it combines a lot of martial arts, MMA doesn’t use the sophisticated teachings of some Oriental martial arts, which are highly focused on self-defence and learning how to defend yourself in a variety of different situations. On the other hand, people who have experience with MMA training sessions state that it’s the best possible discipline for self-defence. Why? It’s complex, it’s diversified and it teaches you a lot. Certainly, MMA is a regulated sport and the cage fights aren’t completely identical to street fights, i.e. real-life fight you might be a part of in an unavoidable situation, but they teach you a lot. The combination of different styles can be extremely beneficial for your defence. It is exactly what the critics say is wrong with MMA, but many practitioners say that this diversity is the best thing about MMA’s self-defence techniques. Of course, MMA’s self-defence isn’t your standard self-defence you can see in Oriental martial arts, but is rather an offence-based self-defence style; sometimes, offence is truly the best possible defence.

Here is the link to a complete breakdown of how good is MMA for self-defense.

Is MMA Hard to Learn?

Since MMA is a composite combat sport, we cannot state that it is or it isn’t difficult per se. Namely, MMA is a combination of several martial arts that are utilised as a single unit. So, the difficulty of MMA depends on the difficulty of the practiced martial arts. The only thing you have to do is combine them for use in an MMA fight, which is not that easy, but is easier since you already have a martial arts background. 

Take a look here if you are wondering what age is too old to start with MMA.

Should I Learn MMA First?

MMA is probably not the first martial art/combat sport you should take. It requires basic knowledge in at least a couple of other martial arts, so it’s not a good choice if you don’t have any experience at all. We’re not saying it’s impossible, but if you want our advice – MMA is something you should set as a goal, rather than as a beginning.

Boxing

Cardio Kickboxing: What It Is and Is It Good for You?

What Is Boxing?

Boxing is a combat sport in which two people wearing protective gloves, throw punches at each other for a predetermined amount of time in a boxing ring. Boxing matches are overseen by a referee and are fought in rounds, that may vary in length and number. There is also a panel of ringside judges who may declare the winner in certain situations. A winner can be resolved before the completion of the rounds when a referee declares one of the fighters to be incapable of further fighting, by disqualification of a fighter, or when a fighter forfeits the match. When the fight reaches the end of its final round with both opponents still standing, the judges; scorecards determine the winner. In the event that both fighters gain equal scores from the judges, the bout can be declared a draw (there are differences regarding these rules in professional and amateur boxing). Boxing is a modern form of historical one-on-one hand combat that is probably as old as humans themselves; still, the earliest evidence of fist-fighting sports date back to the ancient Near East in the 3rd and 2nd millennia BC. The earliest evidence of some boxing rules date back to Ancient Greece, where boxing was established as an Olympic sport in 688 BC. Boxing evolved from 16th– and 18th-century prize fights, largely in the United Kingdom, to the forerunner of modern boxing in the mid-19th century with the 1867 introduction of the Marquess of Queensberry Rules.

What Does Boxing Training Look Like?

Boxing training is very specific so we are not going to teach you how you should train – we’ll leave something for your coach – but we can state here that you’ll have to work a lot and on a lot of elements to become great. Amateur boxing is not as demanding as professional boxing, but you’ll still need to give it everything you got to achieve something. You have to work hard as an amateur to improve your skills – your defence, offence, speed and power. You’ll have to train even more, fight even more and get some results and become famous. A good way – if not the best – to do so are the Olympic Games, which can skyrocket your reputation and make you a very eligible candidate for a professional career; just remember that a lot of professionals started off as Olympic champions, like Lennox Lewis, Wladimir Klitschko, Alexander Povetkin and Anthony Joshua.

If you decide to begin with boxing, take a look at some of the equipment we recommend. It will make your decision on what to choose a lot easier.

Is Boxing Good for Strength, Cardio, and Weight Loss?

Because cardio exercises rely so strongly on oxygen, they have a plethora of health benefits for the trainee so it is generally advised to do them more than not. The first set of benefits is related to the upper body and the cardiovascular system. The exercises can also stimulate bone growth and can significantly decrease the risk of osteoporosis. The risk of cardiovascular diseases is generally reduced. The second set of benefits is related to the neurological system. Science has proven that cardio exercises generally benefit the brain as well as the heart. The brain’s structural connections are improved and there is a significant increase in grey matter density, while cardio exercises also stimulate the growth of new neurons, which is vitally important for our neurological health. Improvement is also noted with general cognitive functions and mental health, especially because such exercises significantly reduce the level of stress and frustration of a person. The third set is a set of general corporal benefits. Cardio diseases increase out muscle structure and make them stronger, more enduring and healthier. Our body becomes more flexible and we can increase our speed and agility. Seeing how boxing utilises a lot of exercises very similar to cardio exercising, it is clear how boxing can help and does help with your cardio. Breathing is essential in boxing and the large oxygen intake, consistent with the “rules” of cardio, will certainly benefit all these points that we’ve talked about in the preceding paragraphs.

As for boxing, it is, along with wrestling and MMA, one of the best martial arts for building muscles and losing weight. But, unlike wrestling, it offers much more variety, which makes it more fun, and in that way not so hard for training. It is competitive, but it doesn’t have to be. You can train at home while punching the bag, and you can even shadowbox, and lose weight. As you can see, boxing can definitely help you lose your weight and build your muscles, but for losing weight especially, you need to address your diet firstly. No matter how much you exercise, you can always eat more, and bring more calories in your body then you can spend. It can become even more of a problem with hard training. You are burning more calories, and your body is maybe not used to it, and it needs food, which sometimes can lead to eating even more, and gaining weight while doing it. You have to be extra careful about it and have a good motive to watch your diet. On the other hand, hard training will surely build your muscles, some martial arts more than others, but with every martial art from our list, you will not go wrong. Try to look at what suits you best, and enjoy while doing it, that is the best receipt for your success in losing weight and building muscles.

Here is our article that explains the benefits of boxing for strength, cardio, and weight loss in more detail.

Is Boxing Good for Self-Defense?

Modern-day boxing focuses on offence and most boxing gyms will teach you how to defeat your opponent using offence, rather than defence. Still, defence is essential in boxing (as we’ve seen so many times, when boxers with a better defence would win their matches) and you will certainly learn how to defend yourself, although not as wholly as in some other sports. Boxing will teach you how to guard your upper body and head, but it lacks effective techniques when legs are concerned. That doesn’t mean it’s useless, it just means you’ll have to adapt your approach so that you use your advantages and minimise (or completely hide) your disadvantages. What boxing will do, although it cannot be considered as classical self-defence, is improve your reflexes and your observation skills. It will teach you how to foresee your opponent’s next move and how to react to it. It will also teach you how to avoid getting hit, perhaps even keep your opponent at a distance. In the latter case, it would be good if you knew some arts or sports that put more focus on the legs, as it could prove to be a victorious combination of skills.

We also decided to make a completely new article about boxing for self-defense to explain it a little bit more in detail.

Is Boxing Hard to Learn?

Similar to kickboxing, boxing is not very difficult to learn. In fact, it is one of the easiest martial arts/combat sports to learn (we are not saying that boxing is easy, but learning its basic techniques is). Boxing involves punches (just your arms) and defensive legwork, but doesn’t utilise your whole body. This type of striking emphasizes quick hands and head movement to avoid punches. Boxers tend to learn their techniques quicker because there is much less to learn; boxing is straightforward in that aspect.

If you have any doubts that you are too old for boxing, doubt no more. Here we talk about what age is recommended and what age is too old to start boxing.

Should I Learn Boxing First?

Boxing is definitely a good way to start. It is simple, it will teach you a lot and it can prepare you for some other, more complex martial arts. It is also very good for beginners and it has a lot of practical applications, meaning that you can start off with boxing without hesitation.

Wrestling

Wrestling: 12 Reasons Why It Is Good for You

What Is Wrestling?

Wrestling is a modern combat sport that involves grappling techniques such as clinch fighting, throws and takedowns, joint locks, pins and other grappling holds; the aim of wrestling is to pin your opponent down on the mat, thereby winning the match. The sport can either be theatrical for entertainment purposes (professional wrestling), or genuinely competitive; competitive wrestling has several styles such as folkstyle, freestyle, Greco-Roman, judo, sombo and others, although some of them are now distinct martial arts and/or combat sports. A wrestling bout is a physical competition, between two (occasionally more, although seldom) competitors or sparring partners, who attempt to gain and maintain a superior position. There are a wide range of styles with varying rules with both traditional historic and modern styles. Wrestling techniques have been incorporated into other martial arts (especially judo, Brazilian jiu-jitsu and MMA) as well as military hand-to-hand combat systems. The term wrestling comes from the Old English word wræstlunge (glossing palestram).

What Does Wrestling Training Look Like?

The training in wrestling, like many things, depends on the style you practice. They are not that different, but there are some essential differences that influence your training. So, in Greco-Roman style, it is forbidden to hold the opponent below the belt, to make trips, and to actively use the legs in the execution of any action. Recent rule changes in Greco-Roman increase opportunities for and place greater emphasis on explosive, ‘high amplitude’ throws. Pinning one’s opponent to the mat is one way of winning. We deduce, thus, that these are the points that are going to be emphasized in training sessions. On the other hand, freestyle wrestling allows the use of the wrestler’s or his opponent’s legs in offense and defense. Freestyle wrestling has its origins in catch-as-catch-can wrestling and the prime victory condition in this style involves the wrestler winning by throwing and pinning his opponent on the mat.

Is Wrestling Good for Strength, Cardio, and Weight Loss?

Due to the fact that it’s focused on grappling and throwing, wrestling is a martial art that is best suited for strength. Although it will certainly help you with your cardio exercises and weight loss, the primary focus will be strength so wrestling might not be your best pick if you want to explore the other two elements.

Strength, cardio, and weight loss are not the only benefits of wrestling. Here are 12 reasons why wrestling is good for you.

Is Wrestling Good for Self-Defense?

Wrestling, although useful, should not be your first choice when it comes to self-defence. Although you’ll certainly know how to defend yourself and how to react, wrestling defence is limited to very specific situations and cannot be applied to a variety of potential situations. So, to conclude, it’s not actually useless, but you will certainly have to take additional classes (or martial arts) to improve and upgrade your self-defence techniques.

Is Wrestling Hard to Learn?

The answer to this question depends on which style you’re practicing and whether you’re an amateur or professional wrestler. Wrestling has a lot of different styles and each of them has its own specific elements, meaning that you’ll have to adapt to each specific style. Wrestling might be difficult for you when you start – because it’s so specific – but you will soon get the hang of it, so it’s one of the easier martial arts on this list. 

Should I Learn Wrestling First?

Wrestling is not a bad choice for beginners. It has a lot of different styles and categories, most of which are adapted both for different age groups and for people with different levels of knowledge of martial arts. It can also serve as a basis for a lot of other martial arts, so to start with wrestling would be a good and smart choice.

Muay Thai

Is Muay Thai Good for Self-Defense? (Street Fight)

What Is Muay Thai?

Muay Thai (Thai: มวยไทย), literally “Thai boxing”, is an Oriental martial art and combat sport that originated in Thailand somewhere during the 18th century. It is a full-contact discipline that is also known as the “art of eight limbs” and is heavily reliant on the use of fists, elbows, knees and shins. It originates as a fighting technique to be used in wars, Muay Thai soon became a fighting sport used outside its original setting. After more than a century of development in the Far East, Muay Thai became extremely popular in the West during the 20th and 21st centuries, when Western practitioners that came from Thailand started using the discipline in kickboxing and MMA competitions, thus introducing and popularising Muay Thai in the West. Muay Thai is, today, a global combat sports practiced around the world and is internationally governed by the IFMA.

What Does the Muay Thai Training Look Like?

Muay Thai fighters, since they rely more on kicks and leg techniques than kickboxers. Muay Thai fighters are good boxers, but are typically not as good as kickboxers or real boxers, because they focus more on the legs. Muay Thai kicks come from the ground in a more explosive manner and the leg doesn’t bend while kicking. Muay Thai is an art that requires patience. Thus, a fighter has to adapt his footwork to patiently follow the opponent and his movements in order to find the right moment to strike. Muay Thai relies more on kicks and despite the fact that you can easily kick someone’s head, such kicks are far more seldom than regular body or leg kicks. In classical Muay Thai, a fighter will readily shin-check an opponent’s kick, thereby reducing the risk of serious injuries and of losing the fight.

Is Muay Thai Good for Strength, Cardio, and Weight Loss?

As far as fitness goes – although that is not very often the main reason one takes up a martial art or combat sport – Muay Thai offers a lot to its trainees. It is great for your health, for your general fitness and stamina and even for your cardiovascular system (a lot of people do cardio exercises combined with martial arts techniques). Even in its pure form, Muay Thai is really great for strength and conditioning. Although Muay Thai puts more focus on the legs – thus strengthening your lower body – when it comes to general fitness, it is equally effective as some other martial arts.

On top of the given benefits, here are 15 more reasons why Muay Thai is good for you.

Is Muay Thai Good for Self-Defense?

Muay Thai has a more balanced approach than most other combat sports and a more complete one as well. Namely, Muay Thai utilises all extremities, meaning that the disadvantages other sports and arts have when legs are concerned are annulled in Muay Thai, which relies mostly on legwork, while – at the same time – using punches. Muay Thai is also specific because it requires patience, meaning that it will teach you endurance, which can be essential when defending yourself. Muay Thai focuses waiting for the right moment to attack and that can prove to be essential in a tight spot. To conclude, Muay Thai will certainly help you with self-defence, but the fact is that its overly specific approach to fighting might influence your techniques and your approach to a real-life threat. Thus, some other sports and arts (such as boxing, for example) might be better if you want to learn the basics of self- defence and practice it short-term, but if you have any long-term goals and wish to improve on what you have already learned, there is absolutely no doubt that Muay Thai is a good choice for you.

Be sure to check out our in-depth review of Muay Thai for self-defense.

Is Muay Thai Hard to Learn?

It both is and is not. Muay Thai is demanding and you’ll have to make a lot of effort to learn all the basic techniques and balance them all out, but it is still more similar to some Western combat sports than the more sophisticated Oriental martial arts. So, in our opinion, it is somewhere in the middle of the list when it comes to difficulty. 

Should I Learn Muay Thai First?

Although it is more difficult and sophisticated than, for example, kickboxing, Muay Thai is still a good starting point. It has a balanced approach and uses the whole body, which means that you can benefit a lot from it. You might find it difficult at first, but if you’re more on the risk-taking side – it can certainly be a good starting point.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)

15 Best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) Gyms/Schools in the World (2020)

What Is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) (Portuguese: jiu-jitsu brasileiro) is a self-defence martial art and combat sport based on grappling, ground fighting and submission holds. BJJ focuses on controlling one’s opponent, gaining a dominant position over him and using a number of specialised techniques to force them in to submission via joint locks or chokeholds. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was first developed an modified in the 1920s by Brazilian brothers Carlos, George and Hélio Gracie after Carlos was taught traditional Kodokan judo by a travelling Japanese judoka called Mitsuyo Maeda in 1917; the brothers later went on to develop their own self defence system named Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, which is not that different from traditional BJJ, but it’s still very distinctive. BJJ eventually came to be its own defined combat sport through the innovations, practices, and adaptation of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and Judo, with governing bodies such as the IBJJF working worldwide, becoming an essential martial art for MMA.

What Does BJJ Training Look Like?

BJJ teaches that a smaller, weaker person can successfully defend themselves against a bigger, stronger, heavier opponent by using leverage and weight distribution to take the fight to the ground and then using submissions to defeat them. BJJ training can be used for sport grappling tournaments and in self-defence situations. Sparring, commonly referred to as “rolling” within the BJJ community, and live drilling play a major role in training and the practitioner’s development. BJJ is considered a martial art, a sport, a method of promoting physical fitness and building character, and a way of life. 

Is BJJ Good for Strength, Cardio, and Weight Loss?

As far as fitness goes, Brazilian jiu-jitsu can offer you a lot. Strength is the key, while cardio and weight loss – although present – aren’t in the focus that much. BJJ is generally good for your health, for your general fitness and stamina and even for your cardiovascular system (a lot of people do cardio exercises combined with martial arts techniques), although – as we’ve said – the cardio exercises aren’t in the focus. BJJ is also great for conditioning. Although Brazilian jiu-jitsu does put more focus on rolls and ground fighting, when it comes to general fitness, it is as effective as some other martial arts. The thing is that the endgame depends on you, i.e. how you approach the sport, how much you work, etc. Both arts offer a lot to you in terms of fitness, so it depends on how you approach it, but if you do approach it fully, expect to be crawling back home on all fours.

Is BJJ Good for Self-Defense?

When it comes to self-defence, Brazilian jiu-jitsu is pretty effective and quite useful. One of the reasons is that BJJ is an art that relies on self-defence a lot more than other martial arts and combat sports; some people even call it a self-defence technique, which is a phrase usually used to describe Krav Maga. Brazilian jiu-jitsu relies on the fact that a smaller opponent could and will overpower and grab a bigger and nominally stronger opponent. BJJ uses very specific techniques that allow for such reactions in a fight or a tight spot. BJJ also utilises a lot of ground fighting, which can be extremely useful when defending yourself. The ultimate move of BJJ is the “rear naked choke”, which is to useful that it can finish a fight, but not cause any long-term damage to your opponent.

Is BJJ Hard to Learn?

Generally speaking – yes, but it’s not impossible. Namely, in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, you have an opponent that wants to either choke you or break your limbs and that’s not easy to defend! More so since they use special techniques that you have to know how to defend against. It is difficult to learn all those moves and techniques, but the thing with BJJ is that – if you stick around long enough, you’ll eventually learn everything you need to know. At one point, it practically becomes routine. So, if you’re a beginner, Brazilian jiu-jitsu is definitely difficult, because you need a lot of time to master all the techniques, but, once you get the hang of it, BJJ becomes much easier to master.

Should I Learn BJJ First?

Although it’s not recommended, BJJ can be your martial art of choice in the beginning. Certainly, you’ll have a lot of work in front of you and you’ll have to devote yourself to the cause, but it’s certainly not impossible. So, if you’re thinking between BJJ and some other martial art, we advise you to pick the latter, but if your heart is truly set on BJJ and BJJ only, then you have our full support. 

Kickboxing

How to Improve Kickboxing Kick Speed & Power? 10 Great Tips

What Is Kickboxing?

Kickboxing (Japanese: キックボクシング) is a relatively new combat sport that developed in Japan somewhere in the 1950s. It was created by Osamu Noguchi and Tatsuo Yamada somewhere during 1959, when Yamada, a karateka, wanted to establish a form of full-contact karate; at the time, competitors did not hit each other in karate matches. Yamada soon acquainted Noguchi, who was the manager of Thai fighter Nak Muay and found out that both shared an interest in Muay Thai. They decided to pursue that even further and so – kickboxing was established. But it wasn’t until the 1970s, when kickboxing came to the United States, that the sport truly became popular. Today, it is considered to be a hybrid or mixed combat sport, as it combines elements from several other sports and martial arts. As is Muay Thai, kickboxing is today practiced throughout the globe, but unlike its main influence, it does not have a single governing body.

What Does Kickboxing Training Look Like?

Modern kickboxing is much more reliant on Western boxing and is, today, considered to be more of a Western fighting style, despite its Oriental roots (due to a rapid development in the States from the 70s onwards). Kickboxers could stand on their own in a boxing match, since they rely more on kicks and leg techniques than kickboxers. Kickboxing also uses a lot of punch combos, includes more headwork (just like boxing) and its footwork is similar to regular boxing. Typical kickboxing kicks rely heavily on bending and withdrawing the foot after the kick and rely more on the use of kicks. Kickboxing also demands faster, more aggressive footwork that is aimed at attacking the opponent, so it’s a lot more fast paced than other similar sports. Kickboxing’s emphasis on boxing techniques requires good headwork in order to successfully evade an opponent’s shot.

If you go with kickboxing for your first martial art, check out the equipment we recommend for beginners. It will help you a lot.

Is Kickboxing Good for Strength, Cardio, and Weight Loss?

Because cardio exercises rely so strongly on oxygen, they have a plethora of health benefits for the trainee so it is generally advised to do them more than not. The first set of benefits is related to the upper body and the cardiovascular system. Cardio exercises strengthen the respiratory muscles and generally benefit the respiratory tract, bettering your breathing. They also have a very strong influence on the heart, enlarging it and generally allowing it to function better and longer. The total amount of erythrocytes (red blood cells) in the blood is also increased and due to trainees burning a lot of calories, the vascular system gets a lot cleaner as cholesterol is also destroyed during the process of working out. The exercises can also stimulate bone growth and can significantly decrease the risk of osteoporosis. The risk of cardiovascular diseases is generally reduced. The second set of benefits is related to the neurological system. Science has proven that cardio exercises generally benefit the brain as well as the heart. The brain’s structural connections are improved and there is a significant increase in grey matter density. Cardio exercises also stimulate the growth of new neurons, which is vitally important for our neurological health. Improvement is also noted with general cognitive functions and mental health, especially because such exercise significantly reduces the level of stress and frustration of a person. The third set is a set of general corporal benefits. Cardio diseases increase out muscle structure and make them stronger, more enduring and healthier. Our body becomes more flexible and we can increase our speed and agility. 

If you are considering starting kickboxing to get in shape, check out a type of kickboxing training called cardio kickboxing which emphasis getting in shape mainly without sparring.

Is Kickboxing Good for Self-Defense?

All we said about Muay Thai and self-defence, we can repeat with kickboxing, with the difference between them being the approach – kickboxing has a more offensive approach, compared to Muay Thai’s balanced approach. Kickboxing utilises all extremities, meaning that the disadvantages other sports and arts have when legs are concerned are annulled in kickboxing, which does rely more on punching, but has the advantage of using legs as well. Kickboxing is also specific because it requires patience, meaning that it will teach you endurance, which can be essential when defending yourself. Although it has a more boxing-like, offensive approach, kickboxing still relies on waiting for the right moment to attack and that can prove to be essential in a tight spot. To conclude, kickboxing will certainly help you with self-defence, but the fact is that its overly specific approach to fighting might influence your techniques and your approach to a real-life threat. Thus, some other sports and arts (such as boxing, for example) might be better if you want to learn the basics of self- defence and practice it short-term, but if you have any long-term goals and wish to improve on what you have already learned, there is absolutely no doubt that kickboxing is a good choice for you.

Is Kickboxing Hard to Learn?

Kickboxing is not difficult to learn, at least when it comes to the basics. You’ll have some basic kicks and punches and that’s about it. But, of course, as you dig deeper in to the art, you’ll learn more complex manoeuvres and it will become more difficult to master each complex element. So, in the beginning, kickboxing is fairly easy to grasp compared to some other disciplines, but it becomes more sophisticated as you advance. 

Should I Learn Kickboxing First?

Kickboxing is a very good starting point for you. Although it is very complex and demanding, the fact that it utilises both the hands and the feet means that it is a good starting point for someone who wants to develop an overall technique. It also doesn’t have the sophistication of Oriental martial arts, meaning that you will master the basic moves faster. In our opinion, kickboxing is a great starting point to start doing martial arts.

Judo

judo

What Is Judo?

Judo (柔道, jūdō, lit. gentle way) is a modern martial art, which has since evolved into a combat and Olympic sport. The sport was created in 1882 by Jigoro Kano (嘉納治五郎) as a physical, mental, and moral pedagogy in Japan. With its origins coming from jujutsu, judo’s most prominent feature is its competitive element, where the objective is to either throw or takedown an opponent to the ground, immobilize or otherwise subdue an opponent with a pin, or force an opponent to submit with a joint lock or a choke. Strikes and thrusts by hands and feet as well as weapons defences are a part of judo, but only in pre-arranged forms (kata, 形) and are not allowed in judo competition or free practice (randori, 乱 取り). It was also referred to as Kanō Jiu-Jitsu until the introduction to the Olympic Games. A judo practitioner is called a judoka and the judo uniform is called judogi. Th philosophy and subsequent pedagogy developed for judo became the model for other modern Japanese martial arts that developed from koryū (古流, traditional schools).

What Does the Judo Training Look Like?

Kanō created judo by using techniques that were common in jujutsu. He eliminated techniques that he thought were dangerous in training, so that students could train with resistance. Some basic throws are Tai-otoshi and De-ashi-barai (these are in Japanese). There are two types: groundwork and feet work. Ground work is when both players are on the ground. Usually the attacker would be on top and the uke (defender) would be on the bottom. In feet work both players would move along the mat in a variety of moves. Every once in a while, a player will throw his/her opponent on the floor. In competitions the players will go full on for each other and once someone has thrown their opponent down, they need to hold them down for 20 seconds or the point won’t count.

Is Judo Good for Strength, Cardio, and Weight Loss?

Judo is generally very beneficial for your fitness. Because of the nature of the martial art, you will certainly need strength to practice it normally, meaning that the sport will build up your musculature and bulk you up a bit. It’s not like boxing or wrestling, but you will certainly get more than from karate or Taekwondo. As for cardio, judo is not your best choice, but it certainly has it’s benefits because the repeated exercises you do in training sessions have great benefits when cardio is concerned. As for weight loss, although judo will bulk you up, you will develop your muscles, but lose fat, meaning that it has it benefits even in that aspect.

Is Judo Good for Self-Defense?

Because of its focus on grappling and throwing, judo’s self-defence is somewhat similar to that in wrestling. Still, because of the philosophical nature of judo, this martial will prepare you for real-life situations a bit better than wrestling. Judo has a wider and more varied approach to the technique, so it will prepare you to defend yourself against a wider variety of situations, certainly more than wrestling, which is why judo is a good martial art for self-defence, although not the best. 

Is Judo Hard to Learn?

Judo is a specific martial art, mainly because it’s so similar to wrestling, but much deeper and with a lot of philosophy behind it. You might need some time to grasp all the basics, but once you do it – judo will become easier. You’ll still have a lot to learn, but once you learn the basic technique, everything else is just an upgrade of the basics. The important thing to know is that judo, like many other Oriental martial arts, becomes more philosophical as you advance with your sessions so you have to keep in mind that you’re not just learning a martial art, but a way of perceiving the world around you. This is why we think judo is somewhere in the middle of the list when it comes to difficulty. 

Should I Learn Judo First?

Like many oriental martial arts, judo is good for beginners because the path of learning it is adapted for people who have no prior experience. You start off with the basics and then grow step-by-step, learning not only the moves and the techniques, but also the philosophy behind the martial art. Because of such a perception, judo is a very good starting point for beginners. 

Karate

Kyokushin Karate Is It Effective In a Street Fight and for Self Defence

What Is Karate?

Karate (空手) is a martial art developed in the Ryukyu Kingdom in ancient Japan. It developed from the indigenous Ryukyuan martial arts [called te (手), “hand”; tii in Okinawan] under the influence of Chinese kung fu, particularly the Fujian White Crane style. Karate is now predominantly a striking art using punching, kicking, knee strikes, elbow strikes and open-hand techniques such as knife-hands, spear-hands and palm-heel strikes. Historically, and in some modern styles, grappling, throws, joint locks, restraints and vital-point strikes are also taught. A karate practitioner is called a karateka (空手家).

What Does the Karate Training Look Like?

Karate can be practiced as an art (budō), self defense or as a combat sport. Traditional karate places emphasis on self-development (budō). Modern Japanese style training emphasizes the psychological elements incorporated into a proper kokoro (attitude) such as perseverance, fearlessness, virtue, and leadership skills. Sport karate places emphasis on exercise and competition. Weapons are an important training activity in some styles of karate. Karate training is commonly divided into kihon (basics or fundamentals), kata (forms), and kumite (sparring).

If you decide to start training karate, here is the list of the equipment you should have when you start.

Is Karate Good for Strength, Cardio, and Weight Loss?

Because of the nature of the martial art, karate is very similar to kickboxing when it comes to fitness and health. Namely, cardio exercises rely so strongly on oxygen, which is why they have a plethora of health benefits for the trainee so it is generally advised to do them more than not. The first set of benefits is related to the upper body and the cardiovascular system. Cardio exercises strengthen the respiratory muscles and generally benefit the respiratory tract, bettering your breathing. They also have a very strong influence on the heart, enlarging it and generally allowing it to function better and longer. The total amount of erythrocytes (red blood cells) in the blood is also increased and due to trainees burning a lot of calories, the vascular system gets a lot cleaner as cholesterol is also destroyed during the process of working out. The exercises can also stimulate bone growth and can significantly decrease the risk of osteoporosis. The risk of cardiovascular diseases is generally reduced. The second set of benefits is related to the neurological system. Science has proven that cardio exercises generally benefit the brain as well as the heart. The brain’s structural connections are improved and there is a significant increase in grey matter density. Cardio exercises also stimulate the growth of new neurons, which is vitally important for our neurological health. Improvement is also noted with general cognitive functions and mental health, especially because such exercise significantly reduces the level of stress and frustration of a person. The third set is a set of general corporal benefits. Cardio diseases increase out muscle structure and make them stronger, more enduring and healthier. Our body becomes more flexible and we can increase our speed and agility. All of these elements are elevated in karate training sessions, along with the fact that you will lose weight very quickly. When it comes to strength, karate will not get you all bulked up, but it will increase your endurance, meaning that you’ll certainly be in a better position. 

Is Karate Good for Self-Defense?

Karate is very suitable for self-defence because, while it’s based on kicking, it has a very balanced approach that utilises the whole body. Kicks are, generally speaking, much more effective and powerful than punches (with non-professionals, in real-life situations), which is an essential benefit of karate’s self-defence, but the fact that karate also uses punches is very important in the discipline. Taking into account the flexibility and diversity of karate’s techniques, you will easily see how such an approach can benefit in potentially threatening situations. Plus, we have to add that karate has a special section dedicated to self-defence, so one can learn a variety of things.

Be sure to check out our article where we go in-depth about the effectiveness of karate for self-defense.

Is Karate Hard to Learn?

The basics aren’t overly difficult, but since karate is a very profound and philosophical martial art, it is not easy to master all the moves and techniques. Plus, as you advance, you have to dig deeper into the philosophy of karate and not just practice and repeat the fighting techniques. So, we’d say that – generally – karate is not that difficult, but it becomes more complex as you advance and enlarge your knowledge of the martial art.

Should I Learn Karate First?

Although karate becomes more complex as you train longer, it is exactly because of that that it’s a good martial art to start with. Namely, karate instructors are aware of the nature of the martial art, which is why practice starts off with the most basic and simplest elements. It becomes more complex as you advance and evolve, but because of the structure of the martial art and the practice sessions, it is an excellent martial art for beginners. 

Taekwondo

ITF and WT Taekwondo. What Are the Differences?

What Is Taekwondo?

The martial art of Taekwondo (alternatively spelled Tae Kwon Do or Taekwon-Do) is of South Korean origin, dating from the 1940s, i.e. shortly after the conclusion of World War II. The art has its origins in Japanese and Chinese martial arts, but is today a clearly distinct art and sport in itself. It was originally called Tae Soo Do (or Tae Su Do), which is a phrase that consisted of the words “to stomp” (Korean: 跆 tae), “hand” (Korean: 手 su), and “way, discipline” (Korean: 道 do). However, South Korean general and martial artist, Choe Hong-hui, advocated a different etymology, replacing the word “hand” with the word “fist” (Korean: 拳 kwon or gwon), thus creating the modern name of South Korea’s most famous martial art.

What Does the Taekwondo Training Look Like?

Taekwondo is characterized by its emphasis on head-height kicks, jumping and spinning kicks, and fast kicking techniques. In fact, World Taekwondo sparring competitions award additional points for strikes that incorporate spinning kicks, kicks to the head, or both. To facilitate fast, turning kicks, Taekwondo generally adopts stances that are narrower and taller than the broader, wide stances used by martial arts such as karate. The tradeoff of decreased stability is believed to be worth the commensurate increase in agility, particularly in Kukkiwon-style Taekwondo. Along with this, Taekwondo also has forms (like kata in karate), which are divided into hyeong, poomsae and teul.

Here is the complete list of equipment you should have if you decide to start with taekwondo.

Is Taekwondo Good for Strength, Cardio, and Weight Loss?

When it comes to general fitness, there are really not many differences between Taekwondo and karate; this is especially valid for cardio. Namely, cardio exercises rely so strongly on oxygen, which is why they have a plethora of health benefits for the trainee so it is generally advised to do them more than not. The first set of benefits is related to the upper body and the cardiovascular system. Cardio exercises strengthen the respiratory muscles and generally benefit the respiratory tract, bettering your breathing. They also have a very strong influence on the heart, enlarging it and generally allowing it to function better and longer. The total amount of erythrocytes (red blood cells) in the blood is also increased and due to trainees burning a lot of calories, the vascular system gets a lot cleaner as cholesterol is also destroyed during the process of working out. The exercises can also stimulate bone growth and can significantly decrease the risk of osteoporosis. The risk of cardiovascular diseases is generally reduced. The second set of benefits is related to the neurological system. Science has proven that cardio exercises generally benefit the brain as well as the heart. The brain’s structural connections are improved and there is a significant increase in grey matter density. Cardio exercises also stimulate the growth of new neurons, which is vitally important for our neurological health. Improvement is also noted with general cognitive functions and mental health, especially because such exercise significantly reduces the level of stress and frustration of a person. The third set is a set of general corporal benefits. Cardio diseases increase out muscle structure and make them stronger, more enduring and healthier. Our body becomes more flexible and we can increase our speed and agility. All of these elements are elevated in Taekwondo training sessions, along with the fact that you will lose weight very quickly. When it comes to strength, Taekwondo will not get you all bulked up, but it will increase your endurance, meaning that you’ll certainly be in a better position.

Is Taekwondo Good for Self-Defense?

As a martial art, Taekwondo is extremely suitable for self-defence because it’s based on kicking more than anything else. Kicks are, generally speaking, much more effective and powerful than punches (with non-professionals, in real-life situations), which is an essential benefit of Taekwondo’s self-defence. Taking into account the flexibility and diversity of Taekwondo’s techniques, you will easily see how such an approach can benefit in potentially threatening situations. Plus, we have to add that Taekwondo has a special section dedicated to self-defence, so one can learn a variety of things.

Is Taekwondo Hard to Learn?

Like with karate, the basics of Taekwondo aren’t overly difficult, but since the martial art has a lot of profound philosophical elements, it is not easy to master all the moves and techniques as they become more complex and artistic. Plus, as you advance, you have to dig deeper into the philosophy of Taekwondo and not just practice and repeat the fighting techniques. So, we’d say that – like karate – Taekwondo is not that difficult, but it becomes more complex as you advance and enlarge your knowledge of the martial art.

Should I Learn Taekwondo First?

Like karate, Taekwondo becomes more complex as you train longer, but it is exactly because of that that it’s a good martial art to start with. Namely, Taekwondo instructors are aware of the nature of the martial art, which is why practice starts off with the most basic and simplest elements. It becomes more complex as you advance and evolve, but because of the structure of the martial art and the practice sessions, it is an excellent martial art for beginners.

Krav Maga

Is Krav Maga Good For Weight Loss and Fitness

What Is Krav Maga?

The term “Krav Maga” (Hebrew: קְרַב מַגָּע) literally means “contact combat”; the story of how it all began is both terrifying and commendable at the same time. Krav Maga was founded by Imre Lichtenfeld, a Hungarian-born Jew who grew up in Bratislava. He was a sports enthusiast, but during his youth, he spent most of his time practicing combat sports, even becoming a local wrestling champion. When anti-Semitic riots began in Bratislava during the 1930s, Lichtenfeld joined a group of street fighters organised to protect their Jewish friends from the rioting idiots. Although successful, Lichtenfeld soon realised that street fighting was very much different than competitive fighting, which inspired him to create a specific style that would be better in street fights than in competitive fighting. While developing his ideas, Lichtenfeld managed to escape Europe in 1940, finally arriving in Mandatory Palestine, the predecessor of the modern state of Israel. There, he joined a paramilitary organisation and started teaching his self-defence techniques to soldiers and fighters. In 1948, when the State of Israel was founded, Lichtenfeld became the official instructor of the newly-founded Israeli Defence Forces (IDF). Although he had already developed a basic system, Lichtenfeld continued to improve and upgrade his techniques during the 20 years he was in charge of instructing Israeli soldiers. He developed Krav Maga, which taught the soldiers both self-defence and hand-to-hand combat. Krav Maga, of course, continued to develop and still continues to do so. During the years, more martial arts elements were added (like those from judo or aikido) and today – Krav Maga is the official combat sport of the State of Israel, but is simultaneously taught around the world by officially licenced instructors.

What Does the Krav Maga Training Look Like?

Like most martial arts and combat sports, Krav Maga encourages students to avoid actual fighting. If, on the other hand, you cannot do that – either because it’s impossible or unsafe for you – Krav Maga will teach you how to finish it as quickly and as aggressively as possible. Krav Maga’s offensive techniques are focused on your opponent’s most vulnerable body parts (e.g. the groin era and genitals) and are seldom restrictive, i.e. they don’t teach you how to go easy on your opponent. On the contrary, they teach you to be strong and efficient, and there are a lot of moves that can seriously injure or even kill your opponent. Students learn to defend against all variety of attacks and are taught to counter in the quickest and most efficient way.

Some of the basic principles of Krav Maga are: simultaneous attack and defence; developing physical aggression (not to be confused with emotional aggression or anger), with the view that physical aggression is the most important component in a fight; continuing to strike the opponent until they are completely incapacitated; attacking pre-emptively or counterattacking as soon as possible; using any objects at hand that could be used to hit an opponent; targeting attacks to the body’s most vulnerable points, such as: the eyes, neck or throat, face, solar plexus, groin, ribs, knee, foot, fingers, liver, etc.; using simple and easily repeatable strikes; maintaining awareness of surroundings while dealing with the threat in order to look for escape routes, further attackers, or objects that could be used to strike an opponent; recognizing the importance of and expanding on instinctive response under stress.

Training can also cover the study and development of situational awareness in order to ameliorate your understanding of your surroundings (so you can utilise them to your advantage), learning to understand the psychology of a street fight, and identifying potential threats before they actually occur. It may also cover ways to deal with physical and verbal methods to avoid violence whenever possible. It also teaches mental toughness, using controlled scenarios to strengthen mental fortitude in order for students to control the impulse and not do something rash, but instead attack only when necessary and as a last resort.

Is Krav Maga Good for Strength, Cardio, and Weight Loss?

Simply put – it is. Although some other martial arts will focus more on strength, cardio is definitely the focus of Krav Maga training (when it comes to these aspects). Due to the fact that Krav Maga is demanding and physically straining, it is a good cardio exercise and we all know that cardio exercises are good for losing weight, which is why Krav Maga is also excellent in that aspect. 

As there were a lot of questions about the correlation of krav maga and getting in shape, we decided to write a full article about krav maga and benefits for weight loss and fitness.

Is Krav Maga Good for Self-Defense?

If you’re really interested in self-defence more than anything else, we’ll be brief – there’s no better thing than Krav Maga. Krav Maga started off and developed as a self-defence technique and its whole concept is based on practical defence. It teaches you everything, it teaches you how to adapt, but also how to be quick and effective. There is no sport or art that offers a more complete approach to self-defence. So, if you’re really wondering what to take up for your self-defence – Krav Maga is the best choice you could make. It’s demanding and hard, but it’ll prepare you for what’s out there better than any other discipline.

If you are getting in martial arts because of the self-defense, then we recommend reading this article about krav maga and self-defense. There really isn’t no better option than krav maga for self-defense.

Is Krav Maga Hard to Learn?

Krav Maga is not the simplest martial art out there. It has a lot of specific techniques and because of the fact that it prepares you for real-life situations, it can be pretty unpredictable and demanding. It doesn’t have the sophistication of moves like some Oriental martial arts, but it has a lot of complexity and is generally very demanding. So, on the difficulty scale, we would say that it is fairly difficult, although not as some Oriental martial arts. 

Should I Learn Krav Maga First?

Krav Maga is not your typical first pick for a martial art. Due to the fact that is it very demanding, it might not be wise to take it up as a first martial art. But, like most of them, Krav Maga also has a beginner’s segment so even if you’re a complete “noob” you will start off slowly and learn the necessary skills through time. Krav Maga is good in that aspect because it’s quite unique so there’s no martial art or combat sport that will specifically prepare you for Krav Maga, but you should still have some experience in such sports before taking up Krav Maga in our opinion. 

Conclusion

There really is no definitive answer for which martial art you should choose as first. It depends on whether you would like to one day turn pro, or if you are doing it only to get in shape or to have fun, or maybe just for the purpose of self-defense.

One thing we have to say is that doing any martial art is better than not doing any. Whichever you choose, it will help you to get in shape, train your body and mind, learn how to defend yourself, and have fun along the way.

In the end, we recommend that you go with the one you think will be the most interesting for you. It is really important that you enjoy your martial art training. That is the only way that you will continue doing it.

As said, doing any martial art is very beneficial, and the one you should start with depends on which you find the most interesting and what exactly is your goal.

Recent Content

Way of Martial Arts (wayofmartialarts.com) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.