How to Choose The Right Martial Art For You

Martial arts include both ancient and modern systems of striking and grappling that were initially created for self-defense and combat purposes. Some arts focus more on meditative qualities, which aid the practitioner in mental and spiritual development.

The benefits of training include increased cardiovascular health, strength and muscle tone, better flexibility and balance, and sharper coordination and reflexes. Mentally, there is a host of positive influences that include reducing anxiety and depression symptoms and improving concentration, confidence, and overall feelings of well-being.

If you are contemplating taking up a martial art, there are a few things to consider before making your final decision.


Style

Striking martial arts styles, also known as ‘stand up,’ will involve various punches, kicks, knees, and elbows. Students will begin learning a ‘stance’ and then learn basic striking and defend those strikes.

Striking martial arts include:

● Muay Thai
● Kickboxing
● Karate
● Taekwondo
● Krav Maga

Grappling arts take place both standing up and on the ground; however, the main goal is to get the opponent onto the floor and ‘submit’ them. These arts maintain much closer contact than stand up.

Grappling martial arts include:

● Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)
● Wrestling
● Sambo
● Sumo

Striking and grappling martial arts tend to be the most common and widely available. However, there are two other forms to consider before making your choice:

Throwing martial arts include:
● Judo
● Aikido
Meditative martial arts include:
● Tai Chi

Intensity
What intensity do you think you would like to train at? Whatever your answer, there is an appropriate discipline for that.
Age is an important factor here, but don’t let that rule you out of something you really want to try. Muay Thai is one of the most physically challenging martial arts in terms of cardiovascular output, but wrestling will require a lot of strength. Tai Chi will test focus and patience, and Judo will encourage you to face your fears of falling.


Location
Location is a significant factor when choosing a martial art or any habit you would like to maintain consistently. If the gym is too far away or out of the way, this can deter regular attendance. Consider your schedule and whether you would like to have a gym near your house or your workplace. Next, search the surrounding area for your nearest gyms and available martial arts styles.

Trial
Almost every gym will offer a free class or reduced trial rate. Take the time to explore your options across various disciplines if needed. It is also worth considering your interactions with instructors and members, as these people will become your new community should you choose to join. You don’t need to sign up on the day you do your trial unless you are entirely sure.

Commit
Once you have decided to commit to a gym and martial arts style, be patient with yourself. Some of us are naturals, while others will take longer to grasp specific techniques. Go at your own pace, and always remember that the instructors are there to help you reach your fullest potential.

The martial arts journey is a beautiful one. We wish you the best as you embark on yours.




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