How to find the right martial art for you

Though many people are interested in pursuing martial arts, they may be intimidated by the fact that there are so many different varieties. Even if they're ready to take the plunge and begin your martial arts journey, how do they start? Some varieties focus more on learning how to defend yourself, while others emphasize physical fitness. Here is a simple breakdown of some of the most popular forms of martial arts practiced in the West that instructors can explain to their potential students. 


Karate is one of the most commonly practiced forms of martial arts in the United States, especially for beginners. In addition to kicks and punches that concentrate energy on a particular spot, self-discipline and development are also huge parts of learning this Japanese martial art. It's just as much of a mental workout as it is a physical workout. There will also be a chance of injury, as you'll be learning how to block your opponent's kicks and punches as well.


According to USA Dojo, when it comes to practicing kung-fu, your technique can prove to be more beneficial than your physical power. This is because kung-fu is highly focused on form and motion, rather than strength. However, there are hundreds of varieties of this Chinese martial art alone, so if you decide that you want to venture into the world of kung-fu, you may want to visit multiple studios and get to know a few instructors so you can learn in the best environment for yourself.


This Korean style of martial arts is all-encompassing. In addition to teaching blocks, kicks and punches, more-advanced practitioners of the art also learn take downs and throws. It's physically trying, so it's a fantastic workout for people who are interested in getting in shape in addition to learning self-defense. Like karate, taekwondo has a deep history of philosophy behind it, and focuses heavily on concentration in addition to physical prowess.


Rather than block an attack or attack someone, aikido is a style of martial art that teaches practitioners to redirect the force of their opponent's attack. According to Real World Survivor, it's a great practice for people who don't consider themselves particularly strong. This variety is very focused on technique. There won't be very many aikido competitions, so it's a very low-pressure style of martial arts. Aikido is a Japanese martial art, but doesn't have the historic significance that many martial arts do. It was developed in the early 1900s, according to Aikido FAQ.


Not to be confused with Brazilian jiu jitsu, jujutsu is a Japanese style of martial arts that's focused on very close combat. It's a more intense form of martial arts, as practitioners are taught how to fight an armed opponent, rather than another martial artist. Many teachers will even teach students how to protect themselves against an opponent in armor.  Therefore, throws and locks are more effective in jujutsu than kicks and punches. Jujutsu is also very closely related to judo, another very competitive martial art. Both of these tend to be very physically demanding.