What style of martial arts is best for you?

December 5, 2016

Tai chi is great for stress relief.


The great thing about the martial-arts industry is the fact that you’re never too old or inexperienced to delve into a new practice. There’s a variety of reasons why people begin taking martial arts. Some people simply want to learn a new skill, while others want to get in shape. Of course, a large part of why many people decide to take a martial arts class is to learn self-defense. Martial arts certainly aren’t “one size fits all,” though. Depending on what you want to accomplish with your martial-arts education, some forms are better than others.

If you want to lose weight

There is no denying that the best way to lose weight is to adjust your diet and get moving. While all martial-arts classes clearly get you off of the couch and into the studio, some varieties burn more calories than others. If your main focus regarding martial arts is to lose weight, you’ll want to choose a variety that’s heavy in cardio. Kung fu is a great option. This style is incredibly diverse, incorporating plenty of different fighting styles and using your entire body. According to Health Ambition, you rarely spend any time standing still when participating in kung fu because there is so much movement, such as jumping, kicking and flipping, involved.

If you want to build muscle

In many cases, building muscle and martial arts work hand in hand. Breaking Muscle claims that strength training outside of the martial arts studio is a great way to improve your foundational strength, which will make it tougher for your attacker to take you down. However, there are styles of martial arts that help you build muscle as well. For example, judo incorporates weight training into the practice, sometimes even including weights. Part of the reason that strength training is so crucial in this Japanese style of martial arts is because there are a lot of moves that involve literally picking your opponents off of the ground and flipping or throwing them. Judo Info suggests a variety of different weight exercises to incorporate into your judo training, including deadlifts, dips, rope climbs, squats and bench presses.

If you want to learn self-defense

All martial arts have value when it comes to defending yourself. However, some are more effective on the street against an untrained opponent than others. It’s widely known that one of the best ways to protect yourself against attackers is to know Krav Maga. How They Play refers to this fighting style, which uses aspects of karate, boxing, Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiujitsu as a form of militarized mixed martial arts. This makes sense because it’s taught to members of the Israeli military. In addition to instructing you about how to fight and defend yourself, Krav Maga also teaches you to disarm your opponent of his or her weapon, making it one of the most effective martial arts on the street.

If you want a stress reliever

In many cases, simply participating in any sort of martial art can be all it takes to relieve stress. Letting some of your energy out through exercise is a time-honored method of stress relief. There are also styles of martial arts that specifically target stress, like tai chi. According to the Mayo Clinic, this low-impact exercise can not only help you manage stress, but also improve mood, lower blood pressure, improve joint pain and positively affect your quality of sleep.