5 Martial Arts Styles You Can Learn Today

William Nakulski

As discussed in a previous blog of mine, martial arts comes with a variety of benefits ranging from physical, to mental, to spiritual. However, different styles can be practiced for many different reasons. These may be self defense, fitness, mental clarity, or entertainment. Although it may appear unrelated, martial arts can benefit all people in many areas of life. It can enhance your balance, improve your health, and most importantly of all, teach discipline. No matter where your life takes you, these benefits can be a terrific asset going forward. If you’re interested in taking up one specific martial art, the following are a just a few that could develop several skills. 

Karate

One of the most well known forms of martial arts, Karate originated in Japan being primarily practiced as an art, but is also a form of self defense and combat. This style predominantly uses different types of striking like punching, kicking, knee and elbow strikes, and some open-hand techniques. Karate’s main focus is on deflection. The ability to control and prevent attacks from opponents directly in front of you comes with training, and develops strong skills in self defense.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Focusing on grappling and ground techniques, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu promotes the concept that size does not matter. By utilizing joint-locks, chokeholds, and proper leverage, smaller fighters are taught to defend against those much bigger than them. Adapted from Kodokan Judo, another style intended to throw opponents to the ground, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was later enhanced as a spectator sport, while also focusing on the safety of the combatants. With the main objective to bring down the other fighter, this style’s strengths lie within ground fighting.

Taekwondo

A martial art hailing from Korea, Taekwondo combines self defense and attack, and is characterized by its emphasis on high-kicks and leg work. Controversially regarded as the founder of Taekwondo, Choi Hong Hi analyzed the style from a scientific standpoint based on Newtonian physics, bringing forth the notion that speed, rather than size, generates the most power. This sport can greatly enhance one’s agility, balance, and strength through proper training, and is seen as one of the most efficient forms of self defense in the martial arts world.

Aikido

This Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba focuses entirely on self defense not just for the fighter, but for his or her opponent as well. Aikido is often translated to “the way of unifying life with energy,” or “the way of harmonious spirit,” and embodies the philosophy of religion and peace. The techniques of this style involve turning movements to redirect opponents’ attacks and diminish their momentum, while also teaching students how to safely fall and roll in the event of being thrown. Though practicing defense, strikes and throws are taught as well, truly expanding the skillset that comes with learning this beneficial art.

Muay Thai

As the name suggests, this martial art originated in Thailand, and is also referred to as “the art of eight limbs” due to the fact that the fists, elbows, knees, and shins are all considered key components in combat. Primarily a standing style, Muay Thai utilizes standard boxing techniques combined with kickboxing, and is a popular style today within Mixed Martial Arts. Heavy body conditioning is required to master this martial art. It is designed to promote the endurance and toughness needed for ring competition, and involves “cortical remodeling” of the shins to strengthen them for more effective kicking. More physically demanding than others, Muay Thai can develop a great deal of strength and endurance.