People are increasingly learning martial arts for both self-protection and to improve the state of their discipline in daily life. These time-honored styles of fighting can be learned by nearly anyone, as long as you are in generally good health, have the ability to stick with a program, and the drive to improve yourself. By learning one of the popular martial arts styles listed in this article, you can be confident that you can protect yourself should the need arise.
Before you begin to attempt to learn a martial arts program, whether casually or with your eye on advanced moves, make sure you’re in good shape and exercise regularly, not only for your general health but your ability to protect yourself in any situation.
Beginner tips for learning martial arts
• Protect your head. Your head is incredibly important to protect from strikes, especially your eyes, ears, and nose. Always make sure your head is protected. Also, make sure to guard your neck against strikes or from muscle strain.
• Practice correct form. Most (but not all) types of martial arts emphasize proper form and technique to their moves. Make sure you understand the safe and correct way to perform a move before you attempt it and that you practice until you get the technique down right.
• Know your limits and don’t strain yourself. Learning martial arts is just like any other strenuous exercise program. Don’t attempt to advance the moves too quickly. Always warm up and stretch your muscles before practicing. If you find yourself in any pain, rest that area of your body and don’t try any moves until you recover.
Of the many types of martial arts practiced around the world, the following 5 are some of the most popular and well-regarded.
Type 1: Karate
Karate, a Japanese form of martial arts, involves a system of counterattacks and defenses. Karate also has themes of self-discipline interwoven throughout its teachings. The development of a strong character and control of one’s actions is central to Karate. Hard, diligent work is held up as a basic tenet, and you are expected to only use the techniques to defend yourself against attack after other options have been exhausted. With this martial art, you never strike first. However, strikes such as punches and kicks make up most of the moves.
Karate can be self-taught, but most people find themselves interested in enrolling in a school that is taught by professional instructors. That way you learn correct techniques and how specifically to improve. Before you can move up the ladder to more advanced techniques, it’s important to learn all of the basic karate stances. Proper balance and form are also essential.
Because the central theme of karate is based on self-discipline, it’s important to keep this in mind at all times. Don’t show off your moves or use them to be aggressive.
Type 2: Wing Chun
Wing Chun is a Chinese form of martial art, most recently popularized by the movie Ip Man. It was originally created by a Buddhist nun who had already trained in other forms of martial arts. Nearly anyone regardless of strength or body type can learn it. Wing Chun was originally created for densely populated cities, and so it utilizes a form of fighting where you conserve your space and energy. It relies on a person using the timing of counterattacks and defenses instead of brute force and strength. You conserve your space and energy and work with the opponent’s moves.
Most people who attempt to master Wing Chun can do so in only a few years, a stark contrast to many other forms of martial arts, such as karate, which can take ten years or more to fully master. It is an excellent type for a beginner who wants to learn to protect themselves.
Type 3: Krav Maga
Krav Maga is a combat system originally created for the Israeli Defense Forces. There are many mixed martial arts combined, they form not only a strong style of combat but also of self-defense. It was created by combining mixed techniques from other styles into one style of simple, effective attacks and defenses.
The main goal of Krav Maga is to neutralize whoever is threatening you as fast as you can. This carries through the entire system. It is a brutal, no-frills style that is very effective. Krav Maga can be best viewed as quick, efficient, and ruthless, a burst of energy in which you keep moving. While your attacker is reacting to your moves, you continue to strike, attacking and defending at the same time, until they are incapacitated.
Unlike techniques like Karate and Wing Chun, Krav Maga encourages developing trained aggression to utilize in the fight in order to increase your ability to successfully persevere and render your opponent ineffective. Krav Maga is a good technique to learn if you’re in excellent physical shape and looking for something modern and strength-based.
Type 4: Jujutsu
Jujutsu is another Japanese martial art, one of close combat. Somewhat like Wing Chun, Jujutsu is based on techniques that use an opponent’s attacks and energy against them, preserving your own energy. Some schools of jujutsu also use weapons that can aid in striking an opponent, such as long staffs.
Jujutsu moves involve combat, including punches and various kicks, as well as defensive moves, like blocking and ways to throw the opponent off-balance or confused. However, more emphasis is made on moves like throwing and pinning the opponent, instead of striking. The idea is to yield to the opponent’s moves to prevent further damage to oneself.
Type 5: Aikido
This final martial art was also founded in Japan. It has seen recent popularity due to its use in the TV show, “The Walking Dead.” Similar to Jujutsu, Aikido is a gentle style of martial art in which the goal is mutual peace for both you and the opponent, if possible. A more complicated system, which also involves pinning and throwing techniques, Aikido is one of the most practiced forms of martial arts in the world. Like the other forms, it strongly emphasizes the development of self-discipline, control, and controlling aggression in the least violent way possible.
No matter the style of martial arts you choose to learn, self-discipline and conservation of your energy always play a part. Learning one of these techniques can not only keep you safe but also improve your control of your body and mind in your everyday life. Improving your ability to control and manage your behavior and moods can greatly improve your character and confidence in knowing you can defend yourself.