Only a few find the opportunity to head to the gym or the ring to get beat up a few days a week enticing. However, those that join a martial arts program repeat the benefits of improving their self-defense skills as well as building a physically fit body and lifestyle. There is a lot that goes into a martial arts training routine, and there are several options out there. You need to determine which one will be the best for you if you intend to stick with it. Here’s a quick breakdown of your choices and how they may be the right option.
As an advanced form of kickboxing, Muay Thai includes centuries-old practices that come from Thailand. Jean Claude Van Damme is known for his representation of the art, involving knee and elbow strikes, stand-up grappling, fists and feet action. Several of the techniques have made their way into the UFC. You learn through drilling combos and move into sparring. Your shoulder and hips take a lot of heat, and your inner core is put to the test. If you are flexible and want an entry platform into competing, this is a good starting point.
A martial arts form that broke away from traditional Judo back in the early 1900s, Rocye Gracie used this ground-based grappling to dominate some of the earliest UFC fights. In a basic sense, this art form is wrestling but with a goal of putting the opponent into a submission hold that causes so much pain it forces them to submit or fall unconscious. Every muscle in the body is put through the wringer. This a good technique for competition aspirations, but it isn’t very effective for self-defense on the street.
Wing Chun Kung Fu
This Chinese close-range martial art focuses on balance and rapid punch sequences. While it involved relaxation techniques to help keep the body in good performing shape, anyone interested in martial arts needs a diet and supplement regime. Noticeable energy boosts are just one of the reported Thrive side effects. The focus on visualization will help keep the body balanced for the punch exchanges, but if you have a slow response system, you won’t be very good on either the attack or defensive fronts. There is also very little kicking involved.
Tae Kwon Do
One of the more broad forms of study, this art form has found its way to the Olympics. Primary attacks thrive on combinations or kicks, punches and throws. You can find plenty of gyms in your area specializing in this approach, with key training including sparring, relaxation techniques, and drills. This is the sport where boards and bricks are broken through the force of hands and feet. This is an expensive program, as there is a lot of protective gear and equipment to buy.
The Hebrew translation for this art form is “battle contact” and with good reason. These complex series of kicks, punches and throws were developed by the Israeli Defense Force to teach its soldiers how to handle real-life combat situations. Your training does the same thing, preparing you for a scenario like how to disarm a would-be attacker. Because of the real-life preparation, training sequences could include the use of a rubber gun or knife. The workouts are intense, driving your body to fatigue. Fighting when you are exhausted is a key skill and this art takes you there quickly. Krav Maga also allows techniques that are banned from other art forms. If you are a contact junkie, this style martial arts program is for you. Bruised and banged are the expectations.
Mixed Martial Arts
MMA has garnered a huge following in recent years, landing its own attention with primetime fights. It consists of grappling elements and stand-up elements, combining styles from Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for a total approach. The extensive nature of training makes this a bigger, more expensive commitment than some of the others. It does offer a superior workout option.
The best form of martial arts is what works for your needs and interest. There are just a few of the programs you could pursue.
Mikkie is a freelance writer from Chicago. She is also a mother of two who loves sharing her ideas on interior design, budgeting hacks, and DIY. When she’s not writing, she’s chasing the little ones or rock climbing at the local climbing gym.
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