Making martial arts a part of your daily routine will make you feel physically and mentally fit. Picking up a self-defense class or dedicating a few days a week to any of the various types of martial arts will help you:
- lose fat, build muscle, and look better overall,
- improve your cardiovascular health,
- become more mobile and flexible,
- develop self-discipline,
- and build self-confidence.
If you wish to make this year productive by picking up an interesting hobby, spending some time in the gym is a great decision. Martial arts are a great social hobby, helping you meet many new people.
However, there are quite a few options out there, and it can be confusing. To help you make the right choice, we have prepared a list of our favorite seven types of martial arts and their respective pros and cons.
Let’s get into it!
#1 – Boxing
Boxing tops the list as one of the oldest types of martial arts out there. It has been around for thousands of years, and it keeps evolving with every passing year.
This martial art has given some of the most popular athletes, including Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, and numerous others. Thousands of people have been enjoying this sport for centuries.
You get to use your whole body to punch efficiently and use the acquired skills in defense as well. Trying boxing is a lot of fun. It will give you a healthy workout and a challenging one.
If you like punching in a stand-up fight and don’t like rolling on the ground, boxing is the martial art for you.
The Pros & Cons of Boxing
- Boxing is great for fat loss, endurance, and overall physical strength.
- It will help you improve coordination, speed, and reflexes.
- It is one of the best martial arts to learn for self-defense. The ability to fight standing up will help you in dangerous situations more often than wrestling skills, especially if you are outnumbered.
- If you ever get serious, boxing as a career path is a realistic choice and a sport that can earn you a decent income.
- Boxing lacks versatility. When you box, you fight with your hands, and you do so while standing up. You will spend your training working on your punching, footwork, and overall fitness and strength level.
- You could get seriously injured if someone lands a nasty punch on you. However, that is the risk that comes with all martial arts.
#2 – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)
Another famous form of martial art with origins from Judo and Jiu-Jitsu has become a separate martial art relatively recently – in the 1920s.
In BJJ, you will learn a wide variety of fighting techniques (such as chokes, locks, and guards) that will compel your opponent to surrender. The focus is very much on technique and proper execution.
The idea is that you can defend yourself against a bigger and stronger opponent using the right techniques and leverages even if you are not physically big yourself.
If you find wrestling with people fun, this martial art will be your favorite.
The Pros & Cons of BJJ
- You can start training BJJ regardless of your current fitness level.
- It involves a lot of grappling and rolling on the ground, which means all of the muscles in your body will be working overtime.
- You will become a master of flexibility and coordination.
- It will help you immensely with self-confidence. BJJ will make you fearless, especially if you usually avoid conflicts of any kind.
- You will have to roll around with strangers on the ground quite a lot. If you find such things overly uncomfortable, perhaps this isn’t the martial art for you.
- BJJ focuses a lot on the execution of particular movements. It can be annoying if you are just looking for a simple workout to break a sweat.
- It’s not a very practical self-defense skill – BJJ is hard to use against multiple attackers and virtually impossible to execute on hard surfaces without hurting yourself.
- You are not allowed to kick or punch. Yes, you read that right! You will learn how to take someone down in style, though.
#3 – Judo
Judo, with the origin in Japan, is another old form of martial arts. It is a very inclusive sport for all ages and genders. Even people with disabilities involve themselves in Judo.
It concentrates on grappling techniques, throws, and chokes, almost lacking strikes of any kind. Other martial arts we’ve talked about, like Jiu-Jitsu, actually originated from Judo.
It is an Olympic sport, so it’s very popular among all ages.
If you enjoy watching martial arts in which fighters throw each other down, then the takedown style is going to be your favorite.
The Pros & Cons of Judo
- You will learn the breakfall technique (also knows as ukemi). It is a falling technique that will help you absorb almost any fall, reducing the chances of injury.
- It is quite practical when it comes to self-defense. Judo teaches close-range hand-to-hand combat, so you can understand how it can be useful.
- If you like fighting, you will be happy to hear that Judo is a real combat sport, and quite a few other martial arts don’t include so much direct combat.
- It goes great with boxing if you want to mix and match different types of martial arts.
- You need a proper mat and a training partner to practice any throw. With most other martial arts, you can roll around on your living room floor or punch a bag (and even air) for practice. With Judo, that is not possible.
- Judo has a steep learning curve and may require a lot of patience. Then again, that can be said for most martial arts if you are ambitious about your goals.
#4 – Karate
One of the most traditional forms of martial arts, Karate, is a Japanese martial arts system.
It has been popular among fighters for centuries and involves kicks and punches. You will need to coordinate your mind and body for your self-defense.
In Karate, your main weapon is your body, and the better you practice your coordination, the better you become at it.
If kicks and punches intrigue you, then you must try out this martial art.
The Pros & Cons of Karate
- It is one of the most popular martial arts out there, so finding proper training gyms and classes won’t be an issue.
- You will develop exceptional coordination and awareness of your body and movements.
- Karate has a rich and interesting history, so you will have a chance to familiarize yourself with Japanese culture if you wish to do so.
- There are many tournaments due to the sport’s popularity, so it is easy to start competing if you want to try yourself out professionally.
- It can get expensive, depending on the gym you choose and whether you decide to compete or not.
- You won’t learn any grappling. However, there isn’t a single martial art that will cover all areas of fighting, so this is a reasonable drawback.
- The techniques you learn will be impractical in almost any real-life situation. The wide stances, poor guard, and flying kicks won’t do you much good in self-defense.
#5 – Kickboxing
As the name suggests, kickboxing involves a combination of kicking and punching, which means you will be using both your arms and legs.
It is a type of stand-up martial art that offers multiple benefits. It evolved from Muay Thai, Karate, and boxing.
If you love taking out your aggression while kicking and punching pillows, then kickboxing is great to try.
The Pros & Cons of Kickboxing
- It offers an exceptional opportunity for cardio workouts. There is even something called cardio kickboxing, where you won’t focus so much on fighting as much as burning the extra fat.
- Kickboxing is great for letting out stress. All the punching and kicking will drain your energy faster than anything, and you will feel much calmer afterward.
- It is a great self-defense martial art, as the skills you will learn are very practical.
- Joint injuries can be very common, especially when you are starting out. Make sure that you learn the proper kicking and punching technique and gradually make progress as you go.
- Just as with boxing and Karate, there is no grappling, so you won’t learn anything about fighting on the ground.
#6 – Wing Chun
The chances are – you haven’t heard of this martial art before. Wing Chun is a combat style that originated from Kung Fu and is gaining popularity over time.
It is a form of Chinese martial art that focuses on quick arm movements. Usually, you will use your forearms and hands much more than your legs.
If you want to work on your physical and mental balance, give Wing Chun a try.
The Pros & Cons of Wing Chun
- You will become extremely fast with your hands and develop amazing coordination. The quick movements will also improve your accuracy over time.
- Wing Chun will teach you some very functional blocks that can be useful in self-defense. Also, your class may even include some dirty techniques which you can use in dangerous situations.
- Chain punching at high speeds will catch most opponents off guard, and very few people can react to it properly.
- It lacks the flair of knockout punches and hard hits that boxing is all about. You usually need a series of successful strikes to knock someone down.
- Wing Chun does not focus on fitness and strength level, rather on technique and speed of arm movement.
- There is no grappling, ground fighting, nor long kicking practice.
#7 – Taekwondo
Nowadays, Taekwondo is a famous martial art and an international sport, but it originated two thousand years ago in Korea. In Taekwondo, you use kicks, punches, and throws, with most focus on kicking styles to attack your opponent. The things you will learn by trying Taekwondo are not limited to physical fighting.
If different kicking skills and incredible combinations amaze you and you wish to learn a few, go for Taekwondo.
The Pros & Cons of Taekwondo
- If you ever become great at it, it looks impressive (and that is an understatement).
- Taekwondo is a wonderful choice for flexibility, mobility, and coordination of movements. Your balance will improve greatly as well.
- There are many possibilities to compete since it is a popular, Olympic sport.
- The values that Taekwondo promotes can help you become a better person overall. It will teach you humbleness, discipline, respect, and so much more.
- It is not all that practical in real-life situations. If you are looking for mainly self-defense martial arts, you might want to look elsewhere.
- Taekwondo can easily become frustrating because it requires patience, and the skill-cap is very high.
- You need quite a bit of flexibility to be good at it, and it can be a painful journey to get there.
We would love nothing more than to hear your thoughts on the best types of martial arts.
Which one is your favorite, and how did you get started?
Let us know by leaving a comment down below right away!