Martial arts can be divided into a multitude of categories. I feel that the two most useful ways to categorise Martial arts is by how much resistant training (rolling/sparring) is done, or by what range the art focuses on (Weapons/Striking/Grappling). **** Taking a look at arts with a reasonably high level of resistance in training: You have the hard sparring striking arts like Muay Thai, Boxing, Knockdown Karate. These tend to involve a high level of hard physical work. If you choose one of these arts you should be prepared for the occasional blood-nose or fat lip. These arts will teach you how to strike others, and how to avoid being struck. You have grappling arts with a substantial amount of rolling (the grappling equivalent of sparring). This includes Judo, Sambo, Shuai Jiao, Sumo, Submission Wrestling, Olympic freestyle and Greco-roman Wrestling and many others. These will teach you throws, arm-bars, leg-locks and chokes (as well as teaching you to defend yourself from all the aforementioned techniques). You have hard-sparring generalist arts, these cover both grappling and striking. Gyms that fall into this catagory tend to focus on a specific ruleset like MMA, Sanda/Sanshou or Combat Sambo. Then you have weapons arts with realistic training. This includes the Filipino Martial Arts such as Anis, Eskrima or Kali. Certain Historical European Martial Arts (or HEMA) groups also fall into this catagory. There are a few other arts as well, but hard training with weapons is very tricky to find. Dog brothers are an organisation that would be worth looking into if you are interested in hard-contact weapons work. **** Looking at arts with a moderate level of resistance in training: In striking most taekwondo groups would fall into this category, as would non-knockdown styles of karate. A lot of strip-mall dojos end up in this catagory Grappling arts would include harder forms of Aikido such as Shodokan. Generalist arts would include Hapkido, Japanese Jujitsu, Ninjutsu and the Self-defence targeted arts such as Krav Maga and Keysi. Weapons arts would include Kendo and Fencing. **** Arts with little or no resistance include: Grappling arts like Ki Aikido train with little to no resistance. Most striking arts include resistance, although many schools train without. An example of a striking art that is prone to being trained in a non-resisting manner is Karate. Striking arts classes aimed at children can often fall into this category. Generalist arts like Taijiquan and Baguazhang are often trained with no resistance. Weapons arts like Iaido and Kyudo are trained without resistance (AFAIK). **** I hope this list is of some assistance. People will be able to provide more help if you post what is available in your area.