FAQ - What is the best martial art for me?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussion' started by aikiwolfie, Jan 9, 2011.

  1. aikiwolfie

    aikiwolfie ... Supporter

    What is the best martial art for me?

    This is likely one of the most popular questions beginners to martial arts ask here on MAP. Unfortunately we cannot answer this question for you. You will have to do that part your self. What we can do however is help you ask the right sort of questions that will help you find that answer.

    Be Honest with Yourself
    Martial arts in general take a long time to learn. Depending on the art it can take years to become proficient, decades to get really good and a life time to master. There is no montage in real life. So before embarking on a study of martial arts, get comfortable with the reality that you may be in it for the long haul.

    With that out of the way it's time to get to grips with your goals and objectives. What is it you specifically want to achieve? Are you drawn to martial arts to learn some self defence tips? Competition? General fitness? A need to fill some free time? Or simply a general interest in martial arts?

    These are important questions to answer as they will impact on the advice people should be giving you and the final answer you arrive at. There is for example little point in learning Iaido if you have no interest in swordsmanship and are simply looking for some simple self defence tips.

    Do You Have any Medical Problems?
    When considering martial arts it's important to account for any medical issues or disabilities you may have. Does your condition limit the length of time you can train? Does it limit your mobility? Does it cause weakened muscles, bones or joints? Is your vision or hearing impaired?

    Having a medical condition does not automatically count you out. However you will need to discuss it with your chosen instructor and in some cases a doctor. This is for the safety and well being for all concerned. It is important that you have access to any medications you may need, the instructor knows what to do if something goes wrong and his or her insurance will allow you to practice at their club.

    General Health and Fitness?
    While it might be advantageous to be fit and healthy when taking up martial arts. It is in general not a requirement. The training you receive in the dojo, gym or training hall should have some focus on getting you physically fit for training. Many teachers today however focus on teaching techniques and elements specific to the art. So keep in mind you may need to take up additional fitness training. You can do this on your own or join a gym. Stamina, flexibility and strength all play a part in martial arts techniques. So don't focus on one element of fitness and ignore the others.

    How Far Can You Travel?
    Traditionally I would phrase this question as “how far are you willing to travel”? However there is a huge difference between being “willing” and “able”. How far you are willing to travel is a longer term concern. Focus on the immediate short term future. How far can you travel week in, week out to get to class. This defines the radius within which you should start your search for a club.

    How To Find A Club
    Unfortunately martial arts aren't universally available everywhere. So bear in mind your choice may be limited. In the modern era the first port of call is normally the web. A simple web search with your chosen search engine should turn up some leads. Other sources include the phone book and notice boards in community centres, church halls, sports centres, fitness clubs, gyms, synagogues, mosques, temples, your place of work or study. Basically anywhere people congregate in large numbers. And don't forget to ask family and friends.

    Once you have found out what is in your area you can check them out. Arrange to visit the club and watch a class. Some instructors will even give a free taster session. Frankly there is no substitute for hands on experience. So take it if it's on offer. And don't forget to ask about the costs.

    What will it cost?
    Every club is different. Some clubs charge next to nothing on a practice by practice basis while others have a more structured and professional/retail approach when it comes to collecting money. Some clubs will even ask you to set up automated payments like a bank standing order or direct debit. And some clubs will ask you to sign a legally binding contract.

    Additionally insurance is almost always a mandatory requirement to be allowed to practice. This is in case you suffer serious injury that requires long term medical treatment or causes you to lose earnings if you or a member of your family needs to take time off work. Normally this insurance will only cover you for club sanctioned activities.

    Other costs may cover equipment, uniforms, gradings/tests, additional courses and in many cases there will be an annual membership fee that is separate from your practice fee and your insurance fee. The important thing in dealing with the cost is to make sure you know what they are upfront. Read the small print on any contracts or terms and conditions you sign up to and make sure you get a copy. And always make sure you have the option to leave the club and stop any payments when you choose to.

    Martial Arts as an Answer to Self Defence?
    To my knowledge there are no credible established martial arts systems focusing specifically on the problem of self defence for members of the public. What they do teach is their own system adapted to try and address modern day self defence requirements. Some schools do this better than others. Some styles lend themselves to self defence better than others.

    The key element that seems to be mentioned time and again is simplicity. The techniques being taught with an eye on self defence need to be simple, easy and quick to apply and learn. However with all of that said, keep in mind when assessing a martial art that many of the techniques will have been designed to teach the student more than how to hit someone hard. Quite often seemingly long winded and complicated techniques will have a much shorter and sharper variant.

    So if the techniques of a style you are considering appear to be overly complicated. Don't be afraid to ask if there are shorter, sharper versions of those techniques.

    Resources and Martial Arts Represented Here on MAP
    Martial Arts Planet hosts a number of forum areas dedicated to a specific martial art. In these forum areas, members can discuss aspects of their chosen style. These areas of MAP can be a good source of information for the novice. For your convenience I have link to the various different style specific forum areas below. MAP also has an Articles and Reviews section and a Health & Fitness section.

    Aikido, Boxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Filipino Martial Arts, Hapkido, Internal Martial Arts, Jeet Kune Do, Judo, Ju Jitsu, Karate, Kenpo, Kickboxing, Koryu Bujutsu, Kuk Sool, Kung Fu, MMA/Submission Fighting, Ninjutsu, Silat, Tae Kwon Do, Tai Chi, Thai Boxing, Weapons, Western Martial Arts and Other Styles.
  2. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    Excellent post, with all the links in one place too.
  3. Atre

    Atre Valued Member

    Really good, worth considering a sticky.
    One question missing IMHO:

    "How do I tell if a club is good?"

    Or variations on that theme - tis no good wanting to do *example art* if the local *example art*'s club is utterly useless.

    PS. Also "Which art is the best for punching/grappling/locks etc...?"
    Not like there is a simple answer available buuuut it does come up very regularly :)
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2011
  4. aikiwolfie

    aikiwolfie ... Supporter

    Your first question is more or less dealt with in the McDojo FAQ. You're second question isn't really one I can answer in a FAQ like this since it's largely a matter of opinion. What I'm really trying to do here is arm noobs with the right questions to ask so that they can arrive at the answers themselves.
  5. ChangNam

    ChangNam Valued Member

    Nice way to put it out there !! To bad many of the new guys don't read it ;)
  6. digitalfanatic

    digitalfanatic Valued Member

    Anything takes time to learn, if you can't afford that, it's better you don't start. As long as the medical problem goes, martial arts really helps come over several medical problems!
  7. PaIntR

    PaIntR New Member

    Thanks for the post, really helpfull! :)
  8. arts

    arts Banned Banned

    Did you check out Aikido (Japanese Martial arts)?
  9. LeaFirebender

    LeaFirebender Ice Bear has ninja stars

    Scoliosis -_-

    Hey, if it weren't for our black belt prep class conditioning (our black belt is nearly entirely fitness based with a 4-hour conditioning/sparring/grappling test) I would have never found out I have a 12 degree scoliosis :eek:

    But yeah. Our master is accommodating, I'm lucky. :cool: all the scoliosis is gonna mean is that for the leg-lift thing (where you lay down holding your legs six inches above the ground) i'm going to need a towel under my back. He'll be cool with that :)
  10. AngelaJonson

    AngelaJonson New Member

    What is the best martial art for me?

    Martial Arts is like training your body to be fit and healthy. Each type of martial art has a goal and a specific purpose to practice. So, first you should take a physical check up and then just consult a martial art expert and get to know your strengths. After you discover your physical strengths, you will eventually get to know which is best for you. And, I believe whatever works best in your body is the best martial art to practice.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 4, 2012
  11. Logan830

    Logan830 New Member

    Hey guys, I've been looking at taking some martial arts classes this upcoming semester at school but, I'm not really confident in myself to do so; for some reason. I tried a tae kwon do class a few months ago and I absolutely loved it, only problem was after the first session it was not free and I did not have the money at the time. I can afford classes now and I'm really interested in krav maga, something about it just draws me towards it. I feel like since my only experience is a single class for about an hour I would be hindering those around me in my process to learn. Yes, I realize I am there to learn but, at the same time, I'm not sure what to do. Any advice and tips would be greatly appreciated!
  12. aikiwolfie

    aikiwolfie ... Supporter

    Find a club and train is a simple or complicated as it needs to be. Everybody was a beginner at some point and they learned from someone with more experience. Part of the martial arts culture is you pass on what you have learned to the next generation of students. So you certainly will no be a hindrance.

    Find a club and train. Let us know how you get on.
  13. chaoswithntruth

    chaoswithntruth New Member

    Finding a martial art...

    Hey everyone,

    I've decided to pick up a martial art..and well thats about as far as ive gotten. lol i know that id like a style that involves meditation, and preferably one that focus's on powerfull strikes...any help/info?

  14. aikiwolfie

    aikiwolfie ... Supporter

    So do you have any idea of what's within what you consider to be travelling distance? If not then find out. Then we can help.

    Welcome to MAP :)
  15. chaoswithntruth

    chaoswithntruth New Member

    Well im in the Navy at the moment, so as far as traveling goes i cant go to awfully far. In the future it is a possibility though.
    And thank you!
  16. aikiwolfie

    aikiwolfie ... Supporter

    Personally I recommend you take this up when you are actually in a position to do something about it.
  17. ocozias

    ocozias New Member

    I'm looking for a martial art. I've read this blog http://japanesejujutsu.blogspot.com/ and I think that that guy is alucinating. I don't think that Japanese Jujutsu is for me. Can anyone help and advise me.
  18. aikiwolfie

    aikiwolfie ... Supporter

    Did you actually read the first post in this thread? I suggest you start there.
  19. johnleo

    johnleo Banned Banned

    What is the best martial art for me?

    Really excellent post. I really like your points about Martial Arts. After studying your article, my understanding has improved substantially. Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practices. They are practiced for a variety of reasons, including self-defense, competition, physical health and fitness, as well as mental, physical, and spiritual development.

    Advertising link removed.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 1, 2012
  20. senseiray

    senseiray New Member


    This is a good question that a lot of people ask me and i always advise them to first go to the schools that offer the first lesson free this way you
    1. find out if this is for you
    2. are you comfortable training in this style and

    3.is this what you as an individual really want to do .
    It is like shopping for a shirt or a dress , you have to be comfortable wearing it or your just not going to be happy and you would have wasted all that money and time . when you could have brought a shirt or dress that fits you great and you feel good . true?

    the same with anything in life we have to be sure , so when as that question WHAT IS THE BEST MARTIAL ART FOR ME ?.

    Only you will know that answer , when you find it . :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 10, 2013

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