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Which Martial Arts Should I Learn First? (Guide for Beginners)

Which Martial Arts Should I Learn First?

Which martial arts should I learn first?

There’s a bunch of martial arts that you can learn – some are definitely more effective than others for self defense.

In this post we have broken down over 10 different martial arts with their pros/cons and type of training you can expect from them.

In my own personal martial arts journey, I have trained boxing, aikido, wrestling, Brazlian jiu jitsu, judo, muay thai and mma. Currently, my personal favorite is Brazlian jiu jitsu in which I have over 6 years experience and currently hold a purple belt rank.

If you are looking to learn self defense and become well rounded, we recommend learning BJJ and Muay Thai first. Brazilian jiu jitsu will introduce you to grappling with submissions while Muay Thai will expose you to striking. Plus it compliments bjj very well.

Read more: Some martial arts are certainly better for self defense than others

Which Martial Art Should I Learn First – Key Takaeaways

  • The issue with choosing a martial art is finding one that is effective for self defense and works on a fully resisting opponent
  • For this reason we lean heavily towards recommending martial arts that include live sparring (such as boxing, bjj, muay thai, wrestling, judo)
  • We recommend learning BJJ and Muay Thai if you are new to martial arts.
  • Brazlian jiu jitsu is very accessible and it is easy to find a legimate school. Additionally, you can train bjj at a very high intensity when sparring with very little chance of injury (when compared to striking martial arts).
  • However, since bjj doesn’t have any striking, we also recommend learning muay thai since it includes learning a variety of strikes and compliments bjj very well.
  • Finally, you’ll find that many BJJ gyms will often offer Muay Thai classes as well

There are so many different styles of martial arts to select from. In this post we have broken down popular martial arts styles into the below categories:

  • Striking
    1. Boxing
    2. Karate
    3. Muay Thai
    4. Tae Kwon Do
  • Grappling
    1. Judo
    2. Wrestlig
    3. Sambo
    4. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
  • Striking and Grappling
    1. Krav Maga
    2. MMA

Related: If you are looking for the best martial arts for your child – check out our full post here

To train in martial arts, one must devote much time, effort, and self-discipline. As a result,  it might seem a bit difficult and confusing to pick one. 

If you are looking to become a well rounded martial artist or wondering which martial arts should I learn first, our recommedation is to train both muay thai and brazilian jiu jitsu.

Read More: How to balance and train both BJJ and muay thai

However, this post should give you some inisght into each martial art, and we also recommend trying any martial art you are interested in to learn more about it.

Choosing one to study when you first start is essential to your development as a martial artist. So this post aims to provide an overview of the different martial arts and guide you into choosing what you should learn first as a beginner.

Related: Best Martial Arts for Girls

Table of Contents

    Which Martial Arts Should I Learn First?

    Which martial art should I learn first?” is a question often raised by those just starting in the field of martial arts.

    Choosing it will depend on the reasons you want to learn them in the first place. There is a martial arts style that will fit your goals; whether your goal is to fight competitively, better yourself, or for self-defense doesn’t matter.

    It would help if you chose a specific style and trained until you became proficient. After that, consider expanding your practice to include several forms of martial arts.

    But there are more factors to consider if you want to practice martial arts and explore the field.

    Choosing a martial art should be guided by two main principles:

    1. Effective on a fully resisting opponent – is the martial art effective on a fully restisting oppponent? Would it work in a real life self defense scenario? Some martial arts are not practiced on a restisting opponent. So if you looking for a realistic martial art you must always consider would this martial art or techniques work on someone who is fully resisting?
    2. Include frequent live sparring – live sparring means that the martial is practiced will full effort by individausl. For example in jiu jitsu, you wil usually live spar at the end of class. This is where both practitioners are trying to submit their opponent with full effort while trying to avoid being submitted. If a martial art includes frequent live sparring, you can guarantee that the techniques being taught work in a real life situation

    How Should a Beginner Learn Martial Arts?

    Suppose you are considering beginning martial arts. In that case, the first step you will do is to study more about the sorts of martial arts you would want to learn by conducting thorough research or consulting an expert in the field. 

    Next, you need to look for a school or a fitness center where you can join and start taking classes at the beginning level. These classes will teach you the fundamentals and the basic body movements, techniques, and conditioning.

    Difference Types of Martial Arts Explained

    There are over 190 distinct styles of martial arts developed. However, out of the many different martial arts styles, only a select few have gained widespread popularity and are now practiced. Because they all share similar core tenants, most martial arts are beneficial to study. 

    In this section, we have divided some of these types of martial arts into the following three categories:

    • Striking
    • Grappling
    • Striking and Grappling

    We have also included in each martial art the below details:

    • what’s training like?
    • how effective is it?
    • how to start?


    1. Boxing

    Boxing is a contact sport that is also widely practiced by those interested in enhancing their level of physical fitness. It is a style of striking in which competitors attempt to land blows on one another while avoiding being attacked.

    Great cardiovascular workoutLimited to punching techniques
    Excellent for developing punching power and accuracyCan lead to hand injuries over time
    Teaches footwork and defensive skillsNo kicking, grappling, or ground-fighting techniques
    Can be practiced competitively or non-competitivelyMay require access to a boxing gym or specialized equipment

    Only strikes with your fist are allowed and you are only allowed to strike the head and upper body of your opponent.

    Related: BJJ vs Boxing

    What is the training like

    Boxing is a fist-fighting sport. Boxers use thick-padded gloves, and exchange punches to dominate their opponents. Boxers must evade or block their opponent’s strikes to protect their heads and bodies.

    To prepare for this, boxing traing often involves:

    • heavy bag work
    • speed bag work
    • punching on pads
    • some sparringwhen experienced

    Their coach or training partner will use this equipment for defensive and offensive drills to increase their striking power, and counterpunching. Training also includes sparring. 

    In sparring, boxers work toward rounds that last between two and three minutes, with one-minute breaks in between.

    In boxing, there are two distinct sorts of training:

    • learning boxing techniques
    • increasing cardio and endurance for boxing

    How effective is it 

    If you train in boxing, you will learn how to keep your weight distributed appropriately, move your feet and head, avoid being punched, and hit correctly.

    Anyone with boxing experience will certainly have an edge and strong striking basics for any competitve training such as mixed martial arts or in a self defense scenario.

    How to Start and What Do You Need

    Boxing is still quite popular even with MMA ever growing in popularity.

    You can often find boxing only gyms or boxing classes at a larger training center.

    For boxing you may need:

    • boxing gloves
    • wraps
    • head gear
    • cup
    • shorts
    • mouthguard

    My current jiu jitsu gym offers boxing as well as other striking classes. So we recommend finding a reputable gym in your area and trying out your first class.

    2. Karate

    Male and female karate players

    The “hard” form of Japanese martial arts is known as Karate. It indicates that this art style’s motions are quite precise and well-defined. Karate is known for its emphasis on hand and kicking strikes, using the elbows and knees. 

    Teaches striking, blocking, and kicking techniquesLimited ground-fighting techniques
    Emphasizes mental and physical disciplineMay not be the best option for self-defense situations
    Develops flexibility, strength, and agilityMay be hard to find a legitimate gym that includes sparring
    Can be practiced at various skill levelsSome styles may focus on traditional forms rather than practical applications

    Karate, while it used to be extremely popular, has been over taken recently by other martial arts such as bjj, muay thai, and mma.

    Karate may still be good as an introductory martial art for your child or someone who is looking to experience traditional martial arts training.

    Related: BJJ vs Karate

    What is the training like

    In karate, self-defense methods, including powerful physical moves, are taught to practitioners. The training includes hitting padded surfaces and wood to strengthen their striking skills.

    Karate is practiced in two different ways by students. The first one is Kumite, which consists of attack and defensive techniques against an opponent. The other type is Kata, which involves fighting an imagined opponent. 

    How effective is it 

    Karate emphasizes self-discipline and respect for others more than it does actual self-defense tactics. Consequently, it is possible that it will not be as effective in real combat situations.

    Karate has however been proven effective in the world of MMA by several popular karate focused fighters such as:

    • Robert Whittaker
    • Bas Rutten
    • Stephen “Wonderboy” Thomson

    So it can still be an effective base for someone looking to get into MMA or become a well rounded martial artist. Again, we would just urge you to try to find a reputable gym that includes techniques practiced on a restisting opponent and one that includes live sparring.

    How to Start and What Do You Need

    If you wish to learn Karate, you should look into karate schools near you.

    Get in touch with the schools to ask questions about their lessons, find their schedules, and get a sense of their learning method.

    You should be aware that karate may not be an effective martial art for self defense when taught in the more traditional sence, but it is good for overally martial art exposure.

    For karate you may need:

    • kimonon or gi
    • mouth guard

    To find out whether Karate suits you, try a trial class and see if you like the class environment and the teacher. When you decide to enroll, you can start buying Karate essentials such as your uniforms (gi) and a belt.

    3. Muay Thai

    2 Players competing with each other using Muay thai

    The fighting sport and martial art known as Muay Thai, also known as Thai Boxing, originates in Thailand. Fighters in a Muay Thai match can strike their opponents with various methods, including punches, kicks, knees, and elbows, shins, and feet

    Teaches striking, clinching, and knee/elbow techniquesLimited grappling techniques
    Emphasizes conditioning and staminaCan be hard on the body, leading to injuries over time
    Emphasizes practical self-defenseLimited in terms of joint locks, throws, and takedowns
    Can provide a high-intensity workoutMay be tought initially for those are not in the best shape

    What is the training like

    Muay Thai is well-known for the rigorous training techniques used to develop physical fitness and stamina. Training for Muay Thai typically comprises various physical activities like cardiovascular, strength and conditioning (often weightlifting), and technical exercises.

    Traing usually includes:

    • pad work
    • guided technique/instruction
    • live sparring
    • conditioning exercises

    Technique training is an essential aspect of the sport of Muay Thai. This training includes practicing striking methods such as punching, kicking, knee, and elbow strikes and defensive strategies like blocking and dodging.

    How effective is it 

    Muay Thai is a very well-founded martial art used as a combat sport and self-defense and is extremely popular in MMA. The techniques used in this art are meant to rapidly and efficiently disable an opponent.

    As a result of its emphasis on forceful attacks and close-quarters combat, it has earned a reputation for being both effective and practical in the context of real-life fighting situations.

    How to Start and What Do You Need

    Just like the other martial arts discussed above, you may learn more about Muay Thai at a gym or academy near you that offers lessons in the art. 

    For muay thai you may need:

    • gloves
    • wraps
    • shin guards
    • head gear
    • cup
    • mouth guard

    When you first begin training, you’ll focus on the fundamentals with exercises and then transition to more complex moves and sparring.

    4. Kung Fu

    Kung fu

    Kung fu is a traditional kind of martial art that developed in China. It is a collection of fighting techniques and strategies that have refined over time. Kung fu practitioners utilize their bodies to strike, kick and sometimes grapple with their opponents.

    We don’t recommend kung fu for those interested in self defense.

    Here is a table outlining the pros and cons of kung fu as a martial art:

    Emphasizes both striking and grappling techniquesLikely very difficult to find a legitimate school that includes effective techniques*
    Develops flexibility, strength, and agilityNot be the best option for self-defense situations
    Emphasizes mental and physical disciplineMay not provide a good cardiovascular workout
    Offers a variety of styles and techniquesSome styles may focus on forms rather than practical techniques

    Related: Jiu Jitsu vs Kung Fu

    What is the training like

    Training in Kung Fu is a combination of the study of ancient Chinese philosophy and theory as well as techniques.

    Sparring, technical exercises, and physical conditioning are the three main components of a Kung Fu training session.

    Techniques like kicks, punches, and blocks are practiced alone, with a punching bag or wooden dummy, or in conjunction with one another during technical exercises, also known as sparring.

    How effective is it

    Kung Fu strongly emphasizes the use of leverage and accuracy to overcome the bulk and strength of an opponent.

    But the most well-known benefit of Kung Fu is its capacity to develop mental discipline and concentration. 

    How to Start and What Do You Need

    It may be quite difficult to find a kung fu school in your area and even more difficult would be trying to find one that is legitimate and practices useful and effective techniques that would work in a live sparring scenario.

    Kung fu isn’t very popular currently so we recommend considering other more popular, effective options such as MMA, wrestling, muay thai, or bjj.

    For kung for you may need:

    • gi or kimono

    Kung Fu is a martial art that requires commitment and regular practice to master. Like learning any other physical skill, it is a process that requires time and hard work.

    5. Tae Kwon Do

    Tae kwon do

    Korean martial art Tae Kwon Do focuses primarily on kicking and striking moves. One of the most commonly practiced, it is recognized for its emphasis on quick and forceful kicking techniques.

    Emphasizes high kicks and rapid footworkLittle to no grappling, takedowns, submissions
    Develops flexibility, strength, and agilityLimited since it focuses strongly on kicking techniques
    Emphasizes mental and physical disciplineSparring be hard on the body, leading to injuries over time
    Offers a variety of forms and techniquesMay not be suitable for individuals with joint problems

    Related: Jiu Jitsu vs Tae Kwon Do

    What is the training like

    Physical fitness, technique drills, and sparring are all integral parts of Tae Kwon Do training.

    Punching, kicking, and blocking skills are mainly developed and improved throughout Tae Kwon Do training. Demonstrating one’s prowess may include practicing pre-arranged set patterns of tactics and executing methods alone or on wooden boards.

    Another thing they do is sparring to put the skills learned in training to work in a realistic setting, practicing their strategy and quickness in the process.

    To reduce the likelihood of harm, students wear protective gear while sparring under the close supervision of a trained teacher.  

    There are also options to compete in Tae Kwon Do – a Tae Kwon Do competition is usually points based and based on effective strikes landed.

    How effective is it 

    The style is well-known for its solid, powerful kicks and quick, effective movements. This martial art serves several purposes: self-defense, leisure, workout, and competition.

    Attacks with various strikes, kicks, blocks, and sweeps are methods used to inflict devastating blows on an opponent to render them incapable as fast as possible.

    It can be quite effective if learned and trained proplery.

    How to Start and What Do You Need

    Once you’ve decided on a school, it’s time to get in touch with them to learn more about their courses, scheduling, and tuition rates. If you’re unsure whether Tae Kwon Do suits you, you may try it out with a free session offered by most schools.

    For tae kwon do you may need:

    • head gear
    • gloves
    • groin pads and cup
    • shin guards
    • mouth guard
    • hand wraps
    • chest pad
    • kimono

    Continually listen to your teachers’ advice and work on your skills. Training in Tae Kwon Do takes time and dedication like any other martial art. 


    1. Judo


    Judo is a grappling martial art that emphasizes throws, grapples, pins, and submission grips and locks. Generally, there is no striking in Judo and it is purely grappling and takedown based.

    Here is a table outlining the pros and cons of Judo as a martial art:

    Emphasizes grappling and throwing techniquesNo striking techniques
    Teaches practical self-defense skillsStrong focus on gi based techniques and throws
    Includes frequent live sparringCan definitely be hard on the body, leading to injuries over time

    Related: Judo vs BJJ

     What is the training like

    Judo training often includes drills to develop strength, stamina, and flexibility and practice techniques like throws, hold, grappling, and submissions. They will next work with a partner to practice these methods.

    A dojo is a typical setting for judokas to practice and train. Still, some academies or gyms offer courses for Judo as well. 

    How effective is it 

    Judo is an excellent martial art for actual fighting and self-defense. Judo is a martial art that improves physical and mental aspects, as well as developing coordination.

    The grappling and throwing skills make it possible to handle and overpower an opponent safely, without inflicting serious damage.

    Judo teaches techniques that are effective even against a bigger, tougher attacker.

    How to Start and What Do You Need

    Like the others, the easiest method to start in Judo is to join a gym or academy in your area.

    Often gyms may hold separate Judo classes. Alternatively, many Brazilian jiu jitsu (bjj) gyms also hold separeate judo classes as well.

    For judo you may need:

    • gi
    • mouth guard
    • rash guard
    • cup

    If you do find a reputable judo club we recommend giving it a shot if you are at all interested in learnined grappling and takedown basics.

    In addition, most judo clubs will require you to have the traditional uniform, known as a “gi,” before beginning training.

    2. Wrestling


    Wrestling is a combat sport that utilizes grappling tactics such as throwing, holds, grappling, and locks.   It

    Wrestling is a sport in which the objective is to takedown, control, and pin your opponent.

    Here is a table outlining the pros and cons of Wrestling as a martial art:

    Emphasizes takedowns, throws, and grapplingNo striking
    Definitly teachs self-defense skillscompetition is heavily point based
    Develops strength, endurance, and agilityCan be hard on the body, leading to injuries over time
    Offers a really tough workoutMay teach less than ideal habits for MMA or BJJ
    Is an excellent base for MMAMay not be as accessible after schooling

    In the USA its a very popular martial art during schooling from elementary school all the way into college. Its a very challengeing and effective martial art that makes a great base for MMA.

    If you are school aged we strongly recommend giving wrestling a shot.

    Related: BJJ vs Wrestling

    Related: Wrestling Moves for BJJ

    What is the training like

    An average wrestling training session:

    • begins with a warm up (which could be movements or runnng)
    • driling specific techniques
    • positional sparring
    • live sparring rounds

    The training focuses on skills like pins and submissions, takedowns, and throws. 

    How effective is it 

    Wrestling is very effective both in a competitive setting or in a self defense scenario.

    Wrestling teachs you very strong ways to control and take down an opponent. If somone has wrestling experience you can guarantee they will be very effective in an street alteraction.

    How to Start and What Do You Need

    If you are middle school or highschool your school may offer wrestling which is a great way to get started in the sport.

    If you are out of school and older, you may also find wrestling clubs in the area

    For wrestling you may need:

    • singlet
    • headgear
    • wrestling shoes
    • cup
    • mouth guard

    Finally, Brazilian jiu jitsu also includes several wrestling techniques in its training and a bjj gym may also even offer separate wrestling classes.

    3. Sambo

    Sambo is a fighting sport and a martial art developed in Russia at the beginning of the 20th century. It combines many other types of martial arts, such as Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, and Wrestling.

    Sambo may be classified into three primary categories: Sport Sambo, Combat Sambo, and Freestyle Sambo.

    Here is a pros and cons table focused purely on Sport Sambo (grappling based):

    Emphasizes takedowns, throws, and grapplingLimited striking techniques
    Excellent based for MMAMay be hard to find a sambo gym
    Develops strength, endurance, and agilityCan also be hard on the body, leading to injuries over time
    Includes techniques from various martial artsFocus on gi technques and leg locks

    Related: Sambo vs BJJ

    What is the training like

    Sambo training includes:

    • Sparring
    • drilling techniques
    • physical conditioning

    The different grappling and submission techniques utilized in sambo are practiced during drills. These techniques include throws, pins, and holds, usually done with a sparring partner.

    How effective is it 

    The martial art of Sambo is regarded as one of the most efficient forms of combat, both in the context of competition and practical self-defense settings.

    Because of its focus on grappling and submission methods, it is well-suited for battle in close-range fights. 

    Many practitioners of other martial arts, such as BJJ  and MMA have incorporated Sambo into their training. 

    Sambo has also been used by the Russian military and law enforcement, proving its applicability in real-world contexts.

    How to Start and What Do You Need

    While finding a sambo gym in your area depending on where you live may be quite difficult, if you do find a reputable gym and are interested we strong recommend trying it out.

    For sambo you may need:

    • gi jack
    • shorts
    • cup
    • head gear
    • shin guards
    • shoes
    • gloves
    • wraps

    However, only a few gyms and academies now offer Sambo in different places as of this time. Thus, you can still learn through online courses.

    4. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

    Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

    Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a grappling- and ground-based martial art and combat sport. This martial art has roots in traditional Japanese Jiu-Jitsu. It is extremely popular and effective martial art for anyone looking learn basic grappling skills.

    Here is a table outlining the pros and cons of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as a martial art:

    Emphasizes takedowns, grappling, and submissionsNo striking
    Teaches serious practical self-defense skillsCan often focus too much on “sport jiu jitsu”
    Develops strength, endurance, and flexibilityCan sometimes be hard on the body, leading to injuries over time
    Can be an excellent and fun workoutMay be expensive
    Can be learned by anyone
    Can be practice at a high intensity with limited risk of injury

    It is a great martial art for both hobbysits and serious competitors.

    What is the training like

    BJJ training may be done while wearing agi or no gi.

    In BJJ gi, the conventional uniform, known as a gi, is worn by participants. In no-gi, participants do not wear uniforms and use rashguards instead.

    Training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu often includes

    • warm ups
    • drilling techniques
    • positional sparring
    • live sparring

    Related Article: Gi Vs No Gi BJJ: What’s the Difference and Which One is Best for You

    How effective is it 

    Because of its many features, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is often regarded as one of the most effective martial arts.

    Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu places a greater emphasis on the use of leverage and on grappling and ground fighting than it does on using force.

    It allows a smaller, less powerful individual to successfully defend themselves against a bigger, more powerful attacker, regardless of size and age.

    How to Start and What Do You Need

    BJJ is very popular so we recommend finding a reputable gym in your area and trying out a class or two

    For Brazilian jiu jitsu you may need:

    • gi
    • rash guard
    • shorts
    • cup
    • head gear
    • mouthguard

    Read more: Our full list – what do you need for BJJ

    Must Read: How to find a legitamite bjj gym here

    Striking and Grappling

    1. Krav Maga

    Krav Maga

    Krav Maga is a martial art established in Israel and incorporated tactics from various combat systems, such as Judo, Karate, Boxing, and Wrestling.

    It is meant to be a self defense system. However, it may be difficult to find a reputable gym so we recommend looking into muay thai, bjj, or mma training since it is more popular, reputable, and more effective.

    Emphasizes practical self-defense techniquesLimited emphasis on sports or competition
    Teaches defenses against armed attackersTechniques not proven in MMA
    Emphasizes aggressive tacticsMay take “watered down” techniques from other martial arts
    Can be practiced by individuals of various ages and fitness levelsMay not provide a good cardiovascular workout
    Can be expensive or difficult to find qualified instructors

    Related: Krav Maga vs Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

    What is the training like

    Drilling and other forms of situational training are included in most classes, which professional trainers typically lead.

    This martial arts style instructs students in various striking techniques, including punches, palm heel strikes, and eye and throat strikes.

    How effective is it 

    While Krava maga techniques may seem effective, the training often does not include live sparring so its hard to say how truly effective it is.

    Krava mage intends to be a full self defense sytem, but it seems that the most effective parts of the martial art are those taken from other martial arts disciplines such as bjj, wrestling, judo, and muay thai.

    How to Start and What Do You Need

    To start practicing Krav Maga, the best thing to do is to find a certified Krav Maga instructor or school near you and enroll in classes. 

    This will ensure that you are learning the correct techniques and principles from experienced instructors who can provide guidance and support. 

    For krav maga you may need:

    • gloves
    • wraps
    • cup
    • shin guards
    • head gear
    • mouth guard
    • athletic clothing

    It may be quite difficult to find a legimate krav maga gym, so we do recommend sticking with other more legitmate martial arts such as muay thai, bjj, and wrestling.

    2. MMA

    2 MMA players are fighting.

    Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a full-contact combat sport that draws from many different martial arts traditions. These include Boxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling, and Muay Thai, incorporating both grappling and striking techniques.

    Includes techniques from multiple martial artsCan be physically demanding and intense
    Teaches practical self-defense skillsMay not be suitable for individuals who are in less than good physical shape
    Develops strength, endurance, and agilityCan be expensive due to equipment and training costs
    Can be practiced at various skill levelsCan be intimidating for beginners or those unfamiliar with contact sports
    Requires access to a well-equipped gym or training facility

    What is the training like

    Mixed martial arts (MMA) training combines striking, grappling, and conditioning. Boxers, wrestlers, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners, and Muay Thai practitioners all work with instructors and trainers to develop their skills in various martial arts.

    Training may include:

    • conditioning exercises
    • striking/drilling exercises
    • sparring

    How effective is it 

    The versatility and effectiveness of MMA’s fighting style have earned it a reputation as an extremely effective martial art.

    Mixed martial arts (MMA) is most often utilized for competition. Still, it may also be employed for self-defense in dangerous situations.

    How to Start and What Do You Need

    Get in touch with the gym you’re interested in to learn more about their class times and schedules after you’ve decided on pursuing it.

    For MMA, you may need:

    • gloves
    • wraps
    • head gear
    • shin guards
    • shorts
    • athletic clothing
    • cup

    Some gyms may offer MMA basics or fundamentals class as well which would be a great intro for anyone looking to get into MMA.

    Traditional Martial Arts vs Modern Martial Arts

    When we talk about “traditional martial arts,” we’re referring to combat styles handed down from generation to generation and have deep roots in the local history and culture. It includes every aspect, spiritual, physical, and ethical. Karate, Judo, and Taekwondo are all classical forms of martial art.

    In contrast, the term “modern martial arts” is used to describe more contemporary fighting styles that may draw from various sources, including traditional martial arts. The purpose of these fighting techniques may be anything from sport and self-defense to the military and war, like MMA and BJJ, and aims for efficiency.

    Why We Should Look Toward What’s Effective in MMA Competitions

    Mixed martial arts (MMA) events include athletes trained in various martial disciplines. Therefore the results may indicate which methods and tactics are most successful in actual unarmed conflict.

    MMA proves what martial arts style is effective since its rule structure allows any martial arts styles/techniques

    Further, seeing what works in MMA tournaments, should help somone choose an effective martial art.

    Some martial arts that are very popular in MMA are:

    • wrestling
    • Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
    • Boxing
    • Muay Thai

    What Martial Art Should I Learn Based on my body type?

    Depending on the martial art their are certainly advantages and disadvantages for specific body types.

    Generally the striking martial arts favor a taller and longer body type while the grappling martial arts provide more advantage to short and stockier builds.

    So here are our recommendations:

    Body TypeBest Martial Arts
    PetiteBrazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Taekwondo, Judo
    Tall and SkinnyMuay Thai, Boxing, Karate, Judo, Taekwondo
    HeavyJudo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestlig
    CurvyMuay Thai, Boxing, Karate
    AthleticKickboxing, Boxing, Muay Thai, Karate
    BeginnerBrazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Boxing, Muay Thai

    While this info shouldn’t necessary sway you to a specific martial art, its good to keep in mind that there are advantages and disadvantages for every body type in almost every martil art.

    Which is the Best Martial Art to Learn First

    Our recommendation for the best combination to become a well-rounded martial artist, one that is effective in training and self-defense, is Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

    Traditional martial arts such as Aikido, Karate, and Kung Fu have great value. But they are likely not effective as other modern martial arts such as Wrestling, Muay Thai, Judo, and BJJ.

    But if you are still in school and younger than 20 years old, and your school offers Wrestling or Judo, we strongly recommend joining them. They are a great base for anyone looking to become a well-rounded martial artist.

    What is the Best Fighting Style to Start With?

    The best combination for becoming a well-rounded martial artist, one that is effective both in training and in a self-defense scenario, is Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

    While other more traditional martial arts such as Aikido, Karate, and Kung Fu do have their value, ultimately, they are likely not as effective as other modern martial arts such as Wrestling, Muay Thai, Judo, and BJJ. .

    Additionally, we do not recommend starting with self-defense systems such as Krav Maga. While some of these may certainly be effective, they have not been proven as effective in the realm of mixed martial arts. Additionally, it may be difficult to find a legitimate school that teaches an effective self-defense system.

    Frequently Asked Questions:

    What Is the Easiest Martial Art to Start With?

    The easiest martial art to start with is one that is accessible and exposes you to legitamite techniques that work on fully resisting opponents.

    The reason why we recommend Brazilian jiu jitsu as the easiest martial art to start with is because:

    • it exposes you to a variety of differnt grappling martial arts such as judo, wrestling, sambo,
    • and can be performed at a high intensity without a high chance of injuray (when compared to striking martial arts)

    What Martial Art Should I Learn as a Woman?

    The best martial arts for a woman are those that can be used to deal with larger or heavier opponents. These are Brazilian jiu jitsu, wrestling, and of course striking martial arts such as boxing, kick boxing, and muay thai.

    We would recommend avoiding traditional martial arts like karate and aikido.

    Related: Best Martial Arts for Girls

    Which Martial Art Should My Child Learn?

    Depending on your child’s age some good martial arts for them to start are Brazilian jiu jitsu, wrestling, and even karate.

    We also recommend starting them in other recreational activities too in order to get them used to taking instruction and to learn to better move their body like gymnastics.

    Related: Best martial arts for your child

    Is 16 Too Late to Start Martial Arts?

    No, 16 is not too late.

    Learning martial arts training is always a good idea, regardless of how old you are. Many individuals start training in martial arts in their teens or even much later in life, yet they still manage to progress.  The most important thing is to find a martial arts style you will love and train regularly.

    What Is the Most Useful Martial Art to Learn?

    The most useful martial art to learn is one that:

    • involves live sparring on a full resisting opponent
    • relies on technique over strenght and athleticism

    For this reason, we recommend Brazilan jiu jitsu as the most useful martial art to learn.

    What Martial Art Should I Learn for Self-Defense?

    There are many different martial arts that can be effective for self-defense, and the best one for you will depend on your individual goals and preferences. 

    If you are looking to become a well rounded martial artist or wondering which martial arts should I learn first, our recommedation is to train both muay thai and brazilian jiu jitsu.

    Both muay thai and bjj are extremely effective for self defense and have been seen to be extremely effective the realm of MMA.

    It’s important to choose a martial art that you enjoy and will be motivated to practice, as this will increase your chances of sticking with it and improving your skills. It’s also a good idea to do some research and find a reputable instructor or school to learn from.

    Best Martial Arts to Learn at Home

    While learning martial arts at home is possible, we strongly recommend that your home martial arts learning to be complementary to live in-class training. At the very least, when training at home, depending on the discipline, we also recommend having a training partner (spouse, sibling, friend) or a grappling dummy to practice techniques.

    Best Martial Arts to Learn for Adults

    When it comes to choosing a martial art to learn as an adult, there are many options to consider. Some popular martial arts styles for adults include Karate, Taekwondo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Krav Maga.

    Each of these styles offers unique benefits,  and challenges and can help improve physical fitness, mental discipline, and self-defense skills. 

    It is important for adults to carefully research and compare different martial arts styles, and to find a reputable and experienced instructor who can provide guidance and support throughout the learning process.

    Which Martial Arts Should I Learn First? – Conclusion

    So, which martial art should you learn first? The answer to that question really depends on your goals and what you’re looking for in martial art. 

    If you want to focus on self-defense and don’t care about competition, then traditional martial art may be the best option for you. 

    However, if you’re interested in learning a more modern form of martial arts that focuses on MMA or fighting competitions, then a modern martial art would be a better fit. 

    Ultimately, the decision is up to you and we encourage you to try out different styles until you find one that fits your needs and goals. 

    And if you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to contact us – we would love to help guide you on your journey to becoming a black belt (or whatever level of mastery you desire).

    Thanks for reading, and see you at the next one!

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