The world of martial arts has over 190 different styles. Each has its unique elements, with a few similarities. If you want to start your martial arts journey, it’s essential to know all the different options available to you.
It’s the most refined and scientific Korean martial arts style. Taekwondo emphasises kicking and punching techniques. The name directly translates to ‘the art of kicking and punching.’
In Taekwondo, fighters attack and defend with their hands and feet. Although weapons aren’t used, it’s an effective way of fighting and defeating opponents.
Everyone knows Kung fu, at least by name. This famous ancient Chinese martial arts style originated from the Shaolin Temple where monks practised for self-defence and good health.
There are different styles and variations within Kung Fu like Tai Chi, Shaolin, Wing Chun and Shaolin. Each style emphasises different combat principles, including weapon skills.
Founded in 1882, Judo is a Japanese martial arts style specialising in throws, joint locks, chokes, trips and sweeps. The style is derived from Jiu-Jitsu and is currently recognised as a sport.
Judo is among the safest styles in martial arts and does not include any deadly techniques. It’s a great style to learn self-defence.
This is another famous Japanese martial arts style. Karate was developed in the 1900s as a self-defence and unarmed combat style. Although its home is Japan, there is a lot of influence from Chinese martial arts.
Karate focuses on taking advantage of the weak parts of your opponent’s body. The style’s arsenal is full of different kicking and punching techniques. Moreover, weapons form part of the combat style.
This is a unique style that has gained popularity through MMA. Many fighters in the sport like Muay Thai for its effectiveness. It focuses on strikes launched from the feet, knees, shins, elbow and hand.
Muay Thai also has different sweep and takedown techniques. Students practise clinching with high-pressure techniques.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)
BJJ is the brainchild of Jigoro Kano. The style was derived from Judo and primarily focused on grappling and submission techniques. Throws and takedowns are not used as much in BJJ so, instead, you will learn many choke and joint lock techniques. Moreover, you will gain exposure to reversal techniques that seek to help you dominate your opponent.
This style is closely related to the Samurais’ combat. Kendo teaches students to use the Katana (a Japanese blade). Students are also taught different sword techniques and sequences.
Students use bamboo-made swords during the practice sessions and wear protective gear for safety. Currently, Kenda is a popular sport and brags of numerous competitors worldwide.
This is considered the least aggressive style in martial arts since the primary focus is neutralising a fight without causing harm. The objective sounds easy, but several complex techniques are used to gain control over your enemy, including takedowns and throws.
Nonetheless, Aikido is not as effective in combat as other forms of martial arts.
Jeet Kune Do
Popularised and developed by Bruce Lee, Jeet Kune Do is a street combat style. It combines techniques from Judo, Wing Chun, Karate and Boxing.
The priority in Jeet Kune Do is fast counterattacks. The style uses quick transitions from offence to defence since the objective is to adapt and respond to any combat situation.
This is a modern, effective combat and self-defence style developed in Israel. It’s highly effective in the hands of a professional and a complete amateur.
Krav Maga combines techniques from wrestling, Judo and boxing. Moreover, street fighting principles are included in the style. Although it’s not a refined form of martial arts, it’s quite effective in numerous situations.
There are different martial arts styles; however, the names in the top ten are fairly consistent on every expert’s list. So that’s an excellent place to start your journey.