5 Types of Martial Arts and What They’re Great For

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Martial arts classes have been popular for decades now. There are many different types of martial arts originating from over the world, and choosing one discipline to try out can feel overwhelming at first, especially if you are lucky enough to live in an area where there are several different martial arts classes available. To help you choose based on your exercise goals, here are some types of martial arts and what they are particularly good for.


For balance: Tai Chi


Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese practice that combines martial arts techniques with traditional medicine principles and Qigong, a multi-faceted mind-body practice. In a tai chi course, you will practice slow, controlled movements and breathing, which are great for improving your balance, relaxing the mind, helping you focus and controlling the effects of certain physical conditions, such as arthritis. While you may use wooden swords in your practice, Tai Chi is not really a self-defense method as such.


For spatial awareness: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu


The term ‘Jiu Jitsu’ is used to describe two different martial arts disciplines: Japanese Jiu Jitsu and Brazilian jiu jitsu. Both of these are self-defense methods that rely on a flexible fighting strategy to defeat the opponent, but they differ in significant ways:


  • Brazilian Jiu Jitsu uses ground fighting and submission grappling;
  • Japanese Jiu Jitsu uses joint manipulation to throw the opponent.


According to Fight City Gym, practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is an excellent way to improve your spatial awareness and gravity control, as well as building up your strength and muscle mass. If you are looking for a martial art that will not only give you a full-body workout but also help you defend yourself against an attacker, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu might be a good choice for you.


For confidence: Karate


Karate is a Japanese martial arts discipline that focuses on unarmed self-defense and on self-discipline. Slower martial arts, such as Tai Chi and Karate, require a lot of focus and discipline. For this reason, many people who practice them find that their anxiety levels decrease and their confidence increases with time. 


For strength: Muay Thai


Muay Thai, or Thai boxing, is a contact sport extremely popular in Thailand. It’s known as “the art of the eight limbs” because eight body parts are used to mimic ancient weapons in Muay Thai combat:


  • fists in place of swords and daggers;
  • elbows in place of maces;
  • feet in place of axes;
  • knees in place of staffs.


The shins and forearms complete the picture by acting in place of armor and shield. It’s easy to see why practicing Muay Thai is a great way to build up strength and muscle mass in your limbs!


For agility: Capoeira


Capoeira is a Brazilian practice that combines martial arts with singing, dancing, and playing a musical instrument—unsurprisingly, as it was developed by slaves as a way of disguising the fact that they were learning how to fight. Because of the emphasis on dance, practicing Capoeira is a great way to increase your agility.

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