How To Choose The First Martial Art For Your MMA Journey?
World of Martial Arts
We all watched movies from a young age, right? Most of us were always looking up to the characters that knew how to use their bodies in different ways.
In action movies characters would usually be proficient in combat arts or martial arts, knowing how to defend themself, or how to defeat the main antagonist.
But, when in reality you look at what martial arts have to offer you, you will find that their meaning and actual functionality go way beyond those action movies we used to watch as kids.
When a person decides to learn how to protect themselves, or become a better person, learn control and a stable state of mind, one thing comes to mind – martial arts.
Martial arts are quite common nowadays, being practiced all over the globe, every continent has its own unique martial arts.
They have been used for several centuries, if not from the beginning of civilization. But here we are going to focus on modern history and martial arts that are being practiced today.
Martial Art Legends
When talking about modern martial arts there is a key figure that cannot be skipped. Bruce Lee. You have probably heard about him, as he was a living legend of the 20th century. Bruce Lee’s impact on the world of martial arts through his movies and practices cannot be measured.
Inventing his own style named Jeet Kune Do Bruce had a huge impact on modern MMA, as he was a pioneer of combining different martial arts into one effective force. Besides that, he brought huge attention to the nutrition needed for combat athletes.
In his peak, his speed was something to behold. His legend grew as Individuals were unable to keep up with his speed. He would effortlessly throw precision strikes at his training partners.
As his movies started to reach more and more people, people started to show more interest in martial arts. His style of Jeet Kune Do was created as the most efficient way to neutralize the opponent and protect the practitioner.
|“Life itself is your teacher, and you are in a state of constant learning.” – Bruce Lee
Benefits of training Martial Arts
Martial arts are shaped up into specific styles depending on their origin. There are a lot of different styles, so when choosing one it is good to know what each style brings. Plenty of cultures and countries provide martial arts that they originated, developed, and perfected over the centuries. And there are those that are the best martial arts for self-defense.
Brazil offers Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Japan has karate, judo, aikido, Thailand has Muay Thai, France has Savate, and China has Shaolin Kung Fu. Each of these styles has its own strengths and weaknesses.
Most people think that martial arts are mostly used for self-defense, however, that is not always the case. It is partially true that you can learn martial arts to protect yourself, but they can bring much more well-being to your life than that.
They are not only utilized in tournaments and competitions, where you can develop your competitive side, but also they can help you deal with stress and anxiety, and give you much-needed confidence and self-respect.
There are a number of physical and mental benefits you get from training martial arts.
Most martial arts include sparring, floor routines, and even block and brick-breaking demonstrations. More and more across the globe people are starting to practice some form of combat arts. Now more than ever there are competitions and possibilities for fighters who are both amateur and professional.
It is known that there are a number of physical benefits of training, but, we should not forget the mental side of being a practitioner of any martial art. There are certain mental benefits that you will slowly gain.
Once you start on your martial art journey, you’ll quickly begin to develop a far better state of mind. Regardless of what style of martial art you consider, the instructor’s task will be to drill self-control into your head.
For people who have a bad temper or have to learn self-management, training martial arts will be a useful tool to master. Not only will you gain self-control, but you’ll also additionally learn the way to defend yourself within the most drastic of situations.
Having control over your actions is essential. Martial arts can be very deadly when taught to the wrong person, so that is why you must make sure that you are not that person. You need to take care of your fellow training partners on the mats and show restraint on the streets.
|“Where there is preparation there is no fear” – Hwang Kee
The Rise of MMA
During the last decade, there has been a huge expansion in the world of martial arts. From tournaments that showcase fighting in front of huge crowds like the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), the biggest and most popular MMA promotion in the world, Bellator, Rizin, One FC, to smaller promotions, the sport of MMA has taken the world by storm.
The UFC has been growing more and more each year, with its competitors trying to keep up and all of this has resulted in sparking interest in MMA all around the globe. This expansion has given us fighters from different countries that specialize in unique forms of martial arts.
But let’s be clear, while the UFC does represent the physical aspect of the functionality of martial arts in one-on-one fights, that is just a fraction of what martial arts truly represent.
Looking through the prism of battle a person can get a wrong impression of what martial arts are about. UFC is a great example of fighting under a specific ruleset, which means there is a big difference between a street fight and an MMA bout. That is why people need to know what is effective and what is not.
For instance, some styles will teach you blocking and striking, but with very little, to no emphasis on grappling techniques. Karate can be used as an example. If you are a Karate practitioner you can develop a good sense of striking and how to maintain range, but, there are no ground techniques in Karate so if you get taken down you will find yourself in a bad spot.
That is why MMA is starting to take over the world of martial arts because it combines all of these aspects of fighting. From standing up and striking, to clinching, to ground fighting.
MMA is one of the fastest-rising sports in the world.
Picking the right Martial Art
Regardless of how you look at it, martial arts are beneficial to those who want to learn them for all the right reasons. Every style can vary in technique and what it has to offer you, and that is why you should choose the most effective method for your needs and what you hope to accomplish.
Martial arts will open up a whole different perspective on the world around you and that alone is a good enough reason to give them a try.
It is all about determination and once you have determined that you want to begin training you will have to decide which one is the best suited for you. Most of the time it comes down to what is available to you. If you live in a bigger city you will have more options to choose from.
There are plenty of alternative types of martial arts with variations in the base original models, therefore it is essential that you research the techniques and features of the one you are interested in before you go to your first training session.
Every martial art has its own unique style, it is up to you to choose the one suited for you.
Besides learning a thing or two about the style you want to train, it is also good to research about the schools in your vicinity. Learn about your future instructors and their credibility in the martial arts sphere, as there are a lot of ‘mist sellers’ these days, people who are just looking to make money on the account of fake martial arts. That is why you need to be careful.
Let’s take a look at the most popular martial arts styles in the USA.
Karate translates as “empty hand” which implies that it’s a martial art performed without weapons. The history of martial art is somewhat obscure, Karate traces its ancient roots back to ancient China within the 5th century B.C. (1).
The new modern kind of martial art began in Okinawa, Japan throughout the late 1700s. At that point in history, there was a weapon ban in Okinawa, where people had to come up with a system of self-defense that used empty hands – they began combining aspects of Chinese martial arts with the ones that were traditional to Okinawa.
By the beginning of the 1900s, Karate began spreading throughout Japan. In 1964, the Federation of Martial Art Organizations was formed as a platform to create some continuity for martial art worldwide.
To this day Karate is one of the foremost well-liked martial arts, and additionally one among the more distinct fighting styles seen in movies from the 60s and 70s. Not only has Karate become common in the movie industry, but it also has its place in the Olympic Games. Besides the style of Karate that is being used in the Olympics, there are a lot of branches of Karate with their unique techniques.
Karate has been acknowledged worldwide and many books have been written about it.
MMA fighters known for using Karate
MMA has seen a number of Karate practitioners during its short history, but none other stands out the most from Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson.
A Karate legend in the making, Wonderboy has managed to successfully incorporate his style of Karate in MMA. With his movement and precision striking, Wonderboy has managed to beat other spectacular strikers such as Robert Whitaker and Jorge Masvidal.
It would be an understatement to call Conor McGregor popular, as he is the combat icon of today. With his beautiful striking and movements based on a “karate-style”, he has managed to make history in the UFC, becoming its first double champ.
Though he mostly utilizes a kickboxing approach combined within and out movement, he doesn’t use many Karate techniques. The special thing about him is the way he managed to combine boxing striking technique with beautiful Karate footwork.
Aspects of Karate
A regular training day in karate is comparable to the standard training of Tae Kwon Do. Unlike other contact sports such as Muay Thai and kickboxing, Karate doesn’t rely too much on heavy sparring. There are several advantages to practicing Karate.
One of the best benefits is the footwork and explosive movement. The ability to go in and out of range, combined with precision striking makes for a deadly mix. The mental benefits are that you will be able to find peace among yourself more easily, and that is why Karate is a splendid art to teach to youngsters.
Through Karate they will be able to make new friends and live healthier both physically and mentally.
Is this for me?
If you are looking to train just out of a hobby and learn a thing or two about self-control, Karate is a good choice. But if you are looking for something as a stepping stone for MMA, Karate isn’t a martial art that translates well into MMA.
Of course, there are fighters like Stephen Thompson who are an outlier in the UFC that can say something about this statement. If you are not training the Kyokushin full contact style, Karate is not the best art for self-defense. It does have its benefits but that can depend on the level of your teacher.
Karate is a linear martial art that focuses on straight attacking techniques. It uses a large sort of movement and footwork. From kicks, punches, blocks, strikes, evasions, and throws. Training focuses on having great offensive and evasive skills.
People that train karate use their hips to generate power for their strikes.
Ranks, values, and styles can vary from the academy to academy.
Karate is an incredibly disciplined martial art that puts emphasis on respecting your elders.
|“Sweet more in practice to earn what money can’t buy…an art of ‘Empty Hand’.” – Akhtar Talukdar
At the age of 17, Dr. Jigoro Kano enrolled at Tenjin Shinyo Ryu college of Ju-Jitsu, starting his pursuit of getting better. Only a couple of years later after learning from the great master Yanosuke Fukuda, Kano created his own style of martial art that is widely known today, Judo.
Kano used all of his knowledge about different Ju-Jitsu styles and combined them into a new single school. This was the birth of modern Judo.
In 1889 Kano went to Europe on his journey to spread Judo around the world. His wish became reality when Judo was accepted in the world Olympic Games in 1964. This was a clear sign that Judo became widely practiced. More than 150 countries are members of the International Judo Federation.
Judo is one of the oldest martial arts on this list, in its core lies the gentle way, a certain calmness, and fluidity. Judo concentrates on throws and chokes, nearly lacking strikes of any kind. Very similar to Jiu-Jitsu in some aspects, Judo specializes in throws against opponents that are wearing clothes. Judo practitioners wear a gi, and the whole game revolves around grabbing the opponent.
Judo had a huge impact on the modern world of martial arts.
MMA fighters known for using Judo
One of the biggest stars in women’s MMA is Olympic Judo bronze medalist Ronda Rousey. She would later go on to win the UFC bantamweight belt. Her transition to MMA happened after her Judo career and she managed to translate her skills to MMA very well.
Besides her throws from the clinch, she was the most proficient in the armbar position, achieving many submissions with that technique. Another MMA fighter that practices judo is Fedor Emelianenko. Having trained Sambo which has many techniques from Judo, Fedor became very proficient in his ability to keep the fight on the feet, and when needed submit his opponent on the ground.
Aspects of Judo
Judo is a traditional martial art. The whole training revolves around perfecting your technique. It focuses on throwing your opponent, taking them down in different ways, and a limited ground game.
The only time strikes are performed is for scenario-type training that involves judo throws as a counter against strikes. Using a lot of throws, in Judo it is very important to get accustomed to them, and learn how to fall without taking too much damage.
A basic judo session can involve you, and a training partner with whom you are going to practice judo throws until you perfect every style and technique.
Is this for me?
Some other grappling sports have surpassed Judo in popularity but it still has a special spot in the martial arts world. Judo continues to be well-liked among competitions and knowing how to throw an opponent into a good position is incredibly helpful in MMA.
A Judo practitioner isn’t necessarily going to become a successful MMA fighter, but it doesn’t do any harm knowing some unorthodox throws and basic ground fighting. Training Judo has physical and mental benefits. Your whole body works when you practice throws and constantly grabbing the opponent’s gi can do wonders for your grip. Having no striking in its game,
Judo can be tricky to use in a self-defense situation. Throws can be very deadly on hard surfaces, but it takes a certain amount of skill to pull them off in a real-life situation.
Judo uses throwing, grappling, pins, holds, locks, choking, and no striking. Judo is mainly practiced on mats to prevent the risk of injury, and that is why it can be difficult to get a full grasp of how some of those throws can be deadly. Judo participants learn the art through a series of forms that contains throwing and sparring.
Judo incorporates a strict set of rules and a precise tutorial sequence.
Judo rules, training, and ranks are relatively the same around the world, some academies have their own systems on ranking belts.
Judo helps develop the body’s muscles. It is great for achieving excellent balance, and quick reflexes.
Judo uses lots of grappling, throws, grabbing, and groundwork. It is a heavy grappling-oriented martial art.
|“If there is effort, there is always an accomplishment.” – Kano Jigoro
Boxing is one of the oldest martial arts known to man. Many people would think boxing is a modern martial art but that is not the case. Boxing traces its origins thousands of years ago (2). It is one of the purest forms of combat where combatants use only their arms and fist. Boxing has been a sport celebrated by the masses for a long time.
It was introduced to the Olympics in 688 B.C. In modern times many prolific characters emerged from the boxing world, such as Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson.
Boxing as a combat art form has been evolving for centuries.
MMA fighters known for using Boxing
Boxing is an essential part of MMA as every bout starts on the feet. Through MMA’s short history there have been many prolific strikers that favored boxing techniques. Names such as the Diaz brothers relied heavily on their boxing game.
Conor McGregor is also an amazing practitioner that combined boxing techniques with bouncy Karate footwork. It turned out that boxing combined with traditional martial arts can be very effective.
There are numerous MMA fighters that excel in boxing. From Max Holloway, Jorge Masvidal, Dustin Poirier, Justin Gaethje, and many more.
Aspect of Boxing
A typical training day in boxing will embody a range of different training techniques. Sooner or later you may be performing head movement and footwork, whereas others target punching power and speed. What makes boxing therefore great is that it’s universally popular; consequently, it won’t be hard to search out an athletic facility in your area.
There’ll be days you’ll be able to spar with a partner. However, almost every boxing gymnasium can offer you the freedom to decide on whether or not you wish to have sparring.
Is this for me?
Boxing is a martial art for almost anybody who is looking to know how to protect themselves. It’s not only an excellent physical exercise but it’s also great for self-protection as nearly each single fighting scenario starts standing up.
If you’re looking to become a professional MMA fighter one day, boxing will be a necessary martial art to get good at. Boxing helps with reaction time, footwork, and head movement. Boxing works the whole body, especially the upper body, shoulder, and arms.
In training boxing, you can develop your cardio with exercises such as skipping rope.
All of the boxing techniques revolve around footwork and striking. Footwork is used to create angles for the strikes. There are basic techniques such as jab, hooks, uppercuts, straiths. There are two guards in boxing, conventional and southpaw. All of the power when throwing punches comes from the core so to learn how to strike properly you need to use the proper technique. In boxing, it is essential in getting the basics right, such as developing a great jab for example.
There is no belt ranking in boxing. Boxing gyms have rules according to the main trainer. There is a specific rule set for boxing bouts. Boxing is great for cardio and upper body strength. Very good martial art for self-defense, boxing can be utilized effectively against more than one attacker.
|“If you never know failure, you will never know success.” – Sugar Ray Leonard
Muay Thai became a distinctive martial art in Thailand because of the many wars and battles that have been waged in the country’s long history. The love of the sport and a need for the defense of the kingdom made Muay Thai a part of the Thai culture for the next 500 years as generation after generation passed the skills on to the next.
In the beginning, mostly soldiers and men involved in the army practiced Muay Thai, but later on, as it started to grow in popularity more and more people started to train in this brutal martial art. Modern Muay Thai has come a long way in the last 100 years.
In this day and age, Muay Thai has become an integral part of the Thai culture so much so that youngsters are known to start training it from 5 years old. Thai folks celebrate Muay Thai within the same approach Americans do Baseball.
Muay Thai was at one point banned because of its high death toll amongst the practitioners.
MMA fighters known for using Muay Thai
There have been a lot of fighters in modern MMA that use some techniques from Muay Thai. It is rare to find a heavy oriented Muay Thai MMA fighter but if we had to pick one it would be Edson Barboza who may be an example of a conventional Muay Thai fighter that adjusted well to MMA. he is known for having some of the most brutal knockouts on his highlight reel.
There are other fighters who are also proficient in Muay Thai such as TJ Dillashaw who studies “Bang Muay Thai”. This style is a hybrid style of Muay Thai created by Duane Ludwig. One of the most proficient fighters that utilize elbows very successfully in MMA is Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson.
Aspects of Muay Thai
Muay Thai is the “Art of eight limbs”, which embodies punches, elbows, kicks, and knees. Thai fighters are known for their cardio and durability. This martial art has a brutal training regime. Training consists of technique drilling and sparring.
Muay Thai fighters go to great lengths to condition their shins and elbows. Being a heavy kicking art it is essential to condition the legs so they can withstand regular punishment. Muay Thai focuses a lot on clinch techniques such as striking from the clinch with the elbows and certain foot sweeps.
Is this for me?
Muay Thai can be a very serious martial art to study. If you are looking to master the art of striking all around there is no better combat art. But, if you are looking to transition to MMA at one point Muay Thai has its weaknesses.
Thai fighters tend to stand straight without the fear of takedowns so in that aspect it lacks, but it certainly does make it up in other aspects.
The clinching game of Muay Thai can be very beneficial when transitioning to MMA.
Muay Thai mostly focuses on heavy kicks, elbows, and strikes. Low kicks and teep kicks are a trademark of Muay Thai fighters. Besides conventional striking techniques, Thai fighters use a lot of elbows from the clinch. There is also a focus on catching leg kicks and performing counter sweeps on the opponent.
Muay Thai is widely recognized as one of the best striking arts. Thai fighters have the ability to strike from all ranges. Its raw simplicity makes it easy to learn. It is a highly effective style for self-defense. Muay Thai has a lot of benefits as a form of exercise, not only for the body but also for the mind. Combined with wrestling it can be a good base for MMA.
Muay Thai is effective in all ranges as it combines striking with all limbs.
Aikido has been a traditional Japanese martial art for a long time. It was developed in the early part of the 20th century by Morihei Ueshiba, now known as O-Sensei. Morihei Ueshiba was the founder of Aikido Kaiso.
He was born in 1883 in Tanabe, a coastal town in southern Japan. Morihei from a young age had a thing for martial arts. He was known to have studied various martial arts, including sumo, swordsmanship, spear technique, staff technique, and various styles of Jiu-Jitsu.
Acquiring knowledge through the years he developed a new martial art. With the passing of Morihei, his son continued in the art of Aikido and helped it spread all around the world.
Aikido was primarily developed as a way of neutralizing the opponent without causing too much damage.
MMA fighters known for using Aikido
Aikido is the least used martial art in MMA just because it is not effective in that type of competition. Aside from a couple of throwing techniques, Aikido lacks any form of striking and ground game, so it comes as no surprise that MMA fighters avoid practicing it.
Aspects of Aikido
Aikido is a form of martial art that focuses on neutralizing the opponent through redirection of force. Rather than winning a fight with physical domination, Aikido teaches its participants to regulate and redirect negative energy to the opponent. It results in a commitment to both peaceful resolutions of conflict and furthermore as self-improvement through training.
People that practice Aikido learns to use throws and pins moreover like the way to immobilize their attackers. There are no punches and kicks, except as a distraction. The idea of the art is to have a good form so that you are able to redirect the attacker and neutralize them. There is no sparring in Aikido which severely limits the art.
Is this for me?
If you are looking for an efficient martial art, Aikido is not it. Being a ‘soft’ art it has more benefits on the spiritual and mental aspects, than on realistic fight situations.
It can be great martial art to train as a hobby, but if you are looking to compete and learn how to really fight it is not the one. For people who are looking to transition to MMA, they should try other combat arts that provide a good base for MMA (3).
Aikido mostly focuses on throws and pins. There are a number of variations that you can learn. It also has a lot of wrist grabbing techniques that aim to break the opponent’s posture. Most Aikido techniques are performed as katas.
Using training weapons is common in Aikido. Most commonly used are Bokken and a Tanto. Besides swords and knives, Jo staff can be used for training.
Aikido focuses on a non-violent way of protecting oneself.
It has a standard belt ranking system that most schools follow.
It lacks any striking techniques in its arsenal.
|“Be grateful even for hardship, setbacks, and bad people. Dealing with such obstacles is an essential part of training in the Art of Peace.” – Morihei Ueshiba
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Mitsuo Maeda began training at the Kodokan in 1894, eventually becoming one of Kano’s top students. While well-versed in throws and takedowns, Maeda’s specialty was ground fighting, also known as newaza.
In 1914, Mitsuo Maeda traveled to Brazil. He was one of Jigoro Kano’s top students at the time, and his passion for martial arts sent him on a journey to travel.
In Brazil, he became friends with a businessman named Gastão Gracie. Soon after that Maeda accepted Carlos Gracie, the son of Gastão Gracie as his student. Carlos studied Maeda’s newaza-based style of judo for several years, eventually sharing his knowledge with his younger brothers.
Hélio Gracie, the younger brother of Carlos had difficulty executing judo techniques due to his small stature and lack of strength, and therefore he began making adjustments to the judo techniques he had learned, refining them until they could be applied by anyone, regardless of size or strength. It was from these innovations that BJJ was born.
As years passed by, the Gracie family developed and refined the art of BJJ through participation in bouts with practitioners from other martial arts schools. Gracie has been known to dominate the martial art scene at the time. BJJ continued to evolve over the years until it hit the stages of the first UFC event where its popularity skyrocketed. From that day it became an integral part of the MMA scene.
BJJ has been one of the most rapidly growing grappling sports in the world.
MMA fighters known for using BJJ
BJJ began to become more popular with master Royce Gracie and his use of BJJ. In the early stages of UFC, Royce put up a number of dominating performances paving the way for BJJ’s rise in popularity.
There have been many BJJ masters in MMA over the years but we have to mention one of the best to ever do it. Demian Maia is one of the most effective BJJ practitioners that was able to translate his BJJ dominance into the UFC.
What makes him special is that he was able to achieve much success with his heavy-oriented BJJ game. Another name to look up to is Charles Oliviera, a BJJ black belt that holds the most submission wins in UFC history.
Aspects of BJJ
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a ground-based fighting style that uses grappling techniques that involve the utilization of joint locks and chokeholds. BJJ promotes the idea that a smaller, weaker person can successfully defend themselves against a bigger, stronger, heavier attacker by using the correct technique and leverage.
Also, BJJ is a tremendous first martial art to find out because of the amazing self-defense it provides. Most grappling training consists of drilling techniques, stretching, positional sparring, and freestyle sparring. There are no strikes allowed in BJJ.
Is this for me?
BJJ is a great base for MMA and a perfect art to learn self-defense. It combines ground fighting with takedowns which makes it perfect for one-on-one fight scenarios. The wide variety of chokes and submission techniques make it a great art for disabling the attacker without causing too much damage.
Learning BJJ can be a life-altering experience both physically and mentally (4). Not only will it boost your confidence but it will also make you more aware and proficient at problem-solving.
There are a number of basic, intermediate, and advanced techniques in the BJJ arsenal. The basic techniques involve triangle chokes, kimura holds, armbars, foot locks, rear naked chokes, and many other variations. BJJ is known as “human chess”, as there is an infinite number of variations and transitions.
Aside from ground techniques BJJ also focuses on takedowns. From single legs in no-gi to Judo throws with the gi. With the rise of modern BJJ there has been an influx of new techniques invented regularly.
BJJ is a great martial art for self-defense. It has tremendous benefits on your mental and physical state. BJJ is great as a form of exercise for developing cardio and the whole body.
BJJ has a belt ranking system that is accepted worldwide, but belt requirements can vary from one academy to the next. BJJ is a great base for MMA.
|“There is no losing in Jiu Jitsu. You either win or you learn.” – Carlos Gracie Sr.
While the beginnings of Taekwondo derived as way back as 30 B.C. modern Taekwondo began when Korea was liberated in 1945. Koreans needed to eradicate all Japanese influence on martial arts so they started connecting Korean martial arts schools and styles in one national sport.
Taekwondo or in translation “the means of the hand and foot” was chosen in 1965. In 1973 the World Taekwondo Federation was formed.
Taekwondo became a part of the Olympic Games in 2000.
Taekwondo gained worldwide popularity after being chosen as an Olympic sport.
MMA fighters known for using TKD
Over the years there have been numerous MMA fighters that utilized some form of Taekwondo in the octagon. One of the most proficient kickers that use TKD techniques is Anthony “Showtime” Pettis, the former UFC lightweight champion that was made famous with his “Showtime” kick off the cage. He has a 3rd-degree black belt in TKD. Another name that has been known to use TKD is the UFC women’s flyweight champion, Valentina Shevchenko.
Aspects of TKD
Taekwondo is a martial art that has a heavy focus on kicking techniques with a little emphasis on striking with the hands. The principles of Taekwondo techniques are based on the design of your body.
For power, you develop the larger, powerful muscles of the torso. The speed of the techniques comes from the fast, agile muscles of the arms and legs.
As you progress in Taekwondo, you will learn to coordinate this speed and power and develop the concentration to focus all of your body’s strength into a small, hard striking surface like the edge of the hand or the heel of afoot.
Is this for me?
Taekwondo can be great art to learn if you are looking to develop striking with your legs. TKD leg techniques are one of the best out there. It can be good martial art to learn for self-defense, but the lack of boxing techniques can be problematic.
If you are looking to train MMA later on in your martial arts journey TKD is a bad choice as it has no ground and takedown defense techniques in its arsenal. Overall it can be deadly when combined with some other martial arts.
Taekwondo is primarily a kicking art, and there’s a significant emphasis on point fighting in competitions. Those that train Taekwondo have to mix philosophy, mental, and physical ability to be successful in their approach. Besides kicking techniques there are several hand techniques that are mostly used to gain points rather than hurt the opponent.
Taekwondo is recognizable by its many kicking varieties.
It takes around 5 years to achieve a black belt in Taekwondo.
It’s coaches teach how to attack the essential points of the opponent.
The Taekwondo colleges are usually sport-oriented.
Taekwondo students are generally expected to compete in several tournaments.
|“Of those who start Taekwondo training, only about 5% stick with it until they achieve the black belt rank. Then perhaps 80% that earn a black belt stop there.” – Duk Sung Son
Kung Fu when translated means “skill & effort” and it indeed refers to over two hundred styles of martial arts. Most of those martial arts styles stem from Chinese martial arts. Kung Fu is derived back to the monks of the Shaolin temples. The monks were known for using Kung Fu for health benefits and as means of self-defense.
Throughout the first 1900s, Kung Fu, which was referred to as Wu Shu, spread throughout China as fighting arts became extremely popular. In the 1960s and ‘70s, Kung Fu’s popularity grew with the expansion of martial arts movies.
One of the key figures responsible for the rapid gain in popularity was Bruce Lee. Bruce Lee who was a Kung Fu practitioner is regarded as the father of modern MMA.
Numerous movie actors such as Bruce Lee and Jackie Chen made Kung Fu popular worldwide.
MMA fighters know for using Kung Fu
Many traditional martial arts have found their place in MMA, and Kung Fu is no exception. There have been a lot of instances of fighters using Kung Fu techniques in the octagon, and one of the best examples of that was Cung Le, a former Strikeforce middleweight champion, and a UFC veteran who was known for his unorthodox striking.
Another one is Kevin Holland who regards himself as a fully-fledged Kung Fu MMA fighter.
Aspects of Kung Fu
Kung Fu is an essential part of Chinese culture and is used for physical wellbeing and creative expression. Inside the various forms of Kung Fu, there are variations in techniques. Some use weapons while others don’t.
The main aspect of Kung Fu is to show the students respect the teacher and use martial arts to spread peace. Kung Fu has great benefits in strengthening the body and the mind.
Kung Fu students typically practice techniques on their own or as a part of a larger group. In most schools, Kung Fu training begins with the basic practice of movement and footwork.
Is this for me?
Kung Fu is a great martial art to learn in the beginning, but as you advance it just lacks the realistic qualities needed for real-life situations. It can be great to achieve a balance of body and mind, but in terms of actual self-defense, it can be unrealistic.
Kung FU is not a great base for MMA as it lacks a lot of core techniques needed to compete in an actual fight. It can have great benefits in developing balance and movement, and combined with other martial arts it can become effective.
According to the Shaolin Kung Fu Institute, there are over 1000 Kung Fu styles. Each style has its own unique techniques. For example, Northern Kung Fu styles typically focus more on long-range attacks and kicking techniques. Other styles such as Wing Chun focus more on striking techniques from close range.
Kung Fu has a wide variety of styles within Chinese martial arts.
Practicing Kung Fu you can learn many various fighting techniques, from hand-to-hand fighting to weapons.
Several Kung Fu styles have principles that involve proper diet, breathing, concentration, and meditation exercises.
Some Kung Fu styles use weapons whereas others don’t.
Kung Fu focuses on strengthening the mind and the body through various practices.
|“Kung Fu lives in everything we do. It lives in how we put on the jacket and how we take off a jacket. It lives in how we treat people. Everything is Kung Fu.” – Jackie Chen
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