So much to choose from!
There are such a vast number of martial arts styles which one is the best?
Back in the early seventies the public flocked to the few martial arts clubs inspired by the latest fashion on the silver screen,the kung fu films. People then thought the best style was what they thought was Kung Fu that they saw their heroes do.The only styles then generally on offer were judo and karate. With hindsight probably a combination of those two, judo for grappling and ground work and karate for strikes, would have been enough for all.
Fashion fads and flavour of the moment.
Some people will think the best style is the most fashionable style. Karate ninjutsu wing Chun taekwondo and now Brazilian jujitsu, they have all had their moment in the spotlight. But does best mean the style with the
most exposure at a given time? While todays vast choice of styles can be confusing if you can be clear about what you want to get out of doing martial arts then having a choice is a great thing. The following six very different reasons for taking up a martial art and the suggestions for each of them might help you to make the right choice.
I want to be better at fighting in three months time.
Maybe in three months your going back packing around Mexico or that’s when her boyfriend gets out of prison, what is the best style to get a lot from in a short time?
Simple things work, boxing has to be on the list for down to earth short term results. Learning to punch effectively and getting fit are going to boost your chances in a fight no end. If you do some sparring you will also gain the useful experience of being hit and still battle ing on.
A no nonsense self defence course could be a very good short term investment. Learning simple strategies to deal with the most likely situations can be a real eye opener and make you more street wize. Make sure that the instructor is highly experienced and what they teach is realistic otherwise a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.
I’m very competitive and want to go for gold.
If you are really into winning in competitions and know that you have the dedication to take it to the top then your best style is going to be one of the few that are an Olympic sport. Both judo and taekwondo would fit the bill, these are two very different styles. While taekwondo concentrates on kicks judo is pure grappling, both styles have well organised governing bodies.
I get tense too easily and I’m not as young as I was.
While Tai chi takes a long time to become effective as a martial art, right from your first lesson it will help you to relax both mentally and physicaly. Unlike a high kicking style like taekwondo being more mature is normally an advantage with learning tai chi.
I’m working as a bouncer at a night club.
If it’s your job to eject idiots from a night club without hurting them too much and getting in trouble,the best style is going to be one that teaches restraining techniques. If you can become adept at inflicting controlled but persuasive pain without leaving a mark you will be more effective as a doorman. Learning to restrain people effectively takes more practice than it would to kick or punch them but if security is your chosen profession it’s worth putting the time in. Jujitsu would be a very good choice for a bouncer or nurse dealing with people with mental problems.
I’m a keen horse rider, what style would suit me best.
With a high risk sport like riding your more likely to get hurt falling than fighting. Aikido takes a long time to be really effective on the street but puts a lot of emphasis on learning to fall without injury and being very relaxed. Professional jockeys are now taught how to fall but riding schools generally do not go into this area. If you get on a horse regularly you will fall off sooner or later, why not train to make it a soft landing? Learning to fall is a great skill for anyone, we all get old and falls and the fear of falling can blight our later years.
I’ve got a five year old who is an only child.
An only child without a play mate at home, can miss out on the sort of rough and tumble that is a part of developing naturally and becoming more robust. For a young child the grappling and falling of judo can be a great thing. The best style to start at a very young age would be judo.
The right instructor.
As with so many things in life finding the best style can boil down to personalities. If the instructor is passionate about their art it can inspire you. If the instructor is or has been successful as a sportsman and competition is your thing their experience in that area could be a huge help. Maybe you just want to get really fit? The instructor who can do one arm press ups all day the splits all night and makes you sweat buckets in each class, could be the sort of inspiration that you need. For the bouncer another doorman with years of experience of adapting his martial art to door work, rather than a particular style,would be the obvious choice.
If you thrive on an ordered environment with everything in its place a very traditional karate instructor could make you feel right at home.
It could be of Japanese Chinese Korean or Israeli origin but maybe it’s not so much about the best style but your level of commitment, the best role model and the atmosphere in the class?
Contact or non contact, fitness or philosophy.
Another consideration in finding the best style for you is the level of physical punishment that you are prepared to take. Within the sport side of martial arts there is a great difference between non contact and full contact tournaments. Maybe you don’t mind getting hurt to entertain a blood thirsty mob of spectators or maybe a solo weapons form competition is more your thing. Some instructors favour a purely physical approach while others may see the philosophical aspect of the martial arts as a significant part of their style.
What the Masters know.
The people at the top of the tree would all agree that truth be told the best style is the style that you know best. The very words kung fu mean hard work and as with so much in life you get out what you put in to your martial arts training. To make the best of any martial art takes discipline and dedication that most people will not or cannot give. If you find a really good teacher and you practice really hard you will get so much from it and have found the best style.