Training martial arts is a fun and effective way to stay in shape. It’s also very practical because martial arts training teaches you how to protect yourself.
“Martial Arts” is a broad term that covers literally dozens of different styles. So, how do you choose which martial art to train? Which style of martial arts is best for beginners?
This quick guide will give you all the information you need about three of the most popular styles of martial arts – Boxing, Muay Thai, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. We’ll also give you some information about which are the best martial arts for beginners.
So, if you need help to decide which martial art to train, we’ve got you covered!
Boxing is actually one of the oldest martial arts in the world. The sport goes back to ancient Egypt, around 3,000 BCE. Boxing as it’s done today dates back to 17th century England.
Boxing is a martial art that focuses on striking with the hands. No other strikes are allowed in a boxing match. Participants use different styles of punches, aimed at different parts of the body to defeat their opponent.
Training in boxing involves a lot of work on punching techniques, footwork, and head movement. Footwork techniques focus on how the boxer moves to gain the advantage or avoid their opponent. Head movement focuses on how the boxers avoid strikes by strategically moving their heads.
What Happens in a Boxing Class?
A boxing training session usually starts with a cardio warm-up like skipping, running, or other high-intensity movements. This is followed by shadowboxing, which is where boxers work on combining their punching techniques, footwork, and head movement without an opponent or striking anything.
Then there’s usually some work on a punching bag, which allows the boxer to work on their punches and combinations. Most classes also include pad work, where one person holds pads and the other punches the pads. During pad work, boxers practise combinations of punches that they might use in a match.
For more advanced boxers, a class might end with sparring, which is a simulated boxing match. Neither opponent is going full force. The purpose is to help each other train for a real match and improve skills in a “live” situation.
There are a lot of nuances to boxing, and it takes years to master. But it’s a great choice for beginners because it focuses on only one type of strikes – punches.
Muay Thai is another ancient martial art, which originated as training for the Thai army. Regimens of the army would have unarmed matches against each other and these matches were so popular they eventually evolved into Muay Thai, which became the national sport of Thailand.
Muay Thai is another striking martial art, like Boxing. But unlike boxing, Muay Thai focuses on striking with multiple parts of the body. In Muay Thai, a fighter is allowed to use punches, kicks, knees strikes, and elbow strikes against their opponent.
Muay Thai also focuses on training clinch techniques. When fighters clinch in Muay Thai, they grab each other around the back of the neck and use their hands to force their opponent into a disadvantageous position.
What Happens in a Muay Thai Class?
A Muay Thai class will start with a cardio warm-up and shadow boxing, much like a boxing class. Muay Thai classes also involve work on the punching bag and mitts, but the training on each of these is very different from in a boxing class.
Training on the punching bag usually involves two- to three-minute rounds of specific techniques. One round might be two minutes straight of lead leg kicks. The next round might be switch kicks and the round after that might be punching combinations. Rounds continue until all the striking techniques have been practised for a round.
Mitt work involves combining all these striking techniques into combinations that may be used in a match. For one round the combination may be jab punch, straight punch, lead kick. The next round would be a different combination of strikes.
Rounds continue until the combinations the instructor is focusing on for the day are complete. Like in boxing, advanced students may spar at the end of class.
There are many techniques to learn in Muay Thai because there are so many types of strikes involved in the sport. Muay Thai still is a great martial art for beginners. Instructors break down the techniques and slowly build to combinations so classes are easy for beginners to follow.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a relatively new sport compared to boxing and Muay Thai. It evolved from a more ancient sport – Japanese Jiu-Jitsu. Carlos Gracie studied Japanese Jiu-Jitsu under Japanese masters and slowly began adapting the sport into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as we know it today.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or BJJ for short, is a grappling martial art sort of like wrestling. While wrestling focuses on pins and a few submissions, BJJ focuses on using techniques to set up submissions.
To the untrained eye, it looks like a lot of rolling around on the floor. But all that rolling around is actually comprised of very sophisticated techniques.
The core philosophy behind BJJ is that any person of any size can defeat another person if they focus on using their body movements to manipulate their opponents’ body movements.
What Happens in a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Class?
A BJJ class starts with a cardio warm-up based on the basic body movements used for the sport. After the warm-ups are complete, an instructor, usually a practitioner who has received their black or brown belt, demonstrates a technique.
The students then drill the technique, which involves performing multiple repetitions of the technique to build muscle memory. After several minutes of drilling one technique, the instructor will demonstrate a new technique.
That technique will be drilled for several minutes. A full class usually involves the demonstration and drilling of five to seven techniques, depending on how complicated the technique is.
The class ends with rolling, which is the BJJ version of sparring.
BJJ is a complicated sport that takes many years to master. But it’s still a great martial art for a beginner because the instructors break down the techniques to their simplest levels and lots of repetition makes it easy to learn the techniques.
What Are the Best Martial Arts for Beginners?
Boxing, Muay Thai, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are all great martial arts for beginners. It’s hard to say which are the best martial arts for beginners because it all depends on why you want to train martial arts and what you’re comfortable with.
All of these martial arts are great ways to stay in shape, and they all teach street effective self-defence techniques. So, it all comes down to preference. All of these are great choices for anyone new to martial arts.
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