Why Learn Martial Arts?

capoeira
Photo Credit

I absolutely love martial arts of all types.

I wish that I started when I was 5 years old, because it is truly one of the best additions to life that i can think of. Martial arts are not about fighting, or violence or aggression, they are about so much more. Martial arts are primarily a way of life, discipline, conditioning, perseverance, training, freeing the spirit and of course as a side-effect: self-defense.

I’m sure that there is at least one reason for everybody to learn a martial art, even if it is for exercise or for the social aspect of meeting like minded martial-artists.

Some Common Misconceptions about Martial Arts:

You have to be strong to do martial arts.
You have to be young to do martial arts.
You have to be fit to do martial arts.
You cannot do martial arts as a woman.
It takes decades to become good at martial arts so why bother.

These are all false. There is a type of martial arts for everybody, young and old, male or female, strong and fit or weak and unfit. There are aggressive and striking martial arts like Muay Thai (Thai kickboxing), and there are passive martial arts with grappling and using the opponents force against him like Aikido (Aikido was used by the Japanese Samurai).It does indeed take many years to become a true master at a martial art, but in one or two years of dedicated training you can learn many moves and techniques that you will be able to use efficiently.

I’m going to explain in detail about 4 of my favourite martial arts, each for a different type of person, so there will be at least one that will suit your style. Enjoy!

Aikido:

Aikido is one of the more recent martial arts. Having personally done Aikido for 2 years, I can say it is one of the most enjoyable and least stressful martial arts. It is a passive or defensive martial art, using the opponents force and strikes against him and immobilizing him in swift,short movements, with the option to just pin him down or to go full force and break joints or ligaments.

Since Aikido involves a lot of throws and pins, you really learn how to handle attackers. You learn how to fall and how to move your body when you get thrown around so that you get hurt much less than a normal person who doesn’t know the poper ways to fall.

Aikido is the one martial art that really caters for all types of people, from very young to very old. I know of 80 year old people still practising Aikido on a weekly basis, and they train with 20 year olds. It is also fantastic for women since it requires no strength in order to take your opponent down. I have seen demonstrations of a Aikido Sensei (teacher), a woman in her fifties, who took on 4 different big bodybuilders with little martial arts skills,she told them to attack her with everything they have, and she got them tapping out without even being hurt herself. I wish I had this on a video to show you!

Aikido would be my martial art of choice to recommend to most people for all the reasons above.

Muay Thai:

Muay Thai is Thai Kickboxing. It is consensus that it is the best standing-up martial art in the world. Muay Thai makes use of all sorts of strikes,kicks and punches, but also includes a lot of elbow strikes and knees.

It is a brutal martial art, definitely one of the more aggressive ones. Another benefit of Muay Thai is that fitness training is taken to a very high level. It involves jump rope, pushups, situps, sprints, weight training and much more, true and total conditioning of the body.

I ahve never taken Muay Thai yet, but being a guy, it appelas to me very much and I am waiting for a Dojo (training hall) to open up near me so that I can start taking classes.

I really got into liking Muay Thai after I watched the movie Ong Bak, which is a horrible story-line, bad acting, but incredibly good and real Muay Thai fighting. For any martial arts enthusiasts this movie is a must-see!

Muay Thai is a martial art I would recommend mainly for guys under 40, and for girls who don’t mind getting a little rough and want to get seriously fit.

Capoeira:

Capoeira is AMAZING. It is a Brazillian martial art developed by the slaves in captivity.
It is designed to look like a dance, because slaves were not allowed to train to fight, thus it contains many faints, creeping movements, flips, somersaults and trick movements.

It is almost a combination of gymnastics and breakdancing, and people who are good at this martial art are very fit, toned and flexible. For me, the gymnastics aspect alone is enough of a reason to learn it, but it is physically stressful and requires a lot of training and conditioning, so it is definitely not for everybody.

For self defense it is also very effective, but I would say less than Muay Thai. Of course, the question of What is the best Martial art is irrelevant, because it various depending on the level of skill of the two adversaries. I haven’t done any Capoeira yet since I do not have a dojo near me, but it’s on my list to learn.


Brazillian Jiu Jitsu:

Brazillian Jiu Jitsu focuses on grappling but mainly on ground fighting. It is similar to judo, and is rated the best martial art for fighting on the ground.

Just like with Aikido, it uses the principle that you do not need strength to defeat a bigger and stronger opponent. All you need is proper technique, and usually opponents are defeated with joint locks and choke holds.

Personally I do not know much about this martial art, but since it is an essential martial art needed in UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championships), I have done quite a bit of research about it, and will at some time take part in lessons. I remember seeing a documentary about BJJ on the Discovery Channel, and they interviewed a master Sensei (teacher), who still practised BJJ on a daily basis, even though he was in his seventies, and he was still able to defeat opponents much bigger,stronger and younger than himself.


A video to make you go Woooooooooow:

Joe Eigo is an insane martial artist. Enough said.





Finally…Muay Thai vs Capoeira:

This is one of my favourite martial arts fight scenes :

I hope you enjoyed this post along with the videos, and i hope it inspired you to take up a martial art.
I know that it is hard to choose a martial art, but these 4 should have given you some idea of what style you would prefer. For the majority of people I would say Aikido, for guys, Muay Thai,for those wanting to learn flips, somersaults and breakdance moves then it is Capoeira and for those looking for a fun and effective martial art Brazillian Ju Jitsu is it!

If you’re into martial arts, I highly recommend the MMA Strength & Conditioning program.

  • Martial Artist, MalcolmX

    Thank you. This has rekindled the fire in my heart…

  • Jasmine

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Your information was straight to the point and exactly what I have been searching for. Great videos! *hugs

    • Diggy

      Hey Jasmine,
      You’re welcome, happy that you enjoyed the post as much as I enjoyed writing it :)

  • Andrew Leach

    Hello! Great article, I just started up taekwondo but would you not recommend it?

    • Diggy

      Hi Andrew,
      Taekwando is fun and it’s good exercise. It can also help with self-defense, but it’s not the most lethal martial art in the world.

      It depends on why you want to learn it. For fun and exercise it’s great, for pure self defense I’d recommend Muay Thai.

  • http://karate-kids.com.au SenseiMattKlein

    Really liked this post Diggy, especially Joe Eigo–that guy has a vertical leap that could put most NBA players to shame. Wide variety of martial arts on this post. So true about the myth of having to be young, fit, or strong to do martial arts. I teach young children and even people over 50 and they can all do it.

  • http://blog.pmaschofield.com/ pat karate blog

    Hi Diggy,

    After seeing your blog I decided to try blogging myself. I have not posted my first post yet but it will be up and running by April 15th. I had to install everything but I will get all the bugs out in a few days.

    Thanks for the inspiration!
    .-= pat karate blog´s last blog ..Hello world! =-.

    • Diggy

      Hey Pat!

      Awesome, glad to hear that I inspired you. If you ever have any questions feel free to get in touch and send me an email!

  • http://www.pmaschofield.com Pat M

    I have done a variety of martial arts through the years. Some work better than others. You really have to get well rounded or you leave yourself vulnerable to your weaknesses.

    I do like kicking arts as well as Ju Jitsu. I had a really good instructor once say, whatever martial art you are in is the best one for you. That way you can’t get all hung up in who’s style is the best and just focus on training.

  • Alex

    Wow I didn’t expect to see a post like this on here. Anyways I liked this. I started taking aikido two weeks ago so far I love it.

    • Diggy – UpgradeReality.com

      Hey Alex :)
      Welcome to Upgradereality! Glad to have you as a reader!

      Aikido is amazing! I did it for close to two years. I’ve stopped now, but can’t wait until I can start again! :)

  • Dave Witwicki

    Hey Diggy, nice overview. I’ve been looking to start into a martial art (again – did a bit of Tae Kwon Do when I was younger) and was leaning towards Kendo but the only dojo around is way across town. Now you’ve got me thinking Capoeira might be worth a try and there just happens to be a dojo right around the corner (at least there was few weeks ago). Think I’ll check it out. Thanks!
    .-= Dave Witwicki´s last blog ..Take a Timeout and Reset your Growth =-.

    • Diggy – UpgradeReality.com

      Heya Dave :)

      Yep, many of us did martial arts at some point and then gave up. Great that you want to start again, I’m sure you will enjoy it! Give capoeira a try, especially since it is so close to you!

      Thanks again for stopping by!

  • http://www.livewholefoodsupplements.com/?referrer=inuriche Ray

    Diggy,

    I feel the same about martial arts as you. I loved the discipline and self-control it teaches. I love the accomplishment of earning new belts and the challenges of competing in tournaments.

    You have a great blog, and very interesting topics.

    Ray
    .-= Ray´s last blog ..Health. Education. Opportunity. =-.

    • Diggy – UpgradeReality.com

      Heya Ray! :)

      Welcome and thanks for stopping by! It’s a pleasure to have you here!

      Personally I don’t care much for belts and medals, but everyone enjoys different reasons for martial arts. I just love being able to master the moves :)

      Cheers!

  • http://modernmartialartist.com.au/ Andy

    Hi Diggy,

    Great post. A real unbiased approach to 4 great systems of training. You can see by the comments that so many people have an interest in martial arts and just how popular it is. It’s the kind of thing that almost everyone wants to do or has wanted to do sometime in their life.

    Good work

    Andy
    .-= Andy´s last blog ..How to reprimand, get what you want & everyone feels good.. =-.

    • Diggy – UpgradeReality.com

      Heya Andy!

      Welcome and thanks for stopping by! Great to have you here!

      I agree that martial arts is wildly popular, any many people who didnt know they want it often can be converted with a simple demonstration:)

      Cheers!

  • Ron – Heroic Nature

    I took martial arts when I was younger (like 10-12). It was based on ninjutsu and other self-defense concepts from Robert Bussey. Unfortunately the practices were getting in the way of my Saturday morning cartoons…..*sigh* Wished I didn’t give up the classes.

    I enjoyed the videos Diggy. I do plan to take a long trip to Brazil and take up Capoeira. I live in The Bahamas, there’s not much else to learn here besides Karate and Taekwondo. If I had a choice and the convenience, I would definitely get into Muay Thai, Aikido, or Tai Chi.
    .-= Ron – Heroic Nature´s last blog ..Begin Living Vicariously Through Yourself =-.

    • Diggy – UpgradeReality.com

      Heya Ron!

      Thanks for stopping by :)
      Yeah, I know what you mean, when I was young I hated things like playing piano, going to gym, martial arts, it was all boring because it HAD to be done cus mommy says so :)

      Now I wish I had given it my full attention and dedication :)

  • http://relativestrengthadvantage.com/ Yavor

    Diggy,

    those vids are great – they remind me of the movie Brotherhood of the Wolf with Mark Dacascos! Wicked martial arts there!

    Cheers,

    Yavor
    .-= Yavor´s last blog ..Mark McManus Interview, The Muscle Hacker Shares His Wisdom On Building Muscle And Carving Out A Six Pack =-.

    • Diggy – UpgradeReality.com

      Hey Yavor!
      Thanks for stopping by :)
      I knew you’d appreciate this kind of post, totally your style!

      Cheers!

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  • Katya

    Sounds like fun, but not for me :P

    • Diggy – UpgradeReality.com

      Hey Katya! :)

      Hmm, I’m sure there is a type of martial art that you will enjoy, what about Thai Chi? Its a mixture of Yoga, aerobics and martial arts, many girls love this one :)

  • Charles – Creative Lab

    I just reached 20 yrs of shotokan karate.

    Thanks for reminding me that I’m old :)

    Well I’ll be off, we have a sparring session in 25 min. Thing is my legs are killing me because of yesterday’s session.

    I will suffer in silence :)
    .-= Charles – Creative Lab´s last blog ..How to get hundreds of dofollow backlinks to your website. =-.

    • Diggy – UpgradeReality.com

      Heya Charles!
      Welcome To Upgradereality!

      Wow, 20 years is a long time, does that mean I wouldn’t want to sparr against you? :P

      Good luck for training!

  • http://spiritualkarate.com Jeff

    Hey Diggy,
    I got my Black Belt this year at the age of 37 in the traditional Ryukyu Kempo style of karate. I can say that my whole world has changed since I started 5 years ago and I am in a much better place physically and mentally for it. I am looking at starting some Krav Maga classes with a friend and that should be interesting. You should take a look at that one. :)
    .-= Jeff´s last blog ..5 Things to do to get in a better mood =-.

    • Diggy – UpgradeReality.com

      Hiya Jeff!

      Wow man, thats great! Congrats! I’ve heard about Krav Maga, never really researched it much. Thanks for the advice!

      I love martial arts too man, like you say, it makes such a big difference to everything :)

  • Mianne

    It was interesting to read about the different martial arts. I did taekwondo myself years ago and have been thinking more about doing something again these days. Maybe this has inspired me to look into it more?

    Just by chance, I saw a movie on a plane on my way from Malaysia earlier this year, and it was called ‘Ip Man.’ ….I thought it was an awesome movie and was actually about the the GrandMaster (and apparently Bruce Lees Master) of Wing Chun.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ip_Man_(film)

    It’s a Chinese movie with subtitles, but well worth the watch. I normally wouldn’t watch violent movies, but I really enjoyed this. …martial arts can really make for some great fight scenes.

    • Diggy – UpgradeReality.com

      Heya Mianne!

      Welcome to UpgradeReality :)
      I think there are a lot of people who did a year or two of some martial art, and then for whatever reason stopped with it.

      I haven’t heard of this movie,Im always keen for great fight scenes! Thanks for sharing :)

  • John Bardos – JetSetCitizen

    I have always wanted to study martial arts but haven’t been able to find a class to fit my schedule.

    Martial arts would be great for self-defense and exercise but I am also interested in the mental aspects. Self-discipline and focus are also important skills to hone.
    .-= John Bardos – JetSetCitizen´s last blog ..Interview with Nomadic Couple, Kelly Hale and Mike Schimanowsky =-.

    • Diggy – UpgradeReality.com

      Heya John!!

      I think the discipline and spiritual aspects of martial arts are the main reason to learn a martial art! It’s almost like meditating.

      Thanks for stopping by ;)

  • Alan

    Capoeira is amazing. I’ve been to a few demonstrations and am always amazed at the wild acrobatics of capoeira maestres.

    That last clip is from Ong Bak 2 I believe? The original Ong Bak put muay thai on the radar for me and continues to be one of my favorite films. Have you seen it? What about “Only The Strong,” an 80s movie about capoeira?
    .-= Alan´s last blog ..Experiments in Lifestyle Design: A Lesson in Parkinson’s Law =-.

    • Diggy – UpgradeReality.com

      Heya Alan!

      Yeah I love Capoeira, I wish I had a dojo near me because I would totally do it! The flips and spins look amazing!

      Yes, the last clip is from The Protector with Tony Jaa. I loved Ong Bak, have it on DVD and watch it every few weeks and practise some Muay Thai moves while watching it! Lol :)

      I havent seen Only the Strong yet, thanks for the suggestion, will rent it next time at the video store :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • http://improveminduniversity.blogspot.com jonathanfigaro

    I used to do martial arts when i was young but quit. It something i always wanted to get back into! THIS BLOG INSPIRED ME TO STARTED LOOKING FOR A STYLE I WANT TO LEARN AND DEDICATE my life to! Great post!
    .-= jonathanfigaro´s last blog ..Not Following Your Dreams Is Killing You =-.

    • Diggy – UpgradeReality.com

      Heya Jonathan!

      Cool man, glad I inspired you to start again, it’s really a great addition to life :)

      I replied to your email regarding your blog that you sent me, I’m not sure if you received it?

      Have an awesome day!

      • http://improveminduniversity.blogspot.com jonathanfigaro

        Yeah bro it was a great information. I appreciate it a lot. If your free anytime i think we can do a sweet blog post together.
        .-= jonathanfigaro´s last blog ..Re-buliding Your Soul By Melting Your Heart =-.

  • http://www.PersonalDevelopmentPro.Net Karlil

    I forgot to mentioned I’ve only learned silat for 2 months so there’s no way in hell I can do what the demo has shown. Check out this kid doing the demo fight. They are just awesome http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rsWdqDgfFk&feature=related
    .-= Karlil´s last blog ..The 4 Steps Guide To Achieving Your True Focus =-.

  • http://www.PersonalDevelopmentPro.Net Karlil

    Nice article Diggy. I have experience in taekwondo and silat gayung. I prefer silat over taekwondo though. Over the past years, I have question the practicality of many martial arts, especially the one which are a few hundred years old. Muay Thai, Kungfu and Silat is not one of them.

    Check out this awesome video of silat gayung demo fight http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hf8JykGdS6s&feature=related
    .-= Karlil´s last blog ..The 4 Steps Guide To Achieving Your True Focus =-.

    • Diggy – UpgradeReality.com

      Heya Karlil!
      Welcome to UpgradeReality!
      Thanks for leaving a comment buddy :)

      I have heard a lot about Silat. Actually one martial art that I have not mentioned hear that is rumoured to be the most deadly martial art of all time is called Dim Mak, which is pressure point fighting, with very small swift precision strikes to pressure points causing incredible pain, paralysis or even death. In many places it is not allowed to be taught because it is so lethal.

      Cheers :)

  • Oscar – freestyle mind

    Hi Diggy, I love martial arts too. I do sanda, which is very similar to muay thai, but it’s chinese and it has a lot of throws in its stile. Great post!
    .-= Oscar – freestyle mind´s last blog ..Habit #4 Update + 1 Month extension =-.

    • Diggy – UpgradeReality.com

      Hey Oscar!!

      I have never heard of Sanda! I know there are hundreds of different styles, many which are similar to each other.

      Would love to sparr some time ;) hehehe

      • Oscar – freestyle mind

        That would be nice, maybe a bit difficult to do it virtually :p
        .-= Oscar – freestyle mind´s last blog ..I’m Joining the Power of Less =-.

  • http://www.thewaythatyouwander.com Nate

    A very interesting read! I’ll admit, I don’t really have any desire to get into martial arts, but I applaud you for being so enthusiastic about it. You sure make it seem like a blast in this post! Cool videos too Diggy.
    .-= Nate´s last blog ..What I’ve been doing, and will be doing =-.

    • Diggy – UpgradeReality.com

      Heya Nate!
      Thanks for stopping by :)
      I’d recomend you to give it a try at least sometime, you may be pleasantly surprised :)

      Glad you enjoyed the vids!!

  • JONNY

    Wicked Videos mate.

    I spent 3 months learning MMA or “Cage fighting” before coming out to Thailand to do Thai Boxing. MMA is a mixture of Thai Boxing, Kick Boxing and Brazilian Jui Jitsu

    I wrote about my own experiences in an article and I would definitely suggest it to anyone.

    • Diggy – UpgradeReality.com

      Hey Jonny!

      MMA is pretty wicked, I love watching UFC. Anderson Silva is my hero, he is such an amazing fighter (rated pound for pound best fighter in the world).

      You went to Thailand to box? Awesome! Thats still on my list!

      Have an awesome day!:)

  • Kristin

    I’m so glad you broke all those down. I’m constantly amazed how often I get told I should learn BJJ. (I’m 5’2″ and can pack a punch despite my slender frame.) And my response was always…I have a mean roundhouse kick…?

    But I have never looked into it. Like Colin, I’m a bit of a pacifist and admire the personal dedication and discipline that martial arts teaches, but I took the dance route instead.
    .-= Kristin´s last blog ..ugly sticky mess =-.

    • Diggy – UpgradeReality.com

      Heya Kristin!

      You’re welcome! I think BJJ is pretty passive also, so either that or Aikido would be well suited for you.:)

      It’s all about enjoyment also, I wouldn’t recommend doing something you don’t enjoy :)

      Thank you for stopping by!

  • Gordie Rogers

    If you wanted to learn the three martial arts to make you an awesome well rounded fighter then it would be Muay Thai, which has the strongest kicks, Jiu Jitsu which has the strongest holds, and actually boxing (technically not a martial art) which has the strongest punches. If you could master these three, I’d walk with you down any dark alley in the world. Lol!
    .-= Gordie Rogers´s last blog ..Saturday Spew and Shout Out: September 26th 2009. =-.

    • Diggy – UpgradeReality.com

      Heya Gordie!

      Haha, thats totally true, but I still wouldn’t walk down any ally, You’re still not Neo from the Matrix that can stop bullets ;)

      Any cage fight maybe ;)

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  • http://lifeexcursion.com Dave – LifeExcursion

    For a while now, I have wanted to get into Martial Arts for the workout factor. It seems fun and interesting. One of the Lifetime Goals for sure.

    Dave
    LifeExcursion

    • Diggy – UpgradeReality.com

      Heya Dave ;)

      Yes, I really suggest you take some time to try a martial art, I think you’ll love it!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • http://www.wasabiburger.com Ken Kurosawa

    I’ve had experience with Judo, Muay Thai, BJJ, while my father practiced the original Okinawan Karate and my brother, Kyokushin Karate. It’s very unfortunate that martial arts are seen as a vessel for violence, when the true meaning of martial arts was for self-development.
    I know that McDojo’s might not espouse the philosophy of martial arts, instead giving out colorful belts for $$$, my Judo dojo made sure that if any of us got into fights, the senseis would kick us out in an instant.
    .-= Ken Kurosawa´s last blog ..Why 100 Calorie Packs Make You Fat =-.

    • Diggy – UpgradeReality.com

      Heya Ken!

      Welcome and thanks for stopping by!! :)
      Yep, unfortunately there are those who only learn martial arts to use it for violent ends, but I hope that for most it is not the reason of attending a dojo.

  • http://exilelifestyle.com Colin Wright

    Very inspirational…I’m more or less a pacifist, but the fitness and discipline that comes with most forms of martial arts are definitely appealing to me.

    I especially like the idea of Aikido..it seems to fit my personal philosophies better than the others, and that video is pretty rad (though perhaps less dramatic and movie-worthy than the others!).

    Guess it’s time to look for a local dojo!
    .-= Colin Wright´s last blog ..Sentimentality is the Enemy of Evolution =-.

    • Diggy – UpgradeReality.com

      Hey Colin!

      Yeah I feel totally the same way, that is why Aikido is one of the martial arts that really appeals to me.

      I think it is important to have some self-defense skills :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  • http://explorativeapproach.com/ Shane

    Hey Diggy, nice post! Martial arts have been a big part of my life since childhood and I agree with what you say: There are so many different styles and so many benefits that anyone can find something suitable for them.
    In my experience, the instructor/sensei/sifu or whatever you want to call him or her is the most important factor. Style is secondary to the character and skill of the person teaching you the style.
    .-= Shane´s last blog ..Building Habits: Your Worst Enemies can be Your Best Friends =-.

    • Diggy – UpgradeReality.com

      Heya Shane!

      Welcome To Upgradereality! Thanks for leaving a comment! :)

      Yeah I totally agree about the instructor thing. I did Taekwando for a year with an awesome 6th dan Korean instructor, really loved the guy, he was so chilled and down to earth. Then I moved towns, and when I signed up for Taekwando again, the instructor was a prick and it made me quit and look for another martial art, and then I found Aikido, but I also didnt like the sensei too much.

  • http://valeriemondesir.com/ Valerie M

    Hey there, Diggy.

    Nice article on martial arts! I used to practice karate for a while, but stopped. Now I am interested in Wing Chun (another great subset of Kung Fu for people who aren’t necessarily strong) and Taekwondo (because I have more lower body strength than upper body and I like kicking!).

    For now I’d like to get more fit and am looking into cardio kickboxing… do you have any experience with that?

    • Diggy – UpgradeReality.com

      Heya Valerie :)

      I’ve heard of Wing Chun, I think it’s similar to Wushu? Don’t know a lot about it though.

      I did Taekwando for a year, and though its fun to do, and pretty effective when you get to really high-levels (after years of training) I don’t find it a very good martial art.

      You look pretty fit to me already ;)
      Nope, never done cardio kickboxing but I can imagine how it would be good for improving fitness!

      Thanks for stopping by Valerie!