Want to pick up a fighting skill? Always wanted to be a martial arts master, but not got the time to spend in a monastery punching a log with your sensei? No fair enough. Luckily you can learn martial arts with just a few hours work each week.
We’ve been looking at which is the easiest martial art to learn – although easy is a relative term here.
Yes, some martial arts are easier to pick up than others. But ultimately the “easiest” martial art to learn will depend on you, your level of fitness, your hunger for success and your capacity to commit time and effort to improving.
So assuming you’re up for improving your self defense skills, these are our pick of the easiest martial arts for you to get training.
Karate is a Japanese martial art that emphasizes strikes, kicks, and blocks. The basic techniques of Karate can be relatively easy to learn, and it is also a widely practiced martial art making it easy to get learning.
There are different schools of karate, such as Shotokan, Gojo-ryu, Shito-ryu and Kyukoshin. Although all these schools use much of the same movement and actions, they focus on different aspects of the martial art. For example Shotokan is often seen as the more spiritual and gentle forms of karate, while Kyukoshin is seen as the more direct and more useful in an actual fight.
Whichever style you choose to study, karate is a great martial art which can be a great starting point for your self defense training program.
Muay Thai is a physically demanding sport that requires a high level of cardiovascular fitness and endurance. Although it’s not the easiest martial art to learn, it is one that is very effective as a fighting and self defence skill.
The basic techniques of Muay Thai, such as punches, kicks, knees, and elbow strikes, can be relatively easy to learn. It can be a very effective fighting style, with a heavy focus on knee strikes, elbow strikes, boxing and kicks. As such it is a very high intensity and a complete body workout.
Like all martial arts, learning Muay Thai to an effective level takes time. Developing the speed, power and mental toughness to compete in Muay Thai is a challenge. To say the least.
Be warned also that learning Muay Thai means you will need to be prepared to get hit in the face. A lot.
Although kickboxing shares some similarities with Muay Thai (and is descended from it), it is very much it’s own discipline. Some might suggest that kickboxing is simpler and easier to learn than Muay Thai, which is, in some ways true.
The fighting stance is much simpler, and Kickboxing uses less forms of attack, focusing just on kicks and punches. By contrast Muay Thai adds in those additional strikes from elbows and knees, which are not part of kickboxing.
Comparisons are unfair though, as kickboxing is still a very effective martial art and one that is relatively easy to get started with. You’ll learn basic punches and kicks quite quickly, and if you’re looking for fighting skills, there is no doubt that kickboxing will teach you self defense.
A Chinese martial art known for its close-range fighting techniques and efficiency in combat, Wing Chun is basically kung fu.
Wing chun focuses on practicality and simplicity in its techniques, making it an accessible martial art for beginners to learn. And yes that means it’s one of the easiest martial arts to learn.
It’s worth pointing out that Wing Chun focuses on pressure points and soft spots, such as eyes, groin and shins – so it is designed to do a lot of damage. This makes it perfect for street fighting, but not suitable for sports such as mixed martial arts (MMA).
The system’s centerline theory, which involves attacking an opponent’s vulnerable midsection, is a fundamental principle of Wing Chun. In addition to punches and kicks, Wing Chun includes trapping, joint locking, and grappling techniques. Its focus on sensitivity and relaxation, rather than brute force, makes it a good choice for those who may not have a lot of physical strength or size.
However, it should be noted that some of its techniques may require a lot of repetition to master, and its effectiveness may be limited against larger or stronger opponents.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)
BJJ is a grappling-based martial art that emphasizes leverage and submissions. The basics of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, such as taking the back, submitting from the guard, and escaping from bad positions, can be relatively easy to pick up. And because you’re doing a lot of grappling and throwing, you will need a lot of upper body strength.
As a street fighting skill, it might not be the first martial art on your list. But it can be devastatingly effective.
Of course like all martial arts, it takes time and effort to develop the technical proficiency, physical conditioning, and mental toughness necessary for competition and genuine self-defence.
Krav Maga is an Israeli self-defense system designed to be as effective as possible. In short, that means it’s designed to be less showy and more likely to take your challenger down in just a few short moves.
This is not a martial art designed for competition, but for brutal results.
The techniques of Krav Maga emphasize practical techniques for real-world scenarios such as going for pressure points, pain points and even ‘playing dirty’. There are no rules with Krav Maga, and in fact when learning it can also be quite brutal as even the instructors can be very direct and aggressive.
The basic techniques of Krav Maga can be relatively easy to pick up, but it takes time and effort to develop the physical fitness, technique, and mental toughness necessary for effective self-defense. In fact the mental toughness is a key part of Krav Maga and knowing how to handle your emotions and thought processes in the moment are part of making this an effective martial art.
Krav Maga is designed to be simple, intuitive, and effective, making it a good choice for those looking for a self-defense system that can be learned quickly.
Another martial art that emphasizes throws, pins, and grappling. Hailing from Japan, Judo is a popular martial art and one of the most widely taught.
The basic techniques of Judo, such as throws and pins, can be relatively easy to learn. Judo also emphasizes the importance of proper technique and control, making it a good choice for those looking to develop their grappling skills in a controlled, safe environment.
Like any wrestling skill, you will need good upper body strength and a lot of stamina. But Judo can set you up for some good self defense techniques if you’re planning on using mixed martial arts training.
Often seen as the fluid martial art, Aikido is a Japanese martial art that emphasizes throws, pins, and blending with an attacker’s movements. And despite it’s reputation as a martial art which is quite fluid and more focused on movement, it is an effective martial art in a street fight.
Aikido can be relatively easy to learn, but it takes time and effort to develop the fluidity, control, and precision necessary for effective self-defense. Aikido places a strong emphasis on using an attacker’s momentum and energy against them, making it a good choice for those looking to develop their defensive skills without relying on strength or athleticism.
A classic fighting sport, boxing obviously focuses on punching and footwork. The basic techniques of boxing, such as the jab, cross, hook, and uppercut, can be relatively quick to learn. But of course, getting to a level of proficiency can be hard work and takes time.
Boxing is also a physically demanding sport that requires a high level of cardiovascular fitness and endurance. In addition to physical skills, boxing also requires mental toughness and strategic thinking, making it a good choice for those looking to develop their fighting skills and overall fitness.
However, it should be noted that boxing does not include kicks or takedowns, and its effectiveness in self-defense situations may be limited.
Although there are many fighting techniques and disciplines that are relatively easy to learn, the best martial art to learn for you will vary.
For example, if you’re just learning for fitness, you might want to pick something like karate or judo. But if you’re looking to learn self defense with the best results in a one on one fight, you might want to look at muay thai or krav maga.
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