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What are Martial Arts?

The Martial Arts are systems of combat that have been developed over time, in different regions, for recreation, self-defense, and competition. Participants in martial arts espouse the physical and spiritual benefits derived from training and their practice. Martial arts fall into a number of different categories and classifications, but are usually identified by the culture in which they originated or by the individual or group that introduced a particular form.

Traditional views of martial arts

For the majority of lay people, martial arts consist of either unarmed combat or combat techniques that use weapons – in particular weapons that do not use gunpowder. Within these two groups, there is an even further categorization: unarmed martial arts are presented as “striking,” “grappling,” or hybrids of these two. The type of weapon that is used is how armed martial arts are classified.

Unarmed styles of martial arts training

Those martial arts that are striking or grappling (throwing as well) include:

  • Kung Fu
  • Wing Chun
  • Western boxing
  • Kickboxing
  • Capoeira
  • Tae Kwon Do
  • Judo
  • Sumo
  • Aikido

and others. They are taught throughout the country in schools identified by the style that is taught.

Armed forms of martial arts training

The combative arts that center on weapons based training include

  • Kendo
  • Kenjitsu
  • Bojitsu
  • Kubodo

Other forms are also taught, and are identified by the type of weapon used.

Selecting a martial art

If you are considering studying a martial art, or arranging training for someone else, there is no one form that is superior to another. When selecting a combative art, spend time in research and choose one, or more than one, that:

Interests you – By choosing a style that interests you, you are more likely to devote the time to it that is required to achieve mastery. If you settle for one, or enter half-heartedly, you will lose interest quickly.

Provides the reward you seek – Ask yourself why you want to study martial arts. Is it for the spiritual benefits, physical fitness, or self-defense? It does not matter what your motivation is, but select a style that will provide that.

Fits your schedule – Martial arts require time to train and prepare. Look at your daily, weekly, and monthly schedule and find a facility that has hours that meet your open time. This allows you to block out the time and establish a routine. Once the habit is developed, you will be consistent in your training.

Another good idea is to find a partner with whom to train. Working out with someone else makes motivation easier and more enjoyable as you share in each other’s progress and development.

Studying the martial arts can be highly rewarding and satisfying. Select a school that delivers the experience you are seeking, and fits into your schedule.

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