When it comes to trying to determine the type of martial arts training that is right for you, choosing from the many options available can be a confusing and overwhelming experience.
After all, there are literally dozens of martial arts styles to select from, and every practitioner thinks that the martial art technique he practices is the best choice.
So, with so much conflicting information, how are you supposed to select the one that is right for you? By keeping these simple things in mind, you will find the right martial arts training option to best suit your needs.
Exploring Your Interests
To help narrow down your options, the first thing you should do is consider your interests and your goals. While people choose to study martial arts for a variety of reasons, there should be one or two primary reasons why you are interested. For example, you may be primarily interested in self-defense, in exercise, finding a new hobby or learning more about a particular culture or tradition. By writing down all of your reasons and then prioritizing them, you will be better capable of selecting from the various types of martial arts training that are available. Remember, there are no wrong reasons. By prioritizing your reasons and finding a style that suits your interests, you will be more likely to stick with it for the long run.
Focus and Formality
In addition to considering your personal interests, you will also need to examine the area of focus and the level of formality of various martial arts systems or styles. Some styles, for example, focus on a particular type of movement, while others focus on certain weapons. Furthermore, some styles are more formal than others. Those that are formal will place a greater emphasis on things such as style of dress, training etiquette and ceremony, while others will be far more informal in nature. An informal martial arts training program may be something as simple as cardio kickboxing, while Kendo would be on the other end of the scale. Whether you should participate in a formal or informal program is entirely a matter of preference. If one of your goals is to build character and to shape your state of mind, a formal style will be more to your liking.
While every school and teacher is different, a general guideline of the most formal styles to the least formal styles would be:
- Tae Kwon Do
- Kung Fu
- Tai Chi/Bagua/Hsing-yi
- Krav Maga
- Jeet Kune Do
Knowing Your Options
Of course, just because you have selected the perfect martial arts style for you, it does not guarantee that training in that style is available in your area. Obviously, you will not want to travel 100 miles each way in order to participate in training and cost will be a factor. Therefore, you will also need to consider where the school is located, fees associated with classes and available class schedules when selecting the style that is right for you.