Martial arts: list, comparison, effectiveness & best martial art
There is a wide range of martial arts, among the best known are karate, judo, kickboxing, boxing, MMA or Krav Maga. But there are many more martial arts, not only from the Asian region. You are probably asking yourself, which martial art suits me? What are the differences and which martial art is best for self-defense?
Here you will find a list of the major martial arts, a comparison, FAQ and learn which martial arts are particularly effective for self-defense!
Violence is not a solution, never! Unfortunately, however, violence, assaults and the need to be able to defend oneself occur again and again in everyday life, in relationships, while traveling, etc., as these statistics show.
33% of all women in Europe experience physical or sexual violence
23% of Germans feel rather or very unsafe in public spaces.
In 2021, there were 5.05 million crimes, including about 0.5 million violent crimes.
Our aim is not to spread fear. We want to encourage those affected and ensure that people can react better in emergency situations
Is it even possible to defend oneself with martial arts?
The answer is yes, absolutely. However, it depends on the situation, of course. Against a bear or an attacker with firearms, there are limits, of course. However, knowing martial arts techniques and vital points, as well as fitness, gives you a significant advantage in an emergency situation of any kind. In the video you can see what forces act during a blow:
Information for beginners: The most important things in advance
Advantages of martial arts: Promotes fitness, makes self-confident, helps children learn and makes you defensible against attackers!
Origin: Most martial arts originated in Asia, but there are also newer styles, for example, from the USA and Israel.
Which martial art: Depending on the martial art, the focus is on fighting with weapons, defense, mental strength, etc.. Depending on what you are looking for, a certain martial art is more suitable than another.
Suitable for defense: Any martial sport helps with defense, because it makes you fitter, recognizes and practices dangerous situations, learns defense and attack techniques.
Most effective martial arts: If you want to train only those for the emergency, and fitness and other factors are secondary, it is best to attend a self-defense course, which is designed specifically for defense, less on the training and fitness.
Good schools: martial arts clubs are also available in your city. You can recognize a good school by an experienced trainer, a good club spirit of the members, membership in associations and by opinions on the Internet (be critical).
No fear of contact: As a beginner you do not start with competitive sports and also not in full contact. Therefore, you do not have to worry or fear. It starts with endurance training, important defense techniques and punching and kicking techniques.
Martial Arts List of Popular Martial Arts
Below you will find a list of martial arts. Just click on a link, there you will learn much more about the martial art.
In principle, everyone can practice any martial art, no matter what age or physical condition you have. Your will is decisive. However, some martial arts are harder than others, require more agility, etc.. Therefore, some martial arts are better suited for some genders or age groups.
Martial arts for children
For children, there is really no martial art that can be excluded. It is only important that they end up in a good class and that the instructor has a good knack for dealing with children. Most martial arts are more playful in nature for children
Seniors are mostly limited in their mobility, strength and speed. Therefore it is important to find a suitable martial art
Focused on self-defense is Krav Maga or a self-defense course. Judo also uses the attacker’s strength and is suitable.
If it is more about the fitness factor, Wing Chung, Jiu Jitsu or Tai Chi can fit very well.
Read more: Self defense for seniors
Martial arts for women
There are no restrictions on martial arts for women. If desired, special women’s classes are often offered without men. Since women are naturally different in size and strength, suitable martial arts can be chosen that use the strength of the attackers against them
The force of the opponent is used against the attacker in Judo as well as Jiu Jitsu.
But also all other martial arts will help you to be fit, to be prepared for attacks and to defend yourself.
Read more: Self defense for women
Martial arts for men
For men, just like for women, there are no restrictions in martial arts.
Martial arts that involve a certain degree of toughness are alsopopular. These can be, for example, sports such as MMA or kickboxing.
Effective is among others Krav Maga.
The classics such as karate, boxing or taekwondo arewidespread.
Martial arts comparison: Which martial art suits you?
You don’t know yet which martial arts could be suitable for you? Then you are exactly right here, with the help of the following questions you can determine your sports for self-defense
1. First of all, you need to know that martial arts have partly different objectives: Defense (for the military or population), athletic training or training of the mind/ concentration. Often it is a mix.
2. Some martial arts are harder than others: Kickboxing and MMA are very hard, while Tai Chi is designed to be gentle. And don’t worry, a beginner’s group in kickboxing won’t knock your teeth out right away. Each martial art can also be trained in its own way and appropriate to the participants.
3. The proofof the pudding is in the eating – take part in a trial training: It is highly recommended to attend a few trial classes and get an insight. Because the environment, your training partners and the trainer make a lot of difference. They are decisive for your success. Because only if you are motivated and train regularly, you will learn the martial arts.
➡️ Think about what your goal is first. Choose a few suitable martial arts and check the offer on site and just try it!
In the following questions we compare suitable martial arts to offer you some assistance.
How hard is which martial art?
How complex is the respective martial art to learn, do the movement sequences deviate strongly from everyday life?
– In principle, intuitive movement sequences are taught and sought in all martial arts. – Krav Maga, Sambo and possibly Kickboxing should be emphasized here. This is because these martial arts were partly developed by the military, with the aim that the techniques can be taught and learned quickly.
There are also fighting styles that require years of practice. Or in the eyes of the instructors, it is a life task to unite the technique, the mind and the environment.
How long do you have to practice martial arts until you master it?
In what time can basic techniques be learned and how long does it take to “master” the sport.
– The basic movements, punches, kicks, throws and levers can be learned within 12 months for all sports. Provided that the training is attended twice a week. – However, until you master difficult kicks well, it will take years. This is because it is not only technique that matters, but also agility.
Krav Maga used to pursue the goal of making soldiers combat-ready within a few weeks, and therefore performs well here as well.
How effective are the individual martial arts?
Can the martial art in an emergency help to defend themselves against one or more opponents.
– Here, ultimately, all martial arts do well. Because their background is defense. – Exceptions are very few, where it is more about fitness and agility (eg Thai Chi or Tae Bo). – Some fighting techniques have been developed by the military, therefore also particularly effective against multiple attackers.
How much fitness do you need for martial arts?
How much fitness is necessary to practice the martial art and how does the training affect the fitness level.
– Anyone who has ever had a training fight knows how exhausting it is. Therefore, the fitness point is an important factor. It is also very useful to bring a certain level of fitness for self-defense. – The good thing about all classical martial arts is the increase in fitness. Only those that are only focused on self-defense perform worse here, because the fitness exercises make up a smaller proportion. – Particularly strenuous are the martial arts that also involve a lot of kicks, for example, kickboxing, Muay Thai or MMA.
What is the strength requirement for martial arts?
Can the martial art be learned or practiced without a high strength requirement – or how does the training affect the training of muscle strength.
– Martial arts that explicitly use the strength of the opponent to use against him are well suited for physically weak people. This is for example Judo as well as Jiu Jitsu. – But also very effective martial arts balance this factor, so Krav Maga or Sambo is also a good choice. – During training you will of course gain fitness. However, you won’t necessarily become musclemen. Therefore, you can supplement your martial arts training with muscle training.
However, it is rarely important how much strength you have. It’s more about deflecting attacks well and hitting your opponent in the right place.
How agile should you be for martial arts?
The requirements for agility vary considerably within the martial arts. This primarily concerns the agility for throws or kicks.
– In every martial art there are kicking techniques in advanced training that require a high degree of agility. – However, beginner training can be done with low agility. And you increase your agility with each training. – Especially in martial arts that involve a lot of kicking (Taekwondo, Muay Thai, and Kickboxing), agility is obviously a significant factor.
Which martial art is most effective for defense?
As the most effective martial art for self-defense, we can recommend Krav Maga in good conscience
The founder placed great emphasis on the fact that it is effective, can be learned quickly and does not require too high physical demands
You learn here specifically those techniques that can help you in an emergency. In addition, Krav Maga builds on natural reflexes and is therefore easier to learn than most other martial arts and combat sports.
Read more: More about Krav Maga
FAQ about martial arts
Here you can find answers to frequently asked questions about martial arts. If you still have a question, just write us!
Can you learn a martial art at home?
No, rather not. Certainly, you can improve your fitness and practice basic techniques for defense and attack.
– However, you will not notice mistakes in the position and gaps in the defense. – In addition, you are missing a very important building block: the partner exercises and practice fights.
In a club or with an experienced practice partner you will learn the right basics, make faster progress and sharpen your eye for movements. In short, at the beginning you should definitely go to a club, but movements can and should be deepened at home.
When are you ready for a competition?
It takes at least years to be able to fight in full contact and not get completely lost. Depending on the fighting style, fighting techniques, levers, fist fighting, foot techniques, ground fighting or fighting with weapons must be practiced for a long time and mastered perfectly before you are ready for a competition.
You don’t have to be a black belt before you can participate in a competition, but you should be more advanced. With hard training it is already possible after 2 to 3 years.
How often should you train martial arts?
It all depends on your goal:
– If you want to compete and compete with the best, then you should train daily or at least 5 times a week. And this over several years. – If you want to keep fit and defend yourself in case of emergency, then it is enough to train twice a week. And do another sport (jogging, swimming, gym…). – If your goal is to be better prepared for an emergency, then you should attend a few intensive courses (for example, several afternoons) and deepen the exercises.
What is the cost of membership in a martial arts club?
Membership in the martial arts club varies greatly by region and ranges from 30€ to 100€ per month. It all depends on how many members there are, how expensive the rent is, what equipment is available.
A pure self-defense course, which lasts one afternoon, usually costs around 100€. But you don’t have to become a member right away, a trial training is usually free and gives you an insight.