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Tips For Choosing A Martial Arts Style

Jun 2, 2008
Before you begin to shop for the right martial arts equipment, and before you take that first step inside of the dojo, it is important to choose a martial arts style. All martial arts styles are not created equally and the best style for one person may be the worst for someone else.

There are several main style categories to consider, ground fighting or grappling, stand up, weapons based styles, throwing styles, and low impact styles. Stand up fighting styles, including Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Kung Fu, Boxing, Kickboxing, and related styles. These types of martial arts are the most popular, and require specific martial arts equipment, depending on the specialization. If you are just beginning your martial

Ground fighting or grappling styles focus on wrestling related combat, and include Greco Roman wrestling, Sambo, Brazilian Jujitsu, and others. Of these, Brazilian Jujitsu is the most prolific in martial arts circles, and was developed into the form known today by the Gracie family, who were also responsible for developing the vale tudo combat matches that were the precursor to today's MMA competitions.

Throwing martial arts styles are characterized by standing positions that make use of locks, trips and other techniques with the goal of throwing an opponent off balance. Styles in this category include, but are not limited to, Akidio, Judo, Shuai Jiao, and Hapkido. Martial arts equipment required for these styles consists of specially designed gis or uniforms, which are typically heavier than those used for karate and other ground fighting styles, and floor mats.

Low impact martial arts styles include Tai Chi, Ba Gua, and Chi Gong. While these styles were originally developed for combat, today, they are primarily focused on well being, stress relief, and low impact exercise. Tai Chi in particular emphasizes consistent movement, breathing, relaxing, and fitness techniques.

Weapons based martial arts focus on the use of one or more weapons and include, Kali, Iado, and Kendo. Kendo, translated literally as the way of the sword has been practiced since 1185 AD. Martial arts equipment for kendo includes protective armor known as bogu, a shinai, or practice sword, and a bokken, or wooden sword, for serious combat.

Regardless of the martial arts style you choose, be sure to practice safely, using proper martial arts equipment and the techniques learned during your lessons. Remember that martial arts is a mental as well as a physical discipline, and that it should only be used in self defense when it is absolutely necessary. With a little patience and a lot of practice, you will be on your way to becoming a martial arts master.
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