T Nation

Martial Arts Suggestions


What do you suggest as a great martial art to learn? I decided id get a book and video on tai chi(yang). Dont have the time/money for a class right now.

What do you guys suggest?

Also, what are some great martial art specific workouts? Such as knuckle pushups(using only index and middle finger)


Hey there. If at all possible you need to get some live instruction. The martial arts is not really something you can learn from a book or even a video.

From there, it really depends on what is in your area. Also, your choice of MA depends upon your goals. What are you looking to get out of studying a MA?



Depends on your goals.

Do you want to learn cool moves?

Do you like performing forms?

Do you want to inmobilize an oponent?

Do you want to maim an oponent?

Depending on what do you want to do, a completely different martial arts will fit your goals.


Well it depends on your goals. Are you looking more for a combat type art, or a spiritual art. I'm sure that you understand that, at least on the surface and what you can learn from a book, Tai Chi is much more of a spiritual art. Good combat arts include, Muai Thai, Jiu-jitsu, Krav Maga, and Karate (beware because there are a lot of sportsters here).


it depends if you want to learn something that is practical in a fight. i dont see how tai chi could be practical in a fight. for self defense, just take some kick boxing or kali.

for exercising, a routine emphasizing delts, forearms, squats and lunges, and a lot of abdominal work. this is what a lot of boxers, grapplers and people practicing jujitsu (looking to gain extra strenght, cause these 3 'styles' will already build a great body and strength without additional training) emphasize and they have tremendous striking power. but any martial art is demanding, so be prepared and give it your all!


Well it depends on your goals (sorry guys I just thought it was funny that ever reply has started with that).


For a highly refined system that is comprehensive, easy to learn, widely available and has a good fighting reputation Isshinryu karate is an excellent choice. Uechi Ryu karate. Wing Chun gung fu. These three also have some real interesting forms, If you are more into the art side of things. Jiu jutsu is real good for self defense

I would not recommend Tae Kwon Do, although they do get some cute girls.

If you don't have a lot of money look into a local after school karate class or your local Y. You can find some excellent instruction at such a school. These schools tend not to be diploma mills where you get lots of rank quick, unlike the local Mcdojo.

Other than using biomechanically simple techniques there no short cuts in martial arts.

Also it is best to start with a hard or Yang style like karate rather than a soft or Yin style like Tai Chi. Because it is easier later on to move from a yang style to a yin style than the other way around.

If you don't already have a background in an art to build upon it is extremely difficult to learn from books and tapes.


Check out this Link I am very familiar with this association and it's traditional roots.


I also agree that you should seek actual live instuction and be careful of some schools claiming to teach traditional arts when they actually focus on tournament style training.


What about Kajukembo? Is that a good mixed martial art? With Tang-Soo-Do, Judo, Jujitsu, Kempo & Kung-Fu.

I know an instructor in this art. He does competitions to spread the word about his school, and thus far is undefeated. That isn't saying much though since who knows who he is fighting.

I know jack shit about MMA though so thought someone could give me a head on up that style.


LOL! that's true, they do!

A couple of minutes in these schools and you can always tell that the head instructor/owner wants you to "show him the money!" Although I admit that these schools do have a place.


Well, im interested in the all-around aspect of martial arts really.
I decided to learn tai chi because of its health benefits. I understand it can 'potentially' be used as a self defense art..but i know there are much better systems for that.
I was in boxing for a little over a year..but lost interest in it.

Pretty much id like a full body martial art. I dont care about looking cool or doing neat tricks. Id like to find an art that is potentially one of the best for full contact defense and attack. Id prefer something agressive in the sense of 'attack'.


Krav Maga.

Good, practical, no nonsense shit.


Krav Maga.


bah. did my research--seems AWESOME. the downside is that the nearest places are too far for me! Sighhh...

im curious what they specifically teach in the military though(as ill be joining the air force soon)


I cant speak for the Airforce, but the Army doesnt have a "standardized" combatives system that is taught. The Stryker Brigade was teaching BJJ awhile back, Boxing was incorporated into Ranger school awhile back (not sure if it still is), SF is teaching L.I.N.E.S in the school house, but each of the Groups are doing their own thing. I think the old Army Combatives and pugil stick is still touched on briefly in basic. Mostly it is up to an individual to pursue hand to hand training.

To the best of my knowledge only the Marines have standardized a martial system throughout their service.


but you can pretty much get any training you want, if you ask for it?


In the Army you can get any training you want if you seek it out and pay for it. Some may allow you to do it during the duty day, but usually it is done on your time.

Like I said though; I have absolutely no idea what the Airforce does.


Hi Gibran,

If you want a martial art that will work when the chips are down, then check out Lysak's Sento Method, Dynamic Combat, Tony Blauer's S.P.E.A.R. system, or iCAT.

Don't bother with Krav Magra, it really won't offer you the ability to defend yourself against a skilled opponent (which is what you should seek) and is really kind of a joke in comparison to the other systems that I mentioned.

If you are looking to compete then BJJ, Muy Thai, Western Boxing and Greco Roman Wrestling are other good choices.

Any good martial art will benefit your overall health, both mental and physical.

Good luck finding what you are looking for.

Good training,



oops, forgot to post some links

Lysak's Sento Method:

Dynamic Combat:

Tony Blauer's S.P.E.A.R system:


Oh, and since you mentioned the military, both Shihan Walt Lysak Jr. and Shihan Charlie Lysak train the Green Berets, while Tony Blauer trains swat, police and a host of other groups interested in self defense/protection as does Rich Ryan.

Once again, good luck.



This is a claim many can make though and may or may not be a good basis to judge a style or school on. As stated, SWTC is training using LINES and every Group does their own thing. And usually teams within the Groups do their own thing as well.