T Nation

Which Martial Art?

I realise this could start a huge debate and I don’t want this to turn into a fight about the best martial art in any situation.

My goal is to simply learn how to ‘look after myself’ in case the situation arises.

I dont envision myself competing but who knows if I enjoy it I might.

I play Football (American) in the summer here in Britain and although im going to use the off-season as you normally would (to train recover etc) I also want to do some form of Martial Arts/Combat Sport.

Any suggestion would be much appreciated as I really don’t know where to start and anyone I ask who does one always says their one is the best!!

I hope someone can help

In case it makes any difference i’m
5’9" and 175lb with no experience in Martial Arts.

Excuse any ignorance there might be in the questions.

alwayslearning

start with the search button this has been discussed 48,000 times

In all seriousness, do some research and find the one that best suits you personality, goals, body type, etc. Make sure you check out the school and the instructor especially to make sure they are a good fit.

Also, which art you study will be affected by which is available in your area. In my area for instance, Shorin Ryu schools are a dime a dozen, with a couple of really good Aikido schools, and only one Kung Fu school. Most likely there will be a Taekwondo or a Karate school in your area.

Good luck in your martial journey.

I practice Okinawan Goju Ryu. I think this is the best martial art out there. (But I’m definitely biased) The main thing is to pick a place where you would like to be at the calibre of the instructor and the Black Belts, being that this is the end product. I wouldn’t worry about the style of martial art. Most places teach a mixture of a few different arts, and once you begin this journey it will go on and on. Main thing is just to jump in.

“I don’t know Karate, but I know Karazy!” --James Brown

Karazy does work, by the way.

[quote]TrainerinDC wrote:
I practice Okinawan Goju Ryu. I think this is the best martial art out there. (But I’m definitely biased) The main thing is to pick a place where you would like to be at the calibre of the instructor and the Black Belts, being that this is the end product. I wouldn’t worry about the style of martial art. Most places teach a mixture of a few different arts, and once you begin this journey it will go on and on. Main thing is just to jump in. [/quote]

Is that the close stance fighting? I heard something described as fighting in a phone booth analogy.

I really like brazillian jiu jitsu. There are tons of debates on what works in the ‘street’. BJJ definitely works despite all the people who are sure they can beat it. But more than that it is trained in an Alive way, like a sport, and that alone is ahead of how most people train martial arts.

I’ve done several karates, kung fu, jkd, aikido and I can’t say enough good about bjj. Boxing, wrestling, judo, sambo, thai boxing are alll also very good. I just find bjj to be very practical and safe to train all out. It’s also more fun for me than the others. Whatever you do, you’ll be best served by what you train most consistently and to that end having fun at what you’re doing is important.

[quote]Scrappy wrote:
I really like brazillian jiu jitsu. There are tons of debates on what works in the ‘street’. BJJ definitely works despite all the people who are sure they can beat it. But more than that it is trained in an Alive way, like a sport, and that alone is ahead of how most people train martial arts.

I’ve done several karates, kung fu, jkd, aikido and I can’t say enough good about bjj. Boxing, wrestling, judo, sambo, thai boxing are alll also very good. I just find bjj to be very practical and safe to train all out. It’s also more fun for me than the others. Whatever you do, you’ll be best served by what you train most consistently and to that end having fun at what you’re doing is important.[/quote]

Very good advice.

I also prefer bjj. It’s not all groundwork either, there are many standup techniques. Groin pulls, eye gouges, etc are great when you’re in a pinch.

If you’re goal is simply to have some survival skills, you might look into finding a good Krav Maga instructor. There’s usually one or two hiding somewhere nearby and a lot of the times, these schools offer decent fitness classes on the side.

If you’re looking more for sport or an “art”, open the phonebook and start checking places out. The attitude of the teacher, fellow students, and general learning atmosphere will likely be more important than the actual style being taught, so research those aspects well.
Good luck.
-B

My advice is to use the worst case scenario idea. That’s why I suggest BJJ. The worst case scenario (in an unarmed attack)is an attacker who is on your back while you are down. Many will say that groundfighting is not practical for many reasons however, it’s not always up to you where the fight takes place. Start where you are most vulnerable then, if you want, look into adding other elements such as striking. In that case I would say choose boxing.

Also, use common sense. Do you really think a person can KO someone who is much bigger than they are? There is a reason why boxing has weight classes. If you are worried about some guy’s buddies jumping in well, they can jump in whether or not you are on the ground. That’s when you use your brain and try to get away instead of fighting.

Kali Silat is often overlooked but actually may be the most applicable in terms of most real-world situations (multiple attackers of varying sizes and skill levels, some with makeshift weapons). I would say you’d be pretty much set for any reasonable situation if you trained in:

Muay Thai - If you face an attacker 1-on-1 on your feet and are prepared for it, Muay Thai will be brutally effective…possibly moreso than any other fighting form you’ll learn.

BJJ - Oh shit! I’m on the ground and don’t know what hit me!

Kali Silat - Multiple attackers with weapons, you may or may not have access to a makeshift weapon.

I studied Karate for 7 years, followed by judo, and now I’m 2 years into aikido. Judo is fun. Find a instrutor who is certified by the Kodokan and you’ve found a solid citizen. It is hard to find “good” karate - there seems to be a alot of hacks out there making the good guys hard to find. Aikido is good for me. But, I find aikido to be a bit dangerous and the time until you can use it in a conflict is quite long. Finding a good aikido instructor is a very rare find. Good luck. Feel free to send me an email if you have any questions.

Most people who reply to these posts have never actually been in a street fight. So it’s all theory talk. Do not take the advice of anyone on this board unless you know, for a fact, that the person giving the advice has been in at least ten street fights.

Go watch a few streetfights on YouTube or some similar site. You’ll see that most fights involve people wildly flailing their arms, and then they both fall to the ground. Even people who regularly fight don’t have “skill” per se. Mostly, they’ll charge at you like a bull, throwing violent (and powerful) punches.

So…

Pick an art that will help you control one aspect of the fight.

Ask yourself a few questions when watching fights: Will some super-duper-spinning-high kick really work in the street-fighting environment? Is it really possible to use Steven-Seagal-type moves on someone charging at you so quickly?

My own view (and since you don’t know me, my opinion is valueless) is that you should take either boxing or BJJ. Boxing teaches you how to land a controlled punch, how to block a punch, and how to take a punch. KISS applies to fighting, too. Don’t try anything fancy on the street.

BJJ teaches you how to control the ground. And, trust me (no, don’t!), if you ever get into a fight, it will end up on the ground.

This is really funny, and it reminded me of something Rickson Gracie said during one of the early UFCs…

Commentator: Rickson, what is the best way to defend yourself against multiple attackers?
Rickson: Sig Sauer, P226.
Commentator: Huh?
(I guess that wasn’t the answer he wanted to hear!)

The idea that a martial art can train you to defend yourself against multiple, weapon-yielding attackers is fantasy.

[quote]Moriarty wrote:
Kali Silat - Multiple attackers with weapons, you may or may not have access to a makeshift weapon.[/quote]

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
Most people who reply to these posts have never actually been in a street fight. So it’s all theory talk. Do not take the advice of anyone on this board unless you know, for a fact, that the person giving the advice has been in at least ten street fights.

Go watch a few streetfights on YouTube or some similar site. You’ll see that most fights involve people wildly flailing their arms, and then they both fall to the ground. Even people who regularly fight don’t have “skill” per se. Mostly, they’ll charge at you like a bull, throwing violent (and powerful) punches.

So…

Pick an art that will help you control one aspect of the fight.

Ask yourself a few questions when watching fights: Will some super-duper-spinning-high kick really work in the street-fighting environment? Is it really possible to use Steven-Seagal-type moves on someone charging at you so quickly?

My own view (and since you don’t know me, my opinion is valueless) is that you should take either boxing or BJJ. Boxing teaches you how to land a controlled punch, how to block a punch, and how to take a punch. KISS applies to fighting, too. Don’t try anything fancy on the street.

BJJ teaches you how to control the ground. And, trust me (no, don’t!), if you ever get into a fight, it will end up on the ground.[/quote]

Best. Post.

I was raised around boxing. You can learn every art there is, but landing one good punch will end most fights.

“Common sense” strikes again! Actually…

I would put money on a top lightweight boxer who was fighting a typical street fighter. Sure, assuming boxing skill is equal, the bigger guy will usually win the boxing match. But the odds that a person is going to encounter a trained boxer in a run-of-the-mill street fight are slim.

[quote]zecarlo wrote:
Also, use common sense. Do you really think a person can KO someone who is much bigger than they are? There is a reason why boxing has weight classes. [/quote]

combat sambo

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
The idea that a martial art can train you to defend yourself against multiple, weapon-yielding attackers is fantasy.
[/quote]

No…not really. The idea that a martial art can train you to win an encounter with multiple weapon-yielding attackers is probably fantasy for most situations. The idea that a martial art can prepare you to defend yourself, at least long enough to retreat, in a situation with multiple attackers with weapons involved is not at all “fantasy”. I know from experience (2 attackers, one makeshift weapon).

But then again…this wouldn’t be an internet forum without someone making blanket generalizations that apply to all situations, based on their all-knowing wisdom, right?

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Best. Post.

I was raised around boxing. You can learn every art there is, but landing one good punch will end most fights.[/quote]

Yep, but at that point why not learn Muay Thai? That way you’ll have your foundation in boxing, and also know how to engage in grappling…which is going to occur in the overwhemling majority of sloppy street fights?