T Nation

Which Martial Art?

I am going to start taking some martial arts classes. My goal is self-defense, competition is not something I am interested in, but depending on how I do, I could possibly get into competing, but self-defense is still first. What style do you guys recomend? I am in the NYC area so I have access to all types of schools.

Jiujitsu is the best…most fights end up on the ground anyways. Learning how to strike wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

I dont think it is so much WHICH martial art, as much as WHO instructs. Many schools today claim some kind of art, say Hapkido, and you check it out, and it is some form of bastardized I-dont-know-what-do. I checked out a jujitsu school one time, if you arent familiar with jujitsu- its kinda like wrestling- it is a take down and deal with them on the ground art. I didnt see a single take down in 2.5 hours of class. I did see a jumping-spinnig-crescent kick, which shouldnt even be in the vocabulary of a jujitsu instructor.

But I am rambling… Many arts have been combined into what I like to call whateverdo. True traditional arts are very difficult, if not impossible to find. so, find an instructor/school you like, that interests you, and go with it. its not like you cant chang your mind.

quick breakdown of different martial arts-
-jujistsu/judo- grappling, groundfighting
-karate, Tae Kwon Do- standing and punching or kicking, respectively
-Hapkido, Aikido- steven seagal, use their own motion against them.
thats about all I have ever seen around here in schools. if you got a question about another one, let me know and I know the people to ask. Good Luck, and happy kicking!

Bobu is right. Most fights very quickly end up with rolling around on the ground so jiujitsu (Brazilian, preferably?)is the way to go, but you want to be able to handle yourself well until that point (if not avoid it altogether) so learning another form for kicking and punching, etc., would be wise and cover all your bases.

Try all of them. I grew up in judo, where I got my first black belt. Moved on to Shotokan Karate, Kung-Fu, and many others before I finally settled on Aikido - it fit my philosophy and my style much more than anything else. If you’re wanting to compete, don’t bother with Aikido though, since all but one of the Aiki schools is non-competitive.

My opinion> Aikido, Aiki-Justu or Jiu-Jitsu.
Brazilian style is good for some but not all.


If you are interested in strictly self defense you might try wing chun. There really is no competition in it but it is a well rounded fighting art. I believe there is an instructor named Kenneth Chung in the NY area. If need be you may be able to track down an instructor at wing chun world on the internet. They have listings of instructors and I believe lineage.

there are some southeast asian arts too, penjak/silat/poekelan is an indonesian art that includes weapons (i think). there’s a filipino art – eskrima, which is stick fighting.
a friend who does silat and has done other typical arts, perfers it among all others (tho i don’t think jiujitsu is in that group). he says it’s easy for people w/physical limitations to learn and adapt silat.

a grappling art (wrestling,jujitsu,judo,etc) or a boxing gym. fights either end on the ground or after the first punch is thrown (provided it lands) any “art” that stresses kicking should be avoided, unless you like to loose. peace

If you want to be able to defend yourself learn Brazilion jiujitsu and boxing. If you want to get your ass beat in a fight take aikido, karate, tae kwon do, wing chun etc.

Ther you go. Molsonman has all the answers in the palm of his hand…

Now wait, that’s his pud.

any training in a contact environment will give you a better standing in a fight. against an untrained opponent, of course. But aikido can be very intense, and quite violent, contrary to molsons statements. But, again, its WHO more than WHAT. I had access to an aikido school for about a month once, and i almost got killed. you cant hurt what you cant hit, and when you throw a punch, you end up eating it. thats if you can stay standing up.
ground fighting is also essential, since most altercations do end up on the ground. grappling, jujitsu/judo is surprisingly easy to learn, and unbelievably easy to apply to someone who is untrained in it. now, if they are versed in it, it is another story.

I say kick him squaw in da balls. then get another beer…

I figured that there would be someone that would of course bad mouth any system of self defense that they don’t know about. I agree that the majority of fights end up on the ground. The majority of people that get in fights are usually drunk and poorly trained. Unfortunately most of those drunks usually have friends that will kick you in the head when you are grappling with their buddy. That would seem to be the biggest downfall to any grappling art. The idea of penjak silat is very good. I had a friend that studied that for years and he was a fanatic when it came to training. He showed me some of it one day and believe me it seemed to be no nonsense and very lethal. If you could find a good kali/escima instructor that would be ideal. The fact that it teaches you how to fight empty handed and with weapons that I believe are legal to carry in most states (kali sticks and knives) makes it a very useful art. There are advantages and disadvantages to every art. The limiting factor would seem to be your own dedication and open-mindedness. Some of the softer arts would seem at first glance not to be as useful but if you study them for awhile you will find that they can be very deadly. Good luck!

My two cents worth…I’m a 2nd degree black belt in both tae kwon do and certified kickboxing instructor and am now training in both Hapkido and Jujitsu, which have I found the best? The TKD I studied as more of a TKD / Thai boxing mix which was fantastic but unfortunately most traditional TKD schools these days seems to be too sports / competition oriented and in my opinion not the best style for realistic self defence (not to say there arent exceptions). Hapkido and jujitsu, you do similar techniques but just learn them in differnt ways but there is less grappling and sparring in hapkido. In my opinion if you can find a decent japanese jujitsu school that isnt too focused on grappling, they have been the hardest most realistic self defence techniques I’ve found. Brazilian jujitsu seems to grappling focused and as was mentioned in another post if your attacker has mates you want to avoid going to the ground if possible.
Basically as many of the guys have said, it does depend a lot on who is teaching. I’d recommend going to watch a few different classes, and I’d be looking at japanese jujitsu firstly then hapkido.

The teacher is the most important thing, realy. I have taken martial arts at the IMB Academy. They tought me Muy Thai, for my striking, Jujitsu for my ground combat, and Kali Arnis(Philipino Stick Fighting) to teach the proper way to use a habd weapon. This makes for a well rounded fighter. If you only learn striking then you will be a victim on the ground, and vice versa. Hope it helps the stly is called Jeet Kun Do.

Hey Tony G. So you’re in NYC? People are right when they say it’s the teacher and that you should get a mix of grappling and striking (including kicks). I would recommend this teacher in the Bronx, but I don’t know if he teaches there anymore. He teaches Tae Kwon Do and Hapkido and they are applied to the street. Plus, you might have to test your skills just going home to the 176th street or Burnside train station. So in that case, check out 23rd street. There are a lot of schools over there. I would recommend the Kyukoshinkei school over there. Good teachers, decent price ($90 a month) and if you like Pavel’s training, they do have a decent weight room. Or you could try the shaolin cat’s school down in chinatown. He’s the real deal as far as kung-fu goes, but a bit pricey from what I’ve been told. Where are you in NYC? There’s the Vee arnis school on Atlantic in BK off Hoyt and schermerhorn on the 2 and 5 train. In the Bx, besides the school I mentioned, on Tremont, there is the jujuitsu and karate school.

ok anyone can say what they want but FACE REALITY, “martial” arts are mostly bogus, grapplers don’t get me wrong, I don’t consider judo, jujitsu, mauie tai, etc… to be “martial” arts, I am talking about “kicking” arts, tae kwon do, wing chung (YES it is a kicking art), shotokan (again YES), etc… and don’t talk about mauie tai kicking, as important as it is they will tell you that a more skilled boxer/grappler (to them, knee strikes and throws along with boxing skills) would kill a more skilled kicker. fights end on the ground or with the first or second blow, REALITY, practice your side kick all you want but you just better get it right, otherwise we are going down and I WIN. peace

It sounds like the person above reads too many magazines and has had too few fights. Your ignorant statements show that. Judo, aikido, and yes, boxing are “martial” arts. If you don’t know what the word means or how it came about, please keep it out of your mouth. Do fights end up on the ground? Some. Do fights end with the first punch thrown? Some. Do fights last a little longer than 1 second and go blow for blow? Some. Have people been knocked out in a street fight with a kick? Yep. Your very narrow-minded ramblings show how inexperienced you are. Are there a lot of schools that are watered down and have no street merit? Absolutely. But if you train for the streets and use what works, then you will have an edge. To disregard a style that uses kicks to seem “hardcore” is an ignorant and idiotic practice. And please stop using peace at the end of your posts. It’s just a catch phrase for you, not an actual meaning.

some people say “later” and they have NO plans on seeing that person later , some say PEACE deal with it!!! thats what I say, does it have any meaning, to me yes, what you think, I DON’T CARE," have people been knocked out with a kick, yep" what??? dude live in the here and now, wake up!!! has it EVER happened? sure. odds 1 in 10000 if that!! with all due respect, don’t question my exp.!!! unfortunatley it is WAAAYYYY too much. fights end on the ground or with the first blow landed, don’t like it? I don’t care!! the person wants the quickest way to become proficient, thats boxing or grappling period!!! could YOUR deff of martial help? sure. but far from the quickest way. how do I KNOW you have no exp. and NO training at all? oh, cause you are a wanna be. PEACE hetyey225

yuk. Why did I know replying to hetyeh would be a waste of time? Because your posts are so assinine and idiotic it’s nauseating. Live in the here and now? Um, bro, I live and have lived in the worst parts of The Bronx and Brooklyn. I’ve knocked people out with a Kick. Would I recommend it? No, but you have to know what to apply to the situation. If confronted with an HIV+ crackhead, would you try to punch them or take them down, where they can bite and scratch you? I sure wouldn’t. Unfortunately, you speak in basic arithmetic and I speak in Fractals and chaos theory internalized into basic arithmetic. Every one of your posts is from a magazine ten years ago! Any conflict is a mental situation first. If you don’t have a teacher (regardless of style) who teaches that way, then he is no good. You’re excuses as your defense are worthless and pointless. He did not ask for the fastest art to learn. He asked for self-defense. If he wanted quick, then he should just go to one of those women’s meets (no offense) that teach Foot stomp and run. You know I have no experience because I’m a wanna be? Wanna be what? That’s the type of response a tenth grader would give, but don’t worry, I don’t think you have that high an education. I’m done, any further posts from you will be lame and have no real counter-point, I’m sure.