The martial arts are systems of combat between people. As such they have been practiced rigorously by participants to build strength and agility, mindfulness and discipline. It is well-known that martial arts are just as much about training the body as they are about training the mind. For this reason, since the 1980s onwards, various forms of martial arts have risen in popularity as an alternative to regular gym training.
This is currently the most popular martial art practiced around the world. Originating out of Japan, this is a self-defence style martial art, where the main aim is to throw down your opponent to the floor and hold them there to gain points. The interesting thing about Judo, which is most likely what has led to its popularity, is its fundamental principles of ‘maximum efficiency with minimum effort’. Learning the correct techniques means a person can beat a much larger opponent.
Not to be confused with judo, karate also originated in Japan but differs in that it is much more offensive as opposed to defensive. Even though karate is practiced for sport, it typically involves kicking, punching, elbows and also incorporates open hand techniques – grabs or ‘chops’. The trick to karate is deflecting attacks, and at the same time directing your attack towards the solar plexus. This is an area of the body just below the sternum, a weak point on the body which will effectively disable your opponent.
Kickboxing comes from a western tradition, mixing regular boxing with the ability to use feet in the attack too. This kind of martial art has risen in popularity very recently due to the mixed martial arts (MMA) that is now popular as a spectator sport, such as the ultimate fighting championships. It combines punches, knees, head-butts, and of course kicks to disarm an opponent or attacker. The key to kickboxing is speed and agility, the person must strike before the attacker can react and respond.
- Muay Thai
This is the national sport of Thailand, having originated there. It is referred to as the ‘Art of Eight Limbs’, as it is a martial art that uses punches, knees, elbows, and kicks to attack your opponent. It has a history stemming back 100s of years, although these days the sport is very regulated with rules and point scoring. Along with regular kickboxing, Muay Thai has risen in popularity recently because of mixed martial arts. It is easier to obtain traditional martial arts supplies since retailers and online stores now stock Muay Thai equipment.
These are just four of the wide range of martial arts that people around the world like to train in. These four are currently the most popular because of current trends. Judo and karate originated in Japan but are now practiced around the world. Muay Thai is a traditional Thai sport but has become extremely popular recently because of the ultimate fighting championships. Likewise, people are taking up traditional kickboxing too.