With films like “Karate Kid” and “Raging Bull” exploding onto the mainstream movie scene in the 80’s, the previously somewhat underground world of martial arts had now been pushed into the spotlight and appealed to young aspiring fighters everywhere. Since then many types of martial arts that have been around for centuries have taken on current participants, as the ancient art, discipline, and fitness around each one captivates modern society. Here are four different types of martial arts that you might have – or might have never – heard.
Channeling the “Karate Kid” with this first martial art, let’s look at karate.
With its origins in Japan, Karate has become popular in Western society in the last century and a half mainly as a sport. It is based primarily on defense and focuses on inflicting attacks towards the lower part of the body, avoiding the face and neck area entirely. It is extremely popular among young pre-teen or adolescent boys – and sometimes girls! – who have options like karate that they can take up either through school or by joining an out of school club. Some keep the bug to fight competitively as adults.
The second type of martial art that has gained popularity in the last century or so in Westernized culture – with its most recent exposure being the Floyd Mayweather, Conor McGregor fight that captured a lot of America’s attention briefly – is boxing.
Boxing is a sport that requires agility and quick reflexes – unlike bodybuilding, it’s recommended that you be as light as possible to jump around and avoid your opponent’s jabs. Boxing is one of the most common martial arts in gyms today, with a lot of people taking it up for fitness as it is great cardio.
The third type of martial art that has been taken in by Western society is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is easily one of the more ruthless of the martial arts, with moves like eye gouging and biting being taught to young hopefuls. It is a tough sport that requires an emphasis on balance and gravity of the body – the main aim being disabling your opponent by going for one limb in particular and then bending until breaking point. If you’re from London, you need to check out Jiu Jitsu in the north area for some excellent classes on it.
The fourth and final type of martial art that is popular today is wrestling.
Wrestling is another form of martial art that is commonly available to American boys in both middle and high school, where they fight competitively with other schools. It is practiced on a mat without the use of ropes so relies entirely on your own body’s strength. Some even keep up with it throughout high school and end up continuing it at college, where the competitions are even more serious and tougher.
These four examples of different types of martial arts are just a handful of the forms that are available out there and have been for centuries. While most have been westernized to fit into modern society and shaped around sports competitions, some are kept in their true ancient form and still practiced by teachers and aspiring hopefuls in different parts of the world. With such sacred tradition and history behind each martial art, they all bring an array of benefits to the table – physically and mentally – that focus on strength, fitness, discipline, competition, and honor. There’s a whole parallel universe of martial arts out there to explore.