Karate, Ti-Chi, Kickboxing. Krav-Maga, Tiquando, Hapkido and Jujitsu. Ti-Boxing, Grappling, BaGwa and Ti-Chi Broadsword; even traditional boxing. Within the umbrella which is martial arts so many styles and schools exist that picking one to study with, maybe even two, can be a daunting task. But even before you go looking for a school, start interviewing instructors and talking to students, prepare yourself before with questions written down on paper to help if you had an idea of a particular art you are looking to try and what might be best suited for your age and body type.
Any fighting or combat art is considered a martial art. Many countries and cultures have their own forms and stances which depict them from each other. The smattering of styles being offered may be taught in a police academy course, in the army, or just a fitness form of Karate. No one style is better than another; it truly is a question of what fits an individual better, and which form will give their mind and body the most satisfaction when it comes to physical activity. For instance, if your body type is such that you are short and muscular you may want to explore a grappling art, where most of the fighting is done with both people on the ground, similar to wresting, so a person’s height is not a negative. The Japanese art of Jujitsu uses also ground fighting techniques.
If you enjoy kicking more, then trying Ti-Boxing may be an option for you. This style also is good for individuals who are flexible with strength and accuracy, where your legs are your main defense and offense, with elbows and knees deadly complimentary weapons. If you like to kick high and hard, traditional Tiquando could be for you. There is the Drunken Monkey style of Kung Fu; of if you have always liked Steven Segal movies and want to throw your opponent around with big movements then Aikido is your game. Realize besides throwing your opponent, you will be getting thrown as well. If you are looking for something slower, but just as affective the martial art of the various forms of Ti-Chi brings many advantages to the body and mind.
All of the above mentioned are only a few form of martial arts. There are some basics though for each art you study.
1)Training of some degree of stamina and strength and learning basic break falls is a must.
2)There usually will be some sort of a regiment tailored to each school (the bowing you see) and the repeating of that particular school’s code of conduct.
3)There is always a hierarchy of teachers and students, usually delineated by belt color, especially in the Japanese arts.
4)Mental discipline is stressed as well as physical and no good school will teach you the art to use unless under a last resort situation. In fact if you walk into a school overly aggressive and consistently challenging the teacher or classmates, many schools will ask you to leave.
Mostly though what we seek from a martial art is dictated to by our age. What we need when we are eleven differs from what we might want at forty-five…or what we can handle! The exhausting pace of a traditional Karate class might simply be too strenuous on us as we reach our middle age and breaking boards might not be something you want to put yourself through when you have to return to the office! Forms taught with weapons might not be the best for children to start with, and the more esoteric arts such as Ti-Chi might simply be beyond the grasp of someone younger looking for the cause-and-effect in their studies. As it will be with your progression through your training, the art you choose is as individual as how it is performed. The positive aspect is with so many choices available and with many schools combining the different arts, there is simply no more excuses to not exercise by saying a class or level is to advance. Martial art schools are now shaping classes for every aged person and level to help achieve their fitness and weight loss goals.