Today’s world can be a dangerous one. People are attacked in places that they never would imagine they’d be in danger, such as church, the mall or in an elevator in a high-rise business building. A lot of people look at martial arts fighting as a way to defend themselves. And it’s not just for grown ups. Many parents send their kids to martial arts classes before they are even old enough to head off to school.
Indeed, you have to start somewhere. While there are different fighting styles affiliated with martial arts, they all incorporate some basic skill sets. No matter your age or shape, it’s best to take a course in martial arts to learn the basics.
And for kids, the earlier that they get into a martial arts style, the better. Practicing martial arts can teach them a lot of skill sets relating to life, as well as provide an outlet to express aggression. It can also be an option to make sure that your child gets exercise on a regular basis. In today’s world, where kids face bullies at school and need to understand the power of physical confrontation, as well as self-defense, learning different fighting styles in actually a good idea. But do take the time to make sure your child learns from a martial arts expert and starts at the beginning. This kind of course will also incorporate some highly regarded philosophies as well, such as respect
When it comes to different fighting styles, speed is of the utmost importance. That said it’s crucial that you are in good shape in order to be able to effectively execute any offensive and defensive moves that you learn. It might be smart to get in shape with this fitness program that only takes 15-20 minutes a day. It’s ideal for anyone that has a busy schedule, but needs a workout to be ready to handle the physical exertions that martial arts requires.
Before we look at the variety of fighting styles out there, you might also consider looking into yoga, as it will help you understand your body better and also helps you establish flexibility, which is certainly useful in martial arts. Learn the basics of yoga and how to use it to increase your stamina, flexibility and strength.
Fighting Styles For Self-Defense
Most people learn some form of martial arts for self-defense. It also has other qualities, such as the imparting of ancient philosophies, and it is certainly a form of exercise. And some forms have become sports that are popular on a global scale.
Different strokes for different folks, so before you decide which format is best for you, take a look at the more popular forms, some of which have been made famous by movie personalities such as Bruce Lee, Steven Seagal and Ralph Macchio (“The Karate Kid).
- Aikido is built on the concept that an attacker has left some part of his/her body vulnerable in the process of trying to strike you. Instructors of this fighting style advise students not to resist an attack but instead use its momentum against him/her. Actor Steven Seagal uses the Aikido technique. If you notice in his movies, he waits for his foes to attach him before he makes his move. The signature move of Aikido is called the kote gaeshi or forearm return. This move is executed when an attacker steps forward to throw a punch. Again, speed is of the utmost important, and it is something you learn when taking classes on the different fighting styles of martial arts. Once the punch is on its way, you sidestep, grab his/her wrist and twist it around in conjunction with the motion of the punch. When executed properly, the move will throw an attacker off balance and most likely break his/her wrist, basically rendering him/her useless in a fight.
- Jeet Kune Do was a style practiced by Bruce Lee, in addition to other styles (see Wing Chun below). Part of the concept of this style involved a person’s mental state when encountering an attacker or an opponent. Lee believed that a person must clear all thoughts from his/her head except the opponent’s attack and what your response will be. He once said to a class on video: “Clear all other thoughts from your head or they will slow you down.” Think about it. Indeed, if you watch martial arts fighters in action, they usually circle each other before any actual contact takes place. When utilizing jeet kune do, footwork is important. Like a tennis player that rocks back and forth waiting for a serve, you put yourself in a position to be able to respond in any direction. When using this style, you shouldn’t kick higher than the waist, as it will leave you vulnerable.
- A more universal style is known as Jiu-Jitsu. This form of martial arts incorporates a number of aggressive actions, including eye gouging, choking, biting and of course striking. You should be able to execute some of these disabling tactics by putting your opponent in a position where he/she is unable to effectively defend him/herself. You do that by lowering your center of gravity and then throwing your opponent around or over you. Once he/she is down, he/she is basically at your mercy and you can do what is necessary to disarm him/her. That could mean a blow to the chest or collarbone or legs or even arms. The blows are delivered with power in order to break bones or at the least cause incapacitating pain. Experts say that with proper training in the art of jiu-jitsu, a 100-pound woman can disable a 250-pound man in seconds. Jiu-jitsu has also evolved into a Brazilian version, which is actually employs more violent tactics. For example, when your opponent is on the ground, Brazilian jiu-jitsu commands that you break a limb at the joint.
- Another popular martial arts is karate. This form is used more as a shield from an attack rather than quickly destroying the attacker’s ability to hurt you as with kickboxing. If someone is attacking you with a knife or even trying to punch you, it comes straight on, not in an arc. So with the skills you learn with karate, you are able to deflect such attacks by using speed and anticipatory skills to step to the side at the same time that you strike a blow to the arm or hand of the attacker with one fist, while punching him/her in the side, back or even belly with the other. The idea is that the attacker will be thrown off guard as well as off balance and you can strike another blow to know him/her down or strike a blow to the groin on a man, which will cause a great deal of pain and temporarily disable him.
- To become someone who can defend yourself from multiple attackers, there is a fighting style called Keysi. It was developed in Spain believe it or not based on comic book hero Batman. It’s a form of street fighting; however, it requires a lot of training and practice, years of preparing as a matter of fact. Unlike many other forms of martial arts, the Keysi method does not employ the art of effective kicking. It’s based on you and your attackers being close and you employing many of your “hard” body parts to inflict pain and disable your attackers quickly and efficiently. That means using your head, knees, fists and elbows. In fact, you protect your head with your elbows strategically placed in front. You operate in at a 360 angle and are allowed to use anything as a weapon that can impart damage.
- One of the most popular is kickboxing. What’s special about this fighting style is the fact that you can use many parts of your body as a weapon, including your hands, feet, knees, elbows and head. The violence that you can extract from your body when trained as a kickboxer is so extreme, it can do tremendous damage to another person, such as crush a man’s larynx, break a jaw, shatter teeth and even make someone bite his/her own tongue off. There is no doubt that a seasoned kickboxer can disarm an attacker quickly. In addition to a tool of self-defense, kickboxing can also be used as a form of exercise. With the right instruction and moves, kickboxing can become a lesson in self-defense as well as an excellent workout to stay fit.
- One of the most practiced fighting styles in Israel is the Krav Maga. In fact, it is Israel’s “official” martial art. This method incorporates a number of other martial arts, such as boxing, karate, jiu-jitsu and wing chun. With krav maga, you don’t wait for the attacker; you take steps to block any attack while making your own move to incapacitate your opponent. It’s important when using this style to disarm your attacker and in fact use any weapons he/she might have had on him/her. It’s all out war, as eyes, private parts and the throat are all targets. The training is intense and gets to the point where an aggressive response is second nature.
- Western Boxing is actually a form of martial arts. Ironically, if a trained boxer uses his skills against a mugger or robber, he is often charged with a crime. One of the reasons for that is that boxers usually are able to do serious damage to a would-be attacker with just one blow. Trained boxers spend years learning how to deliver blows that will incapacitate a person to the point of knocking them out with just one hit. Boxers are also in excellent shape physically and can withstand blows to various parts of their bodies. FYI, the target area for a boxer is the side of the chin, which can produce two results: jerk the person’s head sideways at a violent pace and affect a portion of the person’s neck so that his brain is temporarily shut down. That is a knockout.
- Wing Chun was made famous by iconic martial arts expert and actor Bruce Lee. This style of fighting centers on blows to the other person’s chest, in particular the sternum, which can also be called the solar plexus. With wing chun, one hand blocks the other person’s punch while your other hand delivers a powerful punch to the chest. That action is repeated as you walk forward and your blows drive your opponent backwards.
Whatever you choose to practice, it is going to take a certain level of commitment of your body and mind. But once you have some basics down, you will probably feel safer and more confident.