If you search online for ‘martial arts classes’ and you could easily get confused: Boxing, Kickboxing, MMA, Karate, Kung Fu, Judo, Muay Thai, Tae Kwon Do and many more. How do you know what they all do? Or which will be best for you?

In my last blog I covered the question of which martial art is best? And came to the conclusion that there is no overall best one, only what’s best for you. But if you don’t know your Krav Maga from your Karate, then how can you decide which is best for you? Well, over the rest of this week, and all next week I’m here to help, with a quick guide to some of the most popular styles and how they might help you.

How to categorise different types of martial arts 

All good martial arts training is about more than the physical elements. It should be about self development, improvement, mental well-being and balance in life. However that makes it a bit difficult to tell them apart, so it’s easiest to split them up by their physical aspects as that’s what people see first.

Different martial arts firstly fall under a few base categories :

  • (a) Ones that hit (punching, kicking, striking),
  • (b) Ones that wrestle (throwing, grappling, rolling on the floor)
  • (c) Ones that hit and wrestle.

The more you break them down the more differences there are and the more categories you can add but this gives a basic starting point.

So the first question you should ask yourself is: which of these appeals to me most? Do you want to learn how to punch and kick? Or maybe you have bad knees and want to focus more on upper body? Perhaps punching and kicking doesn’t interest you at all, and you’d rather learn how to throw people around. Once you have an idea of what interests you then you can start to look further.

So now we have a basic system to start distinguishing between martial arts, we can start to look at some of the different styles in more details. Every day for the rest of this week, and all next week we will be sharing a quick guide to a martial art, starting tomorrow with Karate.

If you’re interested in adding some martial arts training to your fitness routine, or you just really want to hit something after a hard day, then get in contact!


Ben has been teaching martial arts to people of all ages and abilities for over 12 years. He can help you incorporate different aspects of martial arts into fun, effective workouts. Contact him on 07707 116372 for info on one-to-one training and small group classes.