Understanding Martial Arts

If you're considering taking up a martial art, you might be confused as to which type if martial art is best suited to your needs.

The benefits of practising martial arts are endless. Many people take up the sport for many different reasons to include self-defence, physical fitness, entertainment and competition.

The term, 'Martial Arts' covers a wide range of arts and techniques, but knowing which one is best suited to you is an art in itself! Below Beemat has picked out eight of the most popular martial arts, to give you a flying start.



Judo is a competitive sport originating in Japan. The objective of the sport is to throw down or take down your opponent for points. Created as a form of exercise, the sport has also proved effective for close combat through the use of leverage. The art of Judo is to achieve “maximum efficiency, (with) minimum effort”. A smaller person can adopt the ability to beat a larger opponent providing they adopt the proper technique and balance.


Originating in Japan, the art of Karate is practiced primarily for sport. Karate incorporates kicking, lunching, elbows and open hand techniques into its movements. The main object is to deflect an attack, so learning how to control disabling attacks that come from directly in front of you. In Karate, punches are directed just below the sternum, a weak point on the body, in a bid to effectively knock the air out of an opponent and disable them.



Kickboxing is another form of fitness which can be used solely for sport, or as a form of self-defence. Kickboxing combines punches, knees, head butting and kicks to disarm an opponent, for example, as a method of self-defence, a swift front kick to the face would be more than enough to disarm an attacker. The key to excelling in this sport is speed and agility - the person must strike before the attacker has time to react or respond.


Originating in Japan, Aikado, loosely meaning “the way of harmonious spirit” is a martial art designed primarily for self-defence, but it's also an art that a person can use to defend themselves without causing injury to their attackers. The art of Aikado is not to strike, it is to recognise that attackers expose themselves every time they attack. A person is taught to recognise the vulnerability and ensure that they have not exposed themselves. The defender is instructed to shadow the movement of the attacker and use his momentum against him as opposed to fighting him. For example, if an attacker comes at you with a straight punch, you could step aside, grab their wrist and use the momentum with a twist to disable the attackers wrist and potentially even break it.


Originally from Korea, Taekwondo is a martial art which combines self-defence and attack as a form of exercise. Taekwondo focuses on high kicks and fast hand movements and is centred on the belief that the leg is the strongest and therefore the furthest reaching limb, therefore it has the potential to be used to keep attackers at distance. Taekwondo is a good sport for promoting agility, power, balance, flexibility and endurance.


Originating in Brazil, Jiu-Jitsu is an aggressive form of martial art for self-defence. Moves such as eye gounging, choke holds, biting, grappling and hard striking are all taught in a bid to bring an attacker to the ground. Once on the ground, moves such as grabbing a limb and manipulating it until the joint breaks are taught. The key to Jiu-Jitsu is gaining the ability to understand your own and your attacker's sense of gravity.



Boxers can throw punches harder, faster, and more on point than any other martial artist. It takes several years to learn the proper punching technique, so it is a sport where hard work and dedication are essential. Kicking is not allowed, instead boxers must learn to be sharp with their hands and quick with their feet in order to keep balanced. Boxing comes naturally to many individuals and can be great fun. Traditional boxing provides an excellent platform for sport, discipline, conditioning, and fighting.


One of the oldest forms of combat, it is thought that wrestling originated in Europe. Wrestling is a combat sport involving grappling type techniques such as clinch fighting, throws and takedowns, joint locks, pins and other grappling holds. The sport can either be theatrical for entertainment, or genuinely competitive. Wrestling is a physical competition, between two competitors, who attempt to gain and maintain a superior position. Wrestling is one of the few martial arts that is also practiced in schools everywhere, from middle school all the way up to college.