What are the best martial arts for beginners, who have no or very little previous experience in any martial arts?
In this post, we are going through the 5 best martial arts that are suitable for beginners.
Before we get into the list itself, I will explain a little bit, about what makes a martial art suitable for beginners. With that, you will know for yourself what to look out for in a martial art, if you decide to go with something else than the ones mentioned in this list.
Let’s get started with the requirements of martial arts for beginners.
What makes a martial art suitable for beginners
There are a few things to look out for when starting a new martial art with no previous experience.
First and probably one of the most important things is to know, what fighting style the martial art focuses on.
Before we dive deeper into the topic, I think it’s important to mention that martial art by itself does not matter as much as you might think. Every martial art can be learned by a complete beginner.
However, I would focus first on one aspect of fighting, before starting something that covers all aspects of fighting.
Another important thing for beginners is to look out for the gym. Especially the instructors, spaces, equipment, and the distance between your gym and your home, or workplace. A full guide on choosing the best martial art gym can be found here.
Some martial arts only focus on grappling and ground fighting, while others focus on multiple different areas. Let me put out a small tier list from “simplest to hardest”
Martial arts that only focus on one aspect of fighting
- Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which only focuses on ground fighting and grappling (No kicks or punches)
- Boxing, which only focuses on striking (No takedowns, grappling, or kicks)
- Judo, which only focuses on grappling and ground fighting (No kicks or punches)
Martial arts that focus on two aspects of fighting
- Muay Thai, which focuses on punches and kicks
- Kickboxing, which also focuses on punches and kicks
- Wing Chun, which focuses on punches and kicks
Martial arts that focus on all aspects of fighting
- Karate focuses on all aspects of fighting. Including striking, kicking, joint locks, and ground fighting.
- MMA, also known as mixed martial arts also covers all different fighting styles.
- Krav Maga focuses on defending yourself at all costs. Krav maga is also holding the #1 spot on my best martial arts for self-defense list.
Best martial arts for beginners
Now, let’s get to the actual list of martial arts, with some short explanations of why they hold their spots. We will start with number 1 so you don’t have to scroll all the way down to see it. Let’s get started.
1. Brazilian jiu-jitsu
This might be a little bit biased opinion, but in my opinion, Brazilian jiu-jitsu or BJJ is the most beginner-friendly martial art to go by.
That’s because it only focuses on ground fighting with no punches or kicks. Therefore, the risk of injury is smaller and you can really take things slowly at first.
You only have to learn the ground fighting aspect of martial arts with BJJ. This means you can focus all your energy on perfecting that aspect of fighting before you start to divide your attention.
BJJ is also a big part of MMA if you later want to practice a more comprehensive martial art.
You can also start competing in BJJ tournaments and competitions, right after you have learned the basics of the sport. This should not take longer than six months.
Overall, Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a great option both for beginners, as well as more experienced martial artists.
Now, boxing, like BJJ also only focuses on one aspect of fighting. That’s the striking part of martial arts.
The fact that boxing only focuses on striking makes it really beginner friendly. Just like with BJJ, boxing gives you the option to first learn one aspect of fighting.
Boxing is also really popular, just like BJJ, so there should be no problem finding a boxing gym in your area.
From boxing, it’s also really easy to continue for MMA, or if you want to try a grappling martial art for a change, maybe BJJ or Judo will do the trick.
But at first, try to focus on one thing and learn it.
If you want more “traditional” martial art that has all in one package, Karate might be the right option for you.
Karate does have some ancient rituals, such as bowing deep. If you want the martial art to be as traditional as possible Karate is a better option than the first two.
Boxing and BJJ are somewhat “modern” martial arts, whereas Karate mostly still follows the old ways of martial arts.
Karate also covers all the different aspects of fighting at some level, making it a “more whole” martial art than the first two.
With these 3 options, I think you can find a way to start following. It doesn’t have to be the exact same as in the list, but hopefully, this list gave you an idea about what kind of martial art you are looking for.
Keep in mind that every martial art can be practiced by a complete beginner. It just might be more work to learn all the aspects of fighting from zero, but it’s completely doable and common.
Height also plays a role when it comes to fighting. Here is a post I made, where we go through how much height matters in a fight.
If you want to start practicing martial arts, I have made a post of different tips for beginners to succeed with their martial arts dreams.
How long it really takes to learn a new martial art depends so much on several factors. You can find more about the things that matter here.
Hopefully this was helpful, have a wonderful day!