Best Martial Arts
If you are looking for an activity that is more than just a sport, look at our choice of top 10 martial arts. Martial Arts are more than just a sport, they are the way of living. They raise physical fitness and mental strength. They teach you self-defense methods. Martial arts give you knowledge on the tradition and culture of the nations that gave birth to them. They make you realize your physical and mental limits, make you move those limits, and teach you how to achieve unity of body and soul.
Karate is a martial art coming from Japan. It was born in the nineteenth century, and its birthplace is the island Okinawa, where the old Okinawa martial arts intertwined with Chinese and Japanese skills. The very meaning of its name (“ Empty hand”) indicates that it is performed without using any weapons other than one’s own body, ie. arms and legs. It emphasizes the strength of the body and its speed, with special focus on: elbow, fist, hand and finger punches, and knee and feet kicks, which is why it belongs to so-called hard styles. Today, karate is one of the most popular sport disciplines and it is still one of the most respecter martial arts.
Ninjutsu is Japanese secret fighting skill. Ninjas were samurai from different families, who, after the defeat of their army, continued the fight - to the end, instead of surrendering, suicide or accepting the status of vassals. Ninjutsu combines nine different traditional styles formed through real-life combat experiences. This is why, it is considered one of the most effective martial arts today. It has no rules and there are no boundaries. The goal is discovering the enemies weaknesses as soon as possible, and defeating him. Ninjutsu teaches bare-handed fight as well as fight with the available weapons. It is a warrior skill, not a competitive one, and it leads to perfecting the spirit, character and body of its followers.
This is one of the most effective and most widespread systems of defense. It was created in Israel, from where it spread throughout the world, and today it is used for training of special units as well as civilians. It is a system that can be mastered in a relatively short time and it is easy to maintain. This is a very violent skill with almost no rules. That is why it is not recognized as a sport and there are no competitions. It allows the usage of all the available objects, blows to the opponent's vital parts of the body, wrestling, striking and aggression, all in order to efficiently and quickly conquer the opponent.
“The way of harmonious spirit”, which is what Aikido means, was created by Morihei Ureshiba, who tended to unify his religious and philosophical beliefs with his martial art knowledge. Aikido is one of the best self-defense martial arts, which is why weapons (knifes, swords…) are often used to practice self-defense. It belongs to so-called soft martial arts because of the softness and harmony of its moves. The main principle of aikido is predicting, redirecting, controlling and neutralizing the attacker with minimum damage, and by using the attacker’s energy and strength. It requires a lot of movement, and the defense system is based on joint locks, making it easier to oppose even the much larger and physically stronger opponents.
Jigoro Kano, a Japanese professor, created Judo in the nineteenth century, by combining different fighting techniques of Jujutsu. Judo became an Olympic sport in 1964. ”The gentle way”, its translation, indicates its main principle, fighting patiently and developing technique, rather than using bare strenght. It practises balance, flexibility, and efficiency. Judo is such an art that enables opposing a stronger opponent in an easy way. Its goal is aiming for perfection and universal benefit.
This Korean martial art, came to existence after the second World War, when the Japanese ended their occupation of Korea. The translation of its name means “the way of hand and foot”, which describes its fighting technique, an active usage of arms, and legs in particular. Legs, as the longest and the strongest parts of the body, are considered the most powerful fighting device, and, therefore mostly used. Taekwondo pairs up physical and mental strenght, and requires flexibility, speed and balance of skills. Today, it is an Olympic discipline,popular among both women and man.
Jiu-Jitsu comes from Japan and dates from the period of the fall of the Ming Dynasty. It represents a way of defense that Japanese samurai developed to fight against the armed enemies, without using weapons or only with short arms. It relies on the following methods: joint locks, grappling, powerful striking, biting, rolling and choke holds. It focuses on using the opponent’s energy, its redirecting and fighting the opponent back. Today Ju-jitsu skills contain all the most effective techniques that we recognize in other martial arts (judo, karate, aikido).
Wing Chun, or Snake-Crane style is a specific form of Kung Fu which was born in China, and which constantly evolves. Close contacts, fast defense, strong and quick punches and effective coordination are some of the main characteristics of this martial art. Its goals are well-coordinated attacks and defense moves. It uses fist punches, open palm punches, grips and strikes to vital points. Wing Chun is an effective form of self-defense for which energy control and simultaneous, well-coordinated moves are essential.
This is a specific martial art, and also a national sport of Thailand. Muay Thai, was formed in the South-East Asia. Thai is known as the “skill of eight limbs “ because besides hands and feet, elbows and knees are intensively used. This gives the fighters eight contact surfaces that can be combined in various ways. It allows holding, throwing, pushing and punches below the belt. Fighters are required to have a high degree of stamina and versatility in the way of fighting. The level of stress in combat is extremely high and the fighters are known as martial art "Supermen" as evidenced in many competitions worldwide.
It is believed that capoeira was born in Brazil in the 16th century, during its colonization. Legend says that this skill was invented by African slaves in the pursuit of freedom. Since they were forbidden to fight, they disguised their fighting technique by the dance. Its strong African roots are manifested through music, movement and symbolism. It requires great fitness and good physical condition. Capoeira is performed in a human circle by two participants and it is followed by musical instruments, such as berumbaoa and drums. The strikes are commonly acted out, so that the struggle does not focus on hurting the opponent, but emphasizes skill.