Tips for choosing a new martial art

If you’re into martial arts as much as I am, you probably explore the subject a little bit. In fact, if you’re reading this right now, that’s evidence enough that you’re exploring the field to some extent. Personally, I like reading books, watching films, and learning as much as I can about the field. Over the years I’ve come across some disciplines of martial arts that I had not even heard of, let alone practised, and so if you’re trying to broaden your martial arts experience, here are a couple of tips I’ve amassed over the years for how to find new ways of using your body.

Be open to new experiences. This is a bit obvious to say, but one could be amazed with how much keeping an open mind and yield. Whenever you hear about something new, listen attentively and even try to read up about the topic a bit. With the massive about of information available these days doing a bit of reading on the internet can often yield incredible results.

Don’t think about East Asia exclusively. Most people who think about martial arts tend to think of Japan, Korea and China. Celebrities like Jackie Chan helped popularise martial arts and karate—probably the first martial art to become mainstream in the West—have helped solidify the stereotype that martial arts come from Asia. However, any culture that has ever been at war—and sadly that’s all of them!—has a history of martial arts. So, consider learning non-Asian martial arts.

Try everything. Going back to being open to new experiences, you need to try as much as possible. Many martial arts studios have lessons you can join just to see if you like it. Don’t be shy about popping in and seeing if there’s a beginners’ course you could try or even perhaps if you could observe a lesson and see if it’s something for you.

Join (online) communities. Most people who are passionate about something enjoy sharing that passion with others. And nowadays there’s any number of clubs and organisations you can join online to share your experiences and hear about other people’s experiences. This is perhaps one of the best ways to broaden your horizons and learn about what the world of martial arts has to offer.