Which Martial Art Should I Learn First?
Which Martial Art Should I Learn First?
May 29, 2024 8:50 AM

Martial arts have roots that you can trace back to ancient history. At their very essence, these combat forms were developed for protection and self-defense. As such, many of them are used in the military and remain part of most people’s cultural heritage.

That said, a military-like approach is not the only way to learn a martial art form. You can also start practicing specific MMA styles for recreation or as a hobby. You might also want to get into them for career reasons and to become a professional.

So, which martial arts should I learn first? Let’s go over the popular forms of martial arts and the top things to consider when learning them.

Popular Martial Art Forms

What’s great about martial arts is they change you holistically. They aren’t just about the physical. Rather, they are about the mental and spiritual, too. You’ll find these values ingrained in the following popular combat practices:

Brazilian Jiu-JitsuMuay ThaiKarateTaekwondoJujitsuJudoAikido

As you may have noticed, Japanese-originating martial art forms dominate the “most popular” list. In essence, this gives you a clue as to how self-disciplined Japanese people are and where their worldly values stem from.

Things To Consider When Taking up a Martial Art Form

Your preferences are likely to determine which martial art form you take up first. However, you might also want to consider the following factors for choosing a particular practice:

Ease of Learning

We wouldn’t exactly call easy martial art forms “easy,” but they can be easier to learn than others. For instance, some forms allow you to learn the basics from available audio-visual content online. They might also make practicing fundamental techniques and formations at home easier.

If a particular type of martial art lets you practice with dummies, then it’s likely one of the easier types to learn. For example, Jiu-jitsu is one such discipline that enables you to get started at home with dummies. However, eventually, you will need a partner to spar with to hone the most important skills of the practice. If you find one who’s just as interested as you are, or perhaps even more skilled than you, that would be even better.

One of the things that make Jiu-jitsu a great starter is its purpose. Initially, this martial art form was developed for taking down bigger, heavier opponents with as little fuss as possible. The fact that it’s one of the lighter disciplines out there makes it even more of a draw for first-time learners.


Why do you want to learn a martial art form? Think about it deeply, as failing this part could prevent you from seeing your journey through to the end.

You could have several motives for engaging in a combat practice, including self-protection, fitness, purpose, and discipline. Whatever these motives may be, assess them thoroughly and see if they can get you through training long-term.

If your primary purpose is recreation, you might want to go for a martial art form that’s a little less structured, like Jiu-jitsu. For as long as it serves your particular purpose, everything goes with this discipline. You can also opt not to learn the set of Jiu-jitsu moves in its entirety and simply attempt to master those that serve your specific motive.

A form that’s significantly more solid in terms of structure is Muay Thai. It turns parts of your body into weapons for delivering offense and defense. The purest form of Muay Thai is governed by a set of rules that are as solid as they come. That’s why one doesn’t take Muay Thai learning lightly. More often than not, a person only pursues the art form when he or she plans on going professional.


Your physical traits and personal characteristics should very much be considerations for pursuing a martial art form. That’s because some forms hold a really high standard for even their beginners.

For instance, Krav Maga is almost impossible for non-physically-gifted individuals to get into. This and other martial art forms requiring the same level of intensity could test your pain and endurance levels to their limits. After all, it takes an extremely tough and determined individual to fight through immense pain and deliver techniques powerfully and accurately.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: One of the Safest Forms of Martial Arts

These days, there’s a lot of buzz surrounding Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or BJJ due to it becoming a major component in most MMA styles. How do you think you’ll fare in it? How safe is it, exactly?

BJJ is among the safest martial arts disciplines due to its solid set of rules governing training and competition. So much about this combat sport is rooted in honor, respect, and discipline, resulting in most of its mid- and high-level practitioners being more concerned with safety than anything else.

In terms of journey length, BJJ is one that takes your entire life to learn holistically. That’s because it doesn’t simply focus on the technical side; it also centers on the internalization of a lifestyle.

Nevertheless, from a purely technical perspective, a black belt in BJJ could take at least 10 to 15 years to accomplish. Some prodigies have gotten there in less time, but not all of us have these individuals’ gifts and skills. The quickest route to a BJJ black belt was achieved in just three years, an impossibility for many. Modeling your journey after this progression could prove fruitless and potentially dangerous, so don’t do it.

Nonetheless, the fact that BJJ centers on safety and lifestyle internalization means that it’s one of the best martial arts practices for first-timers.

You Can Learn Most Martial Art Forms First

Learning a martial art form has less to do with the art form itself than the learner. Basically, most popular combat practices can be ideal for beginners if they meet the person’s needs for learning, motivation, and physical and mental capacity. Considering your specific strengths and weaknesses should lead you to select a form of martial arts that’s right up your alley.

Goal consideration is also as important. You might want to be studying it at your place, and not all martial art forms allow for that. You might also be interested in taking up more than one martial art form, which is great but not always advisable for a beginner.

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