Martial arts

Martial arts

Practising a martial art is an excellent form of exercise and a great way to learn self-defence tactics. You can also gain self-confidence and learn discipline.
There are a huge range of martial arts out there. Here are a few of the biggest:

  • Karate: From Okinawa. Based around striking your opponent with your hands.
  • Judo: From Japan. Based around grappling and throwing your opponent to the ground.
  • Taekwondo: From Korea. Similar to karate but more emphasis on kicking.
  • Muay Thai: From Thailand. Based on striking your opponent with fists as well as elbows, shins and knees.
  • Aikido: From Japan. Based on defeating an opponent without harming them.
  • Jiu-Jitsu: From Brazil. Based on defeating larger opponents by fighting them on the ground.


Physical skills, coordination and out-smarting your opponent are all necessary.


  • Great for all round strength and fitness
  • Flexibility
  • Increased confidence
  • Relieving stress

What you need

Generally comfortable clothes, water bottle and bare feet.

Levels of competition

You can start at beginner levels for all martial arts. With experience you can enter competitions. All martial arts have a professional level and judo, karate, and taekwondo are in the Olympics.

Martial arts organisations

Searching for martial arts in your area is a good way to start. Experiment with different types of martial arts to find what you like.

Similar options

Kick-boxing and capoeira, which combines dance and martial arts.