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What is the best style? (For You)


After my earlier posted ravings about best styles, you might think that this would be a tongue in cheek post. But it is not. For many beginners in the martial arts, the question of "which style should I take?" is a legitimate one. Now, there are literally dozens upon dozens of "styles" out there, but there is only really 2 main differences: The arts that strike, and the arts that seize. That is to say that some arts are teaching you how to strike an opponent with their hands, feet, knees, elbows, and sometimes even the head. Those arts require a certain amount of distance, and angle to unleash a barrage of damaging strikes. Arts like, Karate, uke grappling arts include wrestling, Judo, Jiujitsu, Sombo, catch wrestling, Silat, aikido and sumo. Those arts not only emphasize, but require close quarter combat between them and the opponent.

But back to the point, a person who is no sure what he or she wants to take may need to consider a couple of things before they begin a martial art. The first is personal preference about space. Americans are usually a lot more space conscious than other nationalities. Americans" like their space." Other nationalities are far less concerned about their proximity to their neighbors in places like store lines, or sport functions. I found this to be true when I was in Europe. Anyhow, back to the point. If being really close to people makes you uncomfortable, the grappling arts may not be for you. Likely as not, you will spend a lot of time, rolling around on a mat, or in a clinched position with someone who is actively resisting your techniques. If you are concerned with someone sweating on you, or leaning on you or something, you might want to give your grappling dreams a rest.

Also consider body type. I myself am a tallish, lanky kind of fellow. So my striking art background works well for me. I can use distance and angle to pick apart an opponent before they get to close to me. I have long limbs, so arts like boxing, or kickboxing suit me more naturally.

If you have a shorter stockier body type, you might want to try wrestling, or judo. These arts dont require you to have to reach out and strike your opponent at all. Your goal is to get in close enough to grab them. While a striker by nature, I myself am also both a proponent, and practitioner of grappling styles. So long limbs do not preclude proficiency in grappling styles, but we are talking about preferences and picking something that is more natural to you. The main issue with grappling styles is that some people find it odd to have to advance on a larger opponent in order to grab them. But rest assured you are not just going to wade in in an attempt to make contact. There is a sophisticated art to bringing a larger opponent into your field of expertise, so just check it out at a local grappling arts school.

If you are kind of in the medium size range, it may help you to try this exercise. It will help you decide if you have a grappler's instincts, or a striker's. Have a friend charge at you one day. If your natural urge is to step back, or to the side, you have a striker's instinct. If you want to duck down, or step in, you have a grappler's instincts. This is a VERY general rule, but from what I have seen, it holds a lot of water.

Anyhow folks, I have to go. I feel like I rushed this entry. I hate to do that, but I have a lot to do. I may revisit this entry at a later time. So I bid you a fond adieu. Ciao!

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