Thinking about martial arts? Get started today!
Do you want to challenge yourself athletically and try something new? Then start combat sports! This type of sport offers many benefits, not only for your physical health, but for your mental health as well. Your self-defense skills will improve, along with your self-confidence.
In this article we’ll show you how you can get started with combat sports or martial arts and what you should think about when choosing which type of combat sport and where to train. Join the world of martial arts now!
Getting started with martial arts, but which one?
Which type of combat sport or martial art is best suited to you?
First you need to think about which type of combat sport you want to start with. There are a number of more or less established combat sports in Germany. Deciding on the right combat sports or martial arts depends on several factors: your personal goals, physical fitness, and preferences. In combat sports there are generally two-person fights with a focus on competitions. In contrast, martial arts focus on strict compliance with traditions, techniques and etiquette, as well as correct behavior within the studio. Here is a selection of the most popular types:
Getting started with Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)
Mixed Martial Arts (or MMA) is one of the largest-growing combat sports in the world. The sport combines elements from all types of combat sports and is therefore the ultimate choice in full contact sports. In an MMA fight, two fighters compete against each other in the ring or octagon and try to beat their opponent. It uses standing, hitting, kicking and throwing techniques from combat sports such as boxing, Thai boxing, and wrestling. On the ground, lever holds and strangleholds from sports such as jiu-jitsu or judo are typical. Its technical complexity characterizes the sport. The fight ends either by K.O., surrender, or by the judge’s decision. The training will undoubtedly test your physical limits. MMA requires a high degree of physical fitness, coordination and endurance. Through MMA training, you can improve your strength, stamina and self-defense skills, while also strengthening your self-confidence and discipline.
Getting started with Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) / grappling
Grappling is a combat sport with no hitting or kicking techniques that focuses on fighting on the ground and holding or strangling the opponent. Grappling is often practiced as part of MMA or Brazilian jiu-jitsu. In the sport, the aim is to use various techniques to bring your opponent to the ground. The focus is on lever, throwing and strangling techniques that award points or force the opponent to surrender. Grappling requires good body control, strength and stamina. It can also be a very effective form of self-defense, as it allows the fighter to beat a larger or stronger opponent. Grappling is also challenging as it requires strategic thinking and quick decisions. Brazilian jiu-jitsu is similar to grappling in its form. The difference is that those who train in BJJ wear a so-called Gi, a training suit that is representative of the sport and allows a variety of complex techniques.
Getting started with Thai boxing (Muay Thai) / kickboxing
Thai boxing and kickboxing are martial arts that combine techniques from boxing, karate, Muay Thai and Taekwondo and take place while standing. In this sport, two fighters compete against each other in the ring and try to beat their opponent. Hitting, kicking and kneeing techniques are part of the standard repertoire. The result of the fight is determined by a K.O., a technical K.O., or a points decision. In classic Thai boxing, unlike kickboxing, elbow techniques are allowed. With regular training, this martial art can improve your body control, strength, speed and stamina, and increase your discipline.
Getting started with boxing
Boxing is the classic two-person fist fight in the ring. It’s one of the oldest and well known combat sports and requires a high degree of physical fitness and mental strength. In boxing there are several techniques such as jab, cross, hook and uppercut, which allow you to hit the opponent and score points. The outcome of the fight is determined similarly to kickboxing: by K.O., technical K.O., or points. This combat sport is highly challenging in terms of technique and conditioning. It’s an effective form of self-defense because you learn to fend off attacks and react quickly and accurately.
Getting starting with wrestling
Wrestling is one of the oldest Olympic sports, and it requires physical strength, speed and tactical skill. You don’t use any tools, but mostly techniques such as throwing, holds and leg locks. The winner is whoever is able to “pin” their opponent to the ground – in other words, bring both their shoulders to the ground. If this does not happen, the winner is determined by points. With wrestling, you learn primarily to fend off attacks and free yourself from difficult situations.
Getting started with Taekwondo
Taekwondo is a combat sport that originated in Korea and uses a lot of fast and powerful kicks. You can practice it both as a sport and as self-defense. When training, you learn different kicking and hitting combinations, self-defense, and patterns, also known as Poomsae. It also tests your strength, stamina, flexibility and coordination. Taekwondo is suitable for children or adults of any age.
Getting started with karate
Karate is a Japanese combat sport that nowadays is practiced worldwide. It employs fast and powerful techniques, such as hits, kicks, blocks and strikes. In training, among other things, you practice katas – established sequences of movements. Particular value is placed on correct execution of the techniques and training of mind and body. Karate increases your physical fitness, strength, stamina and flexibility. When training in the dojo (training area) you also learn to be respectful and courteous with others. Karate is suitable for any age. Many children begin training from a very young age.
Getting started with judo
Judo is a Japanese combat sport and is also practiced as an Olympic sport. Judo is known for its throws and ground techniques, where the fighter brings their opponent to the ground and controls them using joint locks and throws. It is also a martial art that sharpens your awareness of ethics and morality, such as respect, politeness and cooperation.
Starting a combat sport or martial arts with no prior experience?
Like almost any other sport, you can start combat sports without any previous experience. In a good gym, there are different training sessions for beginners and advanced learners. Beginner classes are structured methodically, and all techniques are taught from the ground up. An experienced trainer will always be available with help and advice.
The training is very demanding in terms of conditioning, which, in general, forms a fixed part of training sessions. Before starting with combat training, it’s advisable to work on your basic endurance (for example with regular jogging). This will make it easier for you to get started.
Are you too old to learn combat sports or martial arts?
Many start practicing certain sports when they are still children. But it’s never too late to learn a combat sport or martial art – no matter how old you are. Training has a positive effect on the body and mind for both children and adults.
From a certain age, you should make sure not to rush into it when starting. This will help to avoid strains, overstretching or other injuries. It’s important to warm up before training sessions – the same applies to younger people or children.
Where can I get started with combat sports or martial arts?
In most studios for martial arts or combat sports, you can have a free try out training session, which gives you the opportunity to get an impression of the gym over several training sessions. When choosing a studio, you should first check that they are offering what you are looking for. It’s also important that you enjoy the combat sport. Try out sessions will help you to decide which studio you like. Here you can find an overview of the different combat sports in Germany:
- Discover boxing in your city
- Discover MMA in your city
- Discover traditional Asian martial arts in your city
- Discover modern self-defense in your city
With an Urban Sports Club membership, it’s really easy to try out different combat sports providers –with just one membership! That means you can have a try-out session for any combat sport you would like to learn. With the membership, you can also discover other sports. Here are some ideas:
- Bouldering for beginners
- Swimming and strength training
- Yoga or Pilates
- Getting started with meditation
- Getting started with fitness
Have you already tried out martial arts or a combat sport? Do you have any other questions? Tell us more in the comments!