What is the difference between the Martial Arts and Self Defense and MMA?

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What do you do if you are interested in the Martial Arts? Some may join a formal school and learn traditional martial arts. Some people gravitate towards the popular aerobic workout that kickboxing can give. Others may find themselves at a mixed martial arts gym. So here is the question, How do I decide?

The first thing one must know is their motivation. Many people want to learn how to fight and join a Karate or Tae Kwon Do school, and for fighting these classic arts are not the best options. The classical martial arts such as Karate, Tai Chi, Wing Chun are traditional elderly arts. When one learns these techniques it includes a way of breathing and relaxation, fixed movement and set patterns all crystallized in “one way” of doing things. The martial arts are best for exactly that, art. It is a great way to express the human body from the emotional and spiritual plane. These arts however are not without merit and can in fact be dangerous but as said before not the first choice I recommend.

What about fitness? Many people turn to cardio kickboxing classes for fitness. I’m sure the term “Tae Bo” is familiar with most people. These are fantastic for cardiovascular training as so long as the practitioner is aware of the difference in technique that is functional and technique that is oriented to produce the best workout.

The most confusing of all the options is probably the mma training. It is extremely taxing on the human body and makes a great workout, and all the techniques are functional to a limited extent. Mixed martial art training is far more time consuming then our other choices as the equal need of technique training and physical conditioning is needed. Training in a mixed martial arts gym may also lead to competition and injury and should approach with caution to those that choose this path.

This brings us to an explanation of self defense. In most cases the self defense programs are simple and direct techniques used in life threatening situations. In these cases live scenario training involving an attacker and a victim is commonly used. In self defense situations there is a lack of consent by at least one party and then the technical applications are drastically different from any sport strategy. The self defense systems also open up a world to other programs such as, home security tactics, anti carjacking programs, and military hand to hand programs. The people who choose this direction are more interested in protection of self, family, and assets than any sport or art.

The purpose of this article is not to deface any program or combative system, but to educate those people who want to explore the world of physical combat. Before any option is chosen much research must be done and many questions need be asked.


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