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The McBryde Guide to Martial Arts

Karate PracticeThe McBryde Guide to Martial Arts

We’ve been covering specific martial arts, like last week’s McBryde Guide to Karate, now we’re delving into this category as a whole. Martial arts are combat practices, traditions that have a variety of purposes including competition, self defense, fitness, spiritual development, and mental/physical development. Such forms of combat are ancient arts, with evidence dating back 4,000 years or more in a variety of cultures.

Types of Martial Art

The martial arts can be categorized based upon their combat focus (unarmed, armed, weapon type), their intent (defense, sport, fitness), and whether they’re based in tradition or they’re recent creations. We’re going to focus on the combat-oriented arts this time around. ma 001Weapon-based martial arts teach the student armed combat for different melee weapons and how to counter other armed attacks with your chosen weapon. Historical European martial arts tend to focus on weaponry, with several centuries of melee weapon development going on across the continent. Some forms of Chinese martial arts have a weapons component, and Japanese martial arts have extensive weapon styles that someone can train in. Some weapon-based martial arts styles are: kenjutsu/kendo, kyudo, canne de combat, singlestick, eskrima, silat, and even modern fencing. Unarmed martial arts have a striking focus, a grappling focus, or a hybrid of the two, with further concentration on specific types of strike or grappling. Boxing and Wing Chun focus on punching, while Capoeira, Taekwondo, and Savate are kick-based. Karate and Sanshou are further examples of strike-based martial art. We’ve been talking about grappling-based martial arts over our previous articles. Wrestling and Judo employ both throwing and pinning techniques, while Hapkido is a combination of holds and throwing. Other hold-based martial arts are Jiu-jitsu, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, and Aikido. Sumo wrestling is mainly throwing-based. We could further break things down, but you probably get the idea.

Picking a Martial Art

Aikido man with bokkenThere are so many different martial arts that you could specialize in, the difficulty comes in deciding which one to go for. In many cases, it depends entirely upon what’s available in your area. For a small town, that could be not a damn thing – or maybe karate. If you’re close to a decent-sized town, you’ll have more options open to you. The other factors to consider are whether or not you want to pick up something that’s weapon-based or unarmed, how intensive you want your regimen to be, and how much money you’re able or willing to invest. If your budget is low, weapon-based arts may not be for you, or you may want to stay away from the competitive arena. If you have specific traditions that you’ve always admired, such as Tae Kwon Do, your best bet is to give that a try. Your gut instinct is usually right – you’ll either find that your reasons for admiring that particular art were right, or you’ll decide it isn’t for you and move on. You don’t have to go with Asian martial arts if they aren’t your style, either, as there are plenty of other options. Capoeria, for example, is Brazilian and combines a music, acrobatics, and dance. You can also give boxing or wrestling a shot. Both are common, and both are fairly accessible. There’s really no secret to picking a martial art to try. Really, it’s up to you, and requires some research on your part. Look up videos of the different martial arts that might catch your attention, talk to instructors, and get in touch with other students to see what they think.

The Art of Judo

When Dr. Jigoro Kano created the martial art of Judo, he probably never imagined it might one day become an Olympic sport. The entire point of this sport is its competitive element, where the objective is to throw an opponent to the ground and subdue them. In fact, this competitive portion is part of the draw of Judo. Pre-arranged forms of strikes made by the hands and feet are part of judo, as are defences with weapons, but they aren’t allowed in competition or in the free-practice portion. Even from the beginning of the sport, contest was important. The first Judo tournaments started two years after Judo was founded and continue today; the founder was even asked to become chair of a committee for creating the first jujutsu contest rules, which were meant to also cover Judo contests. Each contest was meant to be fifteen minutes long and were to be judged based on throwing and grappling techniques. If the opponent is thrown onto the judo mat and lands on their back with sufficient force – striking flat – and are pinned for an appropriate amount of time, they lose. If they are forced to submit, that counts, too. When Kano, the sport’s founder, demonstrated judo at the Olympic Games in 1932, he wasn’t too keen on the idea of judo becoming part of the Olympics. He felt that judo was not simply a sport, it was a principle of life, of art, and of science, as well as a means for cultural attainment. Even so, judo joined the Olympics in 1964, was dropped in 1968, then brought back on board in the next set. The first winner of the Olympic gold in judo? A Dutchman named Anton Geesink! Fighter Countering a KickIt took nearly twenty years for the women’s division to be introduced, and it arrived on the scene in 1992. In private practice, judo hasn’t deviated much from Kano’s initial vision, which was of a martial art that could be practised in a realistic way. Free practice was the central portion of judo’s teaching theory at the time, while competition was to be the practitioner’s test of their understanding of what they’d learned. In order to keep judoka (practitioners) safe, it was necessary to limit striking techniques to those prearranged kata forms, and initial joint manipulation was limited to the elbow. Judoka also had to be trained in ukemi, or ‘break falls’, for safety during throws, and initially they practised on rice straw mats called tatami. Now there are a variety of judo mats available to help soften the impact from a throw and prevent injury, though many still use the traditional tatami. Judo isn’t simply a sport, it’s an art, and it can be considered a philosophy. A way of life. You can make judo part of your life and practice at home, to lead toward a much healthier outlook and overall state of being. Check out our range of judo mats in our online store, and if you don’t see what you’re looking for, visit our ‘contact us‘ page and we can help you find it.

Why Get Into Martial Arts?

Everybody has different reasons for getting into the martial arts. For some, it’s a spiritual pursuit, getting them more in touch with their inner selves or with spirit, or the divine. For others, martial arts are a purely fitness-related thing, where the student works on improving their physical health. Martial arts are an excellent focusing tool. Going through different moves, learning techniques, and practicing requires you to concentrate on what you’re doing. If you’re not particularly good at focusing on at ask, this is a great way to develop that skill – and focus is important for a lot of things in our daily lives and at work. They help you develop a sense of discipline, too, as you have to practice what you’re learning in order to improve – and if you want to keep improving, you have to keep learning and attending your training. Another major reason to get into martial arts is that it can teach you how to defend yourself in a dangerous situation. For most people, this won’t be something worth worrying about, but if you live in a sketchy area or if you’re just overall concerned about this sort of thing, well, why not? Give it a go.

What Do You Need to Get Into Martial Arts?

That depends on the martial art. For some, like MMA, wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, and maybe boxing, combat sports wrestling accessories like singlets and headgear would probably be a good idea. Especially mouthpieces and other protective gear. Weapons-based martial arts will require the weapon that your technique is teaching, while other arts have their own specific uniforms. It doesn’t hurt to have a special area in your home where you can practice, that has proper padding available, weights, a punching or kick bag, and whatever other training gear you feel would be beneficial. One of the keys to making it in the martial arts is frequent practice! Remember, if your gym is lacking in equipment, you can always get a quote from us for some great mats.

How to Get Involved

Check your local gym listings, Google, clubs, schools, and even recreation centers for information on classes and training opportunities. The library and the internet are good sources of general information on your art of choice. Next, take a look at The McBryde Guide to Cheerleading.
Posted in Blog, Fitness Guide, Martial Arts

34 COMMENTS

Maddie - posted on June 7, 2016 6:32 pm

Ronda Rousey is such a big idol to me, and that is one of the reasons that I have taken interest in martial arts. I don’t know that I would ever seriously do the sport, but I do want to learn more about it. Not only for the sake of the sport itself and competition, but also because of fitness, self defense skills and bragging rights! Aha, great post.

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McBryde Mats - posted on June 8, 2016 9:13 am

Ronda and many other female athletes like her are an absolute inspiration to the sport of mixed martial arts and a talent than many millions of people admire. We hope they inspire you to take up the sport and hey if you ever do – drop us a line and we’ll sort out the mats for you. #TeamMcBryde

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craigbic - posted on June 8, 2016 4:53 pm

I wasn’t even aware of some of these martial arts. I’ve always admired Olympic Judo and the degree of discipline, precision, and artistry required to master the techniques. It’s one of my favorite sports during the games. Anyone in the US looking into martial arts can also check with their local YMCA for information – they frequently have their own classes or have information for outside classes.

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McBryde Mats - posted on June 9, 2016 9:40 am

That’s why we wrote the McBryde guide to martial arts! We are glad that you found it informative Craig!, thanks for the kind words. Check out all the gyms in your area to see what classes you can get, it’s all about finding the right style that suits YOU! Good luck!

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sarah evanston - posted on June 23, 2016 10:09 am

As a woman who has just started martial arts training (karate), I think all women should do it. I am going to share your very informative post with some of my friends so they can better understand what martial arts is and isn’t. I think you explain it better than anyone else! 🙂

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McBryde Mats - posted on June 24, 2016 3:04 pm

Glad to hear you have started the art! Thanks for reading the McBryde guide to Martial arts & good luck with your training!

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Luckie - posted on January 19, 2017 11:08 am

An answer from an expert! Thanks for conttiburing.

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Jenna - posted on June 24, 2016 9:04 am

As for me, martial arts are a form of art. You can see the beauty in every action, technique and its purpose. I find peace in martial arts as well, they teach you to be concentrate and calm in thinking of how to react to the next action. Anyhow, it seems forever to achieve the black belt rank in karate, I guess I should have more frequent practice at home!

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McBryde Mats - posted on June 24, 2016 2:53 pm

Yes Jenna, you are right, mastering a mertial art takes a lot of time, thanks for reading the McBryde guide to Martial arts!

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McBryde Mats - posted on June 24, 2016 2:58 pm

You are right Jenna, mastering an art form takes a lot of dedication and practice, thanks for reading the McBryde guide to Martial Arts!

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Nodin - posted on January 19, 2017 11:12 am

As Charlie Sheen says, this article is “WIN!INGN”

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Sharleena - posted on January 19, 2017 1:48 pm

Wow! Great to find a post kncoikng my socks off!

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Amy - posted on June 30, 2016 1:15 pm

When it comes to martial arts, Karate and jiu jitsu are my favourites. Apart from self-defence, they help you develop that perfect level of focus and concentration that helps you in everyday life and they are just so affordable to learn and practice. Please can anyone give me ideas on how to help kids not to use these martial skills to cause havoc to others around them.

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McBryde Mats - posted on July 1, 2016 11:24 am

Thanks for replying to ‘The McBryde guide to Martial Arts’ Amy, appreciate the read, glad it gave your some insight and value!

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Alyse Estrada - posted on July 2, 2016 7:14 am

I found this article to be highly Interesting. The subject matter was powerful, but the article was written in a style that I found very entertaining. I found the tone of the author to be very down to earth. The advice was meaningful, but never preachy. This article is full of great advice and I am already incorporating it into my daily life. This article can be utilized by everyone. Fantastic read! Thanks

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McBryde Mats - posted on July 5, 2016 8:43 am

Thats great Alyse, we are glad you enjoyed ‘The McBryde guide to Martial Arts’! Thanks for reading!

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Hades - posted on July 14, 2016 3:41 pm

Thanks for listing alternatives if we feel traditional martial arts isn’t for us! I will keep this post in mind in the future. I plan on signing up for a class soon.

I said in a previous blog comment that my uncle was into karate, so I can attest to martial arts being great for focus and drive. Even just practicing by yourself in a quiet space or outside in the garden can relax you and help with stress. That’s what my uncle always said, and it showed! I wish I had taken him up on his training offer!

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McBryde Mats - posted on July 15, 2016 3:54 am

Like the Nike slogan says; ‘Just do it!’ Get started with something today! Good luck!

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Rafi Morshed - posted on July 28, 2016 5:00 am

I observed this article to be exceptionally interesting. This is like a short martial arts wiki. Everyone can learn something from this article. Awesome read!

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McBryde Mats - posted on July 30, 2016 9:15 am

Martial Arts are very different in each style with different uses and applications for the knowledge you learn. We are glad you got some value from reading the guide Rafi!

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Puss - posted on January 19, 2017 9:53 am

This comment means the world to me! It humbles me and has taken a weight off of my shlurdeos. It makes me feel like I’m doing something right even if I struggle some days. Thank you so much for being a part of my life and being such an awesome friend!!! I love you! Sent with lots of love!

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Blondy - posted on January 19, 2017 11:08 am

It’s imterapive that more people make this exact point.

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McBryde Mats - posted on August 2, 2016 9:42 am

Awesome Margret! We appreciate the share! Glad you like the McBryde Mats blog so much! Keep reading!

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alamin - posted on August 3, 2016 10:20 am

I found this article to be highly Interesting,The topic was intense, yet the article was composed in a style that I discovered extremely enlivening. I found the tone of the creator to be extremely rational. The exhortation was significant, yet never long winded. This article is brimming with awesome guidance and I am as of now fusing it into my day by day life. This article can be used by everybody. Awesome read!Thanks

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McBryde Mats - posted on August 6, 2016 6:49 am

Awesome, we are glad you got some value from it! Keep coming back for more great articles to come!

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Sam Brooke - posted on August 4, 2016 1:21 pm

Wow, I never realized how powerful Judo was! Specializing in a sport founded on the concept of pinning an opponent down in a way that immobilizes them from making another move on you seems like it would make you pretty much unstoppable.

Every time I read something new from you, I swear, you give me something else I want to learn. Keep up the amazing content!

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McBryde Mats - posted on August 6, 2016 6:39 am

Hi again Sam! yes, Judo is an amazingly effective and powerful martial art, its great to learn the foundations of balance and control. Thanks for reading the guide!

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noelbecks - posted on August 13, 2016 4:32 am

This is an awesome piece of writing, big ups to you Mcbryde. Just reading through this article, I already develop interest in Martial art. Using some of your cues and clues, I’ll be enrolling in a martial art class soon. I will give you feedback on this same article in few weeks on my development.

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McBryde Mats - posted on August 23, 2016 6:19 am

Thanks for the kind words! We are glad you got some value from the article! Keep coming back for more!

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Jeana - posted on January 19, 2017 7:10 pm

Felt so hopeless looking for answers to my quosniets…until now.

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stalwart - posted on August 13, 2016 10:38 am

This is a great guide perfect for the beginner, gives you great context into the sport. Covers the basics you need to know, you can use this as a springboard for more learning. The guide does not focus one particular style of martial art but does cover the basics, with an excellent presentation on the weapon based, unarmed. Important information that all novices must internalize, regardless of fighting style studied. I also found it interesting (and satisfying as well) that the writer most effective and comprehensive self-defense fighting system would combine basic striking from boxing/karate along with throws/grappling from judo.
After reading this, am heading to the gym.

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McBryde Mats - posted on August 23, 2016 6:12 am

Thanks for reading the guide! We are glad you got some value from the article! Good luck at the gym!

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stalwart - posted on August 13, 2016 12:57 pm

This guide explains step by step, gives lots of information. But if you are not ready, then your going to feel like your heads going to pop off. I intentional dedicate my time in reading this article as it gives a lot details about martial art. I can almost guarantee you recommending this guide and study it for a few weeks, and then start applying the information that you have learned, that you will see a notable improvement in your in your training.

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McBryde Mats - posted on September 20, 2016 3:39 am

Thanks for taking the time to comment, you’re 100% correct it is a lot of information to digest but we do feel it’s the perfect starter guide for those looking to get into Martial Arts. We hope it’s helped you and maybe one day we can see you on McBryde Mats. Send us pictures! All the best from #TeamMcBryde

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