Which Martial Art Should I Learn First? What Is The Best Base?

Which Martial Art Should I Learn First

Learning Martial Arts, specifically answering the question "Which martial art should I learn," can be a really positive and life-changing experience. It's a great way to improve your fitness and overall lifestyle, while also helping you become more aware of self-defense.

If you're wondering which martial art to start with, there are many options, each with its own style. People learn martial arts for different reasons like staying healthy, getting fit, self-defense, or even becoming a pro.

I've compiled a list of the best martial arts  But before we dive into that, let's take a look at how martial arts can benefit your health and well-being.

The Benefits of Martial Arts

Martial Arts has been a traditional way to learn self-defense. As you practice, it not only teaches you combat skills but also helps in your overall growth – physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.

Committing to martial arts can make you more disciplined. If you're curious about how it can improve your life and wondering which martial art to start with, keep reading!

We'll cover these aspects one by one in this article.

Increased Self-Esteem 

As you get fitter and slimmer, you also feel more confident. And it's not just about exercise; there's a simple science behind why doing martial arts can boost your confidence.

When you work out regularly, your brain produces more serotonin, a chemical that affects your mood and thinking in a good way.

This also helps you sleep better, eat well, and overall makes your body and mind stronger. It's like a bunch of things working together to make you more confident.

Weight Loss

When you join martial arts classes, expect a busy schedule filled with training. Intense workouts use up energy from your body's stored fats and the calories in your food.

Training boosts your metabolism as your muscles get active, and with a good diet, you'll likely end up looking leaner. Remember, what you eat matters a lot.

Martial arts is a helpful tool, but losing fat also depends on your diet choices.

Learning Self-Defense 

Learning martial arts is important primarily for self-defense. That's the main reason martial arts exist.

When you learn martial arts, you improve your self-defense skills and can become smarter in a fight. This includes things like being better at using your hands and eyes together, predicting and countering what your opponent does, and learning new moves and abilities.

If you ever find yourself in a dangerous situation, the skills you've learned will help you handle it. Martial arts techniques are practical and useful in real-life situations, even on the streets.

Increased Flexibility

Training in martial arts helps you become more flexible. It's a key part of the training routine, with warm-ups and stretching exercises at the beginning and end of each class.

Being flexible is a great advantage in martial arts competitions, especially in disciplines that focus on stance and form. The more freely your muscles and joints can move, the better your performance.

As you get better at mixed martial arts and stretch during your workouts, your flexibility improves too.


if you really want to do well in your martial arts training, discipline is key. It's not just about fighting or self-defense—it's a tradition that teaches values like focus and helps you overcome mental and emotional challenges so you can reach your goals.

If you want to know which martial art is best for self-defense, I’ll show some of the best ones you can try. Which martial arts should I learn first? We'll discuss them up next! 

Which Martial Art Should I Learn First?

If you're new to martial arts and unsure where to begin, here are some styles to consider. They're all great for self-defense and widely recognized as the best in the world today.


Kickboxing originated in the 1960s and combines elements of karate and boxing. It's known for improving fitness, strength, and agility. Plus, it's a solid way to learn self-defense skills.

In kickboxing, you'll practice punching, kicking, knee strikes, and sometimes clinch fighting. It's a dynamic and cardio-intensive workout that helps enhance your overall physical abilities.

Kickboxing teaches effective striking techniques that can be handy for self-defense. It boosts your confidence and improves your ability to respond in threatening situations.

It may not cover ground fighting or grappling, which could be a limitation in certain self-defense scenarios. Also, constant high-impact training may pose a risk of injuries over time.


When thinking about fighting sports, boxing is the first thing that pops up. It's likely the most liked among different types of sports like this.

Boxing has been around for a really long time, and some of the most famous fighters ever are boxers, like Muhammad Ali, “Sugar” Ray Leonard, Mike Tyson, Oscar Dela Hoya, and Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao.

While it might not be as fancy or dangerous as mixed martial arts or Muay Thai, getting better at boxing can give you an edge in hand-to-hand combat. It's also really effective for self-defense. Among all martial arts, boxing is the best for improving your hand skills.

If you're considering martial arts classes, boxing is a good starting point. And if you're thinking about trying mixed martial arts, kickboxing, or Muay Thai, giving boxing a shot is a good idea.

Boxing is popular worldwide, so finding classes nearby shouldn't be hard.

Mixed Martial Arts

Mixed martial arts is a widely known combat sport, almost as popular as boxing. The Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC, played a big role in making it famous.

You might know some of the best MMA fighters like Georges St-Pierre, Jon Jones, Ronda Rousey, Amanda Nunes, Matt Hughes, Jose Aldo, Connor McGregor, and Anderson Silva.

This way of training is like a hands-on sport called mixed martial arts (MMA). It's called that because it uses different fighting moves, like using your hands, kicking with your legs, and grappling.

Even though boxing is well-known, MMA is better for self-defense because you're not just limited to punching and dodging.

If you want a technique with lots of different moves and attacks, MMA is what you're after. In this sport, you can also use leg kicks and grappling when you're up close.


Judo is a type of Japanese discipline that relies on strikes to protect yourself from attacks. It's like counterattacking, making it a good choice for self-defense in martial art classes if that's your goal.

You might have seen them on TV or in movies, but finding classes for them nearby can be a bit tough. That's because they're not as popular as boxing or mixed martial arts.

However, some well-known people in mixed martial arts got their start in Judo. Take Ronda "Rowdy" Rousey, for example. She began learning Judo when she was young and even competed in the Olympics.

Another person is the Russian MMA fighter Fedor Emelianenko. In general, I think adding Judo to your skills is a good idea because it emphasizes defense.


Taekwondo is a type of martial arts from Asia, born in Korea in the 1940s. It seems to have taken inspiration from Judo, Kung-Fu, and Karate.

It became an official Olympic sport in the 2000s. In this martial art, fighters use fast moves like high and low kicks, basic throws, and spinning kicks.

Taekwondo prioritizes speed and agility over power, unlike some other martial arts that emphasize strength. Some people criticize it for being too flashy and focused on style rather than practicality in self-defense.

Despite this, supporters argue that it can still be effective for self-defense because of its emphasis on kicks and leg strikes.

One advantage of learning Taekwondo is its widespread popularity, especially among kids and young adults.

Taekwondo classes are easy to find, often popping up in local areas, making it a convenient option for beginners.

Kung Fu

Kung Fu has been around for a really long time, starting in ancient China. It's not just about fighting; it also teaches discipline and focus. Practicing Kung Fu can make you stronger and more flexible, plus it's a cool way to stay fit.

In Kung Fu, you learn different moves and techniques. There's a mix of kicks, punches, and cool stances. It's like a dance, but a bit tougher. You also practice with others to get better.

Kung Fu is awesome for self-defense because it teaches you how to use your whole body to protect yourself. It's good for quick moves and handling different situations.

It might take some time to get really good at Kung Fu, and in a surprise attack, you might not have the chance to use all the fancy moves you've learned. But once you get the hang of it, it's a great skill to have!


In the past, when I think about martial arts, the first thing that pops into my head is karate. This might not be surprising, especially for kids from the late 80s and early 90s, because of a famous movie called Karate Kid.

It's a type of Japanese discipline. Its origin is uncertain, but it's said to have started in Okinawa, Japan.

In karate, you use strong punches and kicks to outsmart your opponents. This makes it good for self-defense too. The only drawback for me is that it focuses a lot on defense with all the blocking moves.

Still, I think karate is great for people starting in martial arts, especially if you want to learn self-defense. It's also a good workout because it involves moving your whole body.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

This fighting style started in Brazil around the 1920s, thanks to the Gracie brothers—Gastão Jr., Oswaldo, George, Carlos, and Hélio. It mixes moves from Japanese martial arts such as Judo and Jujutsu.

Royce Gracie, a UFC Hall of Famer, made Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu famous. It's about grappling on the ground, using holds and joint locks.

Shorter people benefit from it because they learn to defend themselves using leverage and good techniques. That's why many women like it for self-defense. It's also good for beginners.

How Many Martial Arts Should I Learn?

Which martial art should I learn first? Well, here are some good suggestions to consider. But can you learn more than one?

It's okay to learn multiple martial arts at the same time if you have enough time and resources. Just make sure you give each one enough time. The main challenge might be managing your time and letting your body recover.

Martial arts classes are usually 2-3 hours long. If you take more than one, it means putting a lot of effort into each, which can be tough, especially for beginners.

If you're just starting out, it's better to focus on one martial art at first. As your body gets used to the training, you can then think about trying other martial arts later on.

Final Thoughts

I hope my review helped you decide which martial art to start with. Any of the listed combat sports can genuinely improve your lifestyle, so just choose the one that fits your style and preference.

If you're unsure, try nearby martial art classes to see if you like the discipline. You can even explore different martial arts if you want. Thanks for reading my advice on picking your first martial art!

Aside from which martial art should I learn first, you may also find my reviews of combat sports gears, equipment, and apparel useful as you begin your training. Some examples include—Best Boxing Gloves for TrainingBest MMA and Boxing Shoes for WomenBest MMA Bags, and Best Protein Powder for Fighter, just to name a few.

Featured Image Credits to Embed from Getty Images