Here’s How You Choose the Martial Art for Yourself

with No Comments

“…the difference between knowing what to do in this situation and merely relying on your primate intuitions is as impressive a gap between knowledge and ignorance as I have ever come across…”

Sam Harris, The Truth About Violence

If you are looking out to start martial arts training, this short article may help you zoom in on a few options that can help make you decide easier.

For the sake of this topic, we will only be covering how to choose the type of martial art. If you like, we can discuss about choosing the right training environment (How to choose the right school or training ground) for you.


Philosophy of the martial art matters and you should find out more about it before deciding it. Chances are, if the philosophy doesn’t matches yours, you’re very unlikely to even get started in it.

Here are some examples:

Aikido seeks to achieve self defence without causing injury to attackers, known as the “Way of Harmony”, intended to spread peace. 

Kyokushin Karate’s philosophy is deeply rooted with constant self-improvement, discipline and tough training. It was founded on the mantra of “One Strike, Certain Death” where certain refers to definitive death. This philosophy can also be found in many other karate styles where they focus on the effectiveness of one single strike, ending the fight in a split second.

Taiji is based on the synergy of the two dualities of this world – or frequently represented with the Yin-Yang. They also believe in the infinite potential, beautifully wrapped in the original Chinese characters of the art. The art has supreme understanding of physics and biology, and can be both a lethal force to be reckoned with, or for wellness in general.

In fact, most Chinese martial arts are based on promoting good health, cultivating their bodies as the ultimate vessel to last for a long time. It is not uncommon that more serious Chinese martial artists double as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners with a superior understanding of how to heal and train the body.


This goes back to your personal preference when it comes to combat. Will you prefer more distance between your attacker? Do you prefer resolving the situation amicably? Do you prefer a flashy throw? Or restrain the attacker until he yields? (We call that tap-out during friendly sparring.)


Why are you taking up Martial Arts? Is it for self defence? Is it win tournaments? Is it for its health benefits and how it can groom you to be a more disciplined and focused individual?

Some people have very little patience with traditional martial arts and tend to label them as “Bullshido”, where the origin of the word came from “Bushido” or “The Way of the Warrior” from Japan. They tend to advocate that what works in the octagon for the pros, will work on the street.

We beg to differ, but we will leave that to another post.

But if you are really looking for a long-term, holistic growth and in-depth understanding, you may want to begin your journey with a well-structured organisation with centuries of history ideally. Like businesses, sometimes, old is gold.

Body Type

Without going into the fine details of Endomorph, Ectomorph and Mesomorph, it really boils down to your natural physique. Are you tall or short, bulky or lightweight, fast or slow?

While martial arts can train you to compensate for your vulnerabilities and in many cases turn these shortfalls to your advantage, considering your natural gifts in the first place can give you a significant head-start.

If we omit skill level, you most likely do not want to get involved with Sumo if you’re consistently underweight. Or get involved in a Tae Kwon Do (TKD) match with someone 30cm taller than you. Of course, in this scenario, we’re assuming a bunch of things, such as longer limbs and longer reach, given everything else is equal.


Have you discovered that you are more talented in some areas by default? And you will definitely discover more of this once you get involved in martial arts. It is part of the self-discovery journey. For example, perhaps you found out that through previous sports experiences, you are faster than most of your peers when it comes to footwork. Or perhaps in basketball, you realised that you are able to withstand shoves more than others.

All these little things add up and can shed light to what might be suitable for you.

Your Interest

Lastly, of course you also want to consider which martial arts really piqued your interest. It is not uncommon for martial artists to transition to other martial arts after a certain number of years discovering more about themselves. And this area will very much depends on your knowledge of the various types of martial arts out there. 

We strongly suggest you to keep building up that interest. Go through materials on Internet, like what you are reading now and watch some videos related to each art.

The more you dig, the stronger interest you build up. And when you combine that with your motive of learning martial arts, your passion may surface like you have never discovered before.

Some people find it a chore to attend their weekly classes, while some people practice their martial arts everyday. Passion helps you to go a long way and the rewards will be bountiful.

Sum it up

SDRI is really glad that you found this article. It is a good start, and like every wise man in history ever mentioned…

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.”

Leave a Reply