The world of combat sports is indeed large, with many different disciplines that are classed as full-contact sports. In this short article, we offer a list of martial arts and some information about each.

  • Aikido – A Japanese martial art that was originally designed for self-defence, while not injuring the attacker. There are a number of Aikido styles that have been developed around the world and when you visit an Aikido gym.
  • Brazilian Jui Jitsu – Known simply as BJJ, this sport was developed in Brazil by the famous Gracie family and it focuses on grappling and submission holds. You can train BJJ in Reading at a leading gym where black belts are instructors. BJJ is part of MMA, which helps to develop a good ground game, and much like judo and karate, grading is done via coloured belts, with black being the highest.
  • Karate – A Chinese martial art that uses striking with the hands, knees, feet and elbows. The 1960s and 1970s saw the rise of karate in the Western world, largely thanks to a series of successful action movies. Click here for tips on how to lose weight.
  • Boxing – This is a form of martial art whereby the fists are protected by padded gloves and both fighters punch each other according to a strict set of rules. Boxing is hugely popular here in the UK and that seems to be ongoing.
  • Judo – A Japanese form of martial art where athletes grip each other by their clothing; this is the art of using your opponent’s energy and momentum against them. Judo is popular worldwide and MMA fighters do train judo to perfect their ground game.
  • Muay Thai – Known also as Thai boxing, Muay Thai uses the fists, elbows, knees and feet as striking weapons, as well as defence. This is a gruelling discipline that has become very popular in the west.
  • Shaolin Kung Fu – This is one of the oldest Chinese martial arts, which can be practiced as a full-contact sport. Kung Fu was made famous by Bruce Lee back in the 1970s, which introduced the discipline to the Western world.
  • Kendo – A Japanese martial art that uses bamboo swords; this discipline has long been popular in Japan, but recently, kendo spread to the rest of the world. The goal is to blend the mind and body, which brings spiritual harmony.
  • Taido – This Japanese martial art was designed in 1965 by Seiken Shukumine, who felt that modern martial arts were lacking in some things. This discipline is popular in Japan, Australia, England, France, Haiti, Portugal, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway.

If you are living in the UK and are interested in MMA or boxing, you are never far from a local gym and you can take up any of the above martial arts. There are qualified instructors who will assess your fitness level and help you choose the right class for you.