With so many different styles of martial arts and so many different types under each style, it can be quite a task to choose the best martial art for you based on your situation, body type, etc. So we’ve broken them down according to the best for your particular body type.
Here are the best martial arts to learn according to your body type:
- Small people. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Catch Wrestling, and Judo.
- Tall people. Boxing, Kickboxing, Muay Thai, and Taekwondo.
- Skinny people. Taekwondo, Muay Thai, and Kickboxing.
- Big people. Judo, Wrestling, and Boxing.
- Overweight people. Brazilian jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, Boxing, and Kickboxing
- Bodyguards. Krav Maga, BJJ, and Judo.
- Women. Judo, Taekwondo and Krav Maga.
There’s so much to get into in this interesting topic, so let’s just dive in. Shall we?
Different Styles Of Martial Arts
Let’s first look at the different martial arts styles that have been developed over time.
Here’s a list of the most common styles of martial arts”
- Striking Martial Arts Styles. Karate, Taekwondo, Kickboxing, Krav Maga, Muay Thai, etc.
- Grappling Martial Arts Styles. Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling, etc.
- Takedown Martial Arts Styles. Aikido, Judo, etc.
- Weapons-based Martial Arts Styles. Kali, Laido, Kendo, etc.
- Meditative Martial Arts Styles. Baguazhang. Tai Chi, etc.
- Mixed Martial Arts Styles. MMA, Jeet Kune Do, Ninjutsu, etc.
Does size matter in martial arts?
Martial arts teaches you how to be efficient according to your size. That does not mean that they will say, “oh, you are this big, so you are going to train like this.” Instead, you will train in your preferred martial art as anybody does, but you will perfect almost every single technique according to your attributes in the process of doing so.
Does weight matter In martial arts?
Any martial arts tournament or fight will have weight divisions. In order to qualify for a match against an opponent, the two of you will need to fall into the required weight category. So overall, weight does matter too much. However, when you are training in martial arts, you are encouraged to do so regardless of your weight. A nice bonus is that you will lose weight when training in martial arts as long as you stick to a good diet.
What is the best martial art for a small person?
Being small has a lot of benefits in any sport. Take a look at Lionel Messi in soccer, Floyd Mayweather in boxing, and Conor McGregor in MMA. These athletes are not exactly what you would call tall, with all of them ranging below 5 ft 10. When it comes to martial arts, being small might be an advantage rather than a disadvantage.
The best martial arts for smaller people will be grappling-focused sports. Take Brazilian jiu-jitsu, for example. This martial art is perfect for small people because you are often a lot more agile than bigger opponents and so you can initiate grapples and submission holds a lot quicker. Another fantastic martial art for small people is catch wrestling for the same reasons.
If you are short but not exactly small in terms of your frame, then you might be in luck because it is thought that short people have a lot more power and a better center of gravity than their taller counterparts. This is perfect for when you are in a grapple and want to bring your opponent down.
Let’s take a look at the best martial arts for small people.
- Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. We spoke quite a bit about Brazilian jujitsu being a great martial art for small people. However, we need to add that as a small person, you might come up against bigger opponents, and this is where BJJ really shines because while in the fight, your size will not factor in as much as most other martial arts.
- Catch Wrestling. There are various types of wrestling, and in some cases, big opponents will have an advantage unless there is a weight division preventing them from fighting smaller opponents. However, catch wrestling is great for small people because it is massively focused on grappling.
- Karate. Without a doubt, the taller opponent has a slight advantage over smaller ones. But, within karate, there are many weight divisions to keep people away from each other based on weight. However, based on my experience, karate is less about your size and more about your technique, and that is why it made it on this list.
Read more at our full article on the best martial art a small person.
Best martial art for tall people
To smaller people, being tall seems like it only comes with advantages. However, we all know it isn’t exactly true. Some combat sports favor smaller people, and therefore, if you are tall, you might need to think about what sport is best for you. I am trying to say that you need to put extra thought into it.
As a taller person, You want to focus on strike-focused martial arts because you have an advantage with your long limbs. Here are my recommendations: Taekwondo, Muay Thai, boxing, and of course, kickboxing. It is important to note that you will most probably end up in a weight division where your opponent is a similar height to you.
Let’s get into the top 4 martial arts for tall people.
- Boxing. If you have a long reach, boxing might be the sport for you. In training and sparring, you will definitely see your advantages. Who knows, maybe you are good at the sport and can take your skills into the ring for a real fight. If your opponent is smaller than you, they might still be better, but you will have a slight advantage with your height.
- Kickboxing. It is what it sounds like; you use your legs and your upper body in kickboxing. If you have longer legs, you can keep your distance from your opponent a lot easier than if you have short legs. When it comes to striking your opponent with your arms, you should also have a slight advantage because you have a more extended reach.
- Taekwondo. This martial art places a heavy emphasis on fighting with your legs. This is great for tall people who have long legs. However, it gives you one crucial advantage. Being tall makes it harder for your opponent to land kicks on your head. For a butterfly kick, they need to jump higher and extend their leg more. That is just one example.
- Muay Thai. You can apply the same logic we used for Taekwondo and kickboxing to Muay Thai. Your longer limbs will have a significant advantage in terms of reach, making you a good fighter. Again, I must emphasize that you will be placed in a weight division and fight against people who are the same height as you in most cases.
Read more at our full article on the best martial art for tall people.
Best martial art for skinny people
Picking a suitable martial art for yourself when you are considered skinny can be tricky. While being skinny comes with a lot of advantages, there are some noticeable disadvantages. However, it is essential not to focus on the negatives. In this article, we will try our best to help you decide which is the best martial art for you.
While reading through the section, you need to keep in mind that your weight can be changed. You can either put on weight by eating or by building muscle in the gym
While I will always advise you to pick whatever martial arts you feel like learning. However, there are a few that you may be more suitable for, and these include Taekwondo, Muay Thai, and kickboxing. If you want to get into grappling focus martial arts, I recommend doing so while also building a little bit of muscle.
Let’s take a look at the best martial arts for skinny people.
- Taekwondo. This martial art is extremely popular, perhaps because of its acrobatic nature. Skinny people have the benefit of being agile. Remember, the acrobatic nature of Taekwondo means you will be doing a lot of crazy-looking maneuvers.
- Muay Thai. There are two names for Muay Thai. The first being the name we all call Muay Thai, but it is also called Thai boxing. When you partake in the sport, you will be placed into a weight division. So, you will face other similar size opponents. However, learning Muay Thai is easier for agile people, which is where the difference comes in.
- Kickboxing. We can apply the same logic to kickboxing as we do with Muay Thai. Your agility and flexibility will serve you best during your training. Remember, being skinny means that it is a lot quicker for you to work on your flexibility than for heavier people. Keep that in mind when doing any sport.
With all of that being said, you should always choose which martial art you want to do because it piques your interest. Remember, weight is something that can be altered.
Read more at our full article on the best martial art for skinny people.
Best martial art for big guys
Figuring out what martial arts is best for you when you are a big guy can be slightly tricky. Contrary to popular belief, being big isn’t all it is made out to be, even though it does have some advantages. In this section, we want to go in-depth into the best martial arts for big guys.
I have chosen to speak about three martial arts that I believe are perfect for big people. First on this list is Judo, followed by boxing, and finally wrestling. In all three of these sports, you will be placed into weight divisions that set you up against people of similar size. However, during your training, you will have an easy time against the people you are training against.
Let’s get into the best martial arts for big guys.
- Judo. Judo has more than one discipline. However, one thing common across all of these different styles is grappling and throwing to the ground. Being big and heavy makes it hard for your opponent to do a takedown, and simultaneously, because of your muscle mass, doing takedowns could be easier for you. It is important to remember that technique is more important than size.
- Wrestling. This is another term used to describe a sport that covers many different disciplines. However, being tall allows you more flexibility in terms of what you choose to pursue. Being big means you should have a long reach, long legs, and a good portion of muscle mass at the end of the day. All of this contributes to a better wrestling experience for you.
- Boxing. When it comes to boxing, you will be placed in a specified weight division, and therefore, you would expect your size not to play as much of a role as it does. But, when you step into the ring, the most minor advantage can sway the fight entirely, and being tall certainly does not hurt your boxing experience.
I need to add a little disclaimer here. If you are not a bigger person but are on the smaller side, you might find some information contrary to what we told you in the section about smaller people. However, we need to remember that this article isn’t saying that one type of martial art is better.
We are trying to say that you will have a better experience in certain types of martial arts according to your attributes. So, when you see a section like this, don’t be discouraged from trying any of the above-mentioned sports.
Read more at our full article on the best martial art for big guys.
Best martial art for overweight people
The martial arts community is one of the most understanding and accepting sports communities in the world. For overweight people, one reason why starting a sport can be challenging is the thought of not being welcome into communities or being judged. However, most sports communities, including martial arts, will always welcome anyone who wants to train. It is extremely rare within most sports for anyone to be judged because of their appearance.
If you want to lose weight, you want to partake in cardio-intensive martial arts such as Brazilian jujitsu, Muay Thai, and kickboxing. Not only are these cardio-intensive workouts, but they also teach certain qualities which you can use in your personal life to make better decisions. These qualities include things such as discipline.
We could write about sumo wrestling. However, based on my experience, most people reading this section are trying to lose weight, so forgive me for not using Sumo. With that out of the way, here are our top martial arts for overweight people.
- Brazilian jiu-jitsu: This martial art can positively transform your physique, but it’s not always the same for everyone. Let Me explain. I have seen lean people gain muscle, overweight people lose weight, and people who are well built keep their shape.
- Muay Thai: Look, it doesn’t matter if you are overweight or not. All that matters when it comes to Muay Thai is that it gets you in shape. It is one of the best martial arts you can do to keep or become fit. If you are overweight, you can take this fitness and have a more productive workout when running on the road or at the gym.
- Boxing: If you know anything about boxing, you should know that being in the ring, even for sparring, requires extreme fitness levels. Therefore, the training is aimed at working on your boxing skills as well as your cardio. In fact, a lot of boxing camps are primarily cardio-based.
- Kickboxing: Saying that boxing is a cardio-intensive sport is 100% accurate. However, kickboxing is slightly more challenging in terms of cardio than boxing. If you are looking to lose weight and want to use martial arts as a medium for that, kickboxing is a great option mainly because you will be using your legs and your arms and thus working on flexibility as well.
Now we need to discuss something that you hear all the time but is necessary to stick to. Martial arts alone will not make you lose weight. It would be best if you stuck to certain principles, diets, and routines.
We know that martial arts teach you how to see things through, which is a massive struggle for most people trying to lose weight.
Read more at our full article on the best martial art for overweight people.
Best martial art for bodyguards
Bodyguards are highly trained because they work in a highly specialized field. We need to understand that bodyguards are often taught not to use deadly force even when their lives are in danger. Therefore, knowing how to fight is essential. That is where martial arts come into play. So, if you are thinking of being a security or bodyguard, here are some things you might need to know.
As a bodyguard, you want to know how to subdue your opponent. Therefore, BJJ is a critical skill that you should learn. Self-defense is also of the utmost importance, and Krav Maga is one of the best martial arts at teaching people how to defend themselves. Finally, you want to know how to bring your opponent down, and judo is one of the best martial arts for doing so.
Now that we know what three martial arts are best for bodyguards, I feel like it is my responsibility to elaborate a little more on why I chose those three. Remember, I am basing my advice on my extensive experience, so let’s jump into it.
Let’s take a look at the 3 best martial arts for bodyguards to know or learn.
- Krav Maga. Krav Maga is the absolute best martial art for a bodyguard to learn because Krav Maga teaches you how to defend yourself rather than how to be the aggressor. With that said, the training can be used offensively if the bodyguard chooses.
- Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is one of the most effective martial arts for teaching people how to subdue a target or enemy in the most efficient way. So, once a bodyguard has defended himself against an attacker, the best thing for them to do is to place them into a submission hold to subdue them.
- Judo. Judo is a grappling and throwing-focused martial art. It will teach you how to effectively grapple an opponent, whether they are bigger or smaller than you, and it will help you throw them to the ground.
In the list above, I tried to use a scenario, and I’m sure you can see that all three of these martial arts can work together to boost your career as a bodyguard, security guard, or even in the military. Therefore, it is a great idea to try and learn as much about each of these as possible.
Read more at our full article on the best martial art for bodyguards.
What is the best martial art for women to learn?
Women have played a vital role in the development of martial arts and are known to be some of the best. Lately, we have seen a surge in the number of women taking up martial arts classes mainly for self-defense but also as hobbies and sport. In this section, we will discuss which are the best martial arts for women. Let’s get into it.
Women can do and excel in any martial arts that men can. The best martial art to learn for women for self-defense is Krav Maga, the best self-defense martial art. The best hobby or sport martial arts that women can learn, in my opinion, is Judo or Taekwondo.
Let’s take a look at some of the things you can expect when taking up Judo classes.
- Fitness: A lot of people who do judo do it for its fitness value. The classes will not only be focused on cardio, though. Instead, you will learn new skills while keeping fit or becoming fit for the first time.
- Self Defense: With the increases in crime rates worldwide, self-defense is almost essential at this point. When you add in the dangers that women face, Judo is an excellent way for people to feel safer.
- Discipline: One thing that we are struggling more and more with every day is self-discipline. It is unfair to place the blame on ourselves, though. It is not like we are losing discipline. It is getting harder to keep up. Judo can be used as a medium to help us adapt to the more demanding aspects of our lives.
We need to be realistic. There is a high chance that if you, as a woman, will be overpowered if you find yourself being harassed. Krav Maga is the single best martial art you can learn. Here’s why.
Krav Maga is adapted and taught in militaries worldwide, from the US Navy to the Israeli forces. You will be trained to anticipate conflict and deal with that conflict. In terms of dealing with that conflict, you will be able to disarm and subdue your attacker.
Read more at our full article on the best martial art for women to learn.
What is the best combination of martial arts for mma?
Only the bravest of individuals can take up MMA, that is not saying all brave individuals do. However, if you find yourself wanting to take up MMA as a sport with the hopes of turning it into a profession, there are things you need to learn. Preparation is vital to your success, and let me tell you. It is not going to be easy.
A good combination of martial arts for MMA is Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. These two martial arts combined can teach you two vastly different styles. One is a standing combat-focused martial art, and the other is a ground-fighting martial art.
- Muay Thai: This martial art will teach you how to use your legs and your upper body. The more you know and understand about Muay Thai, the better you will be at striking your opponent while standing up.
- BJJ: You will learn how to counter and initiate grapples. BJJ is also great for learning how to place your opponent in a submission hold.
Read more at our full article on the best combination of martial arts for MMA.
While there is a sport that is best for you, depending on your body type, size, and weight, I always tell my students that they should not be discouraged from doing anything that they want to do based on this. Always choose the martial arts that you think is best for you mentally.