Which Martial Art you should learn first and why.
When i tell people that i teach Jiu-Jitsu they often have some common questions about training Martial Arts. One of those questions would be. “What Martial Art is the most important to learn?” or “Which Martial Art should i learn first?” My initial answer is all of them. But, that’s not practical for everyone and i understand that. So, i usually ask them various questions on why they want to learn and what types of Martial Arts gyms they are close too. These are both important factors on choosing the right Martial Art for you. Some people only have a Krav Maga or Taekwondo studio around them. Not my first choices but better than nothing. Each Martial Art has its pros and cons and i’ll dive into them.
“I want to train Martial Arts but the closest thing i have is Wrestling around me.”
This was my story. I grew up in a very small town where Martial Arts wasn't anywhere near and anyone teaching it was probably a fraud. So, wrestling was the closest thing i had. Which, wrestling is probably the most important Martial Art when it comes to professional fighting. So I’m glad i grew up in that environment. Wrestling teaches you some important aspects of fighting. Coordination, body feel, positioning, balance, timing and even attitude are all the positive qualities that wrestling taught me. If all you have is Wrestling than you actually have more than you know. The only problem is that Wrestling does not take in account for punches and kicks. But, many people who train Jiu-Jitsu or fight MMA often wish they had a wrestling background. They realize the importance of being able to control where the fight goes and all the other benefits that wrestling gives you. If you can practice wrestling than you're off to a good start. Also, you can use your wrestling friends to try and practice Jiu-Jitsu techniques on.
Kickboxing or Boxing?
I actually really enjoy both kickboxing and boxing. I find it super important to learn some basic striking skills and knowledge. Most people in a self defense situation are going to try and strike you in some sort of way. If you understand how to defend strikes and counter with your own strikes, you are much more likely to walk away unharmed from a self-defense situation. But just like any Martial Art kickboxing has its drawbacks. If you just do Kickboxing you will never understand basic rules of grappling. Which might not matter to you. Boxing or kickboxing is probably more fun than learning a grappling art for most people. If you decide to pick up a striking art do your research and make sure it’s legit. There are lots of places that teach kickboxing but most of those places are more cardio kickboxing and less practical striking. You might as well learn the correct way to strike even if you are just doing it just for fun.
Is Jiu-Jitsu the best option for you?
This may surprise some but i don't believe Jiu-Jitsu is for everyone. Not everyone is going to enjoy training Jiu-jitsu. It can be very demoralizing for people in the early learning stages. But, I do believe it’s the best option if you are learning for self-defense reasons. If Jiu-jitsu is being taught in the correct self-defense manner you will learn more than just grappling. You will learn how to defend strikes and counter with grappling. You will also learn about the importance of distance control. Closing the distance or keeping the distance is the number one fundamental principle of Self-Defense. Jiu jitsu will teach you how to close distance into a safer range and use grappling to neutralize an opponent. BJJ will also teach you how to keep your distance or create distance to avoid strikes. Jiu-jitsu is also the best option for females in my opinion. Brazilian Jiu-jitsu was founded on principles that didn’t rely on size or strength but rather depended on technique and the use of leverage. Most self-defense situations for females unfortunately end up more in a grappling scenario than a boxing match. If a smaller person or female knows Jiu-Jitsu they are much more likely to defend themselves and get out of the situation. I’ve seen plenty of girls who train BJJ beat up on grown men. It’s great to watch honestly. It shows the power of Jiu-Jitsu. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu also allows you to train full tilt without the risk of serious injuries typically. Injuries do occur but in other arts you can’t spar full tilt all the time. It’s not practical and you’re going to get hurt.
Traditional Martial Arts
Traditional Martial Arts such as Judo, Taekwondo, and Karate used to be the first choice in Martial Arts for many years. Unfortunately the quality of traditional Martial Arts has been significantly watered down. Most schools completely ignore the ground game. Even most Judo schools don’t spend much time on the ground and are limited to the takedown techniques they can use. Taekwondo and Karate also tend to promote people much faster than an in Jiu-Jitsu. Which i feel gives people a false sense of security in the skills they’ve been taught. Don’t get me wrong, traditional Martial Arts have some solid techniques that are great for striking and even takedowns. Taekwondo and Karate have some very legitimate strikes and kicks that help keep distance and are dangerous to opponents. Judo has some very effective takedowns and some good basic ground work. There is definitely benefit in learning a traditional Martial Art. In my opinion they aren’t the best to learn for Self-Defense though.
Learn them all of course
“Don’t use one strict form or art. Never place limits on anything you do, whether it be martial arts techniques, training methods or something in your everyday life.” Bruce Lee
The simple answer and my personal answer is to learn from them all. Learning from all Martial Arts of course makes you a well rounded Martial Artist. If you only focus on Jiu-Jitsu your striking game will lack. If you only focus on striking your ground game will suffer. If you only focus on wrestling your submissions and striking will be deficient. Every Martial Art has its pro’s and con’s. Decide why you are training and what type of Martial Art interest you the most.