Training martial arts falls into a group of hard and intense activities. Still, some arts are easier to master than other and also carry a lower injury rate. In fact, some “easy” martial arts tend to be more effective than the complex and physically hard ones. This leads us to the main question, which are the easiest martial arts to learn?
One of the easiest martial arts to learn is boxing since it focuses only on hand strikes. Ok, it is a bit more than that if you into pro competition, but, the concept and techniques are quite simple and direct. In fact, the learning curve is boxing is very short because you may expect to master it within a year, some talented people may need even less than that. Some of the other systems where the progress is fast are Muay Thai and karate.
Keep reading this article to find out which are the other martial arts that do not require a lot of time to master.
5. Muay Thai
Time to master: 2-3 years
Muay Thai is a national sport in Thailand, and in recent times, it has also come to be very popular in the western world as well. It is often seen as the total package when it comes to striking, far more practical than most other striking arts. But despite being versatile, Muay Thai is not that hard to master in terms of techniques.
But before you rush to the local gym, bear in mind that Thai boxing is brutal, hard on your body, and carries a high risk of injuries. Yes, you can master it a relatively short time span, but, this comes at a certain price and these two or three years can easily prove to be a pure hell for a lot of people.
Is Muay Thai hard to learn?
Muay Thai is a complex system. In training, students learn how to strike using kicks, punches, knees, elbows, and fight inside the clinch. The rules also enable fighters to execute trips and throws to throw the opponent down to the ground. However, these grappling moves are not as important as striking.
This may sound like too much, and it is in some way. Still, most Thai boxing gyms embrace simple but effective techniques. You won’t learn moves that need much energy or time to execute like jumping kicks for instance.
In the first three months, the main goal is to get your body in top shape, lose excess weight, and make it flexible. This is crucial because you can’t expect to perform the right way without being strong and flexible. It takes around 6 months for most students to learn all the basics, and how to perform with proper technique. This is also a time when most students start to spar.
The advanced stage puts a lot of emphasis on hard sparring as the best method of teaching a person how to fight in real life. Depending on how dedicated you are, you may expect to develop solid Thai boxing skills after around 2.5–3 years of training.
How effective is Muay Thai in real life?
The entire concept and methods of training are designed to prepare a person for real-life combat. Classes include only the most effective techniques that all work in real life, and you won’t spend a second doing katas or some flashy moves that work only in movies. With Muay Thai skills, you will be capable of defending against most types of attacks that you may encounter on the streets.
4. Krav Maga
Style: hybrid mix of striking and grappling
Time to master: 3-4 years
Krav Maga is an all-around system created by the Israeli military in the 1950s. The entire concept and methods of training are oriented toward real combat and scenarios you may face on the streets. It consists of various grappling and striking techniques put into one system. On top of that, it also trains you to use/defend against dirty tactics like eye gouging, and, it also covers weapon based training. It is practiced by millions of people worldwide, including police officers and members of the military. Or in other words, it is very effective.
Is learning Krav Maga hard?
Krav Maga training is, perhaps, more intense than any other martial art on this list. Most of the time, students go through various intense physical and mental bullying that they may face in real life. Methods of training are brutal because the whole point is to simulate real attacks. In some way, this is the only way you can train your mind and automatic reaction for real-life fighting.
For instance, you might get jumped from behind by multiple other students when you least expect it. Or the instructor might start insulting you in order to make you angry or scared.
Training plays with your fears, and emotions like anger, and teaches you how to stay calm and resolve a situation in the most efficient way possible. If that means that you need to grab a glass bottle and slam the attacker in the head, Krav Maga encourages you to do that. Though all of this may sound brutal, bear in mind that there are no rules on the streets.
On average, students need around 3–6 months to pick up the basics. To become a master, they usually must spend around 2 or 3 years of consistent training.
Is Krav Maga effective?
Krav Maga is an effective system and the skills you learn might help you escape out of trouble on the streets. However, the quality of classes, teaching methods, and coaching staff vary between the gyms and even countries. So yes, Krav Maga is effective and the skills you learn work really well in real life. But before signing up for the classes, be sure to do a small research and try to discover whether the school you want to train in is a legitimate or not.
Time to master: 1.5 years
Kickboxing, as a striking style on its own, emerged in the 1950s in Japan. In the following decades, it would become very popular in Europe, notably in the Netherlands. In modern days, there are many styles like K-1, American, Japanese, and the most famous one, Dutch Style. Although these styles differ in certain areas, most focus on mixing punches and kicks together.
Is kickboxing hard to learn?
Most beginners, no matter how fit or talented they are, don’t have a hard time picking up the basics. Though it may visually look brutal and hard on TV, kickboxing is not that complex. Most of the techniques are direct, and in line with our natural body movements and reactions. This is the main reason why most people are capable of developing solid skills in a short time span.
The emphasis is on western boxing combos and mixing punches with leg strikes, notably low kicks. In fact, it is very easy to spot a fighter trained in kickboxing. They all fight at a really high pace, have a high output of punches and prefer to finish each combo with a kick. Instead of throwing single power shots, they tend to overwhelm their opponent with speed, technique, and output.
Most students with average talent and fitness levels need around 6 months to get in top physical shape and master all the basic techniques before they can start sparring. To become proficient, they need to spend around 1 year or 1.5 years of training in total. This is, in most cases, a level when students start competing as amateurs.
How effective is kickboxing?
As a full-contact style that trains you to fight at all ranges, Kickboxing is very effective for self-defense or any other type of fight. It is very technical, even more than some other, similar arts like Muay Thai. On top of that, it teaches you much better techniques like footwork, head movement, angles and blocks. However, it often falls under the radar due to the lack of clinch fighting and grappling skills.
Time to master: 3 years
Karate might be the most famous martial art on the planet that is well spread all around the world. For many decades, it stood for the “ultimate” combat system, highly practical in any type of freestyle fight. But, modern day Karate has changed a lot and, in this day and age, it focuses more on the competition. Instead of teaching you how to fight, students learn how to follow point fighting rules, and win matches.
How hard is karate to learn?
Learning karate is not hard since most of the techniques are not physically demanding. Also, it is very adaptable so people of all genders, ages, and fitness levels are capable of developing solid skills.
In most styles and forms, there is no full-contact sparring and students spend a lot of time doing pre-arranged moves called “katas” so the injury rate is quite low. However, you need to spend a minimum of 3 years working hard to reach a black belt rank because of the strict promotional criteria. Training is not hard or too complex, but the progress is slow because of the belt ranks.
When it comes to techniques, most styles emphasize simple and direct kicks and punches, and a couple of different types of stances. Training actually puts more focus on speed, technique, and mobility rather than sheer power and doing damage with strikes.
Is karate effective?
It really depends on the style and schools. Some full-contact styles like Kyokushin karate, and schools that embrace traditional methods of teaching are still very effective for real life fighting. But most other schools are too oriented towards competition, which in some way, is the total opposite of fighting on the streets. There is no fluid action and full contact striking as the focus is on scoring points and winning matches.
Time to master: 1 year
Boxing needs no introduction here as it has been around since ancient times. It is a very popular combat sport practiced by millions of people around the world that is also not that hard to master. Yes, there are levels to boxing, like in any other sport. But the progress is very fast and you can develop solid skills, the ones that you can apply in real life, in a very short time span.
Is boxing hard to learn?
In some way, has an ideal ratio between the time and effort you need to put into training to develop solid skills. In the end, boxing is a very simple system that focuses only on striking with your fists and mixing it with footwork and upper body movements. Yes, it becomes a small science when you go into top-level competition, but overall, boxing is a simple martial art.
In the opening months of your journey, the main focus is on learning stances, and basic movements, and improving your fitness level. Stance is crucial because it represents a base on top of which you are building other skills.
Overall, most students need around 1 year of training to get a good understanding of stances, punches, movement and how to apply this in a real fight.
How effective is boxing?
Boxing is highly effective in real life due to one simple reason: most street fights escalate with one person throwing a punch or a barrage of punches. The most natural reaction of every human being in a fight is to throw punches, and this is where boxers feel like fish in the water. You will learn everything about the timing, distance, how to keep your mind calm and deliver hard and precise strikes to defend yourself.
Final thoughts on easiest martial arts to learn
Becoming a skillful martial artist is a lifelong journey for most people and you should take it seriously. Yes, some martial arts like the ones we have presented in this article are physically easier or take less time to master than the other. But, no matter which style you choose from the list above, you won’t achieve anything in training without dedication, passion, pain, injuries, tears and sweat. Pushing yourself on a daily basis and leaving it all each time you step on the mats is the only way you can become a skilled martial artist.