Everything You Need to Know About Martial Arts

Martial arts

Martial arts are a form of athletics that get a lot of buzz whenever an action movie comes out. High-head kicks, takedowns and dramatic blocks are woven into many combat scenes and as a result, this is what many people think of when they think of martial arts.

However, each form of martial arts has its own unique characteristics, along with some surprising psychological benefits too. It’s more than a sweaty, action-movie-worthy form of combat. Here’s what you might not know about the different forms:

Martial arts

Karate

This ancient form of martial arts is usually what people think of when they hear that term. Developed in the Ryukyu Kingdom – near what is now modern-day Taiwan – it’s estimated by the World Karate Federation that there are 100 million people who study or practice Karate.

  • It’s a unique form of combat, in that it focuses not just on the physical aspects of self-defense, but on the psychological forces surrounding it too, including: perseverance
  • fearlessness
  • self-restraint
  • leadership skills

In some forms of Karate, weapons are used, but most people who practice this form of martial arts use only their own body weight and manipulation to spar with partners.

There are two main aspects involved in Karate training, including the basics and the sparring itself. Training usually begins with a student mastering the basic moves, which include:

  • stances
  • strikes
  • kicks
  • blocks

In sparring – whether competitively or for recreation – two participants use these basics to gain dominance over one another in short rounds that usually last only a few minutes. Points are awarded based on things like the technique used, form, timing, sportsmanship and other criteria.

The levels of expertise are ranked based on “belts,” which are worn around the waist of the uniform. The lowest ranking is white, while the highest – considered expert level – is black. Achieving a black belt can take several years, even longer, and is something that many practitioners aspire to, whether their main focus is competition or not.

Karate belts

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

A combat sport with a healthy amount of ground fighting, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is actually a form of Judo. Like most martial arts, it focuses on the idea that a fighter doesn’t have to be the biggest person in the ring to defend themselves. Instead it’s about:

  • skill
  • leverage
  • balance

All of which are employed when two competitors spar against each other, either in training or competition.

This element of ground fighting is really what sets Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (also called BJJ) apart from most forms of martial arts. Along with holds and strikes, BJJ can be seen as mastering the art of maneuvering and manipulating.

Matches last anywhere from 4 to 6 minutes, depending on the rank of the two fighters. Points are given based on positions obtained throughout the match, including various mounted positions, takedowns and other forms of pinning.

Like almost all martial arts, minimal gear is required to practice this sport. All that’s needed is a mat, and, for formal competitions, a Judogi, which is the typical Judo uniform.   In Jiu Jitsu, the Judogi is normally a closer cut, which makes it easier to move in for ground fighting. For judo uniform cleaning or judogi uniform cleaning, contact Love Your Gear.

Though many people compete in this form of martial arts and progress up the ranking scale from white to black belt, many people practice BJJ as a form of physical fitness and community involvement as well.

Jiu jitsu

Taekwondo

Easily one of the most high-energy martial art forms, Taekwondo is a Korean sport best known for its spinning kicks, high-speed moves and head-height kicks, which are impressive to watch.

It has roots as a Korean military practice, but has since become a popular form of recreation that’s places an emphasis on:

  •  self-defence
  • speed
  • agility.

Despite its high-energy appearance, there are many more subtle things taught in Taekwondo, including breath control, equilibrium, balance and mass.

Participants typically don something called a Dobok uniform, as well as padding and a helmet, which is usually worn during sparring.

Like most martial arts, there is a belt ranking system and competitors are usually matched with people of the same ranking. Points are given in sparring for certain types of kicks and their impact. Despite the focus on high-impact moves, the philosophy of Taekwondo is similar to other martial art forms and prioritizes self-control, integrity and self-defense, as opposed to aggression.

Taekwondo

The popularity of martial arts can likely be attributed to its wide-reaching benefits. Though many people approach this artful form of combat with the goal of competition, just as many take part for physical benefits, to be part of a community and to reap some of the psychological benefits as well, including focus, confidence and leadership skills.

Like most sports, all that physical exertion can mean gear that gets well-used. This can lead to odour, bacteria buildup, mold and other pathogens. To make sure your gear is clean and in good repair, contact Love Your Gear today.