I am new to martial arts. What are the differences between the martial arts?
Martial arts can be broadly grouped into the following:
– grappling and/or throwing arts (e.g. aikido, jujitsu, judo)
– kicking, punching and striking arts (e.g. karate, taekwondo, boxing)
Martial arts can also be grouped into:
– “soft” or internal arts (e.g. aikido, tai chi)
– “hard” or external arts (e.g. karate, taekwondo)
Philosophically, a “soft” art develops a practitioner’s inner energy, focus, strength and power over time that can be expressed through strong application of techniques. A “hard” art initially develops a practitioner’s external energy, focus, strength and power – initially through strong muscular development for example, and his/her inner energy, focus, strength and power will develop over time.
The groupings above are simply to illustrate the differences at a high level, and there are also different “flavours” of aikido, karate, etc. Further sometimes what is promoted as a martial art is really a sport. Yoshinkan Aikido is a martial art, not a sport.
We encourage people who are interested in taking up martial arts to visit a variety of aikido dojo (training hall) and martial arts in order to make an informed decision of which one is best for you.