People often ask what is the best martial art. Some instructors will proudly tell you that their style is best. Kelly Bunyan (KB), Chief Instructor at our London Kickboxing classes, Kung Fu and Self Defence classes London would never claim anything of the sort. Instead, she would state the following:

“In all aspects of life, I have always struggled with selecting a best or a favourite. Selecting a best is nigh on impossible if you have a varied life experience. This particularly applies when it comes to the realm of the martial arts. I have tried many martial arts and even though I teach a variety too, I would never be so bold as to claim one style is better than all others. In my opinion, it is not a credible stance to take.

For a start, you would have to assess what is meant by what is the best martial art? Then, it would be necessary to acknowledge that best is so subjective. After all, what might be best for one person, is not necessarily the same for another. Best for self-defence, best for fitness, best for meeting new people (don’t choose a strict school where you’re not allowed to speak!)? Once such a statement is defined, you can drill down into the detail and find which martial art / school is best for you, based on what your goals are. However, an all-encompassing martial art which is best for the masses? It is non-existent.”

It is worth bearing in mind that the difference in martial art styles is ultimately associated with the country they originate from. Karate, Kung Fu and Taekwondo are very similar in style. Yes, there is a leaning towards open palms in Kung Fu, compared to closed fists in Karate, plus Taekwondo has a heavier emphasis on kicking. The form work (kata) will differ too, however, the main thing that differentiates them is that Kung Fu is from China, Karate from Japan and Taekwondo from Korea. 

 Our limbs predominantly move in the same way, so, with the odd exception, our kicks are all the same. Our arm strikes either go downwards, straight, upwards or approach from the side. There is minimal difference in that regard. Granted, such variants as the Kung Fu’s tiger’s claw might not exist in all other styles but that does not mean Kung Fu is better than other styles. Hence why it is impossible to claim one discipline is better when the overall style is the same.

If people don’t want to practise form work, Ju-Jitsu (from Brazil) and Krav Maga (from Israel), for example, focus more on close quarter fighting. In our Kung Fu and Self-Defence classes in London, we teach this style of fighting too. Ownership of how to get out of a strangle cannot be claimed by a certain martial art; the know-how is too universal.  

In summary regarding the question, ‘what is the best martial art?,’ in the absence of an obvious best choice, what matters most is the training experience.  If you are learning Karate in a school where the instructor strictly berates you incessantly, Karate is not the best martial art for your spiritual health and wellbeing. If you’re learning Muay Thai in an environment where you are actively encouraged to knock each other out at every class, that’s not good for your physical health; taking a constant pounding has a damaging effect.

At KB Fitness, we focus on teaching pure, clean technique, in a fun and uplifting way. We obviously think we are one of the best schools in the world because are so invested in our members’ progress. We genuinely care and nurture all who take the brave step into our dojos.

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