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Cabarrus Magazine

Martial Arts: Confidence in Self

Aug 01, 2017 08:30AM ● By Jason Huddle

Martial Arts: Confidence in Self

Martial arts are known as some of the oldest disciplines in exercise and self-defense, Evolving from a type of combat to an art form. says, “Specific martial traditions become identifiable in classical antiquity, with disciplines such as shuai jiao, Greek wrestling or those described in the Indian epics or the Spring and Autumn Annals of China.”

The knowledge came west in the late 19th century when countries like Great Britain and France started trading with Japan and western China. Edward Barton-Wright – British – is believed to be the first person to teach Asian martial arts in Europe after he studied jujutsu in Japan from 1894 to ’97. He also invented Bartitsu, a combination of jujutsu, judo, wrestling, boxing, savate and stick fighting.

Martial arts in the U.S. gained popularity in the 1970s and ‘80s when Hollywood figures like Bruce Lee (then Jackie Chan) and TV shows like Kung Fu hit the large and small screens. Today, children are getting in on the act, attending classes in a myriad of different martial arts studios that serve to provide exercise as well as strength, balance and dexterity.

The American World of Martial Arts delves into some of the most popular innovations, techniques, instruction and equipment.


Mixed Martial Arts Fitness Classes

“With the increasing popularity of mixed martial arts over the past few years, gyms and fitness instructors have also started to include MMA-inspired workouts in their group training sessions,” says. “With names like Cage Fit and Fight Club, these classes incorporate grappling drills, basic striking combos, and innovative workouts that involve martial arts equipment like karate belts to help people who don’t necessarily want to engage in hand-to-hand combat get in fighting shape.”


Cross-Training for Martial Artists

“Training in a martial art is, of course, the best way to get better at that martial art. It’s also a great way to develop and maintain fitness in of itself. More and more martial artists are starting to turn to other forms of fitness to help them get to the next level, though. As long as it’s done responsibly and in a way that will help to enhance your performance in your chosen discipline (and not just tire you out or risk injury), adding a moderate running, weightlifting or yoga program to your weekly training routine can help to add a little extra cardio, strength and flexibility to the amazing benefits that martial arts supply.”


Lightsaber Training

 “Thanks to the ongoing success of the Star Wars franchise – and the growing acceptance of geek culture that allows its fans to show their love of a galaxy far, far away with pride – lightsaber training has become an increasingly serious and increasingly popular pursuit over the past few years. Although each school comes with its own unique style of combat, lightsaber training usually involves a mix of kendo, fencing and historic European martial arts that can be learned via book or in-person sessions. And you can practice your force-using moves with a custom-made lightsaber, a kendo stick, bo staff or other martial arts equipment.”

For those wanting to go in a more serious martial arts direction, self-defense classes heighten an individual’s sense of safety and confidence in self while improving physical fitness. Following are 10 effective forms of self-defense martial arts identified by in an effort to answer which might be best in specific situations.



“Kicks, punches, blocks and even grappling are all parts of the Karate syllabus,” the site says. “Low cost to start, the student of Karate will develop very strong strikes both in punching and also kicking. The straight strikes and power kicks of Karate steal the show.”



Keysi Fighting Method

“Created by two men – Justo Duieguez and Andy Norman – it can be described as a Spanish street fighting style that was inspired by Duieguez’s time in Spanish mines as a child. It is a gritty and dynamic style that is designed for a person who is attacked by multiple opponents. It was even featured in several films, most notably Batman Begins.”


Wing Chun

“With zero sporting applications, Wing Chun needs to be able to deliver solid self-defense skills. The power of Wing Chun lies within its direct approach. In the art, the practitioner becomes very strong and has almost laser-targeted strikes to the face, a bit like being hit with a pole, repeatedly. Solid, straight punching is the hallmark of great skill and this is what Wing Chun delivers.”


Jeet Kune Do (JKD)

“Created by the legendary film actor and martial artist Bruce Lee, the art is often described by many as a philosophical journey for the martial artist and not actually a system of martial arts. Every technical improvement is backed up with sound reasoning, such as placing your strong side towards the attacker, and a range of other strategies. It has huge depth and variety.”



“The sport of Judo is perhaps one of the most well-known martial arts due to its inclusion in the Olympic Games. It has a rich history dating back to the samurai; however, today it is a modern grappling sport with very strict rules. Since 2008, there have been even more rule changes that have shocked the Judo world by taking away a lot of the core techniques.

“Judo is all about learning to throw, pin, choke and arm lock an opponent. There are zero blocks, zero strikes (unless you look deep into the art) and, for that reason, you would think of Judo as being very poor as a self-defense system. The thing that makes Judo so good for self-defense is its single-minded approach to throwing people on the floor. A throw on a thick Judo mat can take the wind out of your sails, yet a throw onto concrete will cause serious injury.”


“Russian Sambo is a truly amazing and devastating art. Sambo athletes train to use punches, kicks, grappling, and arm and leg locks to deal with their opponents. Sambo has a more combat orientated approach.”



“On the surface, boxing is simple: no grappling, no kicking, just a few types of punches. It takes years to master boxing, but only months to grasp its fundamentals. It is this simplicity that makes boxing such a great art or self-defense. Like Judo is focused on just one thing, boxing has become a specialist at punching.

“The conditioning in boxing is one of the most strict and most punishing regimens in martial arts. Skipping, press-ups, burpees and much more will make up a boxing session along with sparring and bag work.”


Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ)

In a one-on-one situation, BJJ is pretty amazing as a system of self-defense. It does, however, have weaknesses when it comes down to weapon defense and group attacks. The art is the offspring of Judo and is focused almost completely on the ground. It became world famous when it was the style used by so many to win in the early days of MMA (mixed martial arts). 

“The system is well known for its locks and chokes. It does not focus on self-defense these days and has become more of a sport. Guard passing, mount and other postions earn points for the player in competition. BJJ is a great art to train in for fitness, fun and sport.”


Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)

“The sport of MMA has become a global phenomenon, and for good reason: explosive takedowns, striking, chokes, and leg and arm locks. The sport of MMA has created the modern gladiators’ proving ground. 

“The downside of MMA is the training is seriously hard on the body. The plus side is that your skill levels increase very quickly in all areas. As such, you soon become a very skilled opponent for any attacker.”


Krav Maga

“Krav Maga is perhaps the most well-known of any self-defense system in the world. It was created by Imi Side-Or (Lichtefield) and it is totally self-defense orientated. You will learn both gun and knife defense along with striking, grappling and much more.”


Defense Lab (DL)

“Created by Andy Norman after he left the Keysi Fighting Method (KFM), it heavily features aspects of the training that made KFM so popular. DL is focused completely on self-defense situations that are both armed and unarmed, group attacks and also it now covers MMA-style opponents with its growing technique range.

“Defense Lab uses a range of elbows and ‘shapes’ that are created with the arms to build a fearsome style of fighting; however, the training environment has zero egos, and is both fun and friendly.

Check out the martial arts studios in Cabarrus County. Many offer no-risk, no-obligation introductory lessons to help you decide what style/studio is right for you.

Article By: Kimberly Cassell

Photo Courtesy: Concord Tae Kwon Do

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