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We are sorry to offend those teachers whose styles fail our reality test but at the end of the day a martial art either works or it doesn\u2019t. A good athlete can often make a poor system work, but an effective martial art should work for the average person against an average attacker.
Some people are just naturally better fighters than others and they can make a poor style effective because of their natural ability. Some styles work when pitted against others using the same style, but when one style is matched against a different system the shortcomings of an unworkable style become apparent very quickly.
The emergence of the Ultimate fighting Championships in the early 90\u2019s stands as testament to the inadequacies of many of the stand up traditional fighting systems such as karate, kung fu and boxing.
Although many styles have other benefits to be had such as emotional & spiritual development, this report is about which styles will actually work in the street; to defend you against attack by one or perhaps two attackers. Those styles that work for Mr or Mrs Average; people who are not outstanding athletes or naturally gifted fighters, just normal everyday people who take up a martial art for self defence.
We have rated each of the styles based on their effectiveness in 3 areas: cardiovascular fitness, anaerobic fitness and street effectiveness, not just in stand up confrontations but also if the fight ends on the ground. This list is not exhaustive but should provide guidance on choosing a martial art that will protect you in the street.
As a full contact style Boxing is one of the best. Every other art that uses hand strikes in a full-contact sport has resorted to using Boxing; it is the best in terms of hand strikes. Boxing builds a high level of cardio fitness and lean muscle tissue too, however, Boxing is only effective in striking, if the fight goes to the clinch the Boxers game ends there. If the fight goes to the ground then the Boxer is like a fish out of water. Primarily taught as a sporting discipline; its effectiveness lies in the build up of high levels of strength and fitness combined with highly effective punches.
Like Boxing, Judo is full-contact and relies heavily on free-sparring, and, like Boxing it is very specialised. Judo picks up where Boxing leaves off; at the clinch; it consists solely of grappling, throws and ground fighting. Judo uses locks and holds using the larger joints of the body. Judo training gets you very fit & strong and is effective in the street. Drawback? Lack of kicks, punches and its reliance on the use of the Judo Uniform (GI) to effect many of its throws and submissions. Still it remains an effective system.
A Japanese art consisting of kicks, punches and strikes. Sadly, like boxing it has lost its throws and ground fighting which would have made it more complete in our terms. An art form consisting mainly of learning Kata (pre- arranged forms). Modern minded instructors have endeavoured to introduce more realism, but sadly, these are all too few in number. Traditional Karate is too far removed to be effective for all but the most gifted athletes. The stances, guards, blocks are now so stylised that they are aesthetically pleasing but not very effective without substantial modification. There are several main styles of Karate such as Shotokan, Wadoryu, Shukokai, Goju ryu, Shitoryu and Kushinkai. Of which Kushinkai is the most realistic but there is not much of it taught around the UK. Where much of karate classes are spent performing kata they lack aerobic stress and strikes in thin air rather than padwork means that lean muscle is also not built up too well, unless supplementary exercises are added.
There are many styles of Kung Fu around: Tai Chi, Wing Chun, Choi Lee Fut, Lau Gar and Pa Kua to name only a very few. Generally Kung Fu consists of striking and kicking. Northern styles such as Choi Lee Fut are known for being more physical than southern styles such as Pa Kua which are softer
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