Which Martial Art Is The Right For You?

Training in martial arts can be beneficial to the mind and body. Even better: your options are wide considering there are several different disciplines to choose from. The tough part then comes in deciding which martial art suits you personally.

Taking on these arts professionally comes with a separate set of requirements based on health and age. For the sake of this article, we’ll focus on the training as a hobby or part of your exercise routine. Some disciplines are better for certain people than others.

Below, you’ll find further information about 10 popular martial arts and who can best train in them.


Boxing is a physically demanding sport. It isn’t universal in terms of athletic ability, so you should be in good health to prevent injury. There isn’t much of a limit when it comes to age though. From 5-years-old to 40-years-old and older, many take up boxing in their spare time.

It serves as a good means of getting into shape or releasing stress.

Muay Thai

Muay Thai is perhaps the furthest from a universal martial art style. As it requires a lot of coordination and skill, waiting until a child is older (7-12 age range) before starting is ideal. Beyond that, it may not be the best sport for those over 50 since it does place a lot of stress on the body. Being in above average physical condition is helpful in this case.


Beyond being a competitive sport, kickboxing can be a great aerobic and cardio workout. It’s normal to find the average adult in their 20s or 30s taking up a class. Young children such as those in the 3-5 range may not perform the best considering the high-intensity seen in these classes. Check your fitness level and health to ensure you can handle such high-impact cardio and aerobics.


Out of all the martial art styles, karate is one of the most universal ones. It’s common to find people anywhere from 4-years-old to 50-years-old and beyond taking the art. Karate is particularly useful for children as it doesn’t always require high-intensity like other art styles. You don’t have to come in with excellent athletic prowess in order to train in this art.


The moves from taekwondo make it ideal for young children or older adults to improve or strengthen things like balance, coordination, etc. Children under 4-years-old may not fully grasp the techniques, while you may want to wait until around 16 or so to introduce sparring.

Those close to senior age or with some health problems may not keep up well with the kicking, takedowns, etc. required from the art.


The grappling and such found in BJJ may turn some young children away, so this may be an easier art to introduce children to once they’re 7-years-old or older. Also, it can be difficult for younger ages to truly understand what’s expected from BJJ.

Adults in their 60s have been known to participate in the art too, and some adjust the training in order to suit their athletic capabilities.


It’s simple to find young children taking up judo. It offers a good introduction to helping them understand their bodies. As such, it can better serve the 6-8-years-old crowd. There isn’t a maximum age as you can find people in their 20s, 40s, and older taking the art.

What can limit you is your health; if you can’t move without joint pain, this isn’t the art for you.


Wrestling is an art many people of variety of ages take. You can find wrestlers from 5-years-old to 35-years-old. It’s almost a universal art if not for the physical demands. You shouldn’t take it if you don’t believe your body can keep up with the strenuous moves.

Also, those around age 5 don’t usually compete and just learn the basics.


An art that incorporates numerous other martial art disciplines, MMA works best for those who have average to above average athletic skills. With the combat moves required, the average age range is around 16-30. You can always find people older than that training if their health and determination fits the bill.

Going younger can be tough considering how intense the training can be.

Krav Maga

Although Krav Maga training isn’t as intense as it initially was for military personnel, it still teaches serious self-defense moves. Some classes don’t accept those under the age of 14 to learn. With that said, it aims to be universal in terms of age and ability in order to provide people with the necessary self-defense tools. Young children won’t have the same type of lessons as older people though.

Final Words

The benefits from training in martial arts are numerous. From gathering some self-defense skills, to improving your overall confidence, and leading an overall healthier lifestyle, anyone can find success. Some arts are geared more toward certain age groups and athletic skills than others.

Even so, with the right research and understanding about your own body, everyone should be able to find the right martial art style to suit their needs.

Written by

Jason Maine is the founder of FullContactWay, a blog dedicated to provide best martial arts advice and information. Jason helps his readers with martial arts training by sharing personal tips and thorough research. Check out fullcontactway.com to get more about Jasonā€™s work. You can find him on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter

Latest comments
  • I’m surprised you didn’t mention liu seong, invented by willem reeders, around the same time as krav maga. nasty stuff, began studying it at age 55. I’m 64 now. feels great to perform, and i feel very confident that if some urban punk thinks I’m a potential victim, he will be disabused of that notion very quickly.

    • Hi Blank Reg,
      Thank you for mentioning Liu Seong. It’s very interesting system but I focused on the most popular martial arts.
      It’s fantastic that your training gives you confidentiality – this is the biggest success factor in a potential street confrontation.

  • Thanks for this article, Jason. Very informative but what I find conspicuously missing is Aikido which would probably be more appropriate for seniors. Either that or Krav Maga..Armin.

    • Hi Armin,
      Yes – Aikido is a great Martial Art but I decided to narrow the list to 10 most popular Arts
      Maybe I will make part 2 in the future and aikido will be definitely on the list šŸ™‚

  • To me, martial arts is martial arts, it only varies by the name or title or kind of martial arts., of course, there are age limitations, i love and respect all kinds of martial arts, but to me, the fma ( filipino martial arts), can be practiced by age 5 years old and up to or even above 75 years old senior citizen! this is my number one (1) recommendation, discover it now!

    • Al,
      thank you for mentoning filipino systems. I never tried it but I see the growing popularity of these arts. I hope to check them personally in the future!

  • Just a thought . . . I feel much more confident with my 17″ Machete -or- my 20″ Tomahawk in any Truly SERIOUS Fight ! Only Drawback – You need to carry them concealed – not as hard as people think. (Mine are inside pantsleg). Krav Maga requires that you find a weapon close at hand – not carried – Not always possible.

    • Hi Bill,
      Sure but many times you will not have enough time to use the weapon and then martial art skills are critical

  • What about tai chi? I saw a competition on you tube between tai chi and karate. Tai chi won most of the matches, although most of any training i’ve seen are very slow movements. Thank you.

    • Hi Tom,
      I think that Tai Chi is a Great Style with many benefits But I doubt street fight effectiveness of this approach.

  • The best for me are Cane Fu (canemasters.com) and Tai Chi..If you met me, the reasons would be obvious. One of my favorite scenes in a movie are the first ten minutes of Van Damm’s *The Quest*. He plays a very old man – with a cane.


    • Dojomom
      Cane is a very powerful weapon!

  • never forget the effectiveness of filipino kali skills & the sikh gatka sword skills – both are the best for weapons self-defense.& totally bad-ass (sorry for these words without lower-caps – the system in this comment box is not letting me or allowing me to type also in lower-caps – must be a tech issue).

  • Guided Chaos invented by Master John Perkins. By far the most realistic and lethal martial art on the market. It can be found on Attack proof.com

  • I think you forgot one of the most popular. Kung-Fu, especially WingTjun, brought to us by grandmaster ip-man and made popular by bruce lee who added his own technique, jeet-kune-do