6 most popular martial arts (how to choose the best for you)

Taking up a martial arts is not only an excellent form of exercise and defence, but it also makes you look cool. The problem is that there are so many different styles of fighting out there that you may not know which to choose. From Judo to Karate, there’s a whole host of brilliant art forms (yes, this is art), that you may want to try. Of course, you need to make sure that you opt for a martial art that suits you. You should consider everything from your agility levels to your sense of balance. Let’s take a quick look at some of the most popular martial arts out there.

So, what are the most popular martial arts in the UK?


This form of fighting came to be in the late 20th Century. Judo developed as a kind of defence and is one of the most common here in the UK. You may not have heard of the lesser known, Aikido, but these two forms of martial arts are similar. If you are serious about martial arts and would like to go pro, this form might just be the one for you. The Japanese discipline has now become an Olympic sport and one of the most popular martial arts in the UK. You can find aspects of Judo in many modern self-defence practices. To learn this beautiful art, you will need to have a high level of flexibility and agility.


Next, let’s take a look at Judo’s cousin art – Jujitsu. Invented by the great samurais, this martial art shares many of its traits with Judo and Aikido. Here in the UK, you can find the prestigious Jitsu Foundation within many of our universities. That in itself means that this sport is popular with young people around the country. Unlike the striking arts (that is Karate and Taekwondo),  this martial art is hands-on. That is to say that it is contact-based rather than just based on a particular style of training. You need a significant amount of strength if you want to master this form of fighting.

Muay Thai

If you are agile, swift and precise, you might find that Muay Thai suits you. Yes, to practice this martial art, you will need to have the ultimate level of precision known to man. It may surprise you to learn that Muay Thai is one of the fastest growing martial art forms in the entire world. Over the last couple of decades, this sport has become more and more popular. In fact, it is now one of the most common practices here in the UK. This form of fighting can be one of the most aggressive, which tends to put some people off it. When you practice Muay Thai, you need to ensure that you use all your body weight against your opponent. Yes, there are elements of both Judo and Karate in this martial art, but it is far more extreme than you may imagine.


Part dance, part martial art, Capoeira is a popular choice for both men and women here in Britain. The Brazilian self-defence style is a great deal of fun to learn, which is why it’s so popular. In fact, this style of martial arts has an interesting back story. It turns out that the form developed in African slave communities during the times of slavery. Then, the African people saw the art form as a way to move towards freedom. Over the years, the fighting style has changed a great deal, yet it keeps many of its original aspects. The martial art shares a little with the other fighting forms on this list. To learn this old skill, you need to be as quick as lightning.


As the primary striking art, Karate is both the most famous and one of the most popular martial arts in the entire world. Of course, the epic Karate Kid films did a whole lot for the reputation of this excellent sport. The discipline is a lot like many ancient forms of Kung Fu. This martial art is about hitting out your counterpart before they get a chance to react to your attack. That means that you need fast reflexes if you hope to become a pro in the field. Despite what you may have heard, it takes quite some time to learn this art form, and you need to dedicate yourself.


Taekwondo is almost the same as Karate and is another striking art of which you should be aware. The main difference between these two forms of martial arts is how you perform them. When you practice Karate, you use both your arms and legs to strike your partner. When you practice Taekwondo, though, there is more focus on the legs than the arms. It is that simple!

Now that you know what the most popular martial arts are, what are you waiting for? Get out there and try them for yourself!