Martial Arts - Studios, Classes & More

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The term martial arts covers a wide variety of different activities which have a common theme in fighting and defence skills, physical exercise, and mental focus. Martial arts are known for not only benefiting the body, but also bringing a whole philosophy and mental awareness to the skills being taught. These programs are often used in fitness regimes to increase fitness, improve circulation, and also create some spiritual growth. While there are many stories about the origins of martial arts, currently there are many skills taught in Western gyms and clubs, including judo, karate, t'ai chi and Muay Thai.

Why choose martial arts?

Many people in Australia choose to learn martial arts due to its high-impact fitness regime, and the opportunities that it offers to improve core strength, balance and muscle tone. The classes can be used to enhance weight-loss, and increase flexibility, stamina and overall posture. In addition, some of the less energetic exercises, such as t'ai chi, are commonly used to help people with low mobility be more active. 

  • A holistic approach – Many martial arts classes, especially pure forms taught in dojos, don’t only focus on the physical side of the equation. They also deal with your way of life, how you think about yourself, and how you treat others.
  • Respect is key – Although martial arts can be seen as a very violent past time, the majority of schools place a great emphasis on respect and consideration, and teach students to use physical strength as a last resort.
  • Learn to defend yourself – Violent assaults and muggings are unfortunately common, and an ability to handle yourself in a dangerous situation is a wise skill to have. Even if you never have to use your skills in real life, having the knowledge can give you a new confidence and security.
  • Get fit and lose weight – With a wide range of movement, including resistance and cardio work, martial arts are a great way of getting strong and fit, dropping the fat and getting lean and toned.
  • Be part of a community – Martial arts school and classes are a great way of making friends and having fun. 

They are supposed to improve longevity and help the body to heal. Martial arts can also be used as a very effective defensive course, helping men, women and children to learn skills which can be used to protect themselves and prevent harm.

Types of Martial art

There are several different types of martial art, including the familiar varieties such as Kung Fu and Judo, and other more complicated styles such as the modern Aikido. Judo is perhaps the most widely-recognised of all martial arts, and actually means 'gentle way'. This was developed in the 1800s by a teacher, and includes defensive moves which rely upon using pressure points around the body to disarm the attacker. It is seen in the Olympics, and at other high-level competitions. Akido, on the other hand, is a relatively new martial art which focuses upon non-aggression. There is a focus upon blocking, disarming and falling safely. It uses mystical teachings as well, including the management of chi, to create a martial art with an emphasis upon philosophy and the reduction of conflict.

Finding a martial arts club

If you are interested in learning martial arts, then you will first have to understand which classes will be most suited to you. Consider whether you want to have a high-impact class, including Muay Thai, or something which is more gentle and slow-paced, such as Tai Chi. This will help to narrow down your search, and can also help you to understand more about what you want to gain from learning martial arts. Many health clubs will teach basic martial arts, or use MMA to help train gym members. These classes are designed to increase fitness and help members to lose weight, but they will not teach all of the philosophy and mental skills of the martial art. In order to learn this, you will need to find classes which are taught in dojos, or in specialist studios and boxing gyms with an interest in martial arts.

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