Back in 2014, I made a post about How to Choose Your Preferred Martial Arts Style. This was around the time I was in heavy research, as I was trying to find a good place to train. I’ve been wanting to get back into it since the last time I trained was in 2004, doing Shotokan Karate.

This was my first martial art and I was only able to do it for 2 years due to interruption by hurricane Ivan. So naturally, I put a lot of effort into finding a new place (my 2nd style) a decade later. Fast forward to 2021 when I stumbled on a video by YouTuber Icy Mike from Hard2Hurt. Check it out.

YouTube video

He has a great channel by the way. Anyway, he proposes that the “best” martial art for you is really defined by 3 criteria:

  1. Is there a place within a reasonable distance that you enjoy going to?
  2. Can you afford it?
  3. Do you like the people and are you having fun?

That’s it.

This is way simpler than what I was trying to explain back then. To be fair, I was trying to get to the point where you can find something that works for you and something that you can be good at. Sure, you can get into the details of each style, including its pros and cons, but the reality is, if you don’t like it or the place is hard to get to, you will stop going.

I can relate to these points as the last school I consistently attended was much harder to get to when I moved further away. The school ended up closing anyway, but still.

Martial arts can’t serve you if you don’t go. Even a “bad” place won’t be a waste of time until you progress to the point where you actually need something better to improve. You can still learn complementary skills.

My favorite style so far has been Hapkido. I have enjoyed how it’s put together with punches, strikes, kicks, deflections, parries, joint locks, holds, throws, falls, and rolls. One of my least favorite parts of martial arts is forms. I was lucky my last instructor found partner training and practical self-defense more useful than forms, so we didn’t do them.

I have heard stories of other Hapkido practitioners having to do forms. In a style where the move changes depending on who you do them on, doing forms, especially in a stylized manner, is largely useless and a waste of time.

If you have to spend a good deal of your training doing something you hate, you will have a bad time.

And that brings me to the present (2021 at the time of writing). My next style (3rd style) will be something I choose after I get back into shape. And you better believe I will choose the next style based on these 3 points. Once I get back in the groove, I can always change later if I need to.