If you are asking yourself which martial art is best for learning self-discipline, then you are zeroing in on one of the key benefits of learning a martial art. The martial arts have been around for over 2,000 years and are practiced for combat, entertainment, and competition.

There are many forms of martial arts, with self-control and discipline as their core principle. Since most forms of martial arts promote self-discipline as part of training, there is no particular form that is best in terms of fostering it.

Almost anyone can learn the martial arts and master the self-discipline that can help improve the overall quality of life. Different styles incorporate in different ways, including the most popular forms of martial art.

Why Is Self-Discipline Important in Martial Arts?

Despite what you have seen in the movies, violence or kicking the butts of bad guys is not the main purpose of martial arts. While they can add to your self-defense repertoire, all forms of martial arts require patience and mindfulness.

In order to develop your self-discipline, you need to follow the tenets of the martial arts, incorporating them into your training. This includes a healthy and positive outlook on life. Harmony and peace within yourself and with others are as central to the martial arts as self-defense.

Learning self-discipline is not just the byproduct of learning a martial art, it is also a necessary part of the training, regardless of which style you choose. It is one of the first things you will learn, alongside the basic techniques.

Is Taekwondo the Best for Self-Discipline?

Taekwondo is one of the oldest forms of martial arts, evolving in Korea for over 2,000 years. The name roughly translates to “art of the foot and hand,” naming the two crucial body parts of this form of martial art. The choreography of the hands and feet make up Taekwondo.

It involves various blocks, stances, kicks, and punches. While Taekwondo is a great way to boost your physical strength and the effectiveness of your self-defense, it is not just an art or fighting style. As Jacob Edwards-Bytom at Made4Fighters explains here, there are rules of etiquette at the heart of Taekwondo:

  • Self-control
  • Perseverance
  • Integrity
  • Courtesy

The rules of etiquette are not about politeness, but respect – for self and others – and self-discipline. Every practitioner, beginner and experienced alike, are expected to follow these rules in a consistent and intentional way. With that said, Taekwondo is not just about mastering blocks, kicks, and punches. It is a way of life.

Taekwondo is one of the best ways to master self-discipline because of its emphasis on self-control.

Is Aikido the Best for Self-Discipline?

Like Taekwondo, Aikido is a style of martial art that is also based on a life philosophy. Because of its emphasis on self-control and avoidance of harm, Aikido is one of the best forms of martial art for self-discipline. Students are trained in non-violent self-defense techniques, which helps with self-discipline.

The philosophy of non-violence is incorporated into the basic techniques of Aikido. Techniques include throws and movement of the elbows and wrists. Control of the wrists, elbows, and arms is the backbone of Aikido techniques. Key techniques include:

Aikido beginners master these six moves as part of their training. As with any martial art, the moves, and techniques shown in the video exhibit one style among many. You will notice that the movements are designed to shield against attacks while minimizing harm to the attacker.

Is Judo the Best for Self-Discipline?

Judo is one of the most common forms of martial arts and it is a combative style. In a competition, the goal is to take your opponent down to the ground and pin them down. While this sounds aggressive, the name of this style, “Judo” roughly translates into “the way of gentleness,” which is based on the two central moves of this style – throwing and pinning with the least amount of force.

While Judo is physically demanding, self-control and respect are two of its central tenets. For this reason, Judo is a great choice for anyone looking to boost their physical prowess while exercising mental and physical self-control. Students must also learn to control their thoughts and emotions while mastering these physical techniques.

Despite being a different style from Aikido and Taekwondo, Judo is another martial art form that is excellent for self-discipline. Different styles will appeal to different people and your choice will depend on the schools and instructors in your area, time, desired levels of physical ability, and preference.

Other Benefits of Martial Arts

So far, the emphasis has been on how each style of martial art fosters self-discipline. While this has been the focus, we would like to mention a couple of other benefits to mastering a martial art.

  • Stress Relief: According to WebMD, martial arts reduce stress – and anxiety – by promoting focus, deep breathing, meditation, and mindfulness. The martial arts go beyond physical training; the mind is trained as well.
  • Physical Fitness: Becoming more fit and strong may be one of the more obvious benefits, but it should not be understated. You can also improve your flexibility and balance.
  • Focus: As part of the training, you become attuned to your thoughts, actions, and surroundings. Overall, taking up Taekwondo, Aikido, and Judo will help improve your concentration and focus.

Whether you are looking to practice a martial art or enroll your child in a class, self-discipline, stress relief, physical fitness, and increased focus make martial arts a great alternative to conventional sports.


Most forms of martial arts, including Taekwondo, Aikido, and Judo are great for developing and maintaining your self-discipline. And just to iterate, styles not included in this article in no way diminish their utility or greatness. This is not a best of list by any means.

Discipline and self-control are among the first and most important lessons in the martial arts and they will remain important throughout your practice, regardless of which martial art you choose.