adult martial arts

Top 5 Best Adult Martial Arts

There are plenty of reasons why someone would consider taking up martial arts in adulthood.

One of the more difficult things you can do beyond practicing the art is actually deciding on which style to take in the first place. So, when you are starting your search, how do you determine which are the best adult martial arts?

The answer to that depends largely on personal preference, but we feel there are some styles that stand out amongst the others. In the following, you will find out what to look for in martial arts for adults in addition to what we feel are the top five martial arts for adults to take.

Things to Look for in a Martial Art

When you are on the search for a martial art to learn, there are some factors that you should consider. These will aid you in gathering your options better so that you do not become too overwhelmed.

Striking or Grappling?

Before you dive into an art, you should ask yourself what exactly you are more interested in learning.

The idea of throwing people to the ground and wrestling around with them can excite some.

On the contrary, there are those who prefer a more stand-up style of fighting. 

Deciding on this will help you eliminate many options and can even bring different ones to the table that you may not have considered before.

adult martial arts


Is your idea of learning martial arts based on wanting to improve your self-defense?

Just about all fighting arts will teach you skills that you can use in the unfortunate event that you find yourself the victim of assault, but there are some arts that can handle this better than others.

If you are seriously looking to just learn moves you can use in case you or someone you love is under attack, you may be prone to going to something like Krav Maga over other fighting arts.


adult martial arts


Another great benefit about martial arts is that they can help you get healthier. This is a major reason why many decide to venture into the fighting arts in the first place, especially if they are not normally active.

Some arts can get you into better physical shape than others, and likewise, some are better for your mental health.

Keeping this in mind, you should think about your own health before selecting a particular art. Since some can be more physically demanding than others, if you have previous injuries, you may not be able to be as successful in those arts. Something with a better pace may be more in your range over an art that requires constant conditioning.

5 of the Best Martial Arts for Adults

1. Muay Thai

Muay Thai began centuries ago, and it is a classic that has come to be enjoyed beyond competitive reasons. The "art of eight limbs" can be taken up for practical purposes as well even if you never have any interest in competing.

Many take to Muay Thai simply because of the training involved in it. You are doing some serious conditioning to your body from your arms, to your core, and to your legs. Since this combat art requires the use of all of your limbs, it is essential that you train and strengthen them all to their full potential. This will wind up giving you an excellent full-body workout.

It is a very demanding sport, however, both physically and mentally. To train in Muay Thai, you will need dedication, a drive not to quit even when the training gets hard. Adults can thrive rather well here and are equipped to deal with the punishment that comes with it. What is even better is that the learning curve isn't steep so you can catch on pretty quick.

adult martial arts

2. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

BJJ came to life after combining other arts such as judo and traditional jiu-jitsu. It is a great way of promoting so-called 'weaker' opponents and teaching them a way to defend against a 'stronger' fighter no matter the size. This is yet another combat art that can push the body, especially if you are looking to get into competition.

The art makes use of a good deal of wrestling, grappling, and slamming people to the mat. As such, it is a wonderful way to work on your physical health. There is a good amount of strength training that goes into play here so that you are able to throw and handle someone bigger than you.

Another benefit of taking up BJJ classes is that the art trains you how to handle a fall and not get hurt. If you compete in other sports or you just want to add to your life skills, understanding how to hit the ground without injuring yourself is a helpful trait to have. This helps the art become a good self-defense tool as it teaches you how to quickly adapt if you get thrown on your back.

adult martial arts

3. Krav Maga

Krav Maga is a well-recognized art seen around the world as it is an excellent form of self-defense. First seen in the 1920s, the art was conceived as a military self-defense and fighting system. When you take a class, you will completely understand why. It teaches you not just how to defend yourself and others, but it also teaches you how to fight dirty.

Some of the moves you see in this fighting art are typically frowned upon in others. You are allowed to aim for the groin, neck, the back of the head, and many more places on the body. The sole purpose is for taking out the other individual and giving yourself enough time to end the fight or make it to safety.

The art places an emphasis on aggression, which is one of the main reasons it is considered more appropriate for adults to take. Although it does teach students to try to avoid confrontation, it also teaches that if you cannot get away from it, then you should go at it head-on to finish the fight quickly and efficiently.

adult martial arts

4. Kickboxing

Kickboxing originated decades ago, first in the '60s in Japan and then later in America around the '70s. It is known widely as a useful, stand-up combat sport that utilizes punching and kicking. Much of the techniques you will see in kickboxing originate from Muay Thai and karate.

Although it is popular as a combat sport, over the years, it has built up a steady, strong reputation as being far more than that. Now, you are hard-pressed not to find a kickboxing class geared toward exercising rather than helping you become a fighter in the ring. This is a highly energetic art that allows you to switch up your usual workout routine so that you are not just hitting the basic equipment in the gym week after week.

Also, kickboxing classes are enjoyed simply because they're fun. They are typically upbeat and many have music going on to keep your energy levels high and keep everyone happy. You are surrounded by people who all have similar goals in mind as well, which can help with strengthening your social life if that is something you are interested in.

adult martial arts

5. Karate

Karate was conceived centuries ago, and over time, it developed primarily into a striking art. There are open-hand techniques you will learn in addition to punching, kicking, elbow strikes, and knee strikes. Some even go further than the standard striking and teach grappling and throws; most of these would be known as a modernized style of the art. No matter what exactly is taught, however, karate remains one of the most popular martial arts in the world.

It is an art that is great for all ages, but for adults in particular, it can build you up in numerous of ways. For one thing, many latch onto the art to develop better self-defense. A good karate class will teach you not just how to take down someone and defend yourself or others from an assault, but you can learn weaknesses and how to exploit them.

Karate also has a great deal of repetition which is great for learning. Once you get a feel of the moves, you probably will never forget them. It doesn't even matter how advanced or not you are with this art. Karate is something that everyone will be able to learn going at their own pace. If you need to slow down, then you can slow down. Those that happen to move faster in their learning process won't be hindered either way. It's a personal learning experience.

adult martial arts

In Conclusion

Finding the best adult martial arts for you can take time, but the top five explained above should help narrow down your options. The arts we mentioned can benefit you in a number of ways from assisting you down the path to leading a healthier lifestyle and learning some self-defense in the meantime.


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