What are the biggest new trends in the martial arts world?
At first glance, this might seem like a strange thing for a martial arts blog to ask. Martial arts are, after all, about deeply rooted traditions. They’re about respect for the past and those who have come before you. They’re about learning wisdom and techniques that have been passed down from generation to generation, from your sensei to you.
On the other hand, martial arts are also about improving yourself and doing your part to improve your discipline and community. So while we might not have much use for fleeting fads, we definitely have an appreciation for innovation in skill, technique, instruction, schools, and even martial arts equipment. In that spirit, let’s take a look at some of the biggest and most popular trends in the martial arts world right now.
1. Self-Defense Lessons
When the world starts to look a little too intimidating, martial arts lessons that focus on self-defense can be an excellent way to help people from all walks of life feel safer and better able to protect themselves. These classes also have the added benefit of improving your fitness and your confidence. It’s a win-win situation! According to recent reports, gym owners and instructors have seen a massive increase in interest and enrollment in MMA, Krav Maga, and self-defense workshops over the past year.
2. Mixed Martial Arts Fitness Classes
From boxercise to cardio kickboxing, the fitness industry has long understood what a great workout martial arts drills can be. With the increasing popularity of mixed martial arts over the past few years, gyms and fitness instructors have also started to include MMA-inspired workouts in their group training sessions. With names like “Cage Fit” and “Fight Club,” these classes incorporate grappling drills, basic striking combos, and innovative workouts that involve martial arts equipment like karate belts to help people who don’t necessarily want to engage in hand-to-hand combat get in fighting shape.
3. Cross-Training For Martial Artists
Training in a martial art is, of course, the best way to get better at that martial art. It’s also a great way to develop and maintain fitness in of itself. More and more martial artists are starting to turn to other forms of fitness to help them get to the next level, though. As long as it’s done responsibly and in a way that will help to enhance your performance in your chosen discipline (and not just tire you out or risk injury), adding a moderate running, weight lifting, or yoga program to your weekly training routine can help to add a little extra cardio, strength, and flexibility to the amazing benefits that martial arts supplies.
4. Beginner Karate Classes For Adults
We tend to think of karate as something that you pick up in childhood and then either continue or return to in adulthood, but a whole new generation or two of adults are currently picking up karate for the first time in the 30s, 40s and beyond.
“You can challenge yourself to get a good workout. Sometimes I’m just dripping with sweat at the end of the class,” Jennifer Edwards told Reader’s Digest about her newfound hobby. The 31-year-old mom took up the martial art for fitness and a sense of community when she was pregnant with her daughter. She now trains with a number of friends and coworkers. “As much as I love my family, I look forward to my karate, and having my own time laughing with my friends.”
5. Lightsaber Training
Thanks to the ongoing success of the Star Wars franchise – and the growing acceptance of geek culture that allows its fans to show their love of a galaxy far, far away with pride – lightsaber training has become an increasingly serious and increasingly popular pursuit over the past few years. Although each school comes with its own unique style of combat, lightsaber training usually involves a mix of kendo, fencing, and historic European martial arts which can be learned via book or in-person sessions across North America and around the world. And you can practice your force-using moves with a custom-made lightsaber, a kendo stick, bo staff, or other martial arts equipment.
6. Martial Arts Apps
Some of the coolest martial arts supplies around today are virtual! Whether you’re looking to brush up on the history of Taekwondo, go over detailed descriptions of new techniques that you’re picking up in class, build your own MMA-inspired workouts, or you’re simply in the market for a portable boxing timer, there’s an app for that. While they are no substitutes for actual in-person training with a qualified sensei or instructor, martial arts apps can be a fun and useful addition to your training.