Fighting fit: An easy guide to embracing combat sports in 2020

By: Peter Jobes

Welcome to the calm after the storm. The festive period is over and life is beginning to return to normal. However, there's the distracting issue of the New Year's Resolutions that we're encouraged to keep throughout the year that needs to be addressed.


Typically New Year's Resolutions are followed for a significantly shorter time than the year itself. With many people resolving to stay fit or get back into shape in the new year, it's perhaps unsurprising that 12% of gym memberships begin in January. What's also unsurprising is that according to the Fitness Industry Association, over half of this number quit within 24 weeks of signing up.

Resolutions tend to have a recurring theme of healthiness and fitness. While some choose to welcome the new year by resolving to join a club to socialize. With this in mind, it's worth taking a look at embracing martial arts.

The art of a healthy lifestyle
The notion of joining a martial arts class may seem like something of a big step. Contact sports are surrounded by connotations of testosterone-filled environments and painful exercise. But the truth is that you don't have to look very far to find a club or class that suits what you're looking for.

There are dozens of widely applied approaches to both martial arts and contact sports that are designed to suit the level of application that you're looking for.

Unlike gyms, many classes have a clear and quantifiable recognition system in the form of belts, and there are plenty of opportunities to meet likeminded individuals with similar aims for their workouts.

From the world-famous disciplines of karate to kung fu, from jiu-jitsu to judo, all the way through to the more spiritual approaches of tai chi - you're bound to find something to suit your needs.

Finding the environment that's right for you

The commonplace belt-based progression system of many martial arts encourages students to continue their training when casual gym-goers would feel obliged to drop out, and the chance to learn invaluable forms of self-defence can be considered a great bonus those enrolling in a class.

As someone who will see martial arts as a new challenge, it will certainly be important to find a class that suits you before we get started in exploring how to go ahead in embracing the combat sports.

It's important to fit your classes into your work and life schedules in a way that won't encroach on your other commitment, otherwise, this could encourage early dropouts and a loss of progress. With many class-goers looking to join in either before or after work, location and transport will be imperative too.

Embracing contact sports

Your comfort is the key to longevity in your chosen class, and luckily websites like FindMartialArtsNearYou in the US and Get Into Martial Arts in the UK can help you to find a free martial arts taster lesson as a means of discovering if a course is right for you. Here, you can locate a range of classes near your home or workplace that run at times which suit your lifestyle.

If you're unsure of the type of classes that you'll be best suited to, you have plenty of options. Doing some level of research on the different approaches to martial arts would undoubtedly be useful, but there's really no rules on how many classes you can attend. Feel free to book a different class each week and see which ones bring you the most enjoyment.

Opting to join a martial arts class could well be the decision that gives you the edge over those who attempt to attend the gym. Training in combat sports may seem daunting at first but martial arts features a rich plethora of approaches that can suit your needs and goals.

The social aspect of classes can help new residents in towns socialize, fitness intensive classes like taekwondo could seriously aid your plans to lose weight in the new year, while the self-defence infused practice of jiu-jitsu would make for an excellent platform for feeling safer on the streets.

Whatever resolutions you've decided on for 2020, it could be worth checking out how martial arts can help keep you away from falling into the trap of a short-lived gym membership.

Black Belt Magazine has a storied history that dates back all the way to 1961, making 2021 the 60th Anniversary of the world's leading magazine of martial arts. To celebrate six decades of legendary martial arts coverage, take a trip down memory lane by scrolling through some of the most influential covers ever published. From the creators of martial art styles, to karate tournament heroes, to superstars on the silver screen, and everything in between, the iconic covers of Black Belt Magazine act as a time capsule for so many important moments and figures in martial arts history. Keep reading to view the full list of these classic issues.

Keep Reading Show less

Twenty-year-old prodigy Elisabeth Clay stole the show claiming double gold at the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation Pan American No-Gi Championships Saturday in Texas. Clay won the women's black belt medium heavyweight and open divisions while scoring six submissions in as many matches.

On the men's side, Giancarlo Bodoni won a referee's decision over Lucas Barbosa to capture the heavyweight black belt division after losing to Barbosa in the finals last year. But Barbosa turned around and defeated Bodoni 4-0 in the semis of the open weight class on his way to capturing gold in that division.

Keep Reading Show less

In a back and forth battle, Charles Oliveira finally claimed UFC gold winning the lightweight title against Michael Chandler in Houston, TX Saturday night. And Oliveira, the UFC's all time submission king with 14 wins via that route, did it on his feet knocking Chandler out in the second round.

The Brazilian opened with low kicks but Chandler quickly took the fight to him scoring a damaging left hook. He then dropped to the ground attempting a guillotine choke but Oliveira worked out of it to take Chandler's back. The American was eventually able to explode out of the position and regain his feet though, from there raining punches down on the prone Oliveira.

Keep Reading Show less