5 Coolest Martial Arts 2017

Hhhheeeeyyyyaaaaaa!!!!!

In the 90’s there you couldn’t throw pair of nunchucks in hollywood without hitting a martial arts master who was staring in an action movie. Segal, Jackie Chan, Van Dam, etc. are some of the big stars in the day. They all kicked butt on the big screen and had people screaming and play fighting with their friends, kicking and giving karate chops to the neck. Things change every day, and new stars and practitioners are bringing awareness of martial arts to the general public. Here are the top 5 coolest (in no particular order)

MUAY THAI

What’s Muay Thai?  

Muay Thai comes from Thailand and is famous for using the hands, feet, as well as the knees and elbows to strike opponents. This martial art is used by many MMA artists as their base for stand up striking, which is proof of how powerful it can be in the ring.

Muay Thai in pop culture

Muay Thai became popular for two reasons. 1. MMA 2. Tony Jaa. Tony Jaa is a movie star from Thailand who brought the art of Muay Thai to the big screen with his movie Ong Bak and The Protector. I’m a big fan of his and if you’re a fan of action packed thrillers you won’t be disappointed. Taking a flaming shin to the head makes Muay Thai look really, really cool.

 

TAEKWONDO

What is Taekwondo?

It seems like everyone has done Taekwondo when they were a kid. This Korean martial art is well known to a lot of people as a sport in the Olympics. The art form is characterized by big roundhouse kicks to the head and the torso. Competitions are fun to watch and there are tons of instagrammers who show off how well they can do splits and kick people from all angles.

Taekwondo in pop culture

There’s a lot of Taekwondo in pop culture, but I wouldn’t be able to point out a particular person who has seen an ambassador to the sport. Rather, Taekwondo seems to be everywhere. Kids do it, your girlfriend does it, your neighbor did it, and people in the Olympics do it. The fact that so many people know about Taekwondo and go out to learn it makes it pretty cool.

KUNG FU

What is Kung Fu?

Kung Fu is a blanket term for a wide range of martial arts that originated from China. There is a very long and very rich history to Kung Fu, so much that it would be hard to summarize in a couple sentences. Some amazing aspects about Kung Fu is how long the tradition has lasted and how serious some practitioners can be in their training. It is not uncommon for practitioners to grind all their lives to gain mastery as told in this interesting vice piece.

Kung Fu in Pop Culture

It’s hard to image the 90’s without Kung Fu. People like Jackie Chan were doing amazing stunts, and ever since then Kung Fu stocks have been pretty high. Although, the art is not as cool as it once was, it’s still highly respected for its traditions, focus, and discipline. There is definitely something elegant about Kung Fun that anyone can appreciate.

JIU JITSU

What is Jiu Jitsu

Unlike other martial arts on this list, Jiu Jitsu is a form of grappling that originates in Japan but was popularized by its Brazilian counterpart. The origins of Jiu Jitsu come from Judo, but the art became it’s own branch of martial art in the early 1900’s. When champion level Jiu Jitsu practitioners came to Belem, Brazil to fight the best the country had to offer. After while they began teaching young Brazilians the art, whom would eventually popularize the sport in Brazil and around the world.

Jiu Jitsu in Pop Culture

Today, one of the hottest sports is MMA. Almost universally, MMA practitioners use Jiu Jitsu in the ring to gain an advantage on the ground. The art is used by many of the coolest stars in the sport including, Anderson Silva, George Saint Pierre, and Conor Mcgreggor.

CAPOEIRA

What is Capoeira?

The moves, the flow. Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art that originates from the 1600’s and was created by African slaves during the Portuguese colonization of what is now Brazil. This art was illegal for many years, until the Brazilian government in decided to allow the practice of Capoeira in 1937. Since then, Capoeira has grown around the world and is practiced by a wide range of artists.

Capoeira in Pop Culture:

Remember Muay Thai? Well there is a pretty awesome fight between Tony Jaa and a Capoeirista in the movie “The Protector”. Other pop culture references are Tekken and very bad 90’s movies like Only the Strong. Capoeira is probably the most underground of all these martial arts, but the high kicks,flow, balance, coordination has attracted many people in MMA, breakdancing, and other moving arts.

If you’re interested in the history of Capoeira, last week I wrote a brief history of Capoeira, which you can find here! Have fun learning more about this beautiful art, which in my personal opinion is damn cool.

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