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Which Martial Art is the Best?

This old question has led to many a verbal and physical battle. It is about time it was analyzed and answered logically. Everyone is different and everyone has different wants thus everyone would not be suited to the same art. When people talk about the ‘best system’ they are in fact talking about the practitioners of that system.

“Systems and styles are never compared but individuals are.”

The Martial Arts are so vast that it is impossible to measure different clubs and systems abilities in relation to each other. The question has only been answered by opinions and statistics and everyone knows how inaccurate these are.

“There are lies, damn lies and statistics.”

Some styles stress totally different aspects then others, for example, some have emphasis on forms, others on fighting, some on entertaining, others on competing etc. The list is endless. Comparing two different styles is like comparing two different sports. Is tennis better than golf? Perhaps if you play tennis and not golf you will think so, but both may be equally enjoyable and incomparable. Also there are many factors negative or positive away from the actual syllabus of the art, which can affect the growth of the system.

1. The character of the instructor(s).
2. The determination and character of the students.
3. The equipment and facilities available.
4. The amount of money students can afford to pay for training.

The art could be excellent but if these aspects are poor than the art is classified as being poor.

If there were such a thing as the best Martial Art, would you continue to practice an art knowing that it is only second best? The answer is no. You and everyone else would study the best style. All others styles would cease to exist thus the question “Which Martial Art is the best?” would be deleted because there would only be one art.

Something can be learnt from every art. Everyone is better than you at something. Armed with this philosophy you will learn a lot very quickly and become a very successful Martial Artist and person. When you have found the best art(s) for you, do not stop looking at or researching other clubs and styles as it may serve many purposes, for example;

1. If you are an instructor and you get a student joining your club from a different club or system, you will be able to relate to them and teach them better if you have prior knowledge about what and how they have been taught.

2. If competing it is very helpful to know what style your opponent studies before entering the ring or arena. You may set your fighting strategy around his/her styles strengths and weaknesses. This may also be applied in self – defence situations.

No matter what style(s) you study, make sure you study the 4 fighting ranges and the 3 martial aspects to maximize your art:

4 ranges;

1. Kicking range.
2. Punching range.
3. Trapping range.
4. Grappling range.

3 Aspects;

1. Physical.
2. Mental.
3. Spiritual

Therefore the definition of the best Martial Art is; The art form that best suits and compliments an individuals physical, mental and spiritual abilities. The next time you are asked what you think the best Martial Art is you should reply; “The best Martial Art for me is……….”

By Robert Devane

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