The 411 On Top Martial Art Forms Sweeping the Nation

At T.A.G. Muay Thai, we really love Muay Thai, but our instructor as well as students often choose to learn from other martial arts disciplines which is a beautiful thing. We’ve highlighted 4 different martial art forms below that have been trending upwards in the USA for the past couple of years. Find out what makes each discipline so unique. Knowing the pros and cons may even help you decide which martial art form(s) is/are best for you.

Muay Thai
Muay Thai has been in existence for thousands of years and is one of the most ancient martial arts. This martial arts discipline was created by Thai warriors to absolutely devastate and debilitate enemies on the battlefield. Every body part mimics a weapon of war [Related: Thai Boxing History].

“The hands became the daggers, the legs and knees became the axe and the spear, the elbows turned into a hammer, the shins and forearms were hardened in training to act as armor against blows.”

It is easy to see why Muay Thai has become commonplace among UFC and MMA fighters who can pick from a full gamut of martial arts. From control-advancing moves like the clinch to defensive teeps and brutal knee/elbow strikes for close-quarter fighting – no other martial art truly employs the entire body like Muay Thai [Related: 6 Re-Play Worthy Muay Thai Moments In The UFC].

  • Disadvantage: Stand up grappling utilizing trips and sweeps are a part of training in Muay Thai but ground fighting is not.  Muay Thai is a strike-based stand-up fighting style. Thai Boxers have been known to deliver injury-causing elbow blows as they are being taken down by a wrestler.


Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)
To the untrained eye, BJJ  resembles wrestling. Unlike wrestling, BJJ permits locks, chokes, and other submissions. The goal in wrestling is to simply pin down the opponent which is great in a competitive sports environment, but not for self defense. BJJ allows for endless combinations of movement to control your opponent. The beauty of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is that is not a gory martial art. For this reason, self-defense instructors, military, and law enforcement groups usually incorporate aspects of BJJ in their training curriculums (ie: blood choke renders someone unconscious without killing or debilitating them).

  • Disadvantage: Grapplers rely on being able to get someone on the ground as striking is not taught. In a ground-fighting scenario, a fighter is also more prone to attacks from others as being on the ground is a very vulnerable position.


Judo is a Japanese martial art entrenched in tradition and formality. If you’ve ever seen a tiny girl pull a full-grown man down to the ground, that was likely Judo. Few people understand the mechanics of the body like a Judoka. Judo does not employ the use of strikes or weapons. Instead, Judo relies the use of joint locks, lifts, throws, and various choke holds.

  • Disadvantage: It can take years to be able to catch a strike and manipulate your opponent’s joints so that you don’t get socked in the face by a striker! However, master Judoka’s are no one to play with as most fighters never see a joint lock or throw to the ground coming.


Krav Maga
Krav Maga has experienced significant hype in the past few years. This new wave martial art is used by Israeli security forces and not practiced as a sport. Krav Maga emphasizes groin strikes, headbutts, and eye gouges. Nothing is off limits and students are taught to use nearby objects as weapons. Krav Maga may be the scrappiest of martial arts disciplines.

  • Disadvantage: Krav Manga classes are usually pretty short and because the focus is on “aggressive” and offensive movements, technique is usually lacking. Thai Boxers who are trained in delivering devastating blows usually rock at Krav Manga!

Want to give Muay Thai a shot? Stop by our Northern Virginia gym for a two-week free trial!

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