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What is the best martial art for me? I'm 25 years old and have a stiff body (stretching my body is really, really killing me, I cannot touch my toes while sitting straight).

Some people around me talk that it's too late for me to start learning martial art now, but I want to give it a try.

I have 3 candidates: Hapkido, Taekwondo, and Wing Chun. I'm confused which one should I pick, because I want to learn martial art mainly for sport (and of course burn some fat in my body).

  • any will do but personally I wold go for tae kwon do. As it is the most "sportive" and where the flexibility is trained most but of course it is depends on how and where you practice it. – kifli Aug 22 '16 at 16:02
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    It's never too late to start learning a martial art. Unless you're already dead. – slugster Aug 22 '16 at 23:12
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    Please see how to select the right dojo and what martial art should I start with. What do those questions do not answer for you? – Sardathrion - against SE abuse Aug 23 '16 at 7:56
  • Even if it were "too late" at some point, that point would not be at 25 years old. – PoloHoleSet Nov 2 '16 at 15:43
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If you are interested in sport competition among the three options you have presented, I would choose taekwondo. Taekwondo has sanctioned sport competition, whereas hapkido and wing chun are more self-defense oriented. The specific schools around you may differ, but I would expect the sport opportunities to be greatest in taekwondo.

It's never too late to learn martial arts. It may be too late to achieve some goals like competing in the Olympics in taekwondo, but if your goals are flexibility and sport, go for it.

As for your stiffness, the idea behind martial arts training is that it improves your body to make it more flexible and strong. A martial arts teacher expects to train their students to improve these. You should not have any hesitation to start training because you are inflexible; the whole point of training is to improve this.

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It's never too late to start training.

The best martial art for someone who is untrained and inflexible is yoga, running, and strength training (perhaps with one or two 16kg kettlebells). Spend six months becoming strong, fit, and flexible on your own terms. You cannot trust that a martial arts school will do it for you.

  • Thanks for your answer !! i have do running, and fitness routine since 3 - 4 months ago and yes this burn a lot of my body fat and reduce my weight around 10 kgs, but i want to have more sport than this, and this is why i think i want to learn martial arts (it's been my dream since my childhood) – Sandy Budiyanto Aug 23 '16 at 11:15
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I'm 25 years old...

Some people around me talk that it's too late for me to start learning martial art now, but I want to give it a try.

I personally started Taekwondo when I was 27; 15 years later, I'm a second degree black belt and still training. In the school I train at, we have a gentleman who started after he retired (mid-late 60s). He is now a 1st kup (one away from black belt) and in his mid-70s!

25 is not too late (nor too early) to start a martial art! Within the wider organisation, there are many examples of students who started rather later in life than 25 and all are very capable martial artists.

stretching my body is really, really killing me, I cannot touch my toes while sitting straight

I couldn't touch my toes (either sitting or standing) when I started. Although I'm significantly more flexible now (after 15 years of training), I still struggle to bend that much! However, I don't need to be that flexible; I can produce powerful techniques without being able to tie myself in knots.

I won't offer advice on which art to train in because I'm biased and have no experience of Hapkido or Wing Chun. As other answers have pointed out, it is important that you focus more on finding the right instructor and school, rather than an art.

So, don't worry about your age or flexibility, but do concentrate on finding the right instructor and school.

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It seems like you're looking for a definitively striking-based martial art. Of those you have suggested, I would agree that tae kwon do is the best, but I would very strongly recommend looking into other alternatives.

The reason being that striking arts are focused on, well, striking; quick jerking extensions and contractions of muscles and tendons. In general, you will be moving around a ton and be straining yourself in ways I do not think you want to, if you are as stiff as you say.

I would give my sincere recommendation to any Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu places by you. The art is designed for non-athletic people, whereas striking arts demand athleticism. It's a great work out too, as you maintain a steady pace for longer, which burns more fat than the more 'sprint' nature of striking arts. BJJ will help slowly and much more healthily improve your flexibility, and eventually to a degree higher than any of your listed choices. It's also a much more practical self-defense art (this is an area of HUGE debate, but most agree BJJ wins).

Check out these videos by the Gracie Family (Invented modern jiu-jitsu) and see if it's something you'd consider:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZM_8-c1EqOY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CphlU3ApDHg

  • well i tried to avoid jiu-jitsu, aikido, judo, and other martial arts that have a lot of throwing technique, do you have another option ? – Sandy Budiyanto Aug 23 '16 at 11:18
  • @SandyBudiyanto jiujitsu isn't quite throwing, more already-on-the-ground grappling, but then perhaps tai-chi or pilates might be good before starting a striking martial art. It's just that given your current condition I worry these might be to aggressive to start with, if you are serious about getting into it, and you might accidentally injure yourself. – Avik Mohan Aug 23 '16 at 13:43
  • oh okay, looks like i've got wrong image of jiu jitsu. i'll consider your options :) – Sandy Budiyanto Aug 24 '16 at 16:41
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The style itself doesn't matter as much as the expectations you have, and the effort you put in. Some people who start late progress fast, others progress slow. The important thing is that you progress. The only way to progress, is by doing efforts.

I believe everyone here must have seen people come to their clubs, doing the exercises as lightly as possible, skipping entire weeks of training, then complain that there's no progress and quit. Avoid such an attitude. Do your best, train regularly, and you'll see improvements, no matter what style.

Along with that, the expectations matter too, as I mentioned earlier. If you expect to become a new Bruce Lee after one year of training, you'll be highly disappointed, which will reflect in the aforementioned effort, and you'll end up in a vicious circle. Set realistic expectations and you'll stay motivated to keep going, as you see yourself grow towards what you expect, one week at a time.

  • Although I would normally agree with this view, the questioner has specifically asked for sport. – mattm Aug 23 '16 at 13:24
  • That's the difference between the letter and the spirit of the question. – Raf Aug 23 '16 at 14:12
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I honestly recommend Tai Chi if stiffness is a real problem. (Stiffness can lead to injury, particularly with hard styles.) Ideally, you'd want to pick a school that does a lot of stretching before practice, although that is not always common with Tai Chi, as stretching the connective tissue is inherent to the forms themselves. But the key point is that Tai Chi requires extreme relaxation to be effective, and relaxation is a great antidote to stiffness.

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For flexibility, besides yoga, the ballet stretching routines are the best. Ballet dancers, both males and females, need to be capable to do splits while jumping in the air, which is much more dificult than doing them sitting on the ground.

Ballet has more than 200 years of verified techniques that guarantee a good flexibility. What's important is that you don't force your joints or ligaments while training for stretching, because this is going to generate long-term injuries which, in turn will make anyone less, not more flexible. Even on youtube, there are plenty of ballet routines for flexibility you can take a look at.

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