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Quick Guide: How to Start Martial Arts Training at Home

Many people dream about learning martial arts. Maybe you wanted to try karate classes as a kid but never got the chance, or maybe you’re intrigued by all of the unique martial arts equipment like nunchaku or swords. Or possibly you’re just looking to learn some simple self-defense moves.

If you’re interested in starting martial arts at home but don’t know where to begin, this guide is for you.

Can You Start Martial Arts Training at Home?

If it’s been your life-long dream to try out martial arts, then I have good news for you! Yes, you can start martial arts training at home. Whether you can do it effectively is another question. If you want to become an elite MMA fighter or boxer, then training at home isn’t a good choice. In fact, most martial arts have some element of combat involved, so you’ll need to find a trained sparring partner.

Remember that just because you can start training at home doesn’t mean you should always train at home. You’ll progress faster if you learn from an expert. Without an exceptional teacher to provide feedback and insight, you’re not going to reach your full potential as a fighter. You need a trained professional to help correct your form and work on advanced techniques.

Best martial arts to learn at home

Training Alone vs. Training Cooperatively

Let’s use football as an example. If a football player only practiced kicking the ball into an empty net by himself and nothing else, then he wouldn’t become a fundamentally sound player. Sure, he might get better at striking the ball but, there’s much more to football than this one move.

Now, what if this same soccer player primarily trained at home in his backyard, but the difference is he has a coach come to his house 2 times per week and help him with his form? Perhaps he also plays football every night in the backyard with a couple of his buddies. He gets better at dribbling, scoring, understanding plays, defense, and increases his overall physical fitness.

He wouldn’t become the next David Beckham by primarily training at home, but the addition of a personal coach and some practical experience would make him a more well-rounded player. Keep this analogy in mind if you’re looking to start martial arts at home.

What if I already take martial arts classes?

Are you already going to classes? You can practice at home on days when you’re not at the studio. As long as you’re taking the necessary days you need for rest and recovery, then you can definitely further your martial arts skills at home. Instead of sparring with a partner, you can focus on things like conditioning, proper form, and stretching.

What Are the Best Martial Arts to Learn at Home?

You’ll never truly master martial arts by training at home by yourself. However, there are some online training programs that can help you learn the basics. Spend some time learning a little bit about different types of martial arts before making a decision on which one is right for you.

To narrow down your search, you can write off learning MMA, Muay Thai, BJJ, Taekwondo, or any other martial art that’s dependent on having another person to practice with.Keep in mind you can always learn the theory behind martial arts from the comfort of your home. There are multiple courses available online that teach you about the history, techniques, and movements of various types of martial arts. They won’t help you practice techniques or give you feedback, but they can arm you with knowledge.

Tai Chi

Home martial arts training

Tai Chi is very focused on self-practice, so it can be a good choice for you to learn martial arts at home. There is also no sparring in Tai Chi, which makes it ideal for practicing alone. On the other hand, you’ll need to confer with an expert in order to make sure your technique is right. If you're interested, this guide on how to start tai chi for beginners is a good place to start.

Cardio Kickboxing

Martial arts at home

If you’re interested in cardio and burning lots of calories, cardio kickboxing might be for you! Unlike traditional kickboxing, sparring isn’t part of cardio kickboxing classes. However, kickboxing places a lot of emphasis on the proper technique which can be nearly impossible to achieve if you’re practicing on your own. This guide on kickboxing for beginners is a good place to start and get familiar with the sport.

General-Self Defense

Easiest martial art to learn at home

It’s easy to learn some simple self-defense moves at home, even if you have no one to practice with. When diving into the realm of martial arts for self-defense, you’ll likely come across a method called Krav Maga. Krav Maga is a self-defense system created by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and is an extremely effective method of protecting yourself against attackers of all sizes. However, it can be dangerous to practice with anyone who is untrained. The moves taught in Krav Maga can seriously injure or kill opponents, so tread with caution.

How Long Does It Take to Learn Martial Arts at Home?

Many people who start learning martial arts become life-long practitioners, so there’s no specific timeline to keep in mind. As a general rule, you should train at your own pace. It’s common to do 1-2 classes per week, so aim for 45-60 minutes at least once a week. Once you feel more comfortable with some basic movements you can transition to classes at a studio. Logen Lanka, the founder of Way of Ninja, recommends training approximately 29 hours to reach a basic level of proficiency. “Assuming that you are training two sessions of one hour each week, you will take roughly 3 to 4 months to be good enough.”

But that’s with the aid of a black-belt teacher. There’s no guarantee you’ll make that much progress if you’re training on your own. However, if you devote 2 hours per week to conditioning or learning martial arts theory, you can make some significant strides.

How to learn martial arts on your own

Equipment You Need to Start Martial Arts Training at Home

For simple home training, you’ll only have to purchase basic martial arts training equipment. To increase your overall physical fitness before jumping into a specific martial art, you can start with your trainers and some comfortable workout clothes. No fancy equipment needed!

There’s also equipment available to take your training to the next level, like punching bags and grappling dummies.

Can I Learn Martial Arts Online?

So, you’ve decided you would rather go at it alone. There are many people in your position, that’s why there are various online martial arts programs available today.

Global Martial Arts University (GMAU)

If you enroll with GMAU, you’ll be able to learn from certified black belts through online education. With their courses, you can watch detailed training videos, practice on your own schedule, and get detailed evaluation from martial arts masters.

The best part about GMAU is the feedback you get from your certified instructors. You also have the ability to earn real ranks through their courses. If you stick with it, you can earn up to a black belt.

While feedback from instructors over video isn’t the same as in-person, it’s definitely a step up from trying to learn a martial art unsupervised. You can take courses on Shotokan Karate, Krav Maga, Taekwondo, and more.

Conditioning Routines for Aspiring Martial Artists

If you’re just looking to improve your stamina, flexibility, and overall health, then you should consider following along with an excercise routine as opposed to a skills-based martial arts course. This martial arts workout can help you improve your fitness and get comfortable with moves that you might be unfamiliar with. There are a variety of exercise workouts like this available on Skillshare and YouTube.

Of course, it’s best to learn under hands-on instruction of a certified teacher. The most important thing to remember when practicing martial arts at home is to be safe and get yourself into a studio or dojo to learn the proper form. 

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