Which Martial Art should I train?

I often receive messages and emails from people around the world asking me the same question. “I want to learn how to fight and protect myself as quickly as possible. Which martial art should I train?” As my answer is generally the same, I have no problem sharing my opinion publicly.

If you want to learn how to fight, my advice would be to train in a martial art that produces fast results and is designed for that purpose, such as Western Boxing, Muay Thai, Wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). After a few years of training and dedication in these arts, you will become proficient in unarmed one-on-one combat. You will develop speed, strength, confidence, and the technical skills needed to overcome, subdue, and, if you choose, seriously hurt an adversary. These arts are fit for purpose and are highly effective.

What about the traditional martial arts?
I have heard claims propagated within certain martial art circles that declare modern (sport) martial arts are not as effective as the traditional arts. Also, some believe that one will automatically develop fighting skills just by learning a traditional martial art. In my humble opinion and from personal experience, that is simply untrue.

If you want to develop the martial component of any martial art, you must train with a fighting mindset, engage in sparring, and test your skills regularly. There are specific physical and mental attributes needed to transform a person from an unskilled practitioner into a competent “fighter.” In some cases (certainly not all), the traditional methods do not have a way to develop those attributes efficiently. Even though they offer considerable benefits regarding cultivation, health, and general well-being, they are generally combatively ineffective compared to the modern martial arts I mentioned earlier.

And then, there are methods only taught in the traditional martial arts that are extremely effective and produce incredible results; however, developing those abilities can take many years/decades of unwavering practice. The practitioners who possess these skills are rare and generally couldn’t care less about “fighting” by the time they’ve acquired them.

Proficiently in combat is not the focus for everyone; however, it currently seems important to many. So if “fighting” is your number one concern, I recommend you study and train a “fighting art”—just my humble opinion.

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The Path of Reversal – An interview with Adam Mizner

It’s been around eight months since we last met, what have you been up to since I last saw you?

I’ve basically been in retreat, which means not teaching very much, not working, just practice. I have mostly been focusing on my personal practice and my health and well-being. Quiet time. I only taught two training camps, a seven-day camp in the US, and the same another seven-day camp in Europe. That’s all, only two events. Other than that, all private time. For the last ten years, I’ve been continuously traveling, continuously teaching, and devoting all of my time and effort to other people, you know, to my students to bring up the skill of everybody. And I feel like it’s the right time when I turned 40, I thought it’s time to concentrate on my practice and focus on my personal development more. I feel that raising my skill higher and higher is the best thing to serve myself and also to serve my students.


  1. Hi, I have been practicing taichi yang style for more than 5 years, for personal reasons I can no longer attende my teacher’s School, and therefore I was thinking of buying a course to be able to Train at home. I was thinking to supplementing my training purchasing the entire GM YAP BOH HEONG course. Could be useful for my deeper understanding taichi principles, even if GM Boh teachs another martial art?
    Best regards

    1. Hi Giuseppe, thank you for your comment and interest.
      Yes, the Yan Shou Gong course offered by Master Yap will undoubtedly help you improve your current understanding and level of skill in Taiji. Moreover, as this course teaches you authentic Nei Gong, it is an excellent addition to any art.
      Regards, Kieren.

  2. I have a bit of frustration around this subject. I have done MMA – jiujitusu (competitively – wrestling )

    I do have an interest in the internal arts but it seems there is a lot of looking down the nose by internal artists on those who do MMA -Western Boxing – Jiujitsu etc etc

    I do not see a lot offered in the way finding complimentary internal arts to western boxing – mma – but especially for me personally Jiujitsu ( as that is my main focus.

    Is there any program that will help that ?
    All the internal masters I’ve encountered seem to emphasize complete abandonment of being physically active in fitness – sports and esp jiu jitsu .

    Just feeling lost

    I did purchase Yap Boh Heongs course. As he seems like a super nice person and is down to earth.

    But Honestly haven’t practiced bc I am kinda bummed out that there is no visible connection to it helping Sport jiujitsu .

    Ultimately shouldn’t the internal arts compliment fitness and more physical sports and produce real longevity?

    Feeling lost here .

    1. Hi Daniel, thanks for reaching out.

      Sorry to hear you’ve experienced practitioners of the internal arts looking down on people who practice “external” styles. I don’t condone such things, and my experience meeting high-level masters has actually been the complete opposite. Most would agree that western boxing and wrestling are fantastic arts to learn and train if you’re interested in developing “fighting skills.”

      In my experience, Yan Shou Gong complements the grappling arts very well as it develops the tendons in the hands/fingers, which results in a highly effective grip when grappling. I was training YSG and BJJ simultaneously and benefited from this combination.

      However, one of the main reasons why external styles do not complement the internal arts is how the power is generated. In external styles, the power comes from the contraction of muscles; in internal styles, it’s the complete opposite, and the power is caused by “release.” These two methods of generating force are mutually exclusive. Unfortunately, if you try to mix the two “engines” you will eventually hinder any progress and reach a dead-end (trust me, I’ve tried, I came from a Muay Thai and BJJ background before training Taiji), so it’s a case of choosing which path you want to take. Both are excellent and effective; they are just two completely different methods.

      I have discussed this in great detail in the videos I uploaded to The Martial Library. Please check them out if you want to hear more about my experience.

      Good luck with your journey 🙏