What do former US president Barack Obama, Russian leader Vladimir Putin and actor Jennifer Anniston have in common? They are among an estimated 350 million people worldwide who share expertise in one of the world’s oldest disciplines – martial arts. These are proven to offer a myriad of benefits, from enhancing cardiovascular health to improving strength, flexibility, and mental well-being. 

At Alison, where we specialise in skills development and offer free online courses, we believe in empowering our community of learners in unexpected ways. Join our growing community by signing up for a free account and exploring our range of martial arts courses, from basic Self-defence for Beginners to The Foundations of Capoeira to Wing-Chun and Chi Sao. Our expert instructors include movie stuntman, Taekwondo and Karate black belt Chuck Johnson, as well as Wing-Chun Kung Fu supremo Dragon Sifu.

Our Guide to 6 of the Best Martial Arts

But before you dive into our courses, let’s delve into the fascinating world of martial arts. While many associate martial arts with China or Japan, similar physical combat styles can be traced back to Greece and India over two thousand years ago. Curious about the best martial art for you? Read on for our guide to the top 6, including MMA, Muay Thai, Taekwondo, Wing Chun, Jiu-Jitsu and Krav Maga. Each has its unique techniques and advantages, catering to different preferences and goals. 


Set to outstrip boxing for popularity, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), as the name suggests, combines elements of judo, jujitsu, karate, Capoeira, Muay Thai and other martial arts with boxing and wrestling. Matches feature a mix of striking, grappling and ground fighting. It’s not for the faint-hearted, or for newcomers to martial arts; however, Bollywood actor Tiger Shroff is living proof that it need not damage one’s appearance.

Muay Thai

Also known as Thai Boxing, Muay Thai is dubbed the ‘Art of 8 limbs’ because of its eight-point contact, which differentiates it from karate and boxing. It’s a stand-up sport involving punching and striking using fists, knees, elbows and shins. Hollywood actor Ryan Gosling and Bollywood star Akshay Kumar are among the millions of people who practise Muay Thai to keep fit.


This is a little different. The art of fist and foot! While incorporating elements of Shotokan karate, Taekwondo was developed in Korea and incorporates high kicks, jumping, spinning kicks and fast kicks. ‘Vampire Slayer’ actor Sarah Michelle Gellar and singer Willie Nelson are among the celebrities who have achieved black belts in the sport, while self-defence expert Chuck Johnson holds a Master’s rank in Olympic Taekwondo and incorporates many of its techniques into his free self-defence courses.

Wing Chun

A form of Kung Fu originating in southern China, Wing Chun was brought to the world by Ip Man, whose pupils included Bruce Lee. Rapid strikes target the opponent’s weak areas, and low kicks disrupt their balance. Wing Chun reportedly takes less time to master than other martial arts. Our Wing Chun instructor, Dragon Sifu, incorporates fitness training into his lessons to ensure his pupils are truly fighting fit! Dragon Sifu also teaches the Basics of Chi Sao, a Wing Chun Kung Fu training drill that aims to develop reflexes, sensitivity and close-quarter combat skills.


Jiu-Jitsu is also widely known as ‘human chess’ as it exercises both the body and the mind, using techniques employed by ancient Japanese warriors on the battlefield. One of the most widely practised martial arts, Jiu-Jitsu, includes standing and ground positions and involves the use of throws, joint locks, pins and immobilisations. Bollywood star Deepika Padukone mastered the art for her role in the film ‘Chandni Chowk to China’.

Krav Maga

While not strictly a martial art, Krav Maga incorporates techniques from boxing, judo, and wrestling for practical self-defence in the face of life-threatening situations, even against armed or multiple attackers. Enrol in Basics of Krav Maga Self-Defense and in just a few short hours, instructor Chuck Johnson, former bodyguard to Jackie Chan, can teach you techniques that could literally save your life.

There is much more to martial arts than combat skills and self-defence. They are proven to enhance cardiovascular health, improve strength and flexibility and boost balance and coordination. The mental and emotional benefits include improved focus, concentration and memory function, lower stress levels and overall wellbeing. 

So if you want to keep up with Khloe Kardashian or ‘Snatch’ director Guy Ritchie’s skillset, join Alison’s martial arts community and unlock your potential. Our free courses include:

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to develop valuable skills while having fun. Sign up and begin your martial arts training today!

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