Fitness: Fight Club

Which Martial Art Is Right for You?

Navigating Portland's hurly-burly world of options just got a whole lot easier.

By Ramona DeNies December 28, 2017 Published in the January 2018 issue of Portland Monthly

Mcconnell 3 jj2cuf

Molly McConnell leads a class at McConnell’s Boxing Academy.

Image: Regan Breeden 

IF YOU WANT TO ... use your body weight to bring an opponent down, down, down to the ground (without a single kick)
Try: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a grappling-intensive form of Japanese Jiu Jitsu developed in the 1920s and considered by many to be the world’s most efficient form of unarmed combat.
At: Mata Leao Combat Sports, Renzo Gracie Portland, Gracie Barra Portland

IF YOU WANT TO ... deliver bone-crushing body blows with your shins and elbows
Try: Muay Thai—once known as “Siamese-style boxing” and today as “the art of eight limbs”—relies on torque, purgatorial clinches, and vicious knee kicks to reduce an opponent to rubble.
At: Portland Thai Boxing, Kilian’s Martial Arts Center

If you want to ... ground-and-pound, sprawl-and-brawl, clinch-and-pound, or whatever works to get a tapout
Try: Mixed Martial Arts have come a long way since those early ‘90s no-holds-barred cage fights. Today, MMA has a few rules, but it’s still lean and sexy: a mix of Muay Thai, wrestling, Jiu Jitsu and Judo.
At: Alive MMATeam Quest MMA, G.I.R.L.S. Gym

If you want to ... float like a butterfly, break it down like a b-boy, booty-shake like a bee
Try: Capoeira—an Afro-Brazilian tradition originally brought to the New World by Angolan slaves in the 16th century—is today a mix of acrobatics, dance, and gluteus-fabulous beats.
At: Capoeira Ijexá Portland, Bahia Brazil Art Center

If you want to ... put ‘em up old-school
Try: Fourteen years ago, Million Dollar Baby lent boxing true coed cred. These days, women are showing up to boxing clubs in record numbers. 
At: McConnell’s Boxing Academy, Sweet Science Boxing Gym, Grand Avenue Boxing Club

If you want to ... rise and sink, embrace the circle, ask heaven for forgiveness, and pour water on an attack
Try: Tai Chi—that thing your nana does in the park—is a millennia-old Chinese martial art. Those fluid movements that balance yin and yang? They’re also efficient for blocking punches.
At: Portland Tai Chi Academy, Portland Shaolin Center, U.S. Wushu Center

If you want to ... spar, kick, spear-hand, and shout your fighting spirit to the world
Try: Portland karate fans can choose from several schools of this century-old martial art, which is focused less on Bruce Lee straight blasts and more on self-development, or budo.
At: Portland Shotokan Karate, Portland Shorin Ryu Karate Do Club

If you want to ... train for the day you discover you’ve brought your fists to a gunfight
Try: The Israeli military’s official self-defense system, Krav Maga teaches techniques for street survival and close-quarter disarmament.
At: Krav Maga Self Defense & Fitness, Invictus

Filed under
Show Comments