There are many varieties of Southeast Asia martial arts. They range from the traditional fighting forms of Hapkido and Judo to more watered-down forms of Tae Kwon Do and Karate. Many of these arts can be learned for little or no cost, while others, such as Taekwondo and Tai Chi, will set you back quite a bit. In the end, it really depends on your budget and what you want to learn. Here is a look at the different styles and what they have to offer:

Hapkido: The most widely known martial arts originated in Southeast Asia and is taught at Taekwondo schools around the world. Hapkido is also known as “the way of the knife.” This is because the majority of practitioners are also skilled martial artists and the weapon is just used for competitions. Hapkido is a very realistic fighting system that has been refined over the years by martial artists who truly know how to use the principles.

Taekwondo: This is an ancient martial art that is the ancestor of Hapkido. It is also known as the “arts of living”. Students at Taekwondo schools are taught not only martial arts technique but also self-defense techniques. This martial art is the most popular in the country of South Korea and much of Japan. Today, it is one of the primary martial arts used by the military.

Kung Fu: This is another common martial art used throughout Asia. It originated in China but the most famous practitioner is Jackie Chan. Like Taekwondo, some schools are devoted to teaching the kung fu martial art worldwide. It is the most widely trained martial art in the world and there are over a hundred thousand practitioners in China alone.

Wing Chun: The most famous martial arts form in the world is Wing Chun. This is a close range combat form that originated in China. It uses a unique system of hand motions and stances that are designed to incapacitate the opponent without getting hit ourselves. It has become one of the most popular sports in the world. In addition to teaching its students the Five Animal Styles, it also teaches them how to defend themselves against a variety of attacks.

Muay Thai: This is another exotic martial art that is gaining popularity in the United States and throughout the world. It originated in Thailand and many foreigners have come to learn this exciting martial art. Like Taekwondo and other forms of wushu, it is focused on attacking an opponent from a long distance using knees, elbows, and feet. This form was originally developed to use for battlefield fighting but is now used as a popular mixed martial art with several disciplines.

Hapkido: The name itself might give an impression that this martial art is a form of boxing. In reality, though, hapkido has several distinctions. It is a close range hand to hand combat that originated from Japan and is the only martial art that uses kicks, aikido style strikes, and elbows, but does not include jabs or punches. This is the martial art that inspired Yoda to say, “I’m a Jedi knight, afraid of nothing.”

These five styles of combat have gained fame throughout the years and more schools have been set up to teach the different varieties of martial arts. Many people feel that it would be beneficial to attend one of these classes if one were to plan on visiting the Southeast Asia region. No matter what your reasons are for choosing a martial arts class, you will be happy that you did.