There are many different martial art styles. So which ones to Wyomingites favor most?

This is a non-scientific study. This is also not an assessment on which style might or might not be the best.  It is based on how many schools a style has in Wyoming and how many people attend those schools based on a quick internet search. With those numbers in mind, here are the top 5 favored martial art styles in our state.

5). Tai Chi Chuan descends directly from Shaolin Kung Fu. You have probably seen images of groups of people in China gathering early in the morning to perform what looks like a slow gentle dance. That is Tai Chi. It is probably the softest of the martial art styles. This means that the size of the opponent does not matter. Tai Chi fights with leverage and finesse. Most Tai Chi schools in Wyoming teach the style as a meditation and as a type of standing yoga exercise rather than a self-defense.

4). Kempo Karate began as Shaolin Kung Fu, and like traditional Shaolin, it studies the five animals, Tiger, Leopard, Crane, Snake and Dragon. Most Kung Fu is performed as a soft style with flowing sweeping moves. When Kempo was brought to Japan they hardened it to make it move in the more hard Karate way. In China, the original term was  'Ch'uan-fa.' Ch'uan means "fist" and fa means "law." When Kung Fu made it to Japan during the 1600s, translation of fist (Ken) and law (Po) turned the name into Kenpo.

3). Oh Do Kwan, more commonly called Tae Kwan Do, was established by General Choi Hong Hi 1953 as part of the Republic of Korea Army's Physical Training Program. The civilian annex was located in Seoul, as were all the major kwans at that time. Oh Do Kwan also taught to Korean Police throughout South Korea and instructed at some universities as well. This style has been featured in the Olympics. It is a hard Karate style that favors more kicks than most other styles. There are other offshoots of the style and slight variations of the name such as Jung Do Kwan, taught in Sheridan, Wyoming.

2). Mixed Martial Arts, also called MMA, has become popular with the televised sport that, arguably, has become more popular than boxing. MMA is not one style. It uses anything that works in any of the above-mentioned styles and more. Because of this, there are many MMA schools in Wyoming with many students. Some of whom now fight professionally. These professionally promoted fights prompted the state of Wyoming to set up an MMA board to oversee what has become a very serious and sometimes brutal competition.

1). Jiu-Jitsu. You may wonder why this martial art style is #1. While there are not many schools that teach Jiu-Jitsu by itself. But it is incorporated into most martial art schools since many fights can end up in wrapping, grappling, and taking an opponent to the ground. There are many styles of Jiu-Jitsu. Wyomingites seem to favor Brazilian jiu-jitsu most. Since most Wyoming martial art schools incorporate Jiu-Jitsu into their style it wins the top spot as Wyoming's most taught style.

So these are the most popular forms of martial arts in Wyoming. But that does not answer the question as to what is the best martial art. The best style is usually finding one that works well with the student. It is not a one style fits all answer.

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