Any martial arts that are non-confrontational?

I’ve had a hankering to get back into some kind of disciplined martial art. I took karate lessons for a few months when I was a kid, but I eventually quit because when it came time for sparring with others, I just couldn’t do it. Call me a wimp or whatnot, I couldn’t bring myself to hit someone, even though it was karate.

I’m wondering if there are any forms of martial arts out there that I can take lessons for that don’t involve fighting others? I’m not interested in something like Tai Chi…that’s too slow. I want something that will help tone and strengthen me more. Any advice?

There should be several schools that don’t require you to do contact sparring (in fact I’ve never heard of such a thing being mandatory). Try for a defensive art like ju-jutsu and especially aikido, which lacks offensive techniques entirely.

Isn’t aikido mostly throwing and holding others?

One more vote for aikido. It’s beautiful and graceful when performed correctly, and entirely defensive.

It sounds weird - but I took a few weeks of Taiko a year or so back.
We ended up doing a lot of the same postures that I did when I did a few weeks of karate (even farther back), and it was physically tough and mentally demanding.

Plus, you get to hit really giant drums (which sound cool), and the drums don’t hit back. (I hated sparring.)

I think I may try it again sometime soon.

I saw Taiko drummers once and it totally blew me away. Can women take this, or is it men only? The drummers I saw were all men.

The group I learned from was mixed-gender, as was my class.
I’ve also seen women drumming in performance.

I wouldn’t discount Tai Chi - if you are doing it correctly, you can get a great work out. The trick is to get inside the rhythm of the moves - the rhythm is, typically, very slow, so may be hard to pick up, but it is there.

Frankly, from your description - non-confrontational and help you tone and strengthen? - I’d go with yoga. Try Bikram (Hot) Yoga if you really want an ass-kicking workout that is not confrontational.

I wouldn’t discount Tai Chi. I took it up in college and couldn’t believe how strong and buff I got from it. I thought it would be easy but when I left the class I truly felt like I had a workout. It’s good stuff and it was great because it was low impact so a lot of “non-traditional” students were in my class.

Huh. I came in to say ‘consider Tai Chi’, too. Done properly it’s a great workout, very low-impact, and non-confrontational.

Wow, I didn’t realize Tai Chi could be that good a workout. Anytime I’ve seen people doing it it was always frail old ladies, so I didn’t figure it was anything more than getting the joints moving. But I’ll look into it now. Bikram yoga sounds interesting too. Thanks for the advice so far!

Imagine doing a hard-core martial arts *kata *- Now imagine doing it in slo-mo, where your focus is on proper form and you must have your entire body fully engaged, constantly correcting and adjusting - and focusing on your breathing and trying to get into a rhythm. That’s Tai Chi. It’s like soccer - simple rules and anyone can do it - but complex should you apply yourself more deeply.

Bikram yoga is much more explicitly a sweaty, physical workout. It has the elements I just described - controlled movements where the focus is on proper form and breathing into a rhythm - but done in a hot room, with more explicit strength/toning moves (try standing on one leg for 1 minute while curling forward and holding onto the other foot - your thighs will inform you that you have been working out very clearly). Just *staying in the hot room *is the real challenge the first few times - after that, it becomes invigorating and addicting.

Maybe you would be better off taking some other type of physical sport that requires discipline (such as running)? By very definition, martial arts are just that, martial. Although mostly defensive, Akido still requires fighting. Even Tai Chi is designed to fight others, although you wouldn’t know it watching those old ladies :smiley: Yoga is a good suggestion, but is it really a martial art?

Nah - it just seemed to fit the other criteria that had been shared in the OP…
[Yoga Fighters 2 - the Drunken Master]

Stop me before I use the Cobra pose on you!
Aieee! Your yoga-fu is strong! I feel your Eagle pose from here!

[/Yoga Fighters 2 - the Drunken Master]

If you’re kind of interested in tai chi, but you’re turned off by the deliberate pace, you may want to look into baguazhang. It will be much harder to find someone who teaches authentic baguazhang, and styles vary, but the teacher I have places a lot of emphasis on learning forms (both empty-handed and with weapons) which are very difficult, and it really is a good workout. (It’s more of an oooooh my muscles are sore from all that! sort of workout, not a panting and sweating sort of thing.) Other instructors may differ, but the one I have does not have students spar.

More generally, try googling internal martial arts. Xingyiquan is the other major Chinese one, but I’m really not familiar with it.

Dorjän has a point; if you want to study a martial art without fighting, it depends greatly on what you mean by “fighting.” Do you want no contact, or no confrontation whatsoever, or do you just not want to hurt anybody?

Aikido is a great example of a peaceful martial art, as far as there can be such a thing. The founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba, created it as a method of controling and redirecting agression without injuring the attacker (or at least causing as little injury as possible) by throws and locks. You don’t actually glove up and pound each other, but you do practice meeting an attacker, and take turns being the attacker so the other guy can practice. You’ll throw and get thrown, practice immobilization techniquies and joint locks that sometimes require pain compliance, and do a lot of tumbling and landing that can be fairly vigourous. Still, everything has a heavy emphasis on doing as little harm as possible and keeping a peaceful outlook.

Everybody has described Tai Chi pretty well already, but it does have some stuff in it that some might consider “fighting,” although not exactly kickboxing or anything. Some schools of Tai Chi teach strikes as you progress, particularly open hand strikes and low kicks, as well as “pushing hands” competition and sparring. Do you not want to strike anyone, not want to spar with anyone, just plain not want to hurt anyone, or something else?

Never insult the old ladies in parks. Tai Chi has excellent martial applications.

Also, if you like swords, there are Tai Chi sword forms.

I do not think your ju-jutsu is the same ju-jutsu I know of. Though to be sure, there’s very few hits. Bars, submission holds, sweeps, sure, but for better or for worse few hits. :wink:

Yes, I’m still bitter about St-Pierre’s loss Saturday…

Judo might be an option, it is a standardized “sport” martial art based on jujutsu. The sport of judo does not allow striking techniques, it is focused on throwing (when in a standing position) and holding, choking and joint locks (elbow only) in the prone position. Compared to western sports, I think of Karate as similar to Boxing and Judo as similar to Wrestling.

In order to be successful, you do need to be aggressive, it is a form of combat, and people do occasionally get injured, but you’re not going to be punching someone in the face.

Kyudo (Japanese archery) is considered a martial art and I believe it’s entirely non-confrontational. But I’m not sure if it would accomplish your goals.