Is Martial Arts Difficult to Learn?

A man and a woman taekwondo athletes training

Okay, you are already considering the prospect of becoming a martial artist, but you are not sure if you should go ahead and learn because you feel you may have a hard time learning. But is martial arts difficult to learn?

Martial arts isn’t difficult to learn as long as you are committed, consistent, patient, and motivated. These factors affect how easy it ends up becoming for anyone to learn Martial Arts.

So, if you are willing to work hard, knowing that the result you desire cannot be achieved overnight but through practice and consistent training (which are normal requirements for learning anything new) then Martial Arts is for you.

Is Martial Arts Difficult to Learn?

No…Martial Arts is not difficult to learn as long as you are disciplined, committed, patient, consistent and willing to put in the work.

Martial arts is just like every other sport such as football, basketball, baseball, cricket, etc. that all require a good amount of hard work to achieve any great success.

Some factors to follow to ensure an easy martial arts learning process include.


As the old saying goes, “PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT”, and this surely applies to martial arts.

As a beginner, it is important to give it your all from the start, by showing up for training as frequently and consistently as possible.

This allows you to easily build and improve faster on your techniques.

Showing up for training 1 month after your last session will make the moves and skills you have previously learned more difficult to achieve and perfect (even though you were starting to get a hang of it last month).


When trying to learn martial arts, you must know also know that extreme positive results cannot be achieved overnight.

As a beginner, you cannot become the next Jackie Chan or Bruce Lee within months.

However, it’s possible to achieve a certain level of success within this short period.

A study has shown that the amount of time necessary to train novice students to be proficient in their basic martial arts techniques is just 29 hours of training.

As a beginner, you must however understand that martial proficiency does not equal competency in martial arts, self-defense, or combat.

It only means that you are good with some basic set of techniques to a level where you now know how to kick, punch, parry, or block (depending on your martial arts style)

Moving to the next phase of becoming a competent martial artist can take months and years.

And to become a master in the game requires years of consistent practice and hard work.

As you consider the possibility of learning martial arts, just know that “THE PATIENT DOG EATS THE FASTEST BONE”


Motivation is considered the most important influencer when trying to learn something new.

When you are not motivated or even interested in learning or practicing martial arts, it becomes a lot more difficult to learn.

In order words, it’s a lot difficult to learn martial arts when you are forced to do so.

Doing something because you should is just another way of trying to force yourself to do something.

And you must understand that forcing yourself to do anything just never works. Your motivation doesn’t come from within, it comes from without.

Conversely, it becomes a lot easy to learn the game when you are naturally interested in the game.

Motivation is probably that one factor that would keep you going when you start to have every reason to quit.

I’ll tell you a story.

15 years ago while at the University, my friends (2 of them) and I decided to join the school Martial Art team We were so motivated to begin training the next day.

2 weeks later, both of them stopped attending training and gave up on learning Taekwondo.

I, on the other hand, remained consistent with training and went on to represent the institution at different cup competitions achieving success in the process.

Looking back now, I can now spot the reasons for giving up so easily. They were just not as motivated or passionate about Martial arts as they thought they were.

My passion for the game encouraged me to keep training and learning every day even during days when I had good reasons to quit.

So, for learning to take place, motivation is necessary as students can only effortlessly learn if they want to learn.

How Long Does Martial Arts Take To Learn?

It takes an average of 29 hours of training sessions to learn martial arts and become proficient in different skills. However, it can take several years to master the game.

This means that if you train for a minimum of 1 hour per session, you should be able to achieve some level of proficiency after only 29 sessions of training, which is great!

Note that achieving proficiency as a beginner is not enough to become a competent martial arts professional.

It only means that you are good with some basic set of techniques to a level where you now know how to kick, punch, parry, or block (depending on your martial arts style)

However, proficiency remains a good feat to achieve as this shows that you are making great progress.

Proficiency of skills is the first phase of your martial arts learning journey, and if you can achieve that within this short period, congratulation.

A lot of beginner students who have no interest in becoming professional martial artists see this proficiency level as a landmark achievement.

However, students looking to take martial art as a profession must be ready to transition from the proficiency phase to the competency phase.

This competency phase can take months and years to learn.

So, if you only want to learn certain skill sets (proficiency), you should be able to achieve that within a short period.

But if you are looking to excel just like professional athletes do in their sport, it will take lots of practice (months and years).

Now, the final phase is the mastery of martial arts.

It takes between 30 and 70 years of continuous training to reach mastery confirmed by being awarded the tenth-degree black belt.

To me, martial art is a lifelong practice that can never be mastered.

Martial arts is a lifestyle, you practice till you die. Every day is a day to practice, physically, spiritually, and mentally. It is like a heartbeat that does not stop till you pass away.

So, as you try to know how long it takes to learn martial arts, know that getting good at any sport doesn’t happen overnight.

Imagine how long boxers would have to train just to become proficient in punching techniques, let alone kicking techniques, ground fighting, and so on.

Thus, as martial artists age, they become more humble knowing that there is so much more to learn.

Which Martial Art Is the Easiest to Learn?

Boxing is the easiest martial art to learn as you use only your hands to punch and your feet for just footwork and pacing. However, it can be very difficult to master.

Since the beginning of time, humans have punched each other in the head and body, and it doesn’t look like this will change any time soon.

There is no doubting the fact that boxing can sometimes be tough, brutal, and difficult to master.

As a beginner in boxing, you will learn real toughness, resilience, and mental fortitude as well as a variety of physical skills.

You will lose a lot of fat and become fitter when you learn boxing.

You also learn skills such as balance, speed, and agility, which you otherwise would have not learned doing a less physical martial art.

However, when compared with other forms of martial arts like Kung Fu, Karate, or Mixed Martial Arts, it remains the easiest to learn.

Boxing is one of the best martial arts for self-defense and it is also inexpensive.

Generally, if you’re going to be attacked in the street – it’s not going to be by an Olympic wrestler.

The person will most likely want some kind of boxing match, so if you can out-box them, this would be 100% ideal for survival.

Another martial art with just the same low difficulty level is wrestling. I mean, we grow up doing this in one form or another.

Admittedly, the refinements of boxing and wrestling aren’t easy, but a few basic boxing lessons can completely change your ability to fight.

So yes, boxing or wrestling will be a good pick.

Can I Teach Myself Martial Arts?

You can teach yourself martial through videos and books. However, this is not an effective way to learn as most martial arts have some element of combat involved which means you will need a sparring partner to effectively learn the art.

It is possible to mimic martial art moves from videos and books. Videos can reinforce what you are learning. It can help you improve your posture and positioning. But, can you effectively learn martial art as a beginner through this source? NO.

There is more to Martial Arts than just learning the moves/kicks/punches.

Isaac in Tai Chi says “you can learn the postures from a master instructor on a video, but are you learning about the grounding energy and qi? I can’t see that knowledge transmitted via anything other than a personal human vector.”

Yes, there are plenty of instructional books and videos available to learn from.

You could record yourself performing various blows and kicks to check your form, you can beat up heavy bags till you turn blue, but none of that will be of any particular value unless you are out there practicing with other people, sparring, timing, moving, getting proper distance, etc.

Over the years as an instructor, I often observed that when students who have mastered basic techniques are allowed to spar, they are incapable of even hitting each other.

Martial arts cannot be learned without sparring.

Yes, you can learn to kick, block, punch, parry, and make different moves without sparring, but sparring gives you a better understanding of how it works in a real environment.

Although, sparring is not an actual fight it helps to put your learning into action.

I regard martial arts books and videos as reference materials for those already in the game as these materials can refresh their memory or settle a discussion on whether the left foot should be forward or the right foot.

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