While Singapore is known to the world as a foodie paradise, buzzing economic hub and gateway to Asian culture, fewer people know of its reputation as one of the world’s most vibrant martial arts capitals. Our country is home to dozens of global pugilistic traditions, ranging from Brazilian and Israeli to Thai and Japanese.

Whether you’re an action seeker looking to take your first steps into the world of combat sports, or hoping to elevate your skills to the next level, Singapore is the ideal place for martial arts enthusiasts. With a multitude of expert instructors, established gyms and dedicated peers, adrenaline lovers are bound to find a combat discipline that speaks to their passions.

Strap on your gear, gird your loins, and enter the rings, gyms and dojos of the Lion City.

Capoeira

An Afro-Brazilian tradition that combines fight, music and dance, capoeira has a fascinating past: African slaves brought to Brazil disguised their sparring sessions beneath the fa?ade of song and dance, in a bid to deceive their masters.

While capoeira has since evolved into a globally-recognised art form, the fluid strikes, dance-like acrobatics and rich heritage of its origins remain. First-time participants can expect to learn a range of basic kicks, cartwheels and dodges; it’s a great option for adrenaline seekers hoping to hone their agility and wits, while learning a smattering of Portuguese.

To learn more about this martial art, pay a visit to Sauda??o Capoeira. Formerly known as Bantus Capoeira Singapore, the academy is helmed by Mestre Claudinho Soares, a veteran trainer whose lineage dates back to Mestre Pastinha, one of capoeira’s original pioneers.

Sauda??o Capoeira. 44C North Canal Road, Singapore 059300. +65 9060 2648.
Mon-Fri 2-10pm; Sat 9am-4pm.
Call to book a free trial class.


Boxing
Two men practicing boxing with a pair of foam sticks

One of the oldest martial arts in the world, boxing dates back thousands of years, as early as 3000 BC Sumeria.

While throwing a punch may sound pretty intuitive, there’re tons of subtle variations beyond making a fist. Most beginner classes teach the fundamentals of boxing footwork and how to throw a jab, cross and hook. Sessions tend to be cardio-intensive affairs, and earnest participants are bound to push their limits.

While there are several gyms around the island that offer boxing classes, Spartans Boxing Club at Joo Chiat boasts a dedicated boxing ring, comprehensive range of equipment and veteran instructors. The gym prides itself on having a family-friendly atmosphere, as well as collaborative training sessions that incorporate exercises like Zumba and strength training. It’s a great choice for those looking to ease themselves into the learning process.

Spartans Boxing Club. 393 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427625. +65 9457 7910.
Mon & Wed 7am-10pm; Tue & Thu 9am-10pm; Fri 7am-8.45pm; Sat 8.30am-6pm; Sun 8.30am-2.30pm.
Call to book a free trial class.


Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Students in gi practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu on the floor mats

Arguably one of the most formidable techniques in the world, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is all about taking the fight to the ground and subduing your assailant through a series of chokes, holds and locks.

A truly cosmopolitan martial art, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has its roots in Japan. Upon migrating to Brazil, Japanese exponent Mitsuya Maede taught traditional Jiu-Jitsu to the Gracie family, who refined the art into its modern state.

The family’s name has become synonymous with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and the Lion City boasts several instructors trained in the Gracie tradition. We recommend visiting Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Singapore, where head instructor Cam Sobey takes a rigorous, hands-on approach to teaching the art form.

Your first lesson will teach you several fundamentals of self-defence, including basic chokes, simple takedowns and techniques to break a hard fall. The practicality of this form will prove useful for action seekers exploring roads less travelled.

King George’s Building. 326C King George’s Avenue, Singapore 208567. +65 8737 5923.
Call to book a free trial class.


Krav Maga

A modern martial art originally developed for the Israel Army, Krav Maga is a combat system that emphasises real-world application. It fuses a diverse range of traditional martial arts, including boxing, wrestling, judo and karate.

To pick up the basics, sign up for a trial class at Krav Maga Global Singapore. The school’s founder, Eyal Yanilov, has been practicing the combat form since he was 15, and was personally tutored by Krav Maga’s founder, Imi Lichtenfield.

First-timers can expect to learn fundamentals like escaping from chokes and bear hugs, and defending themselves from strikes, slaps and punches. While it isn’t flashy, learning the basics of Krav Maga will certainly improve your confidence, grit and sense of awareness.

Upper Serangoon Shopping Centre. 756 Upper Serangoon Road #02-02, Singapore 534626. +65 6282 2721.
Call to book a trial class (available at S$20).


Muay Thai
Two men practicing Muay Thai with punching pads

Popularly known as the ‘Art of Eight Limbs’, Muay Thai is a martial art that focuses on striking with one’s fists, elbows, knees and shin. While this combat sport traces its roots back to the 18th century, it remains highly relevant in the modern day, and is often employed by professional mixed martial artists.

To learn from some of the best Muay Thai exponents in the world, drop by Evolve MMA. This chain of martial arts academies was founded by former Muay Thai fighter Chatri Sityodtong, who also set up massive martial arts promoter ONE Championship. Chatri—whose name means ‘warrior’ in Thai—overcame family hardship and poverty to create companies whose names have become synonymous with combat sports.

New practitioners will be in capable hands, as Evolve MMA’s stable of Muay Thai instructors includes an impressive gallery of world champs and renowned trainers. Beginners will learn basic roundhouse kicks, jabs and elbow strikes during their first session, and engage in some intense cardiovascular workouts, making this ideal for those looking to push their limits.

Far East Square. 26 China Street #01-01, Singapore 049568. +65 6536 4525.
Click here for class schedule.
Call to book a free trial class.