Martial arts provide a ton of benefits. From self-confidence to good mental health to sheer fun, there is something for everyone. But if you’re a tall person, you’ll find that specific martial arts suit you better than others. 

Here are the 5 best martial arts for tall people: 

  1. Taekwondo 
  2. Muay Thai 
  3. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu 
  4. Kickboxing 
  5. Boxing 

This article will go deeper into each of these martial arts and explain why they’re particularly suitable for tall people. It’ll also highlight some of the most successful tall fighters in each category. Let’s get into it. 

1. Taekwondo

Taekwondo is a Korean combat sport developed after World War II. Loosely translated as the art of kicking and punching, it involves spinning and jumping head-height kicks and punches. The body that governs Taekwondo at the Olympics and Paralympics is the World Taekwondo. 

The roots of Taekwondo trace back to the 1940s in Korean traditional martial arts schools called kwons. These were places that taught various forms of martial arts in Seoul, the country’s capital. 

The sport gained mainstream popularity after the South Korean military began using it as a standard form of combat practice. 

Taekwondo takes its influence from traditional Korean martial arts, Karate, and other Chinese combat traditions. It involves a narrow stance to increase agility, especially in Kukkiwon-style Taekwondo. It centers around delivering powerful strikes from a relaxed body posture. 

Advantages For Tall People

In Taekwondo, high, powerful kicks are standard, which is why a tall person will have an edge in the sport. Flexibility is also a critical factor in being a great Taekwondo martial artist. Taller people will usually find it easier to kick higher even with less flexibility. 

When it comes to the reach of your punch, you’ll have an advantage over someone shorter. This is because the arm span is strongly correlated to the height of an individual. In other words, taller people usually have longer arms

Taekwondo legend Cha Dong-min stands 1.89 meters (6 feet 2 inches) tall. He has won multiple gold medals at the Olympics and Asian Games. At 1.91m (6 ft. 3”), Moon Dae-sung is another Taekwondo martial artist who has used his height advantage to win. He’s a proud holder of an Olympic gold medal. 

2. Muay Thai

Muay Thai is a martial art that involves strikes while standing and various forms of clinching. Often called Thai boxing, participants can use elbows, fists, knees, and shins during combat. The martial artists wear headbands called mongkol and armbands traditionally known as pra jiad. 

Today, the International Federation of Muaythai Associations (IFMA) oversees amateur and professional Muay Thai activities in the world. 

Muay Thai originates from Siam, modern-day Thailand. It started as a combat sport during the reign of King Naresuan in the late sixteen century. 

It was a popular form of entertainment at festivals and celebrations, where people would gather and watch bare-fisted fighters. Known initially as Toi muay or muay, Muay Thai gained peak popularity in the 1980s and 1990s. 

Muay Thai involves the use of all the body’s limbs. Today’s Muay Thai is a blend of traditional movements of the early version of the sport – Muay Boran – and Western boxing punches. 

A typical match will involve: 

  • Hooks 
  • Uppercuts 
  • Elbow strikes 
  • Jabs 
  • Jumping 
  • Spinning and shin kicks 

Clinching, a form of grappling, is also allowed in Muay Thai. This close-range fighting style involves grabbing an opponent in a vulnerable position and tripping them to the ground. 

Advantages For Tall People

There are plenty of kicks and clinches in a typical Muay Thai match. This is why tall people will have a slight advantage over shorter contestants. A knee to an opponent’s face or a hand strike is much more effective when you’re tall. 

The second advantage that a tall competitor has is range. Taller people have a more extended reach, making them dangerous in the mid-range. As a tall person, you can throw in a couple of hits and keep your opponent at a controllable distance away. 

One of the most prolific Muay Thai martial artists, Jérôme Le Banner, stands at 1.9 meters (6 feet 3 inches). 

3. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a martial art that involves submission holds and ground fighting techniques. The goal of the combat sport is to inflict a series of chokeholds and joint locks on an opponent until they submit. 

Many of the movements in Brazilian jiu-jitsu are now part of current Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). The International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation sets the rules and expected standards of the sport’s competitions globally. 

Brazilian jiu-jitsu originates from Brazil. In the early 1920s, five Brazilian brothers from the Gracie family invented numerous self-defense techniques. These later adopted some of the practices in judo and spread out from Brazil to the rest of the world. 

Brazilian jiu-jitsu gained global acceptance when Rorion Gracie won the first two titles of the Ultimate Fighting Competition (UFC). Interestingly, he was one of the sons of the sport’s founders.

The combat art works on the principle that a competitor can overcome a bigger opponent through ground-fighting techniques. It aims to use take-down techniques that bring an individual to the ground. Once the opponent hits the ground, the fighter attempts to force them into a suitable position for a submission hold. 

Advantages For Tall People

Brazilian jiu-jitsu revolves around the idea that a smaller opponent can bring down someone larger and force them into submission. But with the proper technique, a taller person can out-compete their opponent and possibly dominate the fight.

For example, doing a triangle lock is much easier for a taller person with longer legs. The same goes for locking body triangles and armbars, two common moves seen in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. 

Some tall and successful Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighters include:

  • Keenan Cornelius, who is 1.88 meters (6 feet 2 inches)
  • Black belt holder Braulio Estima, who stands 1.91 meters (6 feet 3 inches) tall. 

4. Kickboxing

Kickboxing is a full-contact martial art where fighters battle it out in a boxing ring. Different types of the combat sport include: 

  • Japanese kickboxing (K1) 
  • American kickboxing 
  • Dutch kickboxing 

It incorporates knee and elbow strikes, various types of kicks, and different punching techniques similar to those in boxing. The sport has several oversight bodies, including the World Association of Kickboxing Organizations (WAKO) and the International Kickboxing Federation. 

Kickboxing has been around for ages, dating back to prehistoric times as a sport and a form of self-defense. It developed into a competitive sport in the 1950s. That was when Yamada Tatsuo introduced it as a martial art system that blended Muay Thai and Karate. 

It developed gradually over the next few decades, with competitions spreading from Osaka, Japan, Europe, and America. 

The rules of kickboxing vary widely in different regions. For instance, although Japanese kickboxing allows low and high strikes, American kickboxing only permits kicks and punches above the waist. 

Advantages For Tall People

Kickboxing is an excellent choice of martial arts for tall people. That’s because it involves a lot of range control, something you can do particularly well if you’re taller than your opponent. 

Tall kickboxers can kick and punch from a safe distance thanks to a long arm span. For the shorter opponent, maintaining this level of range control would mean taking the taller competitor to the ropes and keeping him there. 

At 2.11m (6 ft.11”), Sammy Schilt is one of the tallest and most successful kickboxers of all time. 

5. Boxing

Boxing involves punching techniques to defeat an opponent after a given time. The sport dates back to ancient times, although the ancient Greeks had set up boxing rules by 688 BC. 

Great Britain modified the standards and regulations of boxing throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1867, the Marquess of Queensberry Rules became the gold standard of generally accepted rules in boxing. 

Boxers typically remain on their feet for most of the match. They wear mouth guards, protective gloves, and wrist wraps. The sport involves about 9 to 12 rounds of three minutes each. Clinching is a common occurrence in matches. However, referees typically break up the entangle if it goes on for too long.

Advantages For Tall People

Boxing allows punches only above the waist and prohibits the use of knees, elbows, backhands, and headbutts. It favors tall people because of their reach. A tall boxer can create an advantage over a shorter opponent by maintaining a distance that favors their reach. 

It’s also easier for a tall boxer to hit their opponent’s head because they are closer to it. For the shorter fighter, it’s a struggle trying to get in headshots to a taller boxer. Tall fighters also find it easier to step back from risky situations during a match thanks to their longer stride. 

There’s a long list of tall but efficient boxers in professional boxing. Some of the most familiar names include: 

  • Wladimir Klitschko 
  • Nikolai Valuev 
  • Tyson Fury 
  • Lennox Lewis 
  • Muhammad Ali 

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