It's been a while since I have done a martial arts blog, so the next few entries will be martial arts-focused.
For the person just getting started: unless you are living in a big city, the styles of martial arts available for instruction are slim. However, with a little bit of knowledge, you can find the right martial art for you.
When determining which art you might want to study, take into account your personality type and body type.
Would you consider yourself a high-energy personality or low-energy personality?
If you are a high-energy person, first look at the external matial arts: judo, jui juitsu, tae kwon do, shotokan and ishin ryu. (These are the most common. There are others.)
Judo and jui juitsu are more wrestling styles than punching and kicking styles -- so if you are stocky and enjoy falling, throwing opponents and wrestling, these are the arts for you.
The other arts mentioned so far fall under "karate." What we need to know here is that tae kwon do is 70 percent feet and 30 percent hands. If you are more of a puncher than a kicker, this art is not for you.
There are differences in the other arts already mentioned, and I can discuss this further in future entries. All I will say right now is that some arts are more circular in motion while others move in a more linear direction.
For those of you with a low energy level -- luckily, there are only a few true internal martial arts: tai chi (including qi gong) aikido, hsin i and pa qua.
If punching and kicking are for you, I recommend tai chi or hsin i.
If you prefer to control your opponent with wrist locks and throws, you should try aikido.
Pa qua has a reputaion as being a devastating martial art with complex footwork.
If you are on the more agile side or have experience try to find a pa qua sifu (chinese teacher).
I could spend many bytes discussing this topic, but I hope this entry gave you some good basic information.
If you need more information, please leave comments below on this entry and I can provide more information in the future.