If you can find a good Kali/Eskrima/Modern Arnis school, I'd suggest you go for that. It teaches mostly weapon-focused things like sticks and daggers. But it also has empty-handed teachings as well, depending on the school. It can be a pretty flexible martial art with a big emphasis on flowing and improvising and adapting to the situation. If you're really looking to get in shape, I'd probably recommend finding a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school. It's like chess but using your whole body. Exhausting!
So far, my experiences has been that the way to win with the monster is to not fight at all. Played a few matches in which it was just yakity-sax-esque running around the map until the time ran out. The monster should have more reason to fight the hunters. I think it'd be good for the hunters and the monster to have more things to do in a match in general.
I finished it a while ago on Survival and really enjoyed it. I'm on Chapter 11 of my Akumu mode play through and it really changes the way the game is played. I couldn't imagine doing it on anything other than PC. Without fast load times, I couldn't handle Akumu mode.