Combat fighting styles

Combat fighting styles DEFAULT

Hand-To-Hand: 8 Best Martial Arts For Self Defense

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No matter which way you spin it, the only self-defense tool you’re going to definitely have on you at all times is your own body. And while that might be a hard pill to swallow for some die hard tactical gear heads out there, it’s an unfortunate truth. Having said that, it doesn’t mean that you need to be completely defenseless if caught without your gear. You can turn your own body into a weapon by learning a martial art.

Through the Olympic Games, films (especially kung-fu movies), intramural sports, and the ever-pervasive internet – martial arts have become a well-known part of popular culture. But, some forms of it are better for self-defense than others. That’s not to say that they are not effective forms of exercise or even combat when practiced by devoted experts. We just know that one, the average person doesn’t have a lifetime to dedicate to a fighting style, and two, most self-defense situations call for a quick no-nonsense response in which disabling your attacker as fast as possible is the end goal. With that in mind, we’ve put together the following list of the best martial arts for self defense. Remember, these are not your only options, but we believe they are the most ideal to protect yourself in a worst-case scenario.


History: Originally developed in the late 1920s and ’30s by founder Morihei Ueshiba, this Japanese martial art is a synthesis and continuation of another ancient fighting system known as Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu. In conjunction, much of this discipline’s principles, philosophy, and practices are heavily influenced by Ueshiba’s love of the teachings of a neo-Shintoist religious leader (and diehard pacifist) by the name of Onisaburo Deguchi, who ran the Ōmoto-kyō religion out of Ayabe, Kyoto in the early 1900s. Aikido was introduced to the world at large in 1951, when its founder traveled to France to teach his techniques to Judo students. This martial art is still widely practiced the world-round, although it does not have the same following as many of the most striking-oriented fighting systems out there. Nonetheless, it is still formidable in the hands of a practiced student.

Principles: Aikido hinges on the founder’s dedication to universal peace and reconciliation. That is, to say, that this martial art is about as close as one can get to a peaceful fighting system.This martial art is about as close as one can get to a peaceful fighting system. Like Judo, it focuses on a combination of grabs and throws designed to both protect one from attacks and disarm and incapacitate opponents swiftly and efficiently as possible – with as little injury as conceivable sustained by all parties. That being said, there are still strikes incorporated into Aikido, and (depending on the school one attends) there is also a component of weapons combat, including sword and knife fighting, though this is more typically used for the purpose of teaching students how to disarm attackers.

Learn More: AAA Aikido


History: Boxing as a sport dates back nearly as far as humanity, with the earliest depiction being found on an ancient Sumerian relief (a flat-background sculpture common throughout the ancient period) dating as far back as the 3rd millennium BCE. As such, it became one of the most commonly practiced forms of recreational hand-to-hand combat in the western world pretty much throughout the entirety of recorded history. The first rules weren’t introduced to sanctioned boxing, however, until 1743, when champion Jack Broughton realized that boxers needed some measure of protection to keep them from dying in the ring – a fairly common occurrence. To this day, boxing is still one of the world’s most popular sports, both for recreational viewing and exercise. And, with the looming matchup between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather now a real thing, it doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

Principles: While it’s no secret that boxing focuses almost exclusively on punching, this fighting system is actually far more nuanced and complicated than simple fist swinging. In fact, there are several sub-styles beneath boxing which dictate how a fighter handles himself in the ring. This fighting system is actually far more nuanced and complicated than simple fist swinging.They include the classic boxer out-fighter (long-range jab-focused), boxer-puncher (all-around close quarters fighter), counter-puncher (defensive bob-and-weave), brawler/slugger (fighter relying on pure power), and swarmer/in-fighter (fast close-quarters fighter). Great boxers, however, can incorporate several of these styles into their repertoire. While boxing lacks the versatility of some other fighting styles, in the hands of a capable striker, the limitations are hardly a drawback.

Learn More: ABA Boxing

Jeet Kune Do

History: If you’re wondering why, on a list of self-defense martial arts, we’ve got a big picture of Bruce Lee, it’s because he is the creator and founder responsible for the fighting style known as Jeet Kune Do. July 9th, 1969 is JKD’s birthday, but it’s roots actually date back a bit further. Specifically to Bruce Lee’s mentor, Ip Man. It was through his teachings of Wing Chung kung fu that Bruce Lee learned the founding skills and principles that would lead him to become one of the world’s most famous and most accomplished martial artists. Today, there are number of JKD schools around the world, some of which with instructors who learned from Bruce Lee himself. Similarly, there are a few examples in popular culture of practitioners of the martial art – including Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Brandon Lee (his son), and Nicolas Cage.

Principles: It’s hard to pin down the technical aspects of Jeet Kune Do because, frankly, they are constantly in flux. You see, it’s less an organized style and more a fighting philosophy. Bruce Lee didn’t believe in “forms” or “disciplines,” but rather in the practicality of his philosophy in real-world survival situations. As such, it’s hard to say what physical principles JKD adheres to because the answer is – so long as it effectively applies to real-life combat – just about anything goes.So long as it effectively applies to real-life combat – just about anything goes. What JKD does offer, however, is ways of adapting to any combat situation. For instance, it is held in JKD that straight punches are the systems backbone, there’s a focus on explosive unreadable attacks that throw off your opponent, fluidity in any situation is a necessity, and that the simplest least wasteful movements are best. In can be argued that JKD is the most adaptable form of martial art on this list, but it is also the most formless – which has both benefits and drawbacks if you are seeking to learn it.

Learn More: World JKD


History: Also known as jujutsu, jujitsu, and pretty much every other phonetic variation, this is one of the oldest surviving forms of Japanese martial arts. Dating back to the late 1400s, this fighting system was actually developed for battlefield use, to be brought into the fray when weapons were unavailable or ineffective. Relying heavily upon throws, immobilizing, choking, and joint locks, Jiu-Jitsu became an especially important and effective form of combat as armored battle fell out of favor in the 17th century. This fighting style would go on to become one of the all-time most popular martial arts in the modern day, thanks in large part to the Brazilian style, developed by the Gracie brothers, and its use in Mixed Martial Arts around the world.If you’ve ever watched a match in the octagon and saw someone win by submission, chances are they are using Jiu-Jitsu. If you’ve ever watched a match in the octagon and saw someone win by submission, chances are they are using a skill honed through the practice of Jiu-Jitsu. The two main surviving forms now are Japanese – which is geared more toward unsanctioned self defense and has many sub-styles – and Brazilian – which is much more competition-focused and nearly entirely based on the Gracie method.

Principles: While other Japanese practices such as Judo and Aikido focus most heavily on redirection and throwing, Jiu-Jitsu (while still having some of the same basis), is much more closely related to wrestling. Yes, Jiu-Jitsu still incorporates throwing as a base fundamental, but it is more a means of getting your opponent into a position in which you can get them into one of the fighting style’s many forms of grappling. Primarily a one-on-one system, Jiu-Jitsu relies on choke holds, joint locks, and immobilization to stop an assailant, rather than striking techniques common throughout karate-related martial arts. But don’t let the lack of punches dissuade you, as this form of combat is widely considered by expert fighters around the world to be one of the best of all time.

Learn More: USJA


History: Translated from the Japanese, Judo means “gentle way,” which might seem a bit oxymoronic when you consider that it is a fighting style. That is, until you understand it’s roots. Kanō Jigorō, the fighting styles founder was the grandson of a Shinto priest and had an academic upbringing. When he was just fourteen years old, he was sent to Japan for school where he sought out a Jujutsu teacher to help him defend himself against bullying. Struggling to find a teacher and jumping from school to school over a period of years, Kanō Jigorō instead decided to start his own practice that more closely incorporated his peaceful philosophy and would, at the time, be more accepted than Jujutsu by a more westernized Japan. His system would go on to be incorporated into the Olympic Games in 1932 as a competitive sport and would remain popular through today, even being used by famous MMA fighters like Ronda Rousey and Rick Hawn.

Principles: As the name might suggest, the “gentle way,” is intended less as a means of attacking and more as a means of redirecting and disabling opponents. It also hinges on the principle of ‘maximum efficiency, minimum effort’ – meaning the user will ideally waste as little energy as possible in self defense, instead using the momentum of an attacker against themselves.the “gentle way,” is intended less as a means of attacking and more as a means of redirecting In general, Judo is almost entirely free of striking when used by itself. It instead relies heavily upon a combination of throwing and grappling to disarm and disable assailants. It was, however, developed with real-world practicality in mind and is actually intended to be used in worst-case scenarios. So, if you’re worried that this is a form-over-function martial art, think again.

Learn More: Jujitsu America

Krav Maga

History: As a martial art, Krav Maga is one of the most unique in terms of its origin story, philosophy, and real-world application. While many other self-defense forms were developed over a course of sometimes hundreds of years to the point at which they could be considered an actual art, Krav Maga has only existed since somewhere between the ’30s and ’40s and serves what might be called an inelegant purpose. You see, Krav Maga is designed to disable attackers as quickly and efficiently as possible. It was created by a Hungarian-Israeli man named Emrich “Imi” Lichtenfeld as a means of defending the Jewish quarter from fascist groups in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia in the time leading up to World War 2. Eventually, Imi emigrated to Israel, where he began teaching combat classes to what would eventually become the Israeli Defense Forces. Now, it is taught around the world, both to members of the Armed Forces and to private citizens looking to expand their fighting and self-defense abilities.

Principles: As with most martial arts, Krav Maga encourages avoidance of conflicts first and foremost. If that is impossible, however, this form of self-defense hinges on quickly and efficiently disabling opponents.This form of self-defense hinges on quickly and efficiently disabling opponents. Translated from Hebrew, Krav Maga means “contact combat,” a term reflexive of the art’s hard lean toward aggression. That’s right, this martial art is the epitome of the phrase “the best defense is a good offense.” Having drawn bits and pieces from boxing, wrestling, Muay Thai, Jujutsu, Aikido, Judo, and a good deal of raw street-fighting, Krav Maga focuses on fast and continuous strikes. It also encourages preemptive striking and a barrage of blows using everything from limbs to items grabbed from one’s surroundings to disarm and/or incapacitate an opponent. It is an especially effective self-defense method against multiple attackers.

Learn More: USKMA

Muay Thai

History: This fighting style traces back as far as the 16th century during the conflict between the Burmese of the Konbaung Dynasty and Siam. And while it was definitely intended as a form of combat to be used in battlefield situations, it quickly became a competitive recreational sport. Also known as the “Art of Eight Limbs” or the “Science of Eight Limbs,” Muay Thai became famous for its unique combination of and expansion upon boxing and kickboxing, in which users don’t just strike with their hands and feet, but also their elbows and knees.…Famous for its unique combination of and expansion upon boxing and kickboxing. In the early 1900s, Muay Thai would begin to become integrated into western fighting schools and, eventually, would develop its own federation (IFMA) and would become integrated inexorably into MMA, with some of the top combatants in the world ranking amongst its students – including Anderson Silva, Wanderlei Silva, Michael Bisbing, and Cris Cyborg.

Principles: Muay Thai is divided into two main categories, mae mai (major techniques) and luk mai (minor techniques). These include jabs, cross punches, hooks, uppercuts, superman punches, a whole complement of elbow strikes, straight kicks, roundhouses, shin kicks, a series of knee strikes, and more. It’s construction of nearly entirely offensive techniques makes Muay Thai one of the most formidable forms of combat when practiced by an expert, but it can be somewhat risky for amateur use, as it requires a lot of constant motion and, therefore, a lot of energy. It does have defensive techniques – like the “wall of defense” concept – but the focus is certainly more upon aggression than evasion or avoidance. Coincidentally, Muay Thai is also one of the best self defense methods for exercise, if you’re looking to get into shape while you learn how to fight.

Learn More: Thai Boxing


History: Sambo is distinct from all other eastern martial arts for one major reason: it was actually developed in the USSR. The term is actually an acronym, which translates literally to “self-defense without weapons” and was first used in the 1920s by the Soviet Red Army to train their troops in hand-to-hand combat. This martial art can be divided into three categories. The first, Combat Sambo, is the type used in military applications. The second, Sport Sambo, is used in competition similarly to the Japanese martial arts Judo and Jiu-Jitsu. And the third, Freestyle Sambo, was crafted by the American Sambo Association and allows for more MMA style applications. In the 1980 Olympic Games, Sambo was demonstrated in the opening ceremonies by the USSR, but was never formally introduced into the Olympic catalogue of sports. Today, Sambo is recognized by FILA as the third form of international wrestling, though it is still in the infant stages of worldwide popularity.

Principles: Like a combination of Judo and Jiu-Jitsu, Sambo hinges on a combination of take-down throws and ground grappling, with joint locks and choke holds being incorporated into it or not depending upon the individual style. That being said, Sambo is one of the more aggressive forms of grappling and/or wrestlingSambo hinges on a combination of take-down throws and ground grappling – likely a result of its origins as a military hand-to-hand combat system. As such, this form of martial art requires a good deal of strength and is less effective if the user is notably smaller than his opponent. All the same, when used against a similarly sized fighter or an off-guard opponent of slightly larger build, Sambo can be an incredibly effective means of defending oneself against assault.

Learn More: Combat Sambo

Honorable Mention

Mixed Martial Arts

History: If you are looking for a little bit of everything, then you can’t go wrong with Mixed Martial Arts. While MMA is hardly a new concept (people have been combining different fighting systems into more fluid forms of martial arts for centuries), the modern concept as we know it has only been around since about the 1920s, when Carlos and Hélio Gracie (the brothers who founded the famous Gracie school of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) issued a series of challenges to prove that their fighting system was, simply put, the best out there. Over time that evolved into sanctioned matches and began to spread around the world. This type of competition was first introduced to the U.S. in the early 1980s, but it wouldn’t be until the mid ’90s and the emergence of the Ultimate Fighting Championship that it would evolve into the massive sport we know and love today.

Principals: While there are many martial arts which contain multiple styles to be used on a case-by-case basis, none of them are quite as comprehensive as MMA. This single-combat focused fighting system encourages both users and teachers to incorporate the best of literally every single other martial art…Incorporates the best of literally every single other martial art. into their style, to be used as the situation calls for it. This can often be seen in the training of professional-level fighters, who – like playing a game of chess – will attempt to focus their styles on techniques that directly counter those of their opponents. For instance, if you are up against a championship boxer, a good MMA fighter would suggest taking the fight to the ground and counter their striking with grappling. Every MMA gym is different and they all have their own focus, as do individual instructors, so it’s fairly easy for any student to find a version they like and double down on it.

Learn More: MMA Fighting

Non-Lethal Home Defense Tools

If martial arts aren’t really your thing, but you still want to be able to defend yourself and your family, check out our list of the best non-lethal home defense tools.

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Martial arts

Codified systems and traditions of combat

Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practiced for a number of reasons such as self-defense; military and law enforcement applications; competition; physical, mental, and spiritual development; entertainment; and the preservation of a nation's intangible cultural heritage.[1]

Although the term martial art has become associated with the fighting arts of East Asia, it originally referred to the combat systems of Europe as early as the 1550s. The term is derived from Latin and means "arts of Mars", the Roman god of war.[2] Some authors have argued that fighting arts or fighting systems would be more appropriate on the basis that many martial arts were never "martial" in the sense of being used or created by professional warriors.[3]

Variation and scope[edit]

Martial arts may be categorized using a variety of criteria, including:

  • Traditional/historical arts vs. contemporary styles: e.g., folk wrestling compared to modern hybrid martial arts.
  • Techniques taught: armed vs. unarmed, and within these categories
  • By application or intent: self-defense, combat sport, choreography or demonstration of forms, physical fitness, meditation, etc.
  • Within Chinese tradition: "external" vs. "internal" styles

By technical focus[edit]


Unarmed martial arts can be broadly grouped into those focusing on strikes, those focusing on grappling, and those that cover both fields, often described as hybrid martial arts.


  • Punching: Boxing, Wing Chun, Karate
  • Kicking: Kickboxing, Taekwondo, Capoeira, Savate
  • Others using strikes: Lethwei, Muay Thai, Kung Fu, Pencak Silat, Kalaripayattu


  • Throwing: Hapkido, Judo, Sumo, Wrestling, Aikido, Cornish wrestling
  • Joint lock/Chokeholds/Submission holds: Judo, Jujutsu, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Sambo, Catch wrestling
  • Pinning Techniques: Judo, Wrestling, Aikido


The traditional martial arts that cover armed combat often encompass a wide spectrum of melee weapons, including bladed weapons and polearms. Such traditions include eskrima, silat, kalaripayat, kobudo, and historical European martial arts, especially those of the German Renaissance. Many Chinese martial arts also feature weapons as part of their curriculum.

Sometimes, training with one specific weapon may be considered a style in its own right, especially in the case of Japanese martial arts, with disciplines such as kenjutsu and kendo (sword), bojutsu (staff), and kyūdō (archery). Similarly, modern martial arts and sports include modern fencing, stick-fighting systems like canne de combat, and modern competitive archery.

By application or intent[edit]


Main articles: Combat sport and Self-defense


Many martial arts, especially those from Asia, also teach side disciplines which pertain to medicinal practices. This is particularly prevalent in traditional Asian martial arts which may teach bone-setting, herbalism, and other aspects of traditional medicine.


Martial arts can also be linked with religion and spirituality. Numerous systems are reputed to have been founded, disseminated, or practiced by monks or nuns.

Throughout the Asian arts, meditation may be incorporated as a part of training. In the arts influenced by a mix of Chan Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian philosophy, the practice itself may be used as an aid to attaining mindfulness.

Japanese styles, when concerning non-physical qualities of the combat, are often strongly influenced by Mahayana Buddhist philosophy. Concepts like "empty mind" and "beginner's mind" are recurrent. Aikido practitioners for instance, can have a strong philosophical belief of the flow of energy and peace fostering, as idealised by the art's founder Morihei Ueshiba.

Traditional Korean martial arts place emphasis on the development of the practitioner's spiritual and philosophical development. A common theme in most Korean styles, such as Taekkyon, taekwondo, and Hapkido is the value of "inner peace" in a practitioner, which is stressed to be only achievable through individual meditation and training. The Koreans believe that the use of physical force is only justifiable for self defense.[citation needed]

Systema draws upon breathing and relaxation techniques, as well as elements of Russian Orthodox thought, to foster self-conscience and calmness, and to benefit the practitioner in different levels: the physical, the psychological and the spiritual.

Some martial arts in various cultures can be performed in dance-like settings for various reasons, such as for evoking ferocity in preparation for battle or showing off skill in a more stylized manner, with capoeira being the most prominent example. Many such martial arts incorporate music, especially strong percussive rhythms (see also war dance).

Pahlevani and zourkhaneh rituals is the name of a Persian Martial arts inscribed by UNESCO for varzesh-e pahlavāni (Persian: آیین پهلوانی و زورخانه‌ای‎, "heroic sport")[4] or varzesh-e bāstāni (ورزش باستانی; varzeš-e bāstānī, "ancient sport"), a traditional system of athletics originally used to train warriors in Iran (Persia), and first appearing under this name and form in the Safavid era, with similarities to systems in adjacent lands under other names.[5][6]


Main article: History of martial arts

Further information: Martial arts timeline

Historical martial arts[edit]

Main articles: History of Asian martial arts and Historical European martial arts

Further information: History of boxing and History of fencing

Detail of the wrestling fresco in tomb 15 at Beni Hasan.

Human warfare dates back to the Epipalaeolithic to early Neolithic era. The oldest works of art depicting scenes of battle are cave paintings from eastern Spain (Spanish Levante) dated between 10,000 and 6,000 BCE that show organized groups fighting with bows and arrows.[7][8] Similar evidence of warfare has been found in Epipalaeolithic to early Neolithic era mass burials, excavated in Germany and at Jebel Sahaba in Northern Sudan.[7]

Wrestling is the oldest combat sport, with origins in hand-to-hand combat. Belt wrestling was depicted in works of art from Mesopotamia and Ancient Egyptc. 3000 BCE, and later in the SumerianEpic of Gilgamesh.[9] The earliest known depiction of boxing comes from a Sumerian relief in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) from the 3rd millennium BCE.[10]

The foundation of modern East Asian martial arts and South Asian martial arts is likely facilitated by cultural exchanges of early Chinese and Indian martial arts. During the Warring States period of Chinese history (480–221 BCE) extensive development in martial philosophy and strategy emerged, as described by Sun Tzu in The Art of War (c. 350 BCE).[11] Legendary accounts link the origin of Shaolinquan to the spread of Buddhism from ancient India during the early 5th century CE, with the figure of Bodhidharma, to China.[12] Written evidence of martial arts in Southern India dates back to the Sangam literature of about the 2nd century BCE to the 2nd century CE.[citation needed] The combat techniques of the Sangam period were the earliest precursors to Kalaripayattu.[13]

In Europe, the earliest sources of martial arts traditions date to Ancient Greece. Boxing (pygme, pyx), wrestling (pale) and pankration were represented in the Ancient Olympic Games. The Romans produced gladiatorial combat as a public spectacle.[citation needed]

A number of historical combat manuals have survived from the European Middle Ages. This includes such styles as sword and shield, two-handed swordfighting and other types of melee weapons besides unarmed combat. Amongst these are transcriptions of Johannes Liechtenauer's mnemonic poem on the longsword dating back to the late fourteenth century. Likewise, Asian martial arts became well-documented during the medieval period, Japanese martial arts beginning with the establishment of the samurai nobility in the 12th century, Chinese martial arts with Ming era treatises such as Ji Xiao Xin Shu, Indian martial arts in medieval texts such as the Agni Purana and the Malla Purana, and Korean martial arts from the Joseon era and texts such as Muyejebo (1598).[citation needed]

European swordsmanship always had a sportive component, but the duel was always a possibility until World War I. Modern sport fencing began developing during the 19th century as the French and Italian military academies began codifying instruction. The Olympic games led to standard international rules, with the Féderation Internationale d'Escrime founded in 1913. Modern boxing originates with Jack Broughton's rules in the 18th century, and reaches its present form with the Marquess of Queensberry Rules of 1867.[citation needed]

Folk styles[edit]

Main article: Folk wrestling

Certain traditional combat sports and fighting styles exist all over the world, rooted in local culture and folklore. The most common of these are styles of folk wrestling, some of which have been practiced since antiquity and are found in the most remote areas. Other examples include forms of stick fighting and boxing. While these arts are based on historical traditions of folklore, they are not "historical" in the sense that they reconstruct or preserve a historical system from a specific era. They are rather contemporary regional sports that coexist with the modern forms of martial arts sports as they have developed since the 19th century, often including cross-fertilization between sports and folk styles; thus, the traditional Thai art of muay boran developed into the modern national sport of muay Thai, which in turn came to be practiced worldwide and contributed significantly to modern hybrid styles like kickboxing and mixed martial arts. Singlestick, an English martial art can be seen often utilized in morris dancing. Many European dances share elements of martial arts with examples including Ukrainian Hopak, Polish Zbójnicki (use of ciupaga), the Czech dance odzemek, and the Norwegian Halling.[citation needed]

Modern history[edit]

Further information: Modern history of East Asian martial arts

Late 19th to early 20th century[edit]

The mid to late 19th century marks the beginning of the history of martial arts as modern sports developed out of earlier traditional fighting systems. In Europe, this concerns the developments of boxing, wrestling and fencing as sports. In Japan, the same period marks the formation of the modern forms of judo, jujutsu, karate, and kendo (among others) based on revivals of old schools of Edo period martial arts which had been suppressed during the Meiji Restoration[citation needed] Modern muay Thai rules date to the 1920s. In China, the modern history of martial arts begins in the Nanjing decade (1930s) following the foundation of the Central Guoshu Institute in 1928 under the Kuomintang government.[citation needed]

Western interest in Asian martial arts arises towards the end of the 19th century, due to the increase in trade between the United States with China and Japan.[citation needed] Relatively few Westerners actually practiced the arts, considering it to be mere performance. Edward William Barton-Wright, a railway engineer who had studied jujutsu while working in Japan between 1894 and 1897, was the first man known to have taught Asian martial arts in Europe. He also founded an eclectic style named Bartitsu which combined jujutsu, judo, wrestling, boxing, savate and stick fighting.[citation needed]

Fencing and Greco-Roman wrestling was included in the 1896 Summer Olympics. FILA Wrestling World Championships and Boxing at the Summer Olympics were introduced in 1904. The tradition of awarding championship belts in wrestling and boxing can be traced to the Lonsdale Belt, introduced in 1909.[citation needed]

20th century (1914 to 1989)[edit]

Jackie Chan, one of the best known actors and martial artists.

The International Boxing Association was established in 1920. World Fencing Championships have been held since 1921.

As Western influence grew in Asia a greater number of military personnel spent time in China, Japan and South Korea during World War II and the Korean War and were exposed to local fighting styles. Jujutsu, judo and karate first became popular among the mainstream from the 1950s–1960s. Due in part to Asian and Hollywood martial arts movies, most modern American martial arts are either Asian-derived or Asian influenced.[14] The term kickboxing (キックボクシング) was created by the Japanese boxing promoter Osamu Noguchi for a variant of muay Thai and karate that he created in the 1950s. American kickboxing was developed in the 1970s, as a combination of boxing and karate. Taekwondo was developed in the context of the Korean War in the 1950s.

The later 1960s and 1970s witnessed an increased media interest in Chinese martial arts, influenced by martial artist Bruce Lee. Bruce Lee is credited as one of the first instructors to openly teach Chinese martial arts to Westerners.[15]World Judo Championships have been held since 1956, Judo at the Summer Olympics was introduced in 1964. Karate World Championships were introduced in 1970.

The "kung fu wave" of Hong Kong action cinema in the 1970s, especially Bruce Lee films, popularized martial arts in global popular culture. A number of mainstream films produced during the 1980s also contributed significantly to the perception of martial arts in Western popular culture. These include The Karate Kid (1984) and Bloodsport (1988). This era produced some Hollywood action stars with martial arts background, such as Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris.

Also during the 20th century, a number of martial arts were adapted for self-defense purposes for military hand-to-hand combat. World War II combatives, KAPAP (1930s) and Krav Maga (1950s) in Israel, Systema in Soviet-era Russia, and Sanshou in the People's Republic of China are examples of such systems. The US military de-emphasized hand-to-hand combat training during the Cold War period, but revived it with the introduction of LINE in 1989.

1990 to present[edit]

In 1993, the first Pancrase event was held in Japan.[16] The K-1 rules of kickboxing were introduced, based on 1980s Seidokaikan karate.[citation needed]

During the 1990s, Brazilian jiu-jitsu became popular and proved to be effective in mixed martial arts (MMA) competitions such as the UFC and PRIDE.[17]

Jackie Chan and Jet Li are prominent martial artists who have become major movie figures. Their popularity and media presence has been at the forefront for promoting Chinese martial arts since the late 20th and early 21st centuries.[citation needed]

With the continual discovery of more medieval and Renaissance fighting manuals, the practice of Historical European Martial Arts and other Western Martial Arts have been growing[citation needed] in popularity across the United States and Europe.[citation needed]

On November 29, 2011, UNESCO inscribed Taekkyon onto its Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity List.[18]


Many styles of Indian martial arts were banned during the British rule of India.[19] Some, such as Kalaripayattu, survived in areas of the Indian subcontinent outside direct British control. Other martial arts from India, such as Silambam, while not widely practiced in India, continue to be practiced in other countries in the Indian cultural sphere such as Indonesia and Malaysia. Many other Indian martial arts such as Mardhani Khel and Paika Akhada survived by practitioners practicing the art in secret, or by telling the British government that it was a form of dance. While many regional Indian martial arts forms are fading into obscurity, martial arts such as Gatka and Kalaripayattu are experiencing a gradual resurgence.[20]

Testing and competition[edit]

Testing or evaluation is important to martial artists of many disciplines who wish to determine their progression or own level of skill in specific contexts. Students often undergo periodic testing and grading by their own teacher in order to advance to a higher level of recognized achievement, such as a different belt color or title. The type of testing used varies from system to system but may include forms or sparring.

Various forms and sparring are commonly used in martial art exhibitions and tournaments. Some competitions pit practitioners of different disciplines against each other using a common set of rules, these are referred to as mixed martial arts competitions. Rules for sparring vary between art and organization but can generally be divided into light-contact, medium-contact, and full-contact variants, reflecting the amount of force that should be used on an opponent.

Light- and medium-contact[edit]

These types of sparring restrict the amount of force that may be used to hit an opponent, in the case of light sparring this is usually to 'touch' contact, e.g. a punch should be 'pulled' as soon as or before contact is made. In medium-contact (sometimes referred to as semi-contact) the punch would not be 'pulled' but not hit with full force. As the amount of force used is restricted, the aim of these types of sparring is not to knock out an opponent; a point system is used in competitions.

A referee acts to monitor for fouls and to control the match, while judges mark down scores, as in boxing. Particular targets may be prohibited, certain techniques may be forbidden (such as headbutting or groin hits), and fighters may be required to wear protective equipment on their head, hands, chest, groin, shins or feet. Some grappling arts, such as aikido, use a similar method of compliant training that is equivalent to light or medium contact.

In some styles (such as fencing and some styles of taekwondo sparring), competitors score points based on the landing of a single technique or strike as judged by the referee, whereupon the referee will briefly stop the match, award a point, then restart the match. Alternatively, sparring may continue with the point noted by the judges. Some critics of point sparring feel that this method of training teaches habits that result in lower combat effectiveness. Lighter-contact sparring may be used exclusively, for children or in other situations when heavy contact would be inappropriate (such as beginners), medium-contact sparring is often used as training for full contact.


Further information: Full-contact

Full-contact sparring or competition, where strikes or techniques are not pulled but used with full force as the name implies, has a number of tactical differences from light and medium-contact sparring. It is considered by some to be requisite in learning realistic unarmed combat.[21]

In full-contact sparring, the aim of a competitive match is to knock out the opponent or to force the opponent to submit. Where scoring takes place it may be a subsidiary measure, only used if no clear winner has been established by other means; in some competitions, such as the UFC 1, there was no scoring, though most now use some form of judging as a backup.[22] Due to these factors, full-contact matches tend to be more aggressive in character, but rule sets may still mandate the use of protective equipment, or limit the techniques allowed.

Nearly all mixed martial arts organizations such as UFC, Pancrase, Shooto use a form of full-contact rules as do professional boxing organizations and K-1. Kyokushinkarate requires advanced practitioners to engage in bare-knuckled, full-contact sparring allowing kicks, knees and punching although punching to the head is disallowed while wearing only a karate gi and groin protector. Brazilian jiu-jitsu and judo matches do not allow striking, but are full-contact in the sense that full force is applied in the permitted grappling and submission techniques. Competitions held by World Taekwondo requires the use of Headgear and padded vest, but are full contact in the sense that full force is applied to strikes to the head and body, and win by knockout is possible.

Martial sport[edit]

See also: Combat sport

Martial arts have crossed over into sports when forms of sparring become competitive, becoming a sport in its own right that is dissociated from the original combative origin, such as with western fencing. The Summer Olympic Games includes judo, taekwondo, western archery, boxing, javelin, wrestling and fencing as events, while Chinese wushu recently failed in its bid to be included, but is still actively performed in tournaments across the world. Practitioners in some arts such as kickboxing and Brazilian jiu-jitsu often train for sport matches, whereas those in other arts such as aikido generally spurn such competitions. Some schools believe that competition breeds better and more efficient practitioners, and gives a sense of good sportsmanship. Others believe that the rules under which competition takes place have diminished the combat effectiveness of martial arts or encourage a kind of practice which focuses on winning trophies rather than a focus such as cultivating a particular moral character.

The question of "which is the best martial art" has led to inter style competitions fought with very few rules allowing a variety of fighting styles to enter with few limitations. This was the origin of the first Ultimate Fighting Championship tournament (later renamed UFC 1: The Beginning) in the U.S. inspired by the Brazilian Vale tudo tradition and along with other minimal rule competitions, most notably those from Japan such as Shooto and Pancrase, have evolved into the combat sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).

Some martial artists compete in non-sparring competitions such as breaking or choreographed routines of techniques such as poomse, kata and aka, or modern variations of the martial arts which include dance-influenced competitions such as tricking. Martial traditions have been influenced by governments to become more sport-like for political purposes; the central impetus for the attempt by the People's Republic of China in transforming Chinese martial arts into the committee-regulated sport of wushu was suppressing what they saw as the potentially subversive aspects of martial training, especially under the traditional system of family lineages.[23]

Health and fitness benefits[edit]

Martial arts training aims to result in several benefits to trainees, such as their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.[24]

Through systematic practice in the martial arts a person's physical fitness may be boosted (strength, stamina, speed, flexibility, movement coordination, etc.) as the whole body is exercised and the entire muscular system is activated.[citation needed] Beyond contributing to physical fitness, martial arts training also has benefits for mental health, contributing to self-esteem, self-control, emotional and spiritual well-being. For this reason, a number of martial arts schools have focused purely on therapeutic aspects, de-emphasizing the historical aspect of self-defense or combat completely.[citation needed]

According to Bruce Lee, martial arts also have the nature of an art, since there is emotional communication and complete emotional expression.[citation needed]

Self-defense, military and law enforcement applications[edit]

Main articles: Hand-to-hand combat and Self-defense

Some traditional martial concepts have seen new use within modern military training. Perhaps the most recent example of this is point shooting which relies on muscle memory to more effectively utilize a firearm in a variety of awkward situations, much the way an iaidoka would master movements with their sword.

During the World War II era William E. Fairbairn and Eric A. Sykes were recruited by the Special Operations Executive (SOE) to teach their martial art of defendu (itself drawing on Western boxing and jujutsu) and pistol shooting to UK, US, and Canadian special forces. The book Kill or Get Killed, written by Colonel Rex Applegate, was based on the defendu taught by Sykes and Fairbairn. Both Fairbairn's Get Tough and Appelgate's Kill or Get Killed became classic works on hand-to-hand combat.[citation needed]

Traditional hand-to-hand, knife, and spear techniques continue to see use in the composite systems developed for today's wars. Examples of this include European Unifight, the US Army's Combatives system developed by Matt Larsen, the Israeli army's KAPAP and Krav Maga, and the US Marine Corps's Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP). Unarmed dagger defenses identical to those found in the manual of Fiore dei Liberi and the Codex Wallerstein were integrated into the U.S. Army's training manuals in 1942[25] and continue to influence today's systems along with other traditional systems such as eskrima and silat.[citation needed]

The rifle-mounted bayonet which has its origin in the spear, has seen use by the United States Army, the United States Marine Corps, and the British Army as recently as the Iraq War.[26]

Many martial arts are also seen and used in Law Enforcement hand-to-hand training. For example, the Tokyo Riot Police's use of aikido.[27]

Martial arts industry[edit]

Martial arts since the 1970s has become a significant industry, a subset of the wider sport industry (including cinema and sports television).[citation needed]

Hundreds of millions of people worldwide practice some form of martial art. Web Japan (sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs) claims there are 50 million karate practitioners worldwide.[28] The South Korean government in 2009 published an estimate that taekwondo is practiced by 70 million people in 190 countries.[29]

The wholesale value of martial arts related sporting equipment shipped in the United States was estimated at US$314 million in 2007; participation in the same year was estimated at 6.9 million (ages 6 or older, 2% of US population).[30] R. A. Court, CEO of Martial Arts Channel, stated the total revenue of the US martial arts industry at US$40 billion and the number of US practitioners at 30 million in 2003.[31]


Martial arts equipment can include that which is used for conditioning, protection and weapons. Specialized conditioning equipment can include breaking boards, dummy partners such as the wooden dummy, and targets such as punching bags and the makiwara. Protective equipment for sparring and competition includes boxing gloves, headgear and mouthguards.[32]

Martial arts fraud[edit]

Asian martial arts experienced a surge of popularity in the west during the 1970s, and the rising demand resulted in numerous low quality or fraudulent schools. Fueled by fictional depictions in martial arts movies, this led to the ninja craze of the 1980s in the United States.[33] There were also numerous fraudulent ads for martial arts training programs, inserted into comic books circa the 1960s and 1970s, which were read primarily by adolescent boys.[34]

In the seventies, lower ranks (kyu) began to be given colorful belts to show progress. This proved to be commercially viable and colored-belt systems were adopted in many martial arts degree mills (also known as McDojos and belt factories) as a means to generate additional cash. This was covered in the Penn & Teller: Bullshit!episode "Martial Arts" (June 2010).[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^"martial art | Definition, History, Types, & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2020-01-13.
  2. ^Clements, John (January 2006). "A Short Introduction to Historical European Martial Arts"(PDF). Meibukan Magazine (Special Edition No. 1): 2–4. Archived from the original(PDF) on March 18, 2012. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  3. ^Donn F. Draeger and P'ng Chye Khim (1979). Shaolin Lohan Kung-fu. Tuttle Publishing.
  4. ^official IZSF
  5. ^Martial arts at Encyclopædia Iranica
  6. ^"Pahlevani and Zoorkhanei rituals".
  7. ^ abHamblin, William J. (2006). Warfare in the ancient Near East to 1600 BC : holy warriors at the dawn of history (Repr. ed.). New York: Routledge. p. 15. ISBN .
  8. ^Nash, George, "Assessing rank and warfare strategy in prehistoric hunter-gatherer society: a study of representational warrior figures in rock-art from the Spanish Levant" in: M. Parker Pearson & I.J.N. Thorpe (eds.), Warfare, violence and slavery in prehistory: proceedings of a Prehistoric Society conference at Sheffield University, 2005, Archaeopress, ISBN 1841718165, 978-1841718163, Fully online, Bristol University
  9. ^"Wrestling". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2 September 2019.
  10. ^Michael Poliakoff. "Encyclopædia Britannica entry for Boxing". Retrieved 18 May 2013.
  11. ^"Sun Tzu Biography and Introduction: Sun Tzu The Art of War and Strategy Site by". Sonshi. Com. Retrieved 2010-11-07.
  12. ^Reid, Howard and Croucher, Michael (1983). The Way of the Warrior – The Paradox of the Martial Arts. New York: Overlook Press[ISBN missing][page needed]
  13. ^"Actualizing Power and Crafting a Self in Kalarippayattu". Retrieved 2016-02-29.
  14. ^Berreby, David (1988-08-28). "The Martial Arts as Moneymakers". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
  15. ^"Jeet Kune Do". Archived from the original on 2014-07-17. Retrieved 2014-05-27.
  16. ^"The origins, history and rules from the early days of Pancrase circa 1993". 2014-03-29. Retrieved 2014-05-27.
  17. ^"fighting art used in the UFC". Archived from the original on 2010-05-23. Retrieved 2010-11-07.
  18. ^"UNESCO Culture Sector – Intangible Heritage – 2003 Convention".
  19. ^Tandon, Nikita. "Reviving the Lost Martial Arts of India". The Armchair Lounge. Archived from the original on 2018-08-21. Retrieved 2016-03-01.
  20. ^Manoharan, Suresh K. "History of Varmakalai". Retrieved 2016-03-01.
  21. ^"Aliveness 101". Straight Blast gym. Archived from the original on 2009-01-07. Retrieved 2008-11-03. – An essay on contact levels in training
  22. ^Dave Meltzer (November 12, 2007). "First UFC forever altered combat sports". Yahoo! Sports. Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved 2008-11-03.
  23. ^Fu, Zhongwen (2006) [1996]. Mastering Yang Style Taijiquan. Berkeley, California: Blue Snake Books.
  24. ^Bu, Bin; Haijun, Han; Yong, Liu; Chaohui, Zhang; Xiaoyuan, Yang; Singh, Maria Fiatarone (2010). "Effects of martial arts on health status: A systematic review". Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine. 3 (4): 205–219. doi:10.1111/j.1756-5391.2010.01107.x. PMID 21349072. S2CID 41065668.
  25. ^Vail, Jason (2006). Medieval and Renaissance Dagger Combat. Paladin Press. pp. 91–95.
  26. ^Sean Rayment (2004-06-13). "British battalion 'attacked every day for six weeks'". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2008-12-11.
  27. ^Twigger, R. (1997). Angry White Pyjamas. London: Phoenix. ISBN 978-0753808580[page needed]
  28. ^"Martial Arts : Fact Sheet"(PDF). Retrieved 2015-08-13.
  29. ^Kim, H.-S. (2009): Taekwondo: A new strategy for Brand KoreaArchived 2011-07-23 at the Wayback Machine (21 December 2009). Retrieved on 8 January 2010.
  30. ^Jack W. Plunkett (2009). Plunkett's Sports Industry Almanac, ISBN 978-1593921408.
  31. ^Black Belt Magazine September 2003, p. 20.
  32. ^"The Importance Of A Mouthguard When Playing Sport". Orthodontics Australia. 2020-02-21. Retrieved 2020-10-06.
  33. ^see “The Real Deal, The Buzzwords and the Latest Trend” Black Belt Magazine, June 1999, p. 78.
  34. ^Tom Heintjes (June 20, 2017). "The Deadliest Ads Alive! | Hogan's Alley". Archived from the original on August 25, 2015. Retrieved 2015-08-13.
  1. 12 point ratchet wrench
  2. Bug jam 2016
  3. Bo staff grip

In this article, we will take a look at the top 15 deadliest martial arts in the world.

Deadliest martial arts in the world are Krav Maga, Line, Rough and Tumble, Ninjutsu, Vale Tudo, Bacom, Eskrima, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai (Thai Boxing), Silat, Kung Fu, Taekwondo, MCMAP, Karate, and Sambo.

Now, we will rank the top 15 deadliest martial arts in the world from weakest to strongest and look at the usage and examples of those martial arts.

Top 15 Deadliest Martial Arts in The World – Ranked

15. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art that focuses on grappling and especially on ground fighting with the aim of gaining a dominant position and using joint locks and chocking to force the opponent to surrender.

The system developed from a modified version of Judo practiced before World War II including some techniques from classical Jujutsu and with a focus on non-waza (floor techniques).

It promotes the principle that a smaller, weaker person using balance and technique can successfully defend against a bigger and stronger attacker.

BJJ can be trained for self-defense, sports grappling tournaments (gi and non-gi), and mixed martial arts (MMA). Sparring (popularly called “rolling”) with an opponent plays an important role in training.

It can be a very deadly martial art, and it is especially good for you if you are a smaller person, but it all depends on the conditions under which it is used.

14. Karate

Karate is a Japanese martial art that uses all parts of the body for self-defense. The birthplace of karate is the island of Okinawa, located south of Japan in the Ryu Kyu Islands.

Karate incorporates the whole body during the fighting. Punching, kicking, elbows, throws, and open-handed “knife strikes” are all staples of the form, and Kyokushin Karate allows blows with full force, and fighters carry no protection.

Karate is different from other deadliest martial arts on this list mostly because it truly focuses on the mind as much as the body. With a focused mind and a fully trained body, Karate can easily become one of the deadliest martial arts in the world.

13. Taekwondo

Taekwondo is a Korean martial art that originated in the 1940s by combining different skills that were practiced at the time. Its name comes from the word Tae (태, hanja 跆), which means to kick, Kwon (권, hanja 拳), which means to strike with the hand, and Do (도, hanja 道), which means to hit.

Taekwondo is a striking skill characterized by attractive foot techniques and speed. Today, taekwondo is considered one of the most popular martial arts and sports, and the number of practitioners in the world is estimated at more than 100 million.

The emphasis of Taekwondo is on kicking. As the longest, strongest limb, fighters realized that using legs in combat gave them an edge over other fighting styles that focus on punching. The devastating power of a Taekwondo kick can drop opponents in seconds, and that is the main reason why it is on our list of deadliest martial arts in the world.

12. Kung Fu

In general, kung fu/kungfu refers to the Chinese martial arts, also called wushu and quanfa. In China, it refers to any study, learning, or practice that requires patience, energy, and time to complete. In its original meaning, kung fu can refer to any discipline or skill achieved through hard work and practice, not necessarily martial arts.

It is one of the oldest hand to hand martial art, it is practiced for centuries, and it was used by Chinese warriors as a form of attack as well as self-defense.

There are many styles of Kung Fu, but they all have the same goal, to strike your enemy with lightning speed and preventable power, and that is what makes it one of the deadliest martial arts in the world.

11. Sambo

Sambo, the martial art of unarmed self-defense, developed in the USSR where it was practiced by elite units. In the 1990s, sambo – a combination of judo, kickboxing, Thai boxing, and boxing – became popular all over the world.

It was originally trained by Red Army soldiers and government agents, but as the crime was on the rise, Sambo began to be taught by security guards and private bodyguards who added some innovations like knives, batons, etc.

Sambo has multiple disciplines. Sports sambo is reminiscent of judo because opponents compete without punches. Sambo for self-defense is based on jiu-jitsu and aikido and can be practiced with sports sambo.

Combat sambo is a more demanding discipline, intended primarily for the army and police, in which almost everything is allowed, blows to the head, elbow, knees…

Special sambo is a special variant of martial sambo whose techniques are kept secret for members of special units.

In America, freestyle sambo has also developed as a civilian variant that is not trained in classic sports clubs.

Combat and Special Sambo definitely deserve to be on our list of deadliest martial arts in the world.

10. MCMAP – Marine Corps Martial Arts Program

The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) is a combat system developed by the United States Marine Corps to combine existing and new hand-to-hand and close quarters combat techniques with morale and team-building functions and instruction in the Warrior Ethos.

The program, which began in 2001, trains Marines (and U.S. Navy personnel attached to Marine units) in unarmed combat, edged weapons, weapons of opportunity, and rifle and bayonet techniques. [1]

It also stresses mental and character development, including the responsible use of force, leadership, and teamwork.

Today, that skill has advanced by getting the best out of other martial arts across the countries where the Marines fought wars. The latest workouts include improvised weapons, bayonets, and even weapon parts as a means of inflicting pain.

Prior to MCMAP, the Marines used a martial art called the LINE system. The line for “Linear Infighting Neural Override Engagement” whose only goal was to kill the opponent with as strong blows as possible on fragile parts of the body.

Subsequently, given that the Marines operated in missions in which it was not essential to kill everyone present, MCMAP emerged as a milder version of LINE and therefore, more humane.

9. Muay Thai (Thai Boxing)

Muay Thai or Thai boxing is a martial art created as a product of the constant conflicts of the Thai people on the way from their homeland (southeast China) to the area of ​​present-day Thailand.

Due to the constant conflicts with other peoples of Indochina, there was a need for a martial art that would be learned quickly, and at the same time was very applicable in almost constant conflicts on the borders.

Initially, Thai boxing was taught as part of the so-called “Warrior skills” which included fencing, spear handling, archery, and horseback riding, and among the oldest documents mentioning Thai boxing is a legend from 1548. about the boxing fight between the Thai King Naresuan and the Burmese King.

Thus was born Muay Thai, i.e. the Art of the Eight Limbs. Yes, eight limbs. In Muay Thai, elbows and knees are counted under the limbs and are used in combat to strike the opponent as hard as possible and overcome as quickly as possible.

8. Silat

Silat is the collective term for a class of indigenous martial arts from the Nusantara and surrounding geocultural areas of Southeast Asia. It is traditionally practiced in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Southern Thailand, Southern Philippines, and Southern Vietnam, the indigenous homes to the Malayo-Sumbawan and Javanese speaking peoples.

There are hundreds of different styles (aliran) and schools (perguruan) which tend to focus either on strikes, joint manipulation, weaponry, or some combination thereof.

Silat is different than most martial arts, because, unlike other that focus on spirituality or self-perfection, Silat is all about one thing: violence, and that is what makes it one of the deadliest martial arts in the world.

Its fighting style is all about exploiting weaknesses in your enemy and incapacitating them as quickly as possible.

Silat is concentrated only on causing pain. The style is characterized by a quick attack in which it is very important to get close to the opponent quickly, break him in ten seconds and then knock him unconscious with a strong blow to the face, throat, or kidney. No honor, no fame, just dirty punches, and exploitation of weaknesses.

They even encourage blows to the crotch. Yes, in the testicles. All students of this skill in training must experience what it is like when someone breaks a row of bricks stacked on your ribs or when you have to bend metal bars around your neck.

“Kris” or “Keris”, ie a dagger, is also used in Silat. A corrugated knife for quickly stabbing an opponent into soft body parts. And yes, they usually put one of the most powerful neurotoxins in the world on a dagger that will kill an opponent just a few tens of seconds after being wounded.

7. Eskrima

Arnis, also known as Kali or Eskrima/Escrima, is the national martial art of the Philippines. The three are roughly interchangeable umbrella terms for the traditional martial arts of the Philippines, which emphasize weapon-based fighting with sticks, knives, bladed weapons, and various improvised weapons, as well as “open hand” techniques without weapons.

For hundreds of years, Filipinos have nurtured this tradition and the skill of quick punches, grabbing hands or feet, disarming, and killing people. The philosophy of Eskrima is that the absence of weapons does not necessarily mean that you cannot kill an opponent with your bare hands.

Modern Eskrima has two versions. One wears full-body armor with masks, while the other version, a little more brutal, takes place in illegal fights with metal sticks and a little sponge.

6. Bacom

Bacom is one of the deadliest martial arts. The other name of Bacom is Vacon. This is a Peruvian martial art. This martial art is developed in the street of Lima for the development of the Peruvian Military.

In this martial art, one can injure the opponents within a short span of time. It also involves the usage of hidden weapons and extreme punches. It is a combination of Jiu-Jitsu and street fighting techniques.

Bacom required an emphasis on power, with the attacks designed to ruin an opponent’s balance. There is also an element of surprise and deception as fighters can use hidden, secretive weapons in battle.

What makes Bacom distinct from other combat practices is the vicious nature of the martial art. The fighting style is made to inflict the maximum amount of pain on the opponent and become too much for the opponent to handle.

A fight that takes place when Bacom is utilized, many times ends in the death of one of the competitors. It also involves armlocks.

Top 5 Deadliest Martial Arts in the World

We’ve come to the end of the list, the top 5 deadliest martial arts in the world. Let’s proceed!

5. Rough and Tumble

Rough and tumble or gouging was a form of fighting in rural portions of the United States, primarily in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

It was often characterized by the objective of gouging out an opponent’s eye but also included other brutally disfiguring techniques, including biting and typically took place in order to settle disputes.

Though it was never an organized sport, participants would sometimes schedule their fights (as one could schedule a duel), and victors were treated as local heroes.

Gouging was essentially a type of duel to defend one’s honor that was most common among the poor and was especially common in southern states in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries

It was extremely brutal, with no concern about the opponent’s safety and with the sole purpose to disable or kill opponents, so it is with rights so high on our list of deadliest martial arts in the world.

4. Vale Tudo

Vale Tudo (translated “Everything Goes”) is an unarmed, full-contact combat sport with relatively few rules. It became popular in Brazil during the 20th century. It uses techniques from many martial arts.

Vale Tudo is an extremely brutal martial art, and it is so deadly that its fights are mostly held underground, and it often creates a stir in the media.

3. Ninjutsu

Ninjutsu is also known as Ninpo and Shinobijutsu, is a Japanese martial art that is a set of different skills that include espionage, gathering information, navigating and surviving in nature, hiding and sneaking, camouflage, avoiding enemies, infiltration, overcoming natural and artificial obstacles, fighting with bare hands, various weapons, and hand tools, etc.

The Ninjutsu most likely appeared in the 13th century, at the time of the appearance of the first shogunate ruled by the Minamoto clan.

Despite the fact that there are many contradictions in the written sources, they were most likely renegade peasants, who, exhausted by the constant terror of the samurai, whose class was experiencing a great rise at the time, and unable to oppose them, sought safety in the mountainous areas of Ig and Koga, the central Japanese island of Honshu.

During the 1970s and 1980s, there was a huge interest in exotic Oriental skills in the West, especially in the United States. Shrouded in a veil of secrecy and numerous myths, the ninja came to us in the form of films, novels, and manuals of dubious content.

At the time, ninjas were practiced in Japan by only a few hundred people, appalled by the publicity and kept away from journalists and adventurers who did their best to get in touch with them and reveal their “secrets”.

Today, ninjutsu is practiced by tens of thousands of people, of all ages, in hundreds of halls around the world. Freed from the dishonorable burden of the past, the ninjutsu, strictly controlled by its home school and spiritual leader in Japan, has become an extremely effective, integral system of self-defense and one of the deadliest martial arts in the world.

2. Line

LINE is a close quarters combat system, derived from various martial arts, used by the United States Marine Corps between 1989 and 1998, and then from 1998 through to 2007 for the US Army Special Forces. It was developed by retired combat-arms Marine Ron Donvito.

Officially, the name stands for Linear Infighting Neural Override Engagement; this is, however, a backronym coined during the project’s inception.

The system was designed to be executed within specific and stringent combat-oriented conditions:

  • all techniques must not be vision dominant; techniques may be executed effectively in low-light conditions, or other impaired visibility conditions (i.e., smoke or gas)
  • extreme mental and physical fatigue
  • usable by the Marine/soldier while wearing full combat gear
  • proper execution of the techniques must cause death to the opponent
  • gender neutrality; must be usable by—and against—either gender

These parameters are viewed as the most likely conditions that a combat Marine or Soldier would face in close-range combat since most close combat engagements were likely to occur at night or under reduced visibility, while the Marine was fatigued and wearing his combat load, and when facing asymmetrical odds, such as a numerically superior force.

These requirements meant that many flamboyant techniques, exotic kicks, or movements requiring extraordinary feats of strength or agility were excluded from consideration under the LINE system. Techniques like classic judo “hip throw”, for instance, were excluded because of the possibility of entanglement on a practitioner’s war-belt.

The system’s techniques were designed to be easily learned and retained through repetition. The requirement and demands that the system is drilled, repeated, and constantly revisited have led to some criticism since the primary users – military and special operations personnel – often have enormous demands upon their time, and as a consequence often lacked the ability to maintain high degrees of proficiency in the techniques.

It was built to directly kill your opponent, which makes it one of the deadliest martial arts in the world. But, because it was relatively inflexible especially for non-emergent situations such as peacekeeping operations, the US army isn’t using it anymore, rather they decided to use MCMAP.

1. Krav Maga

Krav Maga is an Israeli martial art widely accepted in the military, police, and similar branches as a defense against bare-handed and even armed attackers. It proved to be excellent on the field and got its name from its founder Imrich Sde-Ora.

Eyal Yanilov has been the right hand of the founder for over fifteen years and leads the International Krav Maga Federation. Krav Maga began working under that name from the founding of Israel in 1948, but the founder himself taught many just after his defection in 1940 from Bratislava to what was then Palestine before the Nazis.

Had he not defected we would probably have been left without one effective and efficient martial art.

A practical method of combat that trains how to avoid, prevent, and resolve any kind of violence and attack. Krav Maga trains self-defense, martial and combat skills, as well as the skills of protecting others, all in a unique and easy way to learn.

Yet the basic philosophy of training and coaching is a ‘he or I’ situation in an environment where defeat would be deadly.

It probably comes as no surprise that the world’s most effective and dangerous form of martial art is also the deadliest in the world. Krav Maga is a non-sport form of martial arts, which means it doesn’t care for rules and opponents well being.

What is the Best Martial Art for a Street Fight

The Best Combat Fighting Styles

The close-quarters combat techniques used by the world’s most elite fighting units are not publicized. However, since fighting systems today typically draw on many sources, it is safe to assume that fighting styles used by proficient military units include elements of techniques that are included among the best available.

Elite Special Forces

Members of the British Special Air Service, or SAS, and the Special Boat Service, or SBS, are forbidden by the British Ministry of Defense from writing about these techniques and other aspects of service in these elite organizations. There is no advantage for the SAS, SBS, U.S. Delta Force or other special forces to describe their combat fighting systems for potential opponents to study. Since these and similar units around the world are the most selective and highly trained, it is likely that they use the most effective, up-to-date and well-tested hand-to-hand combat techniques they can develop.

Marine Corp Martial Arts Programme

Developed in 2001, the Marine Corp Martial Arts Programme is a close-quarters combat system that includes techniques suitable for combat and for situations that require more restraint, such as subduing unarmed but aggressive civilians. It includes wrestling and jujitsu techniques as well as striking and weapons training.

Krav Maga

The Israeli Self Defense Forces and police train in a system known as krav maga, which is Hebrew for “contact combat.” It was developed for the military by Imi Sde-Or in the 1930s. This hand-to-hand fighting system was later adapted for civilian use and has become a popular civilian self-defense system taught in the U.S., Europe and Australia.

Russian Close-Quarters Combat Systems

According to Chris Crudelli, author of “The Way of the Warrior, Martial Arts and Fighting Systems from Around the World," Russian special forces practice various fighting systems, all of Russian origin. These include Russian All-Round Fighting, R.O.S.S., Systema and Combat Sambo. These systems, like those of other military fighting systems, include armed and unarmed techniques.


  • “Krav Maga, How to Defend Yourself Against Armed Attack”; Imi Sde-Or and Eyal Yanilov; 2001.
  • "The Way of the Warrior, Martial Arts and Fighting Systems from Around the World"; Chris Crudelli; 2008.
  • Martial Arts Database: Systema

Writer Bio

Dean A. Haycock has been a freelance science and medical writer since 1993. He is the author of "The Everything Health Guide to Schizophrenia," "The Everything Health Guide to Adult Bipolar Disorder, 2nd edition" and coauthor of "Overcoming Complications of LASIK and Other Eye Surgeries." Haycock has a Doctor of Philosophy in neurobiology from Brown University.


Styles combat fighting


Fighting Styles are the different versions of combat mode. There are currently nine fighting styles in the game (Combat, Dark Step, Electro, Water Kung Fu, Dragon Breath, Superhuman, Death Step, Sharkman Karate and Electric Claw). These styles have new moves and are very powerful (except the first four). You need to buy Fighting Styles from NPCs in the game. The power of Fighting Styles depends on your Melee stats and your mastery on the fighting style itself.

All fighting styles are able to be learned again for free (excluding Combat). If you have already purchased a fighting style and exchanged it, you can learn again or use the original without having to pay the original cost.

Using Buddha is recommended to farm mastery on Fighting Styles as it gives you a larger hitbox on the clicks and increases your health, allowing you to defeat NPCs that are higher level than you without dying as much.

The letters next to the move name are "tiers". These mean how good the moves are (not just in damage, but in hitbox and other things as well).


The default fighting style in the game, acquired when a person plays Blox Fruits for the first time.

[Z] Mastery 1: [ Quick Tackle ] D-

Dashes at the target dealing small dmg taking your opponent with it

[X] Mastery 20: [Ground Smash ] D

Smashes the ground and hits anything around it.

- Note: If you purchase any other fighting styles, the Combat fighting style will no longer be obtainable. You have to make a new account in order to use it again.


Dark Step can be learned at the Pirate Village from the Black Leg Teacher when you meet the following requirements:

• 150,000 Beli

[Z] Mastery 1: [ Kicks Combo ] B

The user dashes at their cursor, doing multiple kicks to the first enemy hit, and finishing off with a powerful kick with knockback.

[X] Mastery 40: [ Breakdance ] B

The user breakdances, releasing kicks that do rapid damage and stun to nearby enemies. Semi-AoE move. 

[C] Mastery 80: [ Barrage ] B+

The user releases a barrage of kicks that they can hold to kick longer, similar to the Gum-Gum's Rush but it's kicks.

[V] Mastery 150: [ Devil ] E (no damage)

Sets the user's leg on fire and makes the click attack and all the moves do 1.25x damage. As a visual bonus, it turns all their kicks and hits to orange instead of black and white.

Note: You can set both your legs on fire by using Devil 100 times. This will do 1.4x more damage.

- The Black Leg Teacher can be found on the left side of the island in between one of the gaps between houses in front of the Rich Man (NPC).


Electro can be learned under the Skylands from the Mad Scientist when you meet the following requirements:

• 500,000 Beli

[Z] Mastery 50: [ Stomp ] B

The user stomps into the ground, creating lightning as the user moves forward, launching enemies up and backwards creating decent combo potential.

[X] Mastery 100: [ Electrical Tackle ] B

The user dashes forward at the cursor, dealing damage and knockback to those in the way. Can be used as a mobility option.

[C] Mastery 200: [ Electric Floor ] B+

The user slams their fists in the ground, making the ground in front of them infused with electricity in order to constantly stun and damage enemies in a mediocre-sized radius (hard to hit in PvP. And if you miss your opponent, you're basically stuck there electrocuting nobody so your opponent will probably take advantage of your inability to move).

Note: This fighting style has no effect on Rubber users.

- The Mad Scientist who sells you this fighting style can be found on the rocks directly behind the bottom island of Skypiea.

Water Kung Fu

Water Kung Fu can be learned in the Underwater City from the Water Kung Fu Teacher when you meet the following requirements:

• 750,000 Beli

[Z] Mastery 70: [ Steam-Charged Fist ] B+

The user sends an air pulse forward, dealing knockback and damage.

[X] Mastery 130: [ Deadly Shower ] B+

The user fires a large amount of water bullets, dealing AOE damage upon contact.

[C] Mastery 250: [ Heavy Water Punch ] A+

The user charges water in their hands before dashing forward, dealing damage to those in the way, as well as a good amount of knockback. Can be used for mobility.

- Water Kung Fu teacher can be found near the right side of the back outer corner of Fisherman Jones's Castle behind a wall with discoloration

Dragon Breath

Dragon Breath can be bought from Sabi (in the New World) when you meet the following requirements:

• 1,500 Fragments

• Level 700+

[Z] Mastery 100: [ Dragon Rush ] A

The user dashes forward twice, engulfed in flames that do damage in a small radius. Enemies that get hit twice will take 10% of the first hits damage applying to the second hit.

[X] Mastery 200: [ Dragon Flames ] A

The user fires forward a dragon whirlwind, dealing damage and heavy knockback to those hit.

[C] Mastery 300: [ Dragon Explosion ] A+

The user charges up before creating an explosion with a huge radius and knockback. This attack does 2.5x your standard damage value.

- Side note: This move has the biggest hitboxout of all fighting style abilities in the game. It also deals good damage.


Superhuman can be bought from the Martial Arts Master in the Second Sea's Snow Mountain if you meet the following requirements:

• 300 mastery on Dark Step, Electro, Water Kung Fu, and Dragon Breath

• $3,000,000 Beli

No level is required to get Superhuman. (Technically at least 700+ to get to the New World.)

[Z] Mastery 110: [ Beast Owl Pounce ] S

The user dashes forward for a period of time, being able to steer the dash at will. The user will rapidly attack the first enemy hit, dealing constant damage and stun before knocking the enemy away. This is usually used as a combo extender with Superhuman C.

[X] Mastery 220: [ Thunder Clap ] S-

The user charges up a whirlwind before releasing a large, horizontal shockwave of lightning which does damage and knocks all nearby enemies away.

[C] Mastery 330: [ Conqueror Gun ] S+

  • The user teleports forward instantaneously, dealing extreme damage and massive knockback to the first enemy in the way. Serves as a great combo ender (or in some cases an extender) tool.

Death Step

Death Step can be acquired at the Ice Castle from Phoeyu The Reformed when you meet the following requirements:

  • 400 Mastery in Dark Step (Used to be 450 until Update 14 was released).

[Z] Mastery 100: [ Rocket Kick ] A or A+ with Devil Flames

The user charges up before violently launching themselves in the desired direction. Charging this will increase how far you go. The user can deal damage and knockback to enemies while they travel. Alternatively, the user can land on a wall and create a crater, bringing the nearest enemy hit to the middle.

[X] Mastery 200: [ Wind Bullet ] A+ or S- with Devil Flames

The user shoots a wind-like projectile from their leg that travels almost instantaneously. This move deals decent damage and has medium range. The enemy will receive more damage if they were hit by the explosion from the projectile.

[C] Mastery 300: [ Vermillion Drill ] S or S+ with Devil Flames

The user jumps up into the air and spin themselves as they do a kicking barrage with a large radius. Attacks longer if you hold the move down, similarly to Dark Step's Barrage. Upon release, the user then preforms a backflip and a large frontal axe kick which leaves a crater behind if it comes into contact with the opponent, bringing them to the center.

[V] Mastery 400: [ Devil Flames ] E (no damage)

The user is engulfed in swirls of flames as they ignite both of their feet. This will increase the damage of all of its moves, as well as leave flames for most moves that create an explosion/crater.

  • Note: The Z and C move will leave craters whenever the user or the opponent hits against a wall or on the ground.

Sharkman Karate

Sharkman Karate can be acquired from Daigrock The Sharkman in the Forgotten Island when you meet the following requirements:

[Z] Mastery 100: [ Twelve Water Palms ] S-

The user rapidly dashes forward, striking the air with water palms, dealing damage to enemies hit, as well as knocking them back in the direction you're traveling.

[X] Mastery 200: [ Pressure Vortex ] S

The user sends a water vortex at the enemy that explodes on impact. Can hit multiple enemies.

[C] Mastery 300: [ Great Sea Spear ] S+

The user sends out a large vortex of water that swirls with great range, bringing in the first victim hit. The user will then fire multiple water beams into their chest, dealing high damage and knockback.

Electric Claw

Electric Claw can be acquired from Previous Hero, behind the middle castle, at Floating Turtle, in the Third Sea if you meet the following requirements:

[Z] Mastery 110: [ Electric Rampage ] S-

Player rapidly slashes forwards using their claws which lasts longer if you hold, stunning the enemy and then dashes forward creating electric sparks dealing damage.

[X] Mastery 220: [ Lightning Thrust ] S

Player dashes forward to where the cursor points at but if you touch the enemy, the player will drag the enemy and make an electric explosion with their hands dealing high damage and little knockback, leaving the ground scorched with a blue triangle (that looks like the cracks from Quake V2 moves). After holding this skill for 2 seconds, you can hear a sound similar to Rumble V2's F skill regenerating. When you release it, you will be launched twice the distance you usually would.

[C] Mastery 330: [ Thunderclap and Flash ] S+

The player dashes at the desired target that they have their mouse pointed at and consecutively barrages the target, then smashing them back onto the ground with a huge AOE explosion, leaving the ground scorched with the same blue triangle dealing massive damage (similar to Quake V2's moves)

Damage per click

Here's a damage comparison of the basic attacks (click) of all 7 learnable fighting styles.
All styles were tested at 600 mastery and the player has 1525 melee points, without any damage-boosting accessories or active haki.
The comparison was performed when the game was at Update 14 (Apart from Electric Claw)

RANKING Martial Arts Styles! Fighting Style Tier List w/ Sensei Seth

What Are the Different Types of Martial Arts?

Can you name any of the different types of martial arts? There's far more to them than just karate or kung fu. In fact, numerous arranged and systemized methods of combat are practiced in the world today. While some styles are very traditional and steeped in history, others are more modern. Although there's a significant amount of overlap between the styles, their approach to fighting is unique.

Familiarize yourself with popular martial arts styles with this review that breaks down striking, grappling, throwing, weapons-based styles and more.

Striking or Stand-Up Martial Arts Styles

Striking or stand-up martial arts styles teach practitioners how to defend themselves while on their feet by using blocks, kicks, punches, knees, and elbows. The degree to which they teach each of these aspects depends on the specific style, sub-style or instructor. Also, many of these stand-up styles teach other components of fighting. Striking styles include:

Grappling or Ground-Fighting Styles

The grappling styles in martial arts focus on teaching practitioners how to take opponents to the ground, where they either achieve a dominant position or utilize a submission hold to end the fight. Grappling styles include:

Throwing or Takedown Styles

Combat always starts from a standing position. The only sure way to get a fight to the ground is through the use of takedowns and throws, and that’s where these throwing styles come into play. Note that all of the grappling styles listed above also teach takedowns, and most of these throwing styles teach grappling. Clearly, there is a significant amount of overlap, but the primary focus with these styles is takedowns. Throwing styles include:

Weapons-Based Styles

Many of the aforementioned styles use weapons in their systems. For example, Goju-ryu karate practitioners are taught to use the bokken (wooden sword). But some martial arts are centered entirely around weapons. Weapons-based styles include:

Low-Impact or Meditative Styles

Practitioners of low-impact styles of martial arts are mostly concerned with breathing techniques, fitness, and the spiritual side of their movements rather than combat in particular. However, all of these styles were once used for combat and still can be, as the 2013 Chinese-American film "The Man of Tai Chi" illustrates. Low-impact styles include:

Hybrid Fighting Styles

Most martial arts styles use techniques found in others. In recent years, many schools are simply teaching several martial arts styles together, which is known as mixed martial arts and has been popularized by contests such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The term MMA generally refers to training in a competitive style of martial arts that incorporates grappling, stand-up fighting, takedowns, throws, and submissions. In addition to the aforementioned styles, hybrid martial arts forms include the following:


Now discussing:

This list of 180+ martial arts styles provides you with details about their techniques, kata & forms, history, etc. It ranges from well-known styles (such as Karate, Taekwondo, Krav Maga, BJJ and MMA) to more unique martial arts styles (such as “Drunken Fist” Kung Fu, Sherlock Holmes’ Bartitsu and Zulu Stick Fighting). We have also broken this information into country of origin (i.e. martial arts that were developed in America, Japan, China or Korea) and martial arts styles dedicated to a “specialty” (i.e. weapons-based or grappling-based martial arts). You will find more detailed country and specialty lists below. Hopefully, this information will help you to find a martial arts style & school that is right for you. Many of these martial arts help participants to improve their overall fitness, learn self-defense, gain confidence and lose weight.

List of Martial Arts Styles – Click on the links below for more in-depth knowledge regarding that style’s techniques (i.e. unique kicks), katas & forms, history, etc.

  1. Aikido – Aikido is a Japanese martial arts style focused on redirecting the attack away from you. Aikido concentrates on throwing, joint locks, traditional Japanese weapons, etc.
  2. Aikijujitsu – Aikijujitsu is a sub-genre of Jujutsu. In contrast to Jujutsu, Aikijujitsu focuses more heavily on blending with the opponent, moving joint-locks, and other esoteric principles.
  3. American Kenpo – American Kenpo is a hybrid martial arts style. It is also known as Kenpo Karate.
  4. Angampora – Angampora is a Sri Lankan martial arts that focuses on unarmed combat, grappling, weapons and pressure points.
  5. Araki Ryu – Araki Ryu is a Japanese martial arts focused on traditional Japanese weapons such as the sword, spear, staff, etc.
  6. Bagua Zhang – The “Eight Trigram Palm” style is one of the 3 best known Wudang styles. Best known for its “circle walking”.
  7. Bajutsu – Bajutsu is a Japanese martial arts focused on military equestrianism.
  8. Bakom – Bakom (also known as Vacon) is a Peruvian martial arts that combines Jujutsu with street fighting techniques. It was designed for survival in the slums of Peru.
  9. Bajiquan – Bajiquan is a Chinese martial arts style that is famous for its explosive power and elbow strikes.
  10. Bando – Bando is a martial arts style from the Southeast Asian country of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma).
  11. Bartitsu – Bartitsu is an English martial arts that combines boxing, cane fighting, jujutsu, etc. Revival of this martial arts is due to renewed interest in Sherlock Holmes (as he was a fictional master of Bartitsu).
  12. Bataireacht (Irish Stick Fighting) – Bataireacht is the martial arts better known as Irish stick fighting.
  13. Bokh (Mongolian Wrestling) – Bokh is a traditional wrestling martial arts that was practiced by Mongol warriors. It is better known today as Mongolian Wrestling.
  14. Budokon – Budokon is a hybrid system that combines martial arts training with Yoga.
  15. Bojuka – Bojuka is a self-defense system focused on grappling and strikes to an opponent’s vital areas.
  16. Bojutsu – Bojutsu is a weapon-based martial arts focused on the long staff (Bo).
  17. Bokator – Bokator is an ancient Cambodian martial arts that includes grappling, strikes and weapons training.
  18. Boxing – Boxing is a martial arts style focused purely on powerful punches.
  19. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a Brazilian martial arts style focused on ground fighting (i.e. grappling).
  20. Bujutsu – Bujutsu is the Japanese martial arts of the Samurai.
  21. Butthan – Butthan is a martial arts from Bangladesh. It is focused on subjects such as mediation, self-defense, weapons, etc.
  22. Byakuren Kaikan – Byakuren Kaikan is a Japanese martial arts focused on full contact sparring. This style originated out of Shorinji Kempo.
  23. Catch Wrestling – Catch Wrestling is a grappling martial arts created in the late 1800s that combines techniques from wrestling, Judo, Jujutsu and other grappling martial arts.
  24. Canne de Combat – Canne de Combat is a French martial arts that focuses on a sports version of cane fighting.
  25. Capoeira – Capoeira is a very fluid and acrobatic martial arts style from Brazil.
  26. Choy Li Fut – Choy Li Fut (or Cai Li Fo) is a substyle of Kung Fu that combines long and short-range techniques.
  27. Chun Kuk Do – Chun Kuk Do is a Korean and American hybrid system created by Chuck Norris (martial artist and movie star). In 2015, this martial arts was renamed to the Chuck Norris System.
  28. Combat Hapkido – Combat Hapkido is seen as a spin-off of traditional Hapkido. It has a much greater focus on self-defense and grappling than traditional Hapkido.
  29. Combat Hopak – Combat Hopak (or Boyovyy Hopak) is an Ukrainian martial arts supposedly derived from Cossack military traditions.
  30. Coreeda – Coreeda is an Australian aboriginal martial arts focused on wrestling.
  31. Cuong Nhu – Cuong Nhu is a Vietnamese-American hybrid martial arts that combines elements from Shotokan Karate, Aikido, Judo, Wing Chun, Vovinam, Tai Chi and Boxing.
  32. Daido Juku Kudo – Daido Juku Kudo is a Japanese martial arts that practices mixed martial arts techniques while wearing a traditional gi.
  33. Daito-Ryu Aikijujutsu – Daito-Ryu Aikijujutsu is a traditional Japanese martial arts focused on unarmed combat, throws, strikes to vital areas, joint locks, etc.
  34. Dambe – Dambe is an African martial arts focused primarily on boxing but it also uses kicking techniques.
  35. Danzan Ryu – An American hybrid form of Jujutsu. It is also known as Kodenkan.
  36. Defendo Alliance – This European martial arts is focused on realistic self-defense training.
  37. Defendu – A British martial arts created by William Fairbairn and Eric Sykes. This system was taught to Office of Strategic Services agents and Allied troops in World War 2.
  38. Dumog – Dumog is a Philippine martial arts focused on wrestling.
  39. Dutch Kickboxing – Dutch Kickboxing was formally developed in the 1970s and is often seen as a modified version of Muay Thai.
  40. Eagle Claw Kung Fu – Eagle Claw Kung Fu is a Chinese martial arts known for its gripping techniques, strikes, joint locks, takedowns and pressure point attacks.
  41. Enshin Kaikan – Enshin Kaikan is a Japanese martial arts that utilizes the Sabaki method (which seeks to turn an attacker’s power against him). This martial arts involves kicks, punches, sweeps, throws, etc.
  42. Eskrima, Arnis & Kali – Eskrima is a martial arts style from the Philippines focused on the use of stick and blade weapons (i.e. Yantok). This martial arts is also known as Arnis and Kali.
  43. Fencing – Fencing today is mainly an Olympic-style sport. However, there is a sub-style called historical fencing which focuses on fencing as a martial arts.
  44. Fu Jow Pai – Fu Jow Pai is a Chinese martial famous for its “Tiger Claw” style.
  45. Gatka – Gatka is an Indian martial arts focused on weapons, especially swords.
  46. Glima – Glima is a Scandinavian wrestling-based martial arts that was created by the Vikings.
  47. Gongkwon Yusul – Gongkwon Yusul is a Korean hybrid martial arts that includes elements from Hapkido, Jujutsu, Judo and Boxing.
  48. Gungsol – Gungsol or Gungdo is a Korean martial arts focused on archery.
  49. Haidong Gumdo – Haidong Gumdo is a Korean martial arts focused on sword techniques. It contains elements similar to Kenjutsu and Iaido.
  50. Hanbojutsu – Hanbojutsu is a martial arts that utilizes the Hanbo (a 3 foot wooden staff).
  51. Han Mu Do – Han Mu Do (or Hanmudo) is a Korean martial arts style. It is seen as a “smoother” and more “open hand” cousin to Hapkido. Hanmudo students also train with weapons.
  52. Hapkido – Hapkido is a Korean martial arts style focused on punches, kicks, throws and joint locks.


  1. HEMA – Historical European Martial Arts – HEMA refers to mainly sword-based martial arts based on techniques used in Europe from around the 1300s to the 1800s.
  2. Hojojutsu – Hojojutsu is a Japanese martial arts that uses ropes to restrain or disable an opponent.
  3. Hung Ga – Hung Ga (or Hung Gar) is a southern Chinese martial arts that combines 5 animal styles (Crane, Dragon, Leopard, Snake and Tiger).
  4. Huyen Langlon – Huyen Langlon is a martial arts from northeastern India.
  5. Hwa Rang Do – Hwa Rang Do is a Korean martial arts that includes sparring, self-defense, weapons training and grappling.
  6. Iaido – Iaido is a Japanese martial arts focused on the drawing of a sword (bokken, iaito or shinken) from its scabbard. This martial arts relies heavily on katas (forms) and does not utilize sparring.
  7. Iaijutsu – Iaijutsu is the combat version of Iaido.
  8. Icho-Ryu – Icho-Ryu is a fusion of martial arts such as Aikido, Goju Ryu Karate, Jujutsu, Judo and Aikijujutsu. It was created to meet the needs of law enforcement officers.
  9. Itto-Ryu – A Japanese martial arts focused on the sword. There are many sub-styles of Itto-Ryu and this martial arts had significant influence on the development of modern Kendo.
  10. Jailhouse Rock – Jailhouse Rock (JHR) is a martial arts system that was developed in the US prison system.
  11. Jeet Kune Do – Jeet Kune Do is a martial arts style created by Bruce Lee (martial artist and movie star).
  12. Jojutsu – Jojutsu (or Jodo) is a Japanese martial arts focused on the short staff (Jo).
  13. Judo – Judo is a Japanese martial arts style focused on grappling, joint locks and throws.
  14. Jujutsu – Jujutsu is a Japanese martial arts style focused on joint locks, holds and throws. It tries to redirect or manipulate the force of an attack in order to defeat the attacker.
  15. Jukendo – Jukendo is a Japanese martial arts focused on the bayonet.
  16. Juttejutsu – Juttejutsu is a Japanese martial arts that focuses on the martial arts weapon known as the Jutte (Jitte).
  17. Kajukenbo – This is an American martial arts style that combines techniques from many different martial arts such as Judo, Karate, Eskrima, etc. It was designed to be effective in real world self-defense situations and street fights.
  18. Kalaripayattu – Kalaripayattu is an ancient martial arts style from India.
  19. KAPAP – KAPAP is the Hebrew acronym for Face-To-Face-Combat. While not as well known as Krav Maga, this Israeli martial arts system is used by a number of Israel’s elite military units.
  20. Karate – Karate is a Japanese martial arts style focused on punches, hand/elbow strikes, knee strikes and kicks. Major Karate styles include the following:
  21. Keijojutsu – Keijojutsu is a Japanese martial arts focused on police stick fighting (batons).
  22. Kendo – Kendo is a Japanese martial arts style focused on sword fighting (i.e. Bokken and Katana).
  23. Kenjutsu – Kenjutsu is a Japanese martial arts style focused on sword techniques. In contrast to Kendo, Kenjutsu is less focused on sparring.
  24. Kenpo or Kempo – Please visit the American Kenpo section.
  25. Keysi – The Keysi Fighting Method is a self-defense system “created to act and react while defending yourself”. This system has been featured in movies such as the Batman series that starred Christian Bale.
  26. Kickboxing – Kickboxing is a martial arts style focused on powerful kicks and punches.
  27. Kinomichi – Kinomichi is a martial arts style that originated in France and was developed by one of the students of the founder of Aikido.
  28. Kino Mutai – Kino Mutai (Kina Mutai) is a Philippines martial arts that uses unconventional tactics such as biting and eye-gouging.
  29. Kobudo – A Japanese (Okinawan) martial arts focused on weapons training. Weapons used include the bo staff, sai, tonfa and nunchaku.
  30. Kokondo – Kokondo is a style that combines techniques from Karate and Jujutsu.
  31. Krabi-Krabong – Krabi-Krabong is a weapon-based martial arts from Thailand.
  32. Krav Maga – Krav Maga is a martial arts style from Israel focused on winning in “real life” combat situations.
  33. Kuk Sool Won – Kuk Sool Won is a Korean martial arts focused on strikes, kicks, grappling, joint locks, weapons training and healing techniques.
  34. Kumdo – Kumdo is a Korean sword-based martial arts which is similar to Kendo.
  35. Kung Fu – Kung Fu is a Chinese martial arts style focused on hand/arm strikes, kicks and even weapons training. Please see the main Chinese martial arts styles section for more Kung Fu styles but listed below are a few of the many different Kung Fu styles:
  36. Kung Fu To’a – Kung Fu To’a is an Iranian martial arts style that combines Kung Fu and Yoga.
  37. Kuntao – Kuntao is a southeast Asian martial arts that utilizes hand strikes, kicking techniques, grappling and martial arts weapons (i.e. sword, staff and spear).
  38. Kyudo – Kyudo is a Japanese martial arts style focused on archery.
  39. Kyujutsu
  40. Kyuk Too Ki – Korean kickboxing.
  41. Kyusho Jitsu – A martial arts focused on targeting pressure points.
  42. Laamb – Laamb is a Senegalese martial arts that combines wrestling and punches.
  43. Lathi Khela – Lathi Khela is a Bangladeshi stick-fighting martial arts.
  44. Lerdrit – Lerdrit is a military martial arts used by the Royal Thai Army.
  45. Leopard Kung Fu (Bao Quan) – Leopard Kung Fu is a Chinese martial arts that focuses on aggressive speed and agility to defeat an opponent.
  46. Lethwei – Lethwei is a Myanmar (Burma) martial arts that is similar to Muay Thai and Kickboxing. However, Lethwei has less restrictions as this martial arts allows techniques such as headbutts.
  47. LimaLama – A martial arts from Samoa.
  48. Linh Quyen Dao – Linh Quyen Dao is a Vietnamese martial arts.
  49. Lua – Lua is a traditional Hawaiian martial arts that focuses on bone breaking, boxing, wrestling, weapons, etc.


  1. Luta Livre – Luta Livre is a Brazilian grappling martial arts known in Portuguese as “Free Fighting”.
  2. Malla Yuddha – Malla Yuddha is an Indian and Southeast Asian martial arts focused on combat wrestling.
  3. Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) – The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program is focused on unarmed combat, knife training, bayonet techniques, etc.
  4. Mau Rakau – Mau Rakau is a weapons-based martial arts developed by the Maori of New Zealand.
  5. Military Martial Arts – Military martial arts are martial arts styles used by and/or developed for the military. They are designed for real-life combat situations versus sport-based martial arts that ban certain techniques in order to avoid injuries.
  6. Mixed Martial Arts – Mixed Martial Arts utilizes techniques from a variety of different martial arts styles (i.e. wresting, jiu-jitsu, boxing, karate, etc.) in order to defeat an opponent.
  7. Monkey Kung Fu (Hou Quan) – Monkey Kung Fu is an unorthodox and acrobatic style used to disorient and attack opponents from unusual angles and positions.
  8. Muay Boran – Muay Boran is a Thai martial arts. Modern Muay Thai evolved from this martial arts style.
  9. Muay Thai – Muay Thai is a martial arts style from Thailand. It is similar to kickboxing but also involves elbow and knee strikes. Given its powerful kicks and knee strikes, Muay Thai is often an element of MMA training.
  10. Naginatajutsu – Naginatajutsu is a Japanese martial arts style focused on the long pole weapon known as the Naginata.
  11. Nam Hong Son – Nam Hong Son is a Vietnamese martial arts.
  12. Nhat Nam – Nhat Nam is a Vietnamese martial arts.
  13. Ninjutsu – Ninjutsu is a martial arts style developed from the techniques used by ninjas (Japanese spies and assassins).
  14. Nippon Kempo – Nippon Kempo is a Japanese martial arts that uses punches, kicks, joint locks and grappling techniques.
  15. Niten Ichi-Ryu – Niten Ichi-Ryu is a two sword martial arts style created by the famous Japanese samurai, Miyamoto Musashi.
  16. Niyuddha – Niyuddha is an ancient Indian martial arts focused on kicking, punching and throwing.
  17. Nunchaku Do – Nunchaku Do is a martial arts focused on the sports usage of the Nunchaku(Nunchucks).
  18. Nunchakujutsu
  19. Okichitaw – Okichitaw is a hybrid martial arts that combines the traditional fighting techniques used by the Cree Indians (Native Americans) with techniques from martial arts such as Taekwondo and Judo.
  20. Panantukan – Panantukan is the boxing component of Filipino martial arts. Panantukan is not a sport, but rather a street-oriented fighting system. This martial arts is also known as Suntukan, Pangamot, Pakamot and Mano-Mano.
  21. Pankration – This Greek martial arts style combines grappling, kicking techniques and boxing. It was part of the first Olympics in 648 BC.
  22. Pehlwani – Pehlwani is an Indian martial arts focused on wrestling & grappling techniques.
  23. Pencak Silat – Pencak Silat is the name used to refer to a variety of Indonesian martial arts.
  24. Pradal Serey – Pradal Serey is a Cambodian martial arts similar to Muay Thai and Kickboxing. Pradal Serey is well known for its use of elbow strikes in order to win a fight.
  25. Praying Mantis Kung Fu – Praying Mantis Kung Fu is known for its redirection, joint manipulation, pressure point attacks and trapping tactics.
  26. Quarterstaff – The British martial arts that uses a 6-9 foot wooden staff. Famous from the tales of Robin Hood.
  27. Qwan Ki Do – Qwan Ki Do (Quan Khi Do) is a Vietnamese martial arts founded by Pham Xuan Tong in the 1960s.
  28. Sambo – Sambo is a Russian martial arts style. There are two main types of Sambo; Combat Sambo and Sports Sambo.
  29. Sanshou (or Sanda) – Sanshou is a martial arts style developed for the Chinese military. It is focused on combat training and combines elements of kung fu, grappling and self-defense techniques.
  30. Savate (French Kickboxing) – Savate is a French martial arts style focused on boxing and kicking. No knee strikes are allowed.
  31. Schwingen – Schwingen is a Swiss martial arts focused on grappling.
  32. Shaolin Kempo Karate – Shaolin Kempo Karate is a hybrid martial arts that combines techniques from Shaolin Kung Fu, Karate and Asian wrestling.
  33. Shaolin Kung Fu – Shaolin Kung Fu is a well known style of Kung Fu. This martial arts was developed by the monks at the Shaolin Temple in China.
  34. Shin Kicking – Shin Kicking is an English martial arts or combat sports where the contestants kick each other in the shins until one withdraws from the contest.
  35. Shindo Jinen Ryu – Shindo Jinen Ryu is a martial arts that combines elements of Karate, Aikido & Jujutsu.
  36. Shintaido – Shintaido is a martial arts that combines Karate, Kenjutsu and Bojutsu with spiritual and mediation elements.
  37. Shootfighting – Shootfighting is a combat sport similar to Mixed Martial Arts. It is focused on techniques from “Muay Thai Kickboxing and total body Submission Grappling”.
  38. Shooto – This Japanese martial arts style is similar to mixed martial arts and was created by Satoru Sayama.
  39. Shorinji Kempo – A Japanese martial arts that combines personal growth, health and spirituality with self-defense techniques such as punches, kicks, escapes, throws, etc. It is seen as a modified Japanese version of Shaolin Kung Fu and was established in 1947.
  40. Shuai Jiao – A Chinese martial arts focused mainly on wrestling and grappling techniques.
  41. Shuri-Ryu – Shuri-Ryu is a martial arts that combines elements of Karate and Kung Fu.
  42. Sibpalki – Sibpalki is a Korean martial arts that teaches close combat skills that were utilized in the late 1700s.
  43. Sikaran – Sikaran is a Philippines martial arts focused almost exclusively on kicking.
  44. Silambam – Silambam is an Indian martial arts focused primarily on staff fighting.
  45. Silat – Silat is a Southeast Asian martial arts style focused on strikes (i.e. elbow and knee), throws, takedowns and weapons training.
  46. Siljun Dobup – Siljun Dobup is a sword-based martial arts based on Japanese and Korean traditions.
  47. Singlestick – This ancient English martial arts uses a wooden rod to practice techniques that were originally designed to teach cutlass fighting to sailors.
  48. Small Circle Jujitsu – Small Circle Jujitsu is an American martial arts. It is a hybrid grappling system and utilizes modified techniques from martial arts such as Jujutsu, Judo and others.
  49. Sojutsu – Sojutsu is a Japanese martial arts focused on spear fighting.
  50. Soo Bahk Do – Soo Bahk Do is a Korean martial arts that grew out of Tang Soo Do.
  51. Special Combat Aggressive Reactionary System (SCARS) – This martial arts program was taught to US Navy Seals in the 1980s and 1990s.
  52. Spochan – Spochan is a martial arts that uses “air soft” weapons to practice various sword & stick-based fighting techniques.
  53. Ssireum – Ssireum is a Korean martial arts focused on wrestling.


  1. Sumo – Sumo is a Japanese martial arts focused on wrestling.
  2. Systema – Systema is a martial arts style used by some Russian special forces (i.e. Spetsnaz).
  3. Taekkyeon – Taekkyeon ia a Korean martial arts focused on low kicks, leg sweeps, trips, pushes, etc.
  4. Taekwondo – Taekwondo is a Korean martial arts style focused primarily on punches, blocks, strikes and kicks (i.e. spinning hook kick).
  5. Tahtib – Tahtib is an Egyptian martial arts focused on stick fighting. Students generally train with a 4 foot wooden stick.
  6. Tai Chi – Tai Chi is often seen as a “gentle” martial art because many seniors use its slow movements in order to improve their health & balance and to reduce stress.
  7. Taido – Taido is a Japanese martial arts that combines elements of Karate with gymnastic maneuvers & dynamic movement.
  8. Taiho Jutsu – Taiho Jutsu is a Japanese martial arts that was originally designed to help feudal police arrest armed criminals.
  9. Tang Soo Do – Tang Soo Do is a Korean martial arts style that is similar to Taekwondo and Karate.
  10. Tantojutsu
  11. Teukgong Moosool – Teukgong Moosool (or Tukong Moosul) is a martial arts that was developed by South Korean special forces units.
  12. Tessenjutsu – Tessenjutsu is a Japanese martial arts based on the use of Tessen (war fans).
  13. Thien Mon Dao – Thien Mon Dao is a Vietnamese martial arts.
  14. To-Shin Do – A “modernized” version of Ninjutsu.
  15. US Army’s Modern Army Combatives Program – This is the martial arts program taught by the U.S. Army.
  16. Vale Tudo – Vale Tudo is a Brazilian martial arts system that is similar to Mixed Martial Arts but with even fewer rules. The limited number of rules can result in more injuries during Vale Tudo contests.
  17. Varma Kalai – Varma Kalai is an Indian martial arts focused on pressure points. They claim that is also used for healing applications.
  18. Vovinam – Vovinam is a Vietnamese martial arts style.
  19. Wing Chun – Wing Chun is a Chinese martial arts style focused on strikes, grappling and weapons training.
  20. Won Hwa Do – Won Hwa Do (or WonHwaDo) is a Korean martial arts known for its circular techniques.
  21. Wrestling – Wrestling, while used mainly for sports today, is an ancient martial arts style of fighting. It focuses on grappling, throws and “pinning” your opponent.
  22. Wushu – Wushu is the modern-day sports version of Kung Fu. Wushu was developed in the 1950s as an attempt to unify the multitude of traditional Chinese martial arts into one national style.
  23. Xtreme Martial Arts – Xtreme Martial Arts (XMA) combines gymnastics with martial arts techniques in order to create acrobatic martial arts “tricks”.
  24. Yabusame – Yabusame is a Japanese martial arts focused on archery while mounted on horseback.
  25. Yamanni-Ryu – Yamanni-Ryu is a martial arts style that focuses on training with Okinawan weapons (Kobudo).
  26. Yaw Yan – Yaw Yan is a Philippine kickboxing martial arts. It also utilizes grappling techniques and defenses against weapons.
  27. Yongmudo – Yongmudo (Yongmoodo) is a Korean martial arts style that combines techniques from martial arts such as Taekwondo, Judo and Ssireum.
  28. Yoseikan Budo – Yoseikan Budo is a Japanese martial arts system that combines a number of different martial arts including Aikido, Jujutsu, Judo, Karate, Kobudo and Boxing.
  29. Zui Quan – Zui Quan is better known as the “Drunken Fist” style of Kung Fu.
  30. Zulu Stick Fighting – Zulu stick fighting is a South African weapons-based martial arts.

Kendo – Japanese Martial Arts Style

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons via its Creative Commons license

Martial Arts Styles by Country of Origin

Martial Arts Styles by Specialty

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