Three martial arts masters, karate, taekwondo practice. Smoke background

There are hundreds of martial arts styles in the world. Some are more popular than others, but all have unique benefits and drawbacks. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the most common martial arts styles and what makes them so special.

  • Tang Soo Do
  • Boxing
  • Capoeira
  • Kickboxing
  • Karate
  • Kung Fu
  • Muay Thai
  • Krav Maga
  • Taekwondo
  • Jeet Kune Do
  • MMA
  • LINE (combat system)
  • Silat
  • Vale Tudo
  • Wing Chun
  • Systema
  • Eskrima
  • Sumo
  • Wrestling
  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
  • Luta Livre
  • Russian Sambo
  • Hapkido
  • Judo
  • Shuai Jiao
  • Aikido
  • Jujutsu
  • Tai Chi
  • Baguazhang
  • Kendo
  • Iaido

Tang So Do

Tang Soo Do is a traditional Korean martial art that dates back to the Silla Kingdom (57 BCE-935 CE). It is a system of self-defense that incorporates elements of both Karate and Taekwondo. The name Tang Soo Do translate into “the way of the warrior.”

The art emphasizes correct form and powerful techniques, and practitioners strive for mental and physical harmony. Tang Soo Do is often practiced in a POOMSAE (forms) format, which helps students to develop balance, focus, and concentration.

In addition to its many physical benefits, Tang Soo Do also teaches discipline, respect, and honor. Practitioners of Tang Soo Do strive to live by the tenets of courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and indomitable spirit.


Western boxing, also known as orthodox boxing, is a form of boxing that is characterized using fists held in gloves to strike opponents. The history of western boxing can be traced back to the 18th century when it was developed as a sport in England.

Since then, it has become one of the most popular forms of boxing in the world, with professional and amateur competitions taking place in many countries.


Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art that combines dance, music, and acrobatics. It is a very flashy style that is often used for entertainment purposes.


Kickboxing is a popular form of exercise that combines elements of boxing, karate, and Muay Thai. While the exact origins of kickboxing are unclear, the sport has roots in Asian martial arts and was developed in Japan in the 1970s.

Unlike traditional boxing, kickboxing allows the use of both punches and kicks, making it a full-body workout. In addition, kickboxing is often taught as a self-defense system, teaching practitioners how to effectively defend themselves in a variety of situations.


Karate is a martial art that originated in the Ryukyu Islands in what is now Okinawa, Japan. It is known for its striking techniques that are delivered without punches or kicks, but instead with open-handed strikes, elbows, knees, and feet.

Karate practitioners are also known for their use of pressure points, which can be used to disable an opponent. The word karate means “empty hand” in Japanese, and the art emphasizes using one’s fists, feet, and elbows to defend oneself rather than using weapons.

Kung Fu

Kung fu is a centuries-old Chinese martial art that combines physical exercise, self-defense, and storytelling. Also known as wushu or gongfu, kung fu has a rich history and culture that is still practiced today.

Kung fu practitioners use their bodies to mimic the movements of animals, such as tigers, dragons, and snakes. This helps to develop strength, speed, and flexibility. In addition to its practical applications, kung fu also teaches discipline, respect, and patience.

Muay Thai

Muay Thai is a combat sport from Thailand that uses stand-up striking along with various clinching techniques.

Muay Thai became widespread internationally in the twentieth century when practitioners defeated notable practitioners of other martial arts.

A professional Muay Thai fighter typically weighs anywhere between 115 to 147 pounds. Muay Thai fighters use punches, kicks, elbows, and knees in order to strike their opponents. clinch-fighting, throws, and sweeps are also incorporated.

Krav Maga

Krav Maga is a self-defense system that was developed in Israel. It is a hand-to-hand combat system that focuses on practicality and effectiveness.

This fighting art Krav Maga has been designed to be used in real-world situations and is constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of its users.

The system emphasizes the use of natural body movements and simple techniques to defend against attacks. Krav Maga is not a sport; it is a reality-based system that is designed for self-protection.

The goal of Krav Maga is to neutralize an attacker as quickly as possible and to help the defender escape to safety.


Taekwondo is an art that was developed during the 1940s and 1950s by many different Korean martial artists.

The focus of this combative sport lies in head-height kicks, jumping/spinning ones as well as fast kicking techniques; it also includes self-defense which can be enjoyable but challenging at times!

Jeet Kune Do

While there are many martial arts styles that focus on kickboxing, Jeet Kune Do is unique in its incorporation of different techniques from different martial arts.

‘Developed by Bruce Lee, Jeet Kune Do is often described as “the way of the intercepting fist.”

Jeet Kune Do utilizes techniques from a variety of martial arts, including fencing, boxing, and Wing Chun. As a result, practitioners of Jeet Kune Do are able to make use of their opponent’s momentum to deliver powerful counterattacks.

Because of its effectiveness, Jeet Kune Do has been adopted by military and law enforcement organizations around the world.


Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a combat sport that permits full contact that allows both grappling and striking, where competitors use techniques from other martial arts or self-defense. MMA is a relatively new sport, with its roots in the early 20th century. The first recorded MMA match took place in Japan in 1936.

MMA has grown in popularity over the past few decades, with organizations such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) holding events around the world. The UFC is the largest MMA organization and features some of the most popular fighters in the world.

MMA is a dangerous sport and has been linked to serious injuries and even death. However, it remains popular among fans and participants alike.

LINE (combat system)

LINE is a combat system for close-quarters engagement that was developed by the US Marine Corps. LINE means “Linear In-fighting Neural-override Engagement”, and it is based on a variety of martial arts, including karate, boxing, Muay Thai, and Judo.

LINE was designed to give Marines an edge in close-quarters combat situations, and it has been used in a variety of real-world scenarios, including the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan.

The system focuses on strikes and grappling techniques that can be used to quickly take down an opponent.

Marines who have been trained in LINE are often able to subdue or disable an enemy without having to resort to deadly force. As a result, LINE has become an important tool in the Marine Corps arsenal, and it has helped to save countless lives.


Silat is a traditional form of martial arts that originated in Southeast Asia. It is known for its distinctive footwork and fluid, flowing movements.

Silat practitioners use a variety of techniques, including strikes, kicks, throws, and joint locks. Silat can be used for self-defense.

Some silat schools also teach weapons training, such as using knives, sticks, and swords. Regardless of its form, Silat is a unique martial art that is enjoyed by practitioners around the world.

Vale Tudo

Vale Tudo is a Brazilian martial art that emphasizes fighting without the use of weapons or armor. It is also known for its no-holds-barred approach, which allows strikes to the head, groin, and other sensitive areas.

Vale Tudo events are typically overseen by a referee, but there are no weight classes or time limits. This makes for an intense and often brutal competition, where anything goes, and the only goal is to come out on top.

While not as widely practiced as other martial arts, vale tudo has a dedicated following in Brazil and around the world. For those looking for an extreme test of their fighting skills, there is no better proving ground than a vale tudo match.

Wing Chun

Wing Chun is a type of Chinese martial art known for its focus on close-range combat.

Wing Chun practitioners believe that the quickest way to victory is to disable an opponent’s ability to fight, and they train to end a conflict as quickly as possible.

This martial art is often associated with aggression, practitioners also place an emphasis on self-defense and control. As a result, Wing Chun has become one of the most popular martial arts in the world, with students of all ages and backgrounds flocking to learn its techniques.


Systema is a Russian martial art that has its roots in ancient Eastern combat systems. The name “Systema” comes from the Greek word for “system.”

All Systema practitioners believe that the body is an integrated system and that each part must work together in order for the whole to be effective.

As a result, they focus on developing natural movements that are not constrained by rigid techniques.

This allows them to be more adaptable and efficient in their use of force, and to better defend themselves against multiple opponents.

In addition to its self-defense applications, Systema is also used by Russian special forces and military personnel, as it is believed to enhance their ability to handle high-stress situations.


Eskrima, also known as Kali or Arnis, is a traditional Filipino martial art that emphasizes the use of weapons, such as sticks and knives.

It is one of the most devastating and effective close-combat systems in the world. Eskrima training often focuses on techniques for disarming an opponent and using their own weapons against them.

Because of this, eskrima practitioners are some of the most dangerous fighters in the world. In addition to its effectiveness in combat, eskrima is also a beautiful and graceful martial art, with its movements often compared to those of dance.

Whether used for self-defense or sport, eskrima is a martial art that is sure to impress.


Sumo is a competitive full-contact wrestling sport where two wrestlers, or “sumotori” face off in a circular ring, attempting to force each other out of the ring or touch the ground with any part of their bodies other than the soles of their feet.

The modern sport of sumo originated in Japan and is practiced professionally in Japan and Mongolia. Sumo’s rules are complex and knowing them is key to understanding sumo matches.

For example, wrestlers must wear only traditional mawashi belts, and they must adhere to strict rituals before entering the ring.

These traditions are designed to promote respect and discipline, and they play an important role in sumo culture.

In addition to its status as a professional sport, sumo is also considered a form of martial art, and it has been practiced for centuries as a way to train body and mind.

Today, sumo remains an iconic part of Japanese culture, and its popularity continues to grow around the world.


Wrestling is a physical competition between two combatants in which each tries to throw, trip or pin the other person to the ground.

The object of the sport is to control one’s own body and that of one’s opponent. Though there are many different types of wrestling, all forms involve grappling with an opponent using various techniques to gain and maintain control.

Wrestling is considered an ancient sport, with references to it dating back as far as the Iliad. Today, it remains a popular form of entertainment and exercise around the world.

With its mix of physicality, strategy, and showmanship, wrestling is a unique and exciting way to test one’s strength, skill, and resolve.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art, combat sport, and self-defense system that focuses on grappling and ground fighting. It was developed in the early 20th century by Japanese jujutsu master Mitsuyo Maeda.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu later became its own art through the influence of Maeda’s students, including the Gracie family.

BJJ promotes the concept that a smaller, weaker person can successfully defend themselves against a bigger, stronger assailant by using leverage and proper technique; most notably by applying joint locks and chokeholds to defeat them.

BJJ training can be used for sport grappling tournaments (gi and no-gi) and mixed martial arts (MMA) competitions or self-defense.

Luta Livre

Luta livre is a style of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) that emphasizes takedowns and submissions over the position. It was developed by catch wrestlers in Brazil in the early 20th century and has since been adapted and incorporated into BJJ.

Luta livre practitioners typically use a variety of different techniques to take their opponents to the ground, including trips, sweeps, and throws.

Once on the ground, they will use a combination of joint locks and chokes to force a submission. Luta livre is most practiced in Brazil, but there are also schools in Europe and North America.

While it is not as widely known as other styles of BJJ, luta livre has produced some notable champions, such as Marcelo Garcia and Rodrigo Gracie.

Russian Sambo

Russian Sambo is a Russian martial art and combat sport. It originated in the Soviet Union in the 1920s and was developed from several existing oriental and occidental fighting styles.

Although sambo is often described as a form of submission wrestling, it comprises two disciplines: sport (sportivnaya) sambo and self-defense (Combat Sambo).

The main difference between the two is that Combat Sambo allows for strikes, while sport sambo does not. Sambo translates as “self-defense without weapons”.

The Soviet Army used sambo for hand-to-hand combat training during World War II, and the art subsequently spread to other Communist countries such as Bulgaria, Cuba, East Germany, Poland, and Romania.

Following the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, sambo continues to be practiced throughout the world.

It should be noted that there are also many non-Russian forms of wrestling that use the word “sambo” in their names, such as American Sambo and Japanese Sambo; however, these are not related to this Russian martial art.


Hapkido is a Korean martial art and self-defense system that uses joint locks, pressure points, throws, and strikes to defend oneself.

The word “hapkido” is made up of three Chinese characters: “ha” meaning “harmony,” “ki” meaning “power,” and “do” meaning “the way.” Thus, hapkido can be translated as “the way of coordinated power.”

It is often described as a “soft” style of martial art, in contrast to the “harder” styles such as karate or taekwondo.

Hapkido emphasizes using an opponent’s energy against them rather than meeting force with force. This makes it an ideal self-defense system for people of all sizes and strengths.

While hapkido is primarily a defensive art, it also contains elements of offensive techniques, such as strikes and throws. This makes it a well-rounded system for both everyday self-defense and competition.


Judo is a Japanese martial art that emphasizes throwing and grappling. Judo practitioners, or judoka, wear a white uniform called a gi.

The gi consists of a jacket and pants. The jacket is fastened with a wide belt, and the pants are tied at the waist with a drawstring. Judo training focuses on throws, takedowns, joint locks, and choking techniques.

Training also includes groundwork, or ne-waza, which consists of pinning an opponent to the ground. Randori, or free practice, is an important part of judo training. In randori, judoka work on their techniques against resisting opponents.

Judo competitions are held in weight divisions, and judoka can earn ranks by progressing through a series of examinations.

Judo was developed in the late 19th century by Jigoro Kano. It is now practiced around the world and is an Olympic sport.

Shuai Jiao

Shuai Jiao is a Chinese martial art that specializes in takedowns and wrestling. It is one of the oldest continuously practiced martial arts in the world, with a history that dates back over 3000 years.

Although it was originally developed for military purposes, Shuai Jiao is now primarily practiced as a sport. It is a relatively safe form of martial arts, as it does not involve striking or kicking. instead, its focus is on throws and joint locks.

As a result, Shuai Jiao is an excellent way to learn self-defense while also getting a good workout.

Whether you are looking to compete in tournaments or just want to learn how to defend yourself, Shuai Jiao is an excellent martial art to consider.


Aikido is a martial art that focuses on using an opponent’s own force against them. It is based on the idea of redirecting an opponent’s attack, rather than opposing it head-on. This makes it a very versatile art, as it can be used in both self-defense and combat situations.


Jujutsu is a Japanese martial art that emphasizes using an opponent’s own momentum and weight against them.

Practitioners of jujutsu seek to take advantage of the fact that, in a real-life situation, an attacker will likely be more interested in causing harm than defending themselves.

Jujutsu, therefore, focuses on throws, joint locks, and other techniques that can disable or immobilize an attacker while minimizing the risk of serious injury to the defender.

Though it is sometimes used for self-defense, jujutsu is also commonly practiced as a sport. In competition, jujutsu matches typically involve two participants fighting using either striking or grappling techniques.

The goal is to either score points through successful strikes or to force one’s opponent to submit through a chokehold or joint lock.

Jujutsu is an ancient martial art with a long and rich history. Today, it remains popular among those interested in both self-defense and martial arts competition.

Tai Chi

Tai chi is a traditional Chinese martial art that emphasizes slow and fluid movements. practitioners of tai chi believe that slow, controlled movements can help to improve balance, flexibility, and strength.

In addition, tai chi is often praised for its ability to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Tai chi is typically practiced in a group setting, with each student following the lead of the instructor.

However, it can also be practiced individually. The basic principles of tai chi can be applied to other martial arts, such as kung fu or wushu. As a result, tai chi is sometimes referred to as “moving meditation.”


Baguazhang is a Chinese martial art that emphasizes Internal Style fighting. The literal meaning of Baguazhang is “eight trigrams palm”, referring to the 8 palm methods derived from the I Ching.

These palms correspond to the 8 trigrams of the I Ching, which are symbols that represent different aspects of nature.

Baguazhang practitioners use circling motions to generate power and build internal energy (qi). Baguazhang training includes practicing forms (taolu), attacks, defenses, qigong exercises, and grappling.

Most Baguazhang schools also teach Chin Na, which are techniques for controlling or locking an opponent. Baguazhang is considered an Internal martial art because it focuses on developing qi (internal energy) and developing power from the center of the body.

External martial arts focus on developing muscular power and tend to rely more on brute force. Baguazhang practitioners believe that by developing internal power, they will be able to better defend themselves against larger and stronger opponents.


At its core, kendo is a martial art that uses swords. Unlike other sword-based martial arts, however, kendo focuses on using the sword as a means of self-discipline and personal development, rather than simply as a weapon.

The ultimate goal of kendo is to strike an opponent with the sword in a way that both demonstrates one’s skill and causes no injury.

In order to achieve this, practitioners must undergo years of training and adhere to a strict code of conduct.

Kendo also has a strong spiritual component, and practitioners often seek to develop a sense of inner peace and harmony through their training. As a result, kendo is much more than just a martial art – it is a way of life.


Iaido is a martial art that emphasizes the speed and accuracy of drawing the sword, cutting or striking an opponent, and then returning the sword to the scabbard.

The word “iaido” is derived from three Japanese characters – “ai” (to meet or come together), “ki” (mental focus or spirit), and “do” (the way).

Thus, Iaido can be translated as “the way of mental focus and meeting or coming together.” Iaido is a modern martial art, as it was only established in the early 20th century.

However, it draws upon techniques that were developed centuries ago. Iaido is primarily a solo activity, as practitioners typically train by themselves. This allows them to focus on their own form and movements.

However, Iaido can also be practiced with a partner. In addition to physical techniques, Iaido also emphasizes the mental aspects of combat such as situational awareness and calmness under pressure. As a result, Iaido is often described as a “mind-body” martial art.

What is stand-up fighting martial arts?

Stand-up fighting martial arts is a style of fighting that uses techniques that are performed while standing.

This type of martial arts can be used in a fight to deliver powerful strikes and kicks, as well as to defend against attacks.

  • Tang Soo Do
  • Boxing
  • Capoeira
  • Kickboxing
  • Karate
  • Kung Fu
  • Muay Thai
  • Krav Maga
  • Taekwondo
  • Jeet Kune Do
  • MMA
  • LINE (combat system)
  • Silat
  • Vale Tudo
  • Wing Chun
  • Systema

What is a throwing or ground fighting martial arts

Throwing or ground fighting martial arts are styles of martial arts that focus on using throws and takedowns to take an opponent to the ground. Once on the ground you then use ground fighting techniques to defeat them.

Ground fighting martial arts can be very effective in a fight, as they can allow you to take down an opponent quickly and then control them on the ground.

To use ground fighting martial arts effectively in a fight, you need to be proficient in both the throws and takedowns of the style, as well as the ground fighting techniques.

You also need to be relatively strong and athletic, as you will need to be able to execute the throws and takedowns effectively against a resisting opponent.

  • Sumo
  • Wrestling
  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
  • Catch wrestling
  • Luta Livre
  • Russian Sambo
  • Hapkido
  • Judo
  • Shuai Jiao
  • Aikido
  • Jujutsu

What are low-impact martial arts?

Low-impact martial arts is a form of martial arts that is designed to minimize the amount of force that is used. This can make it a safer option for people who are new to martial arts, or who are looking for a gentler form of self-defense.

Low-impact martial arts can also be a good option for people who are recovering from an injury, or who are dealing with health concerns that limit their ability to participate in more strenuous activities.

  • Tai Chi
  • Baguazhang

What is weapon fighting martial arts?

Weapon fighting martial arts is a type of martial arts that focuses on using weapons to defend yourself and attack your opponent.

There are many different types of weapon-fighting martial arts, each with its own techniques and strategies. Some of the most common weapons used in martial arts include swords, knives, and staffs.

To use a weapon in martial arts, you first need to learn how to properly hold and handle it. You also need to be familiar with the different techniques and moves that are specific to that weapon.

Then, you need to practice using the weapon in a variety of scenarios, such as against an imaginary opponent or against a sparring partner.

  • Kendo
  • Iaido
  • Escrima Stick Fighting


So, what is the best stand-up fighting martial art? The answer to this question depends on your own personal preferences and goals. If you are looking for a style that is focused on delivering powerful strikes and kicks, then Muay Thai or Karate may be a good choice for you.

If you are interested in learning weapon-based martial arts, then Kendo or Iaido may be a better option.

And if you are looking for a low-impact martial art that is gentle and safe, Tai Chi may be right for you. Ultimately, the best martial art style is the one that meets your individual needs and interests.

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