Which Martial Art is Most Popular in the World?

You may be wondering what martial art to take. The question you may be asking is which martial art is the most popular in the world? The most popular martial art in the world is TaeKwonDo. This is not the only martial art to look at when trying to figure out which one to take. Many parents put their younger kids in martial arts to help with self-defense. It is a great way to start teaching someone to protect themselves. However, for many, martial arts are more than just a hobby. It is a lifestyle and something that they are very passionate about and practices every day. There are even some people who compete in martial arts at the Olympics. There are many types of martial arts created in many different countries. There are many types of martial arts practiced every day. Here are some examples of different types of martial arts, and which one is the most popular.


This is the most typical form of martial arts practiced in the US. Karate mostly focuses on punching, kicking, and strikes using a knee and elbow. There are many different forms of karate. Martial arts movies in the 1960s and 1970s caused many people to want to learn this martial art. This is when many karate schools began teaching. I know that even in small towns, you can find at least one or two karate centers teaching lessons. It became popular quickly. Many times, in movies, karate or boxing are portrayed as the main types of martial arts. A perfect example would be the “Karate Kid” which came out in 1984 in the United States featuring a little boy learning karate and life lessons from an older mentor. Karate originated in Japan and was also the influence of the martial art Kung Fu which was created in China. It was created centuries ago and is definitely one of the top most popular martial arts, but not the first.

Kung Fu

Like I mentioned earlier, Kung Fu was influenced by karate. This is another form of martial arts that is popular across the world. Kung Fu was originated in China and refers to Chinese martial arts. Once again, there are also many different forms of this type of martial arts. There are many modern referenced made to this martial art.  A good example would be the movie “Kung Fu Panda”. Kung Fu even had a large influence on the origination of hip-hop dancing. It’s crazy how the popularity of this martial art and its prevalence in movies and literature led to it actually affecting the development of a new dance style.


Judo is a modern martial art that ended up being an Olympic sport. It is super competitive, and the main objective is to take the other person down to the ground. It can be very dangerous. This specific type became the model for other Japanese martial arts as well. Even though this has become widely popular in Japan. This martial art is featured in movies such as “ John Wick”, “Flashpoint”, and “ Throw Down”. When a martial art is promoted through movies, shows or books, it honestly has a huge effect on the percentage of people who are interested in it at the time. The main reason that this is not the most popular one is that it is more modern, which means it has had less time for people to practice, perfect, and teach it. I am sure that I the next hundred years, it will become more practiced and more popular.

Muay Thai

Here is yet another widely popular martial art. Muay Thai originated in Thailand and is also called “ Thai Boxing”. This is a combat sport. This became more popular in the twentieth century when Thailand began also competing in kickboxing. This came about during war in the eighteen hundred because of a version if it was actually used in combat. This is becoming more commonly practiced and Muay Thai is great to learn for self defense. Muay Thai is featured in many films in Asia. The movies mostly focus a lot on the modernization of the art and how it relates to boxing. There is a crazy amount of different techniques used in this. You can use punching, elbowing, kicking, kneeing, and wrestling. Although many of these techniques seem similar to boxing, you cannot use them interchangeably. In all of these examples of popular martial arts, there is a lot of time and conditioning that goes into being good at the sport. People spend their whole lives perfecting this art and even compete with it at the Olympics and other large-scale competitions.


Jiu-jitsu was originated in Brazil and is a combat sport that specializes in ground fighting. This came about after experimenting and implementing different techniques based off of Judo. The basic goal of this martial art was to prove that if you know enough about Jiu-jitsu and practice it hard enough, a small weak person could defend anyone using the moves they learned. The creator of UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) was created by a man who had been around the practicing of Jiu-jitsu. There are so many connections between all of the different forms of martial arts. It is easy to know many things about several different kinds because of the similarities. It is kind of like knowing one of the love languages and then learning another. This is one of the best fighting systems for self defense. We mentioned it above but the most popular martial art in the world is…


Taekwondo is a Korean martial art that focuses on fast pace techniques like jumping, spinning, and kicking. It was created in the mid-nineties based off of Chinese martial arts. As you may have noticed many new martial arts are created from other older forms; basically, modernizing them. This martial art helped the Koreans get through the cold war. This really gave Korea a theory of power. There are so many different styles and techniques that have several different names. They all play an important role in the overall meaning and point of taekwondo. It may not be the most popular here in the US, but, overall, it more widely and commonly practiced than any of the other forms mentioned above. There is an entire movie called “ Spin Kick” dedicated to this martial art. When a martial art becomes increasingly more popular in a specific country, it has an influence where it starts becoming just as popular in the surrounding countries Then after talking about it in movies, shows, and literature it starts spreading across the world. Sometimes it is hard to grasp that just because something is very popular in your area, or your country does not mean it is as popular everywhere else. I feel that explains why sometimes people may be surprised that this form is actually the most common and the most popular. Taekwondo is another martial art that became so popular and competitive that it is now an Olympic sport. It is one of the most systematic forms and I think that is why it sparks so much interest in the people who practice it. It is very technically difficult and almost scientific. It is very dynamic and requires more foot skills than the other forms of martial art. To the people who practice it, it is way more than a hobby, it is a way of life, to them, it is similar to a job or family. That is how much it means to them.  


Overall, I think it is important to realize how similar many of these forms are and that many of them were based on each other. Martial Arts can be classified as many things, but these are some of the most common, popular, and interesting. If you are interested in practicing one of these, I highly recommend researching them first so that you know what you are getting yourself into. I hope that now you have a better idea of some forms of martial arts and realize why some are more popular than others and where they all originated. You can also learn more on choosing the right martial art by reading choosing a martial art based on body type. It is crazy how something like martial arts can become so popular across the globe. Something can begin, and start becoming popular on one side of the world and easily make it all away across. Taekwondo is a fast paced Korean martial art that took the world by storm and eventually became an Olympic sport. It is practiced everywhere and the people who practice it wouldn’t change it for the world. They are super involved with it and attempt to get people around them involved too which explains why it has easily became the most popular martial art in the world. People who master Taekwondo say that is one of the most mentally changing martial arts and that it can almost be taken down to a science. It is amazing how many forms of martial arts have been created.