Types Of Martial Arts

July 6, 2023

The world of martial arts is a vast and diverse landscape that encompasses various styles, techniques, philosophies, and cultures. From ancient traditions to modern practices, martial arts have captured the fascination of people around the globe. The martial arts industry, which revolves around the practice, promotion, and commercialization of martial arts, has experienced significant growth in recent years. It encompasses a wide range of disciplines, schools, organizations, events, merchandise, and practitioners.

The industry plays a crucial role in providing platforms for practitioners to learn, compete, and showcase their skills. Martial arts schools and training centers serve as the backbone of the industry, offering instruction in different styles and catering to individuals of all ages and skill levels. These schools not only provide training in the physical aspects of martial arts but also emphasize discipline, respect, and personal growth.

Traditional Martial Arts

Traditional martial arts refer to combat systems that have been developed and passed down through generations, often originating from specific cultures or regions. These martial arts emphasize preserving ancient techniques, cultural traditions, and philosophical aspects associated with their practice. Traditional martial arts typically focus on self-defence, discipline, physical fitness, and personal growth.

Here is a list of traditional martial arts from different regions and cultures:

Karate (Japan)

A striking-based martial art that focuses on punches, kicks, knee strikes, and elbow strikes. It emphasizes discipline, respect, and character development.

Kung Fu/Wushu (China)

A broad term encompassing various Chinese martial arts styles. It emphasizes fluid movements, strikes, kicks, acrobatics, and weapon training.

Taekwondo (Korea)

Taekwondo is known for its high, fast kicks and spinning kicks. It emphasizes strong, precise kicks, strikes, patterns (forms), and sparring techniques.

Judo (Japan)

A grappling-based martial art that focuses on throws, takedowns, joint locks, and chokes. It emphasizes balance, leverage, and timing.

Aikido (Japan)

A martial art that focuses on redirecting an opponent's energy. It emphasizes blending with attacks, joint locks and throws to neutralize aggression.

Muay Thai (Thailand)

Known as the "art of eight limbs," it utilizes punches, kicks, knees, elbows, and clinching techniques.

Silat (Southeast Asia)

A collective term for traditional martial arts from Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. It incorporates strikes, kicks, joint locks, and weapon techniques.

Hapkido (Korea)

A comprehensive martial art that combines strikes, kicks, joint locks, throws, and pressure points. It emphasizes fluidity and circular motion.

Kalaripayattu (India)

This is an Indian martial art, One of the oldest martial arts, it combines strikes, kicks, grappling, and weaponry. It focuses on flexibility, speed, and coordination.

Wing Chun (China)

A Chinese martial art known for its close-range combat techniques and fast, efficient strikes. It emphasizes simultaneous defense and offense.

These are just a few examples of traditional martial arts, each with its own unique techniques, training methods, cultural significance, and historical background. Traditional martial arts provide a window into the rich heritage and combat traditions of different regions and offer practitioners a path for physical fitness, self-defence, and personal growth.

Modern Martial Arts

Modern martial arts refer to combat systems that have been developed or evolved in relatively recent times, often incorporating elements from traditional martial arts, combat sports, and practical self-defence techniques. These martial arts have adapted to the changing needs and demands of the modern world, focusing on effectiveness, efficiency, and practicality.

Here is a list of modern martial arts that have emerged in recent times, incorporating elements from traditional martial arts, combat sports, and practical self-defence systems:

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)

A full-contact combat sport that combines techniques from various martial arts, including striking (boxing, Muay Thai, kickboxing), grappling (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, wrestling), and submissions. It has gained popularity through organizations like the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship).

Krav Maga

Krav Maga training incorporates various scenarios and adapts techniques from other martial arts. The Israeli system of hand-to-hand combat combines wrestling, grappling, and striking techniques.

Jeet Kune Do

Founded by Bruce Lee, Jeet Kune Do is a concept-based martial art that emphasizes simplicity, directness, and non-classical movements.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)

A grappling-based martial art that focuses on ground fighting, joint locks, and submissions. BJJ gained popularity for its effectiveness in mixed martial arts competitions and self-defence scenarios.


A hybrid combat sport that combines elements of boxing and martial arts kicks. It focuses on munching and kicking techniques, often incorporating clinching and knee strikes.

Muay Thai

Known as the "art of eight limbs," Muay Thai is a striking-based martial art from Thailand. It utilizes punches, kicks, knees, elbows, and clinching techniques.


A combat sport that focuses on punches and footwork. It emphasizes precise striking techniques, defensive maneuvers, and endurance.


A combat sport that emphasizes takedowns, grappling, and controlling opponents on the ground. It includes different styles like freestyle wrestling and Greco-Roman wrestling.

Taekwondo (Sport)

Taekwondo has a traditional foundation but also exists as a modern sport. It emphasizes high, fast kicking techniques, point-based sparring, and aerial techniques.

Muay Thai Kickboxing

An adaptation of traditional Muay Thai for the sport of kickboxing, incorporating the use of punches, kicks, knees, and elbows.

These are just a few examples of modern martial arts that have gained popularity in recent times. They incorporate practical techniques, competition-based training, and self-defence strategies to meet the needs of the modern practitioner. Modern martial arts continue to evolve and integrate techniques from various disciplines, providing practitioners with effective tools for self-defence, physical fitness, and personal development.


In conclusion, martial arts are a great way to exercise and stay healthy while learning valuable self-defence skills. Martial arts can provide physical fitness benefits, help to build discipline and self-control, improve mental well-being, enhance coordination and balance, promote goal setting and achievement, support character development, foster social interaction and community building, and even offer stress relief. With so many different types of martial arts to choose from, there is sure to be something for everyone. Whether one is interested in learning self-defence techniques, getting fit, or just finding a sense of wellness and personal growth, martial arts can help them on their journey. With dedication and practice, martial artists may even achieve the rank of master with time. So investigate what type of martial arts appeals to you and get started today on your journey.


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