Martial Arts is a tradition of combat practices. It is practiced for a number of reasons, such as for self-defense, competition, physical health, and entertainment.
There is a huge diversity of martial arts around the world, with hundreds of different styles. In the broadest sense, all martial arts share a common goal, that is to defeat a person physically or to defend yourself from a physical threat.
Martial Arts As Sports
Martial Arts have ventured into sports when forms of sparring became competitive. For example, the Olympic Games has judo, taekwondo, archery, boxing, wrestling, and fencing.
There are martial arts competitions which are being competed in non-sparring ways, these are competed through choreographed routines like poomse, kata, and aka. There are a number of martial arts nowadays which include dance-influenced competitions like Tricking.
Some martial arts include the use of weapons and equipment, like breaking boards, punching bags, and makiwara. One of the most popular martial art competitions today is the MMA competition Ultimate Fighting Challenge or UFC.
There are three martial arts that are part of the Olympic Games, Karate, Judo and Taekwondo, and another lobbying for inclusion, Wushu.
What are the most popular martial arts? We ranked 50 styles, and the top styles were Krav Maga, Taekwondo, Boxing, and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). MMA athletes would be the most highly paid of all, see how much they make.
List of Martial Arts Sports
- Aikido (Sport Aikido) — a Japanese martial art which typically involve throws, joint locks, and pins, designed to redirect an attacker's energy and neutralize their attack.
- Amateur Pankration — a modern version of the Ancient Olympic sport of Pankration.
- Beach Sambo — a modified version of sambo played on the sand, with bouts lasting three minutes, without penalties and mat wrestling.
- Budō — a term referring to the variety of Japanese martial arts, such as sumo, jujutsu, judo, kendo, aikido and karate.
- Capoeira — a form of martial art from Brazil which has a combination of aspects of dance moves, acrobatics, movements and music.
- Drunken Boxing (or Drunkard's Boxing or Zui Quan). It is a concept in traditional Chinese martial arts.
- Karate — a martial art developed in Japan that uses punching, kicking, knee strikes, elbow strikes, and some open-hand techniques.
- Krav Maga — a military system developed in Israel known for its focus on real-world situations and its extreme efficiency.
- Judo — the objective is to throw or takedown the opposing player to the ground.
- Jujutsu — a Japanese martial art using close combat for defeating an armed and armored opponent, with ony a short weapon or none at all.
- Brazilian Jiu-jitsu — a combat sport from Brazil based on ground fighting and submission holds, developed from judo and jujutsu.
- Kalaripayattu — an ancient martial art from Kerala, India.
- Kung Fu — a general term for Chinese martial arts, the competition format is Wushu.
- MMA — a full-contact individual combat sport which include aspects of several other combat sports and martial arts.
- Naginatajutsu — a Japanese martial art of wielding the naginata, a weapon resembling the medieval European glaive.
- Ninjutsu — The traditional Japanese art of the Ninjas - incorporating stealth, camouflage and sabotage, now practiced as a martial art.
- Northern Praying Mantis — a style of Chinese martial arts, sometimes called Shandong Praying Mantis.
- Okinawan Kobudō — weapon systems of Okinawan martial arts, also known as Ryūkyū Kobujutsu.
- Pencak Silat — a fighting sport from Indonesia which collectively encompasses martial arts of various styles.
- Sambo — a martial art developed for Russia's military and police force in the 1930s. The term translates as "self-defense without weapons".
- Silambam — a traditional Tamil martial art from India which mainly uses a bamboo staff.
- Taekwondo — a self defense discipline that originated in Korea.
- Vovinam — a Vietnamese martial art.
- Vajra-mushti — an Indian martial art in which a knuckleduster-like weapon called the Vajra-mushti is employed.
- Varzesh-e Bastani — a traditional Iranian martial arts. The sport is practiced in a gymnasium called Zourkhaneh, which is another name by which the sport is known. Also called Varzesh-e Pahlavani.
- Wushu — a full-contact sport derived from traditional Chinese martial arts, also known as Kung Fu.
Martial Arts Utilizing Weapon Fighting
- Kendo — a form of Japanese martial art that originated from kenjutsu, which includes fighting using bamboo swords.
- Arnis — the national martial art sport of the Philippines which emphasizes weapon-based fighting usually with a stick or cane.
- Fencing — competitors face each other and attempt to touch each other with the tip of a thin sword.
- Stick-Fighting — a type of martial arts which uses a hand-held long slender wooden stick for fighting. Variations include Singlestick and Canne de Combat, Kalaripayattu Stick Fighting, Bataireacht and Tahtib.
Other Combat Sports
- Kickboxing — a group of stand-up combat sports based on kicking and punching. Variations include Pradal Serey (Cambodia), Sanda (China), Savate (France), Sikaran (Philippines).
- Boxing — a combat sport in which two players throw punches at each other.
- Wrestling — a general term for a combat sport between two competitors involving grappling-type techniques. Popular forms include the Olympic styles of Greco-Roman and Freestyle. There are many regional forms of wrestling.
- Tricking — performers combine martial arts movements with flips, kicks, twists and various dance moves to show off their tricks.
- Fitness Components for the Martial Arts
- Fitness Testing for the Martial Arts
- Anthropometry and the Martial Arts
- Most Popular Martial Arts
- Read martial arts trivia
- Complete list of sports
- Martial Arts Polls, including a poll about the Fitness components for martial arts.
- Judo, Taekwondo, Karate, and Wushu at the Olympic Games
- Weight Management Strategies in weight category restricted sports.
- About the sport of Boxing