List of Popular Martial Arts Styles
Here is a list of many popular martial arts styles or systems with details about their fighting techniques, katas, etc. This list will allow you to learn about a variety of different martial arts styles and help you select an appropriate martial arts style for your training interests and requirements. Visiting a martial arts style or system listed below will also help you to learn a huge variety of martial arts kicking techniques, submission techniques, punches & strikes, katas & forms, terminology, etc.
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Ten Most Popular Martial Arts - Alphabetical order & based on Black Belt Wiki page visits
- Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)
- Krav Maga
- Kung Fu
- Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)
- Muay Thai
- Tang Soo Do
Martial Arts Styles by Country or Origin - Martial arts styles from other countries such as India are listed below in the section focused on major & minor martial arts styles.
- American Martial Arts Styles
- Brazilian Martial Arts Styles
- Chinese Martial Arts Styles
- European Martial Arts Styles
- Filipino Martial Arts Styles
- Japanese Martial Arts Styles
- Korean Martial Arts Styles
Martial Arts Styles by Specialty
- Grappling Martial Arts Styles
- Military Martial Arts Styles
- Weapon-Based Martial Arts Styles
List of Major & Minor Martial Arts Styles - If you think a style should be added to this page, please contact us. However, we will only accept martial arts styles that have many schools (10+) & an active style association/federation and/or a detailed Wikipedia page. More sub-styles (i.e. numerous Karate and Kung Fu styles) are listed on the country-specific sections.
- 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.
- 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.
- American Kenpo - American Kenpo is a hybrid martial arts style. It is also known as Kenpo Karate.
- Angampora - Angampora is a Sri Lankan martial arts that focuses on unarmed combat, grappling, weapons and pressure points.
- Bajutsu - Bajutsu is a Japanese martial arts focused on military equestrianism.
- 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.
- Bajiquan - Bajiquan is a Chinese martial arts style that is famous for its explosive power and elbow strikes.
- Bando - Bando is a martial arts style from the Southeast Asian country of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma).
- Bartitsu - Bartitsu is an English martial arts that combines boxing, cane fighting, jujutsu, etc. Revival of this martial arts is due to interest in Sherlock Holmes.
- Bataireacht - Bataireacht is the martial arts better known as Irish stick fighting.
- Bokh - Bokh is a traditional wrestling martial arts that was practiced by Mongol warriors. It is better known today as Mongolian Wrestling.
- Budokon - Budokon is a hybrid system that combines martial arts training with Yoga.
- Bojuka - Bojuka is a self-defense system focused on grappling and strikes to an opponent's vital areas.
- Bojutsu - Bojutsu is a martial arts style focused on the long staff (i.e. Bo).
- Bokator - Bokator is an ancient Cambodian martial arts that includes grappling, strikes and weapons training.
- Boxing - Boxing is a martial arts style focused purely on powerful punches.
- Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu - Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a Brazilian martial arts style focused on ground fighting (i.e. grappling).
- Bujutsu - Bujutsu is the Japanese martial arts of the Samurai.
- Butthan - Butthan is a martial arts from Bangladesh. It is focused on subjects such as mediation, self-defense, weapons, etc.
- 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.
- Choy Li Fut - Choy Li Fut (or Cai Li Fo) is a substyle of Kung Fu that combines long and short-range techniques.
- Canne de Combat - Canne de Combat is a French martial arts that focuses on a sports version of cane fighting.
- Capoeira - Capoeira is a very fluid and acrobatic martial arts style from Brazil.
- Chun Kuk Do - Chun Kuk Do is a Korean and American hybrid system created by Chuck Norris (martial artist and movie star).
- 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.
- Combat Hopak - Combat Hopak (or Boyovyy Hopak) is an Ukrainian martial arts supposedly derived from Cossack military traditions.
- 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.
- Daito-Ryu Aikijujutsu - Daito-Ryu Aikijujutsu is a traditional Japanese martial arts focused on unarmed combat, throws, strikes to vital areas, joint locks, etc.
- Dambe - Dambe is an African martial arts focused primarily on boxing but it also uses kicking techniques.
- Danzan Ryu - An American hybrid form of Jujutsu. It is also known as Kodenkan.
- Defendo Alliance - This European martial arts is focused on realistic self-defense training.
- 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.
- Dumog - Dumog is a Philippine martial arts focused on wrestling.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Fu Jow Pai - Fu Jow Pai is a Chinese martial famous for its "Tiger Claw" style.
- Gatka - Gatka is an Indian martial arts focused on weapons, especially swords.
- Glima - Glima is a Scandinavian wrestling-based martial arts that was created by the Vikings.
- Gongkwon Yusul - Gongkwon Yusul is a Korean hybrid martial arts that includes elements from Hapkido, Jujutsu, Judo and Boxing.
- Haidong Gumdo - Haidong Gumdo is a Korean martial arts focused on sword techniques. It contains elements similar to Kenjutsu and Iaido.
- Hanbojutsu - Hanbojutsu is a martial arts that utilizes the Hanbo (a 3 foot wooden staff).
- 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.
- Hapkido - Hapkido is a Korean martial arts style focused on punches, kicks, throws and joint locks.
- Hojojutsu - Hojojutsu is a Japanese martial arts that uses ropes to restrain or disable an opponent.
- Hung Ga - Hung Ga (or Hung Gar) is a southern Chinese martial arts that combines 5 animal styles (Crane, Dragon, Leopard, Snake and Tiger).
- Hwa Rang Do - Hwa Rang Do is a Korean martial arts that includes sparring, self-defense, weapons training and grappling.
- 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.
- Iaijutsu - Iaijutsu is the combat version of Iaido.
- 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.
- Jailhouse Rock - Jailhouse Rock (JHR) is a martial arts system that was developed in the US prison system.
- Jeet Kune Do - Jeet Kune Do is a martial arts style created by Bruce Lee (martial artist and movie star).
- Jojutsu - Jojutsu (or Jodo) is a Japanese martial arts focused on the short staff (Jo).
- Judo - Judo is a Japanese martial arts style focused on grappling, joint locks and throws.
- 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.
- Jukendo - Jukendo is a Japanese martial arts focused on the bayonet.
- Juttejutsu - Juttejutsu is a Japanese martial arts that focuses on the martial arts weapon known as the Jutte (Jitte).
- 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.
- Kalaripayattu - Kalaripayattu is an ancient martial arts style from India.
- 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.
- Karate - Karate is a Japanese martial arts style focused on punches, hand/elbow strikes, knee strikes and kicks. Major Karate sub-styles include the following:
- Keijojutsu - Keijojutsu is a Japanese martial arts focused on police stick fighting (batons).
- Kendo - Kendo is a Japanese martial arts style focused on sword fighting (i.e. Bokken and Katana).
- Kenjutsu - Kenjutsu is a Japanese martial arts style focused on sword techniques. In contrast to Kendo, Kenjutsu is less focused on sparring.
- Kenpo or Kempo - Please visit the American Kenpo section.
- 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.
- Kickboxing - Kickboxing is a martial arts style focused on powerful kicks and punches.
- Kino Mutai - Kino Mutai (Kina Mutai) is a Philippines martial arts that uses unconventional tactics such as biting and eye-gouging.
- Kobudo - A Japanese (Okinawan) martial arts focused on weapons training. Weapons used include the bo staff, sai, tonfa and nunchaku.
- Kokondo - Kokondo is a style that combines techniques from Karate and Jujutsu.
- Krabi-Krabong - Krabi-Krabong is a weapon-based martial arts from Thailand.
- Krav Maga - Krav Maga is a martial arts style from Israel focused on winning in "real life" combat situations.
- Kuk Sool Won - Kuk Sool Won is a Korean martial arts focused on strikes, kicks, grappling, joint locks, weapons training and healing techniques.
- Kumdo - Kumdo is a Korean sword-based martial arts which is similar to Kendo.
- Kung Fu (Wushu) - Kung Fu or Wushu 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:
- Kung Fu To'a - Kung Fu To'a is an Iranian martial arts style that combines Kung Fu and Yoga.
- Kyudo - Kyudo is a Japanese martial arts style focused on archery.
- Kyusho Jitsu - A martial arts focused on targeting pressure points.
- Lathi Khela - Lathi Khela is a Bangladeshi stick-fighting martial arts.
- Leopard Kung Fu (Bao Quan) - Leopard Kung Fu is a Chinese martial arts that focuses on aggressive speed and agility to defeat an opponent.
- 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.
- Lua - Lua is a traditional Hawaiian martial arts that focuses on bone breaking, boxing, wrestling, weapons, etc.
- Luta Livre - Luta Livre is a Brazilian grappling martial arts known in Portuguese as "Free Fighting".
- Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) - The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program is focused on unarmed combat, knife training, bayonet techniques, etc.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Muay Boran - Muay Boran is a Thai martial arts. Modern Muay Thai evolved from this martial arts style.
- 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.
- Naginatajutsu - Naginatajutsu is a Japanese martial arts style focused on the long pole weapon known as the Naginata.
- Ninjutsu - Ninjutsu is a martial arts style developed from the techniques used by ninjas (Japanese spies and assassins).
- Niten Ichi-Ryu - Niten Ichi-Ryu is a two sword martial arts style created by the famous Japanese samurai, Miyamoto Musashi.
- Niyuddha - Niyuddha is an ancient Indian martial arts focused on kicking, punching and throwing.
- Nunchaku Do - Nunchaku Do is a martial arts focused on the sports usage of the Nunchaku (Nunchucks).
- 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.
- Panantukan - Panantukan is the boxing component of Filipino martial arts. Panantukan is not a sport, but rather a street-oriented fighting system.
- Pankration - This Greek martial arts style combines grappling, kicking techniques and boxing. It was part of the first Olympics in 648 BC.
- Pencak Silat - Pencak Silat is the name used to refer to a variety of Indonesian martial arts.
- 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.
- Praying Mantis Kung Fu - Praying Mantis Kung Fu is known for its redirection, joint manipulation, pressure point attacks and trapping tactics.
- Quarterstaffing - The British martial arts that uses a 6-9 foot wooden staff. Famous from the tales of Robin Hood.
- Sambo - Sambo is a Russian martial arts style. There are two main types of Sambo; Combat Sambo and Sports Sambo.
- 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.
- Savate (French Kickboxing) - Savate is a French martial arts style focused on boxing and kicking. No knee strikes are allowed.
- Shaolin Kempo Karate - Shaolin Kempo Karate is a hybrid martial arts that combines techniques from Shaolin Kung Fu, Karate and Asian wrestling.
- 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.
- 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".
- Shorinji Kempo - A Japanese martial arts that combines personal growth, health and spirituality with self-defense techniques such as punches, kicks, escapes, throws, etc.
- Shuai Jiao - A Chinese martial arts focused mainly on wrestling and grappling techniques.
- Shuri-Ryu - Shuri-Ryu is a martial arts that combines elements of Karate and Kung Fu.
- Sibpalki - Sibpalki is a Korean martial arts that teaches close combat skills that were utilized in the late 1700s.
- Sikaran - Sikaran is a Philippines martial arts focused almost exclusively on kicking.
- Silambam - Silambam is an Indian martial arts focused primarily on staff fighting.
- Silat - Silat is a Southeast Asian martial arts style focused on strikes (i.e. elbow and knee), throws, takedowns and weapons training.
- Siljun Dobup - Siljun Dobup is a sword-based martial arts based on Japanese and Korean traditions.
- Sojutsu - Sojutsu is a Japanese martial arts focused on spear fighting.
- Soo Bahk Do - Soo Bahk Do is a Korean martial arts that grew out of Tang Soo Do.
- Special Combat Aggressive Reactionary System (SCARS) - This martial arts program was taught to US Navy Seals in the 1980s and 1990s.
- Ssireum - Ssireum is a Korean martial arts focused on wrestling.
- Sumo - Sumo is a Japanese martial arts focused on wrestling.
- Systema - Systema is a martial arts style used by some Russian special forces (i.e. Spetsnaz).
- Taekkyeon - Taekkyeon ia a Korean martial arts focused on low kicks, leg sweeps, trips, pushes, etc.
- Taekwondo - Taekwondo is a Korean martial arts style focused primarily on punches, blocks, strikes and kicks (i.e. spinning hook kick).
- Tahtib - Tahtib is an Egyptian martial arts focused on stick fighting. Students generally train with a 4 foot wooden stick.
- 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.
- Taiho Jutsu - Taiho Jutsu is a Japanese martial arts that was originally designed to help feudal police arrest armed criminals.
- Tang Soo Do - Tang Soo Do is a Korean martial arts style that is similar to Taekwondo and Karate.
- Tessenjutsu - Tessenjutsu is a Japanese martial arts based on the use of Tessen (war fans).
- US Army's Modern Army Combatives Program - This is the martial arts program taught by the U.S. Army.
- 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.
- Varma Kalai - Varma Kalai is an Indian martial arts focused on pressure points. It can also be used for healing applications.
- Vovinam - Vovinam is a Vietnamese martial arts style.
- Wing Chun - Wing Chun is a Chinese martial arts style focused on strikes, grappling and weapons training.
- 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.
- Xtreme Martial Arts - Xtreme Martial Arts (XMA) combines gymnastics with martial arts techniques in order to create acrobatic martial arts "tricks".
- Yabusame - Yabusame is a Japanese martial arts focused on archery while mounted on horseback.
- Yaw Yan - Yaw Yan is a Philippine kickboxing martial arts. It also utilizes grappling techniques and defenses against weapons.
- 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.
- Zulu Stick Fighting - Zulu stick fighting is a South African weapons-based martial arts.
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