[2023] The Ultimate Guide: 25 Types of Martial Arts Around the World

Welcome to the MMA Ninjaβ„’, your ultimate guide to all things mixed martial arts! Today, we're diving into the fascinating world of martial arts and exploring the 25 different types from around the globe. Whether you're a beginner looking to start your martial arts journey or a seasoned practitioner, this comprehensive guide will provide you with valuable insights and knowledge about each martial art style. So, let's get started!

Table of Contents


Martial arts is an ancient form of combat and self-defense that has evolved and diversified over centuries. Each martial art style brings its unique elements, techniques, and philosophies. From striking-based arts like boxing and karate to grappling-based arts like judo and jujutsu, there's something for everyone in the martial arts world.

What Are the Most Important Martial Arts Modalities?

Let's take a closer look at 25 different martial arts styles from around the world and explore their key characteristics, techniques, and origins.

1. Boxing

  • Origin: Ancient Greece
  • Characteristics: Focuses on punches and footwork, known for its precision and speed.
  • Benefits: Improves cardiovascular health, develops agility and coordination.
  • Famous Quote: "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee." – Muhammad Ali

2. Judo

  • Origin: Japan
  • Characteristics: Emphasizes throws, joint locks, and pins, focuses on using an opponent's energy against them.
  • πŸ˜„Fun Fact: Judo became an Olympic sport in 1964 and continues to be one of the most popular martial arts worldwide.

3. Karate

  • Origin: Okinawa, Japan
  • Characteristics: Employs striking techniques using punches, kicks, knees, and elbows.
  • Benefits: Enhances self-discipline, improves flexibility, and builds strength.
  • Check out the MMA Ninjaβ„’ article on Karate for a more comprehensive overview of this martial art.

4. Kung Fu

  • Origin: China
  • Characteristics: Incorporates various strikes, kicks, and blocks, often imitating the movements of animals.
  • Benefits: Enhances balance, coordination, and overall body awareness.
  • Famous Quote: "The heart of kung fu lies in diligence and perseverance." – Bruce Lee

5. Taekwondo

  • Origin: Korea
  • Characteristics: Emphasizes dynamic kicks, often incorporating aerial acrobatics.
  • Benefits: Boosts flexibility, improves focus and concentration, promotes self-confidence.
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6. Capoeira

  • Origin: Brazil
  • Characteristics: Fuses martial arts with music, dance, and acrobatics, incorporating flips, sweeps, and kicks.
  • Benefits: Enhances physical fitness, improves rhythm and coordination.
  • πŸ˜„Fun Fact: Capoeira was developed by African slaves in Brazil as a form of resistance.

7. Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)

  • Origin: Global
  • Characteristics: Combines techniques from various martial arts disciplines, including striking and grappling.
  • Benefits: Enhances overall physical fitness, develops self-defense skills, promotes discipline and focus.
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8. Muay Thai

  • Origin: Thailand
  • Characteristics: Utilizes strikes with fists, elbows, knees, and shins, known as "the art of eight limbs."
  • Benefits: Develops cardio endurance, enhances overall strength and conditioning.
  • Famous Quote: "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face." – Unknown

9. Kendo

  • Origin: Japan
  • Characteristics: Focuses on swordsmanship and emphasizes discipline and respect.
  • Benefits: Promotes mental focus, cultivates discipline and patience.
  • Famous Quote: "Kendo is a training for the mind and body, not just the sword." – Memorial inscription at Yushinkan Dojo

10. Aikido

  • Origin: Japan
  • Characteristics: Emphasizes defense and redirection of an opponent's energy, rather than attacking.
  • Benefits: Cultivates balance, improves joint flexibility, enhances mindfulness.
  • πŸ˜„Fun Fact: Aikido was developed by Morihei Ueshiba, who intended it as a way to achieve peace and harmony.

11. Krav Maga

  • Origin: Israel
  • Characteristics: Focuses on practical self-defense techniques, incorporating strikes and aggressive counterattacks.
  • Benefits: Develops practical self-defense skills, builds confidence and mental resilience.
  • Famous Quote: "Krav Maga doesn't teach you how to fight, it teaches you how to survive." – Imi Lichtenfeld

12. Fencing

  • Origin: Europe
  • Characteristics: Utilizes a sword-like weapon for offense and defense, focusing on agility and speed.
  • Benefits: Enhances coordination, improves reflexes, promotes strategic thinking.
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13. Kickboxing

  • Origin: Japan
  • Characteristics: Combines techniques from boxing and karate with powerful kicks.
  • Benefits: Improves cardiovascular fitness, boosts strength and coordination.
  • πŸ˜„Fun Fact: Kickboxing has gained popularity as a competitive combat sport worldwide.

14. Sumo

  • Origin: Japan
  • Characteristics: Involves two heavyweight wrestlers pushing each other out of a circular ring.
  • Benefits: Cultivates discipline and respect, promotes physical fitness.
  • πŸ˜„Fun Fact: Sumo wrestlers follow a strict and rigorous training regimen called "heya."

15. Kyudo

  • Origin: Japan
  • Characteristics: Japanese archery, emphasizing form, precision, and mindfulness.
  • Benefits: Enhances focus and concentration, promotes mental clarity.
  • Famous Quote: "The ultimate aim of Kyudo is not just to hit the target, but to refine and perfect one's character."

16. Sankukai

  • Origin: France
  • Characteristics: Combines elements of karate, judo, and kung-fu, known for its dynamic kicks and throws.
  • Benefits: Develops physical fitness, agility, and flexibility.
  • Famous Quote: "Sankukai is not just a martial art; it is a way of life." – Tetsuji Murakami

17. Jujutsu

  • Origin: Japan
  • Characteristics: Focuses on joint locks, chokes, and takedowns, utilizing an opponent's momentum against them.
  • Benefits: Enhances self-defense skills, cultivates patience and problem-solving abilities.
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18. Goshindo

  • Origin: Japan
  • Characteristics: Blends strikes, joint locks, throws, and weapons techniques.
  • Benefits: Enhances self-defense skills, promotes physical fitness and mental discipline.

19. Daido-Juku Kudo

  • Origin: Japan
  • Characteristics: Combines punches, kicks, and grappling techniques, known for full-contact sparring.
  • Benefits: Develops practical self-defense skills, enhances physical fitness and mental toughness.
  • πŸ˜„Fun Fact: Daido-Juku Kudo was developed by Azuma Takashi, a former Kyokushin Karate champion.

20. Sambo

  • Origin: Russia
  • Characteristics: Incorporates throws, joint locks, and strikes, influenced by judo and wrestling.
  • Benefits: Enhances grappling and self-defense skills, improves physical conditioning.
  • πŸ˜„Fun Fact: Sambo is an acronym for "SAMozashchita Bez Oruzhiya," meaning "self-defense without weapons" in Russian.

21. Wushu

  • Origin: China
  • Characteristics: Consists of various traditional Chinese martial arts styles, combining forms, kicks, and acrobatics.
  • Benefits: Enhances flexibility, improves coordination and balance.
  • πŸ˜„Fun Fact: Wushu is a performance-oriented martial art that is often showcased in acrobatic and visually impressive demonstrations.

22. Mugendo

  • Origin: Japan
  • Characteristics: Integrates techniques from karate, judo, and kung fu, emphasizing practical self-defense.
  • Benefits: Cultivates physical fitness, develops self-confidence and mental resilience.

23. Tai Chi

  • Origin: China
  • Characteristics: Focuses on slow and flowing movements along with deep breathing and mindfulness.
  • Benefits: Promotes relaxation, improves flexibility and balance, boosts overall well-being.
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24. Wrestling

  • Origin: Ancient Greece
  • Characteristics: Involves grappling and pinning an opponent to the ground.
  • Benefits: Enhances physical strength, develops agility and endurance.
  • πŸ˜„Fun Fact: Wrestling is one of the oldest martial arts, dating back to ancient times.

25. Hapkido

  • Origin: Korea
  • Characteristics: Emphasizes joint locks, throws, and strikes, focusing on practical self-defense techniques.
  • Benefits: Cultivates self-discipline, improves flexibility, and develops self-confidence.


How many types of martial arts are there in the world?

There are hundreds of different martial arts styles practiced worldwide. However, this guide covers 25 popular and influential martial arts styles. It's important to note that each style brings its unique techniques, philosophies, and training methods.

Which martial art is No 1?

The notion of ranking martial arts styles is subjective and depends on personal preferences and goals. Some may argue that mixed martial arts (MMA) incorporates effective techniques from various disciplines, making it a versatile and practical choice. Ultimately, the best martial art for you depends on your interests, physical abilities, and objectives.

Who are the top 10 martial arts in the world?

While opinions may vary, here are ten martial arts styles that are widely recognized and practiced:

  1. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
  2. Muay Thai
  3. Boxing
  4. Taekwondo
  5. Karate
  6. Judo
  7. Kung Fu
  8. Krav Maga
  9. Aikido
  10. Wrestling

These martial arts offer diverse training methods and philosophies, catering to different needs and interests.

What fighting style do assassins use?

The portrayal of assassins in movies often incorporates a mix of fictional fighting styles. However, in reality, assassins or covert operatives may train in various martial arts styles, including Krav Maga, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Escrima. The choice of fighting style would depend on their objectives, environment, and personal preferences.


  1. The History and Evolution of Martial Arts
  2. Famous Martial Artists
  3. The Differences Between Kung Fu, Karate, Kendo, and Taekwondo
  4. The 10 Deadliest Martial Arts Ever Created
  5. The Best Martial Arts for Self-Defense

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