There are very many types of martial arts. To differentiate between the different types of martial arts accordingly, it is better to consider the origin. Below are the most common types of martial arts according to where they originated from.

Types of Martial Arts

Most popular Types of Martial Arts by areas:

1. Japanese Martial Arts

Types of martial arts - japanese martial arts

Most popular types:

a. Karate: This is one of the most popular types of martial arts in the world. Karate focuses on hand and elbow strikes, punches, kicks and knee strikes. Karate is one of the most popular martial art styles in the world because the style has been featured in many movies for decades.

b. Judo: This is another popular Japanese martial art. Judo focuses on joint locks, grappling, and throws. Unlike other types of martial arts i.e. karate, Judo doesn’t include kicks and punches. Judo focuses more on body power as opposed to fitness and stamina.

c. Aikido: This is another popular Japanese martial art type. Aikido focuses on redirecting attacks away from you. Aikido focuses on throws, grabs, pins, strikes and locks. Like Karate, Aikido is popular because of being featured in many action films over the years.

d. Jujutsu: Also known as Jiu-Jitsu, this type of Japanese martial art focuses on holds, joint locks and throws. Jujutsu is aimed at redirecting or manipulating force attacks in order to overpower an attacker.

e. Kendo: This is another popular Japanese martial art. Kendo focuses mainly on sword fighting. Like Karate and Aikido, Kendo is also popular in many Japanese based action films.

2. Chinese Martial Arts

Types of Martial Arts - Chinese Martial Arts

Most popular types:

a. Kung Fu: Kung Fu is the second most popular martial art type after karate. Kung Fu is focuses on kicks, hand and arm strikes and sometimes weapon training. It is important to note that there are many different Kung Fu styles taught by different Kung Fu schools. It is therefore difficult to transfer from one Kung Fu school to another to learn a certain Kung Fu style. This is one of the main reasons why Kung Fu is not as popular as karate and Taekwondo globally. Kung Fu however commands a large global fan base based on the fact that many action movies have showcased Kung Fu. One of the most unusual Kung Fu forms is Zui Quan popularly known as the drunken fist style. This style imitates a drunkard’s movements i.e. falling over and staggering to confuse opponents allowing time for launching devastating counter attacks.

3. Brazilian Martial Arts

Most popular types:

Types Of Martial arts - Brazilian Jiu-jitsu

a. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is characterised by ground fighting. This martial art type became popular in the 1990s during mixed martial art tournaments when Jiu-Jitsu proved to be effective in dominating larger opponents. To date it is the most popular ground fighting martial art for defeating larger opponents.

b. Capoeira: Capoeira is one of the most popular types of martial arts in Brazil. Capoeira focuses on knee strikes, punches, kicks and evading attacks. Capoeira is very acrobatic characterised by a lot of fluid martial arts. Most people easily mistake Capoeira for dancing. The constant movement associated with Capoeira help to avoid and prepare attacks.

4. Korean Martial Arts

Types of Martial Arts - Korean Martial Arts

Most popular types:

a. Taekwondo: This is the most popular Korean martial art in the world. Taekwondo focuses on punches, strikes, kicks and blocks. Taekwondo is popular because it is featured in the Olympics. Taekwondo has spectacular kicks i.e. spinning hook kicks and tornado kicks. This makes Taekwondo very interesting to watch.

b. Tang Soo Do: Tang Soo Do is very similar to Karate and Taekwondo. Tang Soo Do is popular because of being featured in many movies. Tang Soo Do is however less popular compared to Karate and Taekwondo.

c. Hapkido: Hapkido is also among the popular types of martial arts. Hapkido focuses on kicks, punches, joint locks and throws. Hapkido sometimes includes use of weapon training i.e. swords. Hapkido emphasizes circular motions, controlling opponents and non-resisting movements. There are many types of Hapkido martial arts. One of the most common types is combat Hapkido which focuses on modern and better self-defence techniques compared to Hapkido. Combat Hapkido basically eliminates most elements of traditional Hapkido training i.e. sword fighting and mediation and adds more techniques i.e. ground fighting.

d. Hanmudo: This is another popular Korean martial art. Hanmudo is much smoother and open-handed compared to Hapkido. Hanmudo however incorporates use of weapons like Hapkido.

5. Russian Martial Arts

Most popular types:

Types of Martial Arts - Russian Martial Arts

a. Sambo: This is among the most popular types of Martial arts in Russia. Sambo was originally developed in Russia. It resembles mixed martial arts. Sambo involves punches, kicks, wrestling, joint locks and grappling. Sambo is more like Judo and wrestling.

6. Israeli Martial Arts

Most popular types:

Types of Martial Arts - Krav Maga

a. Krav Maga: Krav Maga originates from Israel. This type of martial art is focused on dealing with real life combat situations. Krav Maga involves use of kicks, strikes and wrestling among many other techniques. Krav Maga focuses on attacking all the vulnerable body parts of an opponent i.e. groin, eyes e.t.c. Krav Maga is still being used by Israeli Defence Forces to date.

7. Filipino Martial Arts

Types of Martial Arts - Filipino Martial Arts

Most popular types:

a. Kali/Eskrima: This martial art type is the most popular in Philippines because it Philippines is its origin. Kali martial arts is characterised by the use of blade and stick weapons.

In summary, there are many other types of martial arts i.e. mixed martial arts, Thailand martial arts e.t.c. The above types of martial arts are however the main types originating from specific parts of the world.

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