Martial Arts Lab decided to conduct a research to find out which martial arts type is considered to be the best in the world according to visitors of our website.

You are able to vote and find our new poll system at the bottom of this page.

The following list is Top 10 Martial Arts that have been chosen by the visitors of Martial Arts Lab (updated October 04, 2014).

Top 10 Martial Arts in the World

10. MMA

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) – one of the fastest growing sports in the world. It’s actually a combination of various martial arts rather than just the type of martial art, however, this Top 10 Martial Arts list is our visitors’ choice, not mine, and I do respect that. MMA combines both striking and grappling, and even punches while fighting on the ground. The technique of MMA is really wide-range and involves many types of martial arts within it. The most popular MMA organization in the world currently is the Ultimate Fight Championship (UFC). Today, when MMA becomes more and more popular.


9. Judo

Judo is the most effective for its throws and takedowns martial arts system, founded by Jigoro Kano in Japan. It’s very popular and competitive sport, which is the part of Olympic games since 1964. Judo practitioners called – Judoka wears uniform – Judogi wrapped with the belt. Belt color depends on practitioner’s level. Judo martial art is very popular between MMA fighters and is still effectively used today.


8. Wrestling

Wrestling is one of the oldest martial arts and combat form that utilizes grappling, takedowns, clinch fighting, holds, joint locks and throws. Wrestling took  place in the Athens Olympics Games and in the modern Olympic Games since 1904. Although sports committee considered to remove wrestling from 2020 Summer Olympic Games, fortunately due to majority of votes, they decided to keep it for at least the next 3 Olympic Games. The most common styles of wrestling: Freestyle Wrestling and Greco-Roman Wrestling.


7. Taekwondo

Taekwondo – the most popular Korean Martial Art that is also a Korean national sport and it’s truly one of the top 10 martial arts in the world. You will need strength, stamina, speed as well as flexibility to master this art. The most powerful weapon of Taekwondo is kicks. There are many coaches teaching this martial art form and it is one of the most commonly taught type of martial arts in the world.


 6. Karate

Number six of the Top 10 Martial Arts list is – Karate, which was founded in Japan. Karate – the most popular Japanese martial art that has many different styles. Shotokan, Kyokushinkai, Shito Ryu, Wado Ryu, Goju Ryu – those are the most popular ones. Karate teaches you discipline and self-development. It can also be used as self-defense method. Karate technique is divided into 3 main parts: kumite, kihon and kata.


5. Kung Fu

Kung Fu – the most popular Chinese Martial Art in the world. It is mostly known from famous Jackie Chan and other Chinese action/martial arts movies. Kung Fu has deep traditions and philosophy; it will develop not just your whole body, but the soul and mind as well. Kung Fu training involves fighting with weapons, meditations and studying different fighting styles. They all have interesting names: Monkey style, five animals, drunken boxing and others.


4. Boxing

Boxing – some may argue that boxing is not a martial art form while others will see it differently. People who have never tried boxing think those fighters are just punching each other’s face and there is nothing more to it. However, that is the opinion of people who lack the knowledge about this sport. The main weapon in boxing is punches with precise, fast footwork and body movement. To be a good boxer you need not just skills, technique and punch power – you will also need to be smart, react quickly to changing situations, make fast decisions and choose the right tactic during the fight. That’s why this sport deserved to be in the Top 10 Martial Arts in the World list.


3. Krav Maga

Krav Maga – it’s a martial art and self-defense system founded by Imrich Lichtenfeld in Israel. But Krav Maga is getting significantly more popular around the world. It has very effective technique and is quite easy to learn Krav Maga for everyone regardless of their age or gender, and then use it to protect themselves in dangerous life situations. This is why most people choose Krav Maga as one of the Top 10 Martial Arts for Self-defense and to be the top 3 in the world.


2. Muay Thai

Muay Thai – Thailand’s martial art form which it is very popular around the world. It’s a full contact sport that teaches almost all possible standing strikes: shins, knees, fists, feet, and elbows. Every part of your body, even the ones normally considered vulnerable, can be turned into deadly weapons with the use of Muay Thai. It’s widely used among MMA fighters and is considered to be one of the best types of martial arts in the world.


1. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

And  the winner, that received the most of our visitors’ votes in our Top 10 Martial Arts in the World list  is – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). It’s difficult to explain, but I know from my personal experience that I fell in love with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu during my first training session. This wonderful type of martial art became famous during the very first Ultimate Fighting Championchip competitions, when Royce Gracie defeated his opponents one after another by using just BJJ technique. Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is currently the most popular martial art among MMA fighters. As Helio Gracie said – “Jiu-Jitsu is for the protection of the individual, the older man, the weak, the child, the lady, the young women – anyone who doesn’t have the physical attributes to defend themselves.”


How exactly can one decide which type of martial arts might be the best? To clarify that, please answer to the following questions below.

What types of martial arts did you find to be the most interesting and exciting for you after trying them out? Which one did you love the most? Which type looks the most complete and limitless for studying it? What types of martial arts do you think can help you improve the most? Which one will make you come to the gym every day?

[socialpoll id=”2224851″]

  1. And not a thing about Kendo. wtf!?

  2. Profile photo of Mantas

    Thanks Jonathan for your comment. Unfortunately that’s a problem with top 10 list, that it has only 10 martial arts, which are the best for self defense in our opinion, but everyone has different one. Would be more then impossible to find the same top with the same martial arts. But I agree, Kendo is definitely great martial art for self defense. I can promise to mansion it in our future articles. Or you can apply for writer position, and you might be able to do it by your self. Just use our contact form if you are interested.

  3. great list of martial arts. Although I find out that any types of martial arts can be good for self defense after you master it. For me karate works the best.

  4. I tried taekwondo before but didn’t have the opportunity to continue, maybe i lost interest, anyway, i’m thinking of enrolling into Muay Thai or maybe Kickboxing though they are almost the same with only a little bit difference, i guess i’ll take muay thai followed by Jiu-jitsu.

    What do you think should i take muay thai first then Jiu-jitsu or Jiu-jitsu followed by muay thai?

    i’ve read a lot about krav maga since its really something catch, but for me its a little bit too lethal, but self defense and fitness wise, its something you should put on your list as it develops coordination of all body parts unlike other combat sports, but still its way too dangerous, i suggest a psychological test before taking lessons or trainees with this combat sport 🙂

    1. Profile photo of Mantas

      Krav Maga isn’t as dangerous as it looks like, but of course it depends from instructor.
      I have been training jiujitsu and muay thai for many years, it’s a big difference between these martial arts. But it’s hard to say which one you should try first, if you can’t do both, just try couple classes and you will feel where you can be better. My advice is to try as many martial arts as you can, because they all are wonderful and unique, but stick to just one or two which are the most interesting and acceptable for you. Because it’s always better to master one martial art, rather then just learn some basics from each of them.

  5. Good! you did not put Kali on your list since the art is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS!

    1. i agree with you. Kali or popularly called Arnis is a systematic way of stick fighting originated in the Philippines and known for its effectiveness in real-life situations. Like you said, Kali is extremely dangerous it was also featured in fight science!

  6. Ninjutsu? hmmmmmmmm Ninjutsu is far superior than BJJ, BJJ is just more popular because of MMA. So of course BJJ if gonna get more visitor votes because its more widely known than Ninjutsu. Just Sayin. I respect all styles but I feel Ninjutsu should’ve been somewhere on that list. I agree with Tae-Kwon-Do, Kung Fu, Krav Maga, Karate, but BOXING! REALLY? BOXING! that shocked me.

    1. Dude. people give boxing a bad rap for just being punches and clinches. but its got great footwork devestating close range force and exceptional speed.

      1. I totally agree with you man. But you know, everyone has their own opinion. Although, everyone who has ever tried boxing, knows that it’s much more then just two guys punching each others face. Like you said: speed, timing, footwork, head and body movement – makes this sport a real martial art.

    2. I’m not gonna repeat what the others commented, but ninjutsu focuses mostly on stealth. Not backflips and those stuff you see in fiction.

  7. So why are Wing tsun separated from rest of Kung fu? It is mist popular style for self defence for its straight forwardness. And are all the rest chinese styles equal? This look like something thrown togheter in a blink with not mutch effort.

    1. yes , it’s matrial arts from southeast Asia

  8. the master club is the best in the universe. If you do not know the master club is a karate

  9. Good list. But I’d probably put capoeira. Well, I don’t know that many martial arts stuff, so I can’t judge, but otherwise, good list!

  10. Guys boxing is good what about kickboxing that’s a awesome martial art 🙂

  11. 1. fot one on one fight mma fighter will beat everyone but it is not martial art but its a sport that combine diffiernt martial arts.
    and almost every mm fighter has certain specific martial arts base
    e.g. Gsp in karate, fador in sambo or anderson silva in mui thai

    2. and other than mma if we have compitation of pure martial artist of diffiernt martial arts its hard to guess whos goona win
    because that will be the stylistically match up
    like wrestler can take boxer down and beat him
    but if wrestler take bjj fighter down he will get caught in submission.
    while ninjitsu fighter can nertrlize bjj ground game.
    and so on.

    its not martial arts whis best its a pepole who masters it

  12. i like Kenpo/Kempo because they have all ranges of combat are strikes,punches,throws,joint locks, and etc.

  13. kung fu are the best, go to learn Ba Ji quan , Shao Lin quan, Xin Yi Liu He quan, Chen Tai Chi, Wu Dang quan, all of them are very good. For men, go to learn Ba Ji quan, For women, go to learn Wing Chun

  14. kalari is the oldest and best martial art in the world…

Leave a Reply