Martial arts are the product of a history in which a person fights not only with his opponent but also with himself. Martial arts, which are also used as martial arts, can act independently as in sports branches. Today, we see that these types of art are mostly used together with sports.
This is because the area between the two has the quality of a gray area. In this sense, it would be a wrong proposition to say that martial arts are not purely sports. Likewise, saying that these arts are sports branches themselves may lead us to the wrong point. The reason for this is that the fight has reached today by going through various transformations in the historical process. The evolution and modernization processes of societies have been the main dynamo of this situation.
This evolution process still continues unabated today and continues to affect various fields. The transformation of cultural acceptances and beliefs also provides the transformation of fields such as sports and art. Thus, a martial art whose origin goes back thousands of years also has a difference.
Martial Arts Today
The gladiator fight, which took place in an amphitheater in the past, would certainly not be welcome today. At that time, it was an enjoyable activity for men, who were armed and equipped with defense equipment, to try to kill each other. They were compelled to do so as gladiators, common people, or even slaves. However, this situation leads to the strengthening of gladiators and the implementation of various war tactics. Thus, it was seen that they rebelled against the authority and even the Roman Empire at various times.
It can also be said that it is a proof of a person’s need for self-protection to attack at the maximum level. To give an example from Asia; The freedom of movement of samurai and ninjas has an appearance that has completely lost its effect today. The driving force of this situation is undoubtedly the emphasis on the sanctity of human life with the Enlightenment. Facts such as the uniqueness of man, the indivisible integrity of his body and his dignity enter social life.
Thus, primitive sports that have been going on since ancient times also begin to transform. The subject of our article is to try to explain what all these transforming martial arts mean today. Thus, we may have a better understanding of how these oldest habits are maintained.
25 Most Influential Martial Arts Examples
1) Krav Maga
Krav Maga can turn you into an explosive weapon of war. This occupation, dominated by lawlessness, is an absolute combination of defense and attack among the martial arts. The most distinctive feature of Krav Maga, which is at the top of our list, is that it can be applied by everyone. While this applies to all the remaining martial arts on our list; Krav Maga is at the highest level of violence.
This art, which is indispensable for the Israeli Armed Forces, is now practiced everywhere. The main feature of Krav Maga is that it offers the inevitable knowledge of survival. The fact that it is a modern and hybrid martial art is among its other remarkable features. Krav Maga is a true martial art that can be applied directly in daily life. Not to mention that it combines wrestling, judo and classical boxing rules and Wing-Chun teaching under its roof.
Ninjutsu is between traditional and classical martial arts. This art, whose name we have mentioned before, hosts the ninjas to showcase their skills. Ninjutsu, which is hardly practiced today, is a theatrical martial art. The basis of this situation may be that it is a sport performed by ninjas.
It is noteworthy that techniques based on stun and deception dominate the opponent. It is possible to say that this non-hybrid art is an ideal area to walk confidently in the dark. It is among the martial arts used by agents carrying out intelligence activities and guerrillas fighting in the countryside.
3) Aikido – Japanese Wrestling
Aikido focuses on strengthening the spiritual defense with the thought of the way involved. The attack is based on taking action according to the thoughts of the opponent, as in the secondary plan. It is aimed that people can use their spiritual power and aura in the most correct way. In this direction, it is expected that the person will go his own way. Aikido is also a field that transforms and evolves from the past to the present.
Aikido, a classical art, is popular among Neo-classical martial arts thanks to the contributions made in history. Essentially, it is aimed to put the good energy against the bad energy. Thus, one’s own spiritual space is not damaged. It is one of the martial arts where lifting and throwing the opponent’s feet off the ground is the most effective.
We wouldn’t be wrong if we say that Capoire is among the most interesting martial arts. Capoeira, which requires a physically strong and athletic body, is among those that deserve the name of art. Capoeira is performed within the framework of rhythmic integrity. It should be noted that it has a rather disappointing history due to its origin and birth. It has a close relationship with the enslavement processes of Brazilian natives. It is also an art developed by slaves both to defend themselves and to catch cultural calmness. It is possible to make many definitions for capoeira in this sense.
The creators of this very traditional art associated it with freedom. This creation of Brazilian natives and enslaved slaves from Angola also gave birth to some of today’s most intriguing art. In capoeira, the legs and arms swing horizontally in the wind, while the body is parallel to the ground. Thus, the body, which receives strength from the ground, can stun the opponent with sudden kicking blows.
Taekkyeon is a martial art with special meaning to Korea. This sport, which is among the traditional martial arts, also offers the formulas of lifting and throwing the opponent. It is of great importance to the historical integrity of Korea today. It helps the whole body to move in a synchronized manner and stun the enemy.
Thus, the opportunity to attack the enemy, which has lost its field of action and dominance, is seized at once. Taekkyeon is performed by the Taekkyon-kkun master. It is also a sport that is influenced by modern martial arts in Korea.
Kick Boxing is one of the martial arts that shows how strong and resistant the human body is. Kick Boxing is a sport in which an opponent is attacked relentlessly. Its difference from war strategies and sports in the old times is that it is subject to certain rules. These rules have been developed for the continuity of the human body and the health of the athlete. Kickboxing is basically an attacking art that requires attacking the opponent with punches, knees and kicks.
The aim is to make the opponent give up or to score more points in a round-style match. In this sense, let us state that the rules are valid and strictly applied. In addition, Kick Boxing has triggered the emergence of various new attacking arts in Asia and Africa. Thanks to this feature, it also carries the evolving and transforming characteristics of martial arts.
7) Wing-Chun – Song of Spring
Wing Chun, also known as Spring Song, is not a sport that is what it seems. It is one of the martial arts in which it is possible to suddenly take the opponent’s breath away. While doing this, his most important weapon is the ‘chain punch’ peculiar to Wing-Chun. Wing Chun is also in close contact with Bruce Lee, one of the most popular names in history. Wing Chun, which is actually the name of Lee’s sport, has its origins in China. Yip Man, who is Lee’s master, is a person who appears in countless films today with his story.
It is an art that is among the minimal ones among the martial arts. It is a branch of art that shows the way to make the shortest and most effective decision in times of danger. Let me state in advance that it does not have an ostentatious structure in this sense. The priority for Wing Chun is to stay as close to the opponent as possible. Thus, sudden explosions and blows can be delayed and damage can be done against the opponent. Techniques such as punch, knee, elbow, kick are applied in different ways, as well as ground fighting.
8) Wushu – Kung Fu
Wushu is a traditional martial art based on injuring an opponent, born and developed in China. It would not be wrong to say that it is an ancestral sport that almost everyone in China has started to learn from childhood. Today, it is carried out professionally in various countries of the world. As in almost all of the Eastern assault arts, individual development is at the forefront.
The spiritual integrity of the person is above almost everything. It is also an area that requires an aggressive agility. The mixture of athletics elements and dance and the application of this mixture to overthrow the opponent draws attention. This sport, which was made with defensive and offensive weapons in its historical origin, is applied in competitions with scoring method today.
Karate maintains its place among the most popular sports today. Karate owes its popularity to its rapid spread and ability to be practiced by almost all age groups. Karate is a sport that originated in Japan and is integrated with Zen philosophy. It does not see the attack as the maximum aim. Defense and spiritual ascension are more prominent. The etymological origin of the word karate also represents an unarmed martial art.
It has 3 different techniques: Kumite, Kihon and Kata. These techniques vary according to the rules, the use of hands and feet, the position of the body and the type of competition. Karate also has a sequential succession. It offers 7 different belt formats: white, yellow, orange, green, blue, brown and black.
Systema is produced by Special Forces within the Russian Military Units. The driving force in its emergence is the search for an effective defense against all existing martial arts. Russia’s cold and continental climate will have affected that durability is at the forefront. Athletics, on the other hand, is a feature that stretches endurance.
Systema, which exhausts training as much as a real competition, is an attacking art that really helps to survive. Let’s not go without mentioning that he has principles such as the principle of not giving up the struggle and absolute attack.
11) Muay Thai – Thai Boxing
If we were making a list of the most brutal martial arts in history, we’re pretty sure Muay Thai would be at the top of the list. Muay Thai, also known as Thai Boxing, is a common form of boxing in East Asia. It has deadly combinations of knees and elbows. He is also notorious for his quick punches and kicks.
Muay Thai is a martial art often used in cage fights. It is a sport that teaches the methods of survival, so to speak, in a limited narrow space. In Muay Thai, whose training is reminiscent of a battle, conditioning is an indispensable quality. This art, made in high-level condition, maintains its place among sports that are equally enjoyable to watch.
12) Pencak Silat
Pencak Silat is one of the martial arts that has existed since the past. Today, it continues to be made with different styles. You must have come across Pencak Silat’s style and techniques in an action movie you watched. It is not uncommon for one of the two fighters to carry out a knife attack on his opponent’s knuckles.
Weapons such as daggers are also used in Pencak Silat, where the weapon changes its place from time to time. In fact, let’s also point out that as long as the weapon is cutting and piercing, it does not matter in this martial art. The professional who performs this sport is called Pesilat. In its modern interpretation, it is aimed to break the knees and elbows by making sudden attacks.
13) Eskrima – Kali Arnis
We continue our list with another East Asian martial art. Eskrima, also known as Kali-Arnis, is a sport that we are familiar with from cinema. You all remember the scenes where countless bats were struck one after the other. Two people attack each other with wooden or metal sticks or any other object that replaces sticks. It probably won’t take long for you to remember this scene.
Eskrima is a martial art that originated and developed in the Philippines. The essence of Eskrima is to neutralize the opponent’s weapon. Regardless of the opponent’s or enemy’s weapon, this is achieved by applying the necessary techniques. Although it is practiced for competition purposes today, it is certain that it is an art that can be easily applied in nature.
14) marching band
The marching band is one of the martial arts in which defense stands out. When you say that the defense comes to the fore, it should not be understood that there is no attack. Marching is an attacking art where quick attacks can reach lethal levels. There are also specific features of Bando. At the beginning of these features, it can be shown that it is inspired by nature.
The person who takes a position against the opponent’s attack first dodges the attack. He is then prepared to carry out his attack, named after an animal. It should be noted that these techniques, the most well-known of which are the eagle, scorpion and black panther, are quite effective. Let’s add that this martial art, which imitates nature in a way, is of Asian origin.
Bokator is a martial art of Asian origin and widely practiced specifically in Cambodia. Bokator, which is quite similar to Muay Thai, is based on the effective use of knees, elbows and fists. The difference from Muay Thai is the use of certain weapons. The infiltration of weapon use into Bokator is due to its use for military activities in Cambodia.
Many different authentic weapons are used, such as bamboo staffs, short sticks, swords and lotus sticks. Apart from that, ground combat is of special importance for Bokator. In addition, the attack styles used in Bokator are associated with nature. In this sense, it can be said that it is similar to Bando. The animals represented in Bokator are crabs, crocodiles, birds and elephants.
Taekwondo is among the sports in which parts of the body such as hands and feet are used most effectively. It draws attention in the category of standing and hitting sports. It is a fact that the defense is based on the principle of greatness. In doing so, it also represents the neurological awakening of the body.
It is appreciated with the direct attacks of kicks and punches on the opponent’s nerve areas. As it requires an athletic body, it also draws attention to the abundance of jumps. Just like in the art of Karate, there is intergenerational development in Taekwondo. There are white, yellow, green, blue, red and black belts respectively.
Sambo is a martial art unique to Russia, just like Systema. As in Systema, defense is of primary importance in Sambo. Breaking the opponent’s force field and shield is the primary goal. Derived from the word Unarmed Defense, Sambo emerged as a result of being inspired by the first letters of this word.
Sambo, which is similar to wrestling, allows both to steal the opponent’s energy and to strengthen one’s self. It allows locks to various parts of the body. For example, in Sambo, feet are a key rule. Today, it is carried on as a very common sport and cultural activity in the geography emptied from the Soviet Union.
Kendo is a martial art that dates back to Japan and is performed with swords and bamboo sticks. In Japanese, ‘ken’ describes the sword, and ‘do’ describes the path. In this sense, the way forward with the sword means the way that is walked with the sword. Kendo, which is among the most popular sports in the world, is also practiced by many people in our country. Among the main reasons for this is Kendo’s attitude that does not set war as an end.
The main idea of Kendo is to drive away bad energy. Kendo, whose traditional interpretation is made with katana or samurai sword, is made with bamboo sticks today. After its transformation over time, today it becomes a part of cultural development and the culture of togetherness. In this sense, it can be said that it is among the martial arts that are done with love and are not based on harm.
Judo, like all sports born and developed in Asia, is based on the philosophy of the road. Judo emerges as a result of the transformation of Jujutsu. It is performed in two parts, Tachi-waza and Ne-waza. These are the Japanese name given to the standing and floor parts, respectively. Judo, besides being a competition-based sport, dazzles with its abundance of techniques.
Judo, which has dozens of techniques for each stage, is among the rich martial arts in this sense. Judo, which is focused on achievement and promotion, has a similar belt rank to Karate and Taekwondo. Apart from this, it should be noted that focus and the right attack are of high importance. It is the first of the modern martial arts of Japanese origin.
20) MMA – Mixed Martial Arts
If we ask what is the most common and popular martial art today, MMA may be the answer. MMA, as the name suggests, emerged as a whole of many martial arts. It is a blend of countless arts such as boxing, judo, karate, jiu jitsu and wrestling. In this sense, let’s add that it is a deadly attack and defense art.
It has many features such as kickback, ground combat, radical punches and kicks. Today, it is among the most frequently followed sports in the media. MMA is also among the sports that support the formation of a strong body. It also attacks the body fat ratio with its incredible training pace and conditioning exercises.
What does a samurai who has lost his sword and been taken prisoner look like? Samurai are people who exist with their swords. Be it great battles or small duels, samurai are notorious for their swords. So what can a samurai without a sword do to max out their enemies? Jujutsu is a martial art that pursues precisely these questions. He succeeded in influencing various martial arts such as Aikido and Hapkido that came after him.
The main feature of jujutsu is that it teaches how to fight without swords and equipment. In this sense, it should be noted that its origin dates back to ancient times. Focusing on the opponent’s attack, Jujutsu teaches techniques for how to dodge incoming attacks. These techniques include throwing, hitting, breaking and strangling. Over time, it has created a developing area among competitive sports.
Kalarippayatt is a traditional martial art in India with thousands of years of history. The most important feature of this martial art is that it is a fierce struggle with bare hands. Kalarippayatt, in which various weapons are also used, impresses with its techniques. As with almost every martial art, there is spiritual peace at the center of attack and defense. In this sense, one is expected to correct and reorganize himself.
It has 3 different processes: Meythari, Kolthari and Ankathari. These 3 processes also show how the fight will progress. The most striking for Kalarippayatt is the concept of ‘marmas’. 107 regions in the body that will end human life are studied. In this sense, we would not be wrong to say that it is among the martial arts where maximum damage is expected.
Everyone may think that boxing originated in America, but this proposition can be falsified. Lethwei is a type of boxing that dates back to ancient times and is made through competition. Also known as Myanmar Boxing. As it is similar to Muay Thai, in addition, headshots have a place in Lethwei. Apart from this, there are many attack options such as knees, elbows, kicks and punches.
Lethwei is so traditional and cultural that; It has been used for recreational purposes in agricultural production processes. It also has a fun status for humans. In addition, being a national fight allows it to engage in a different national fight, Muay Thai. It is known that Thai Muay Thai boxers and Myanmar Lethwei boxers fight at certain intervals.
What can scare a criminal walking in the dark of night? None other than Batman. Keysi is a martial art associated with the Batman comic character. It has a fairly recent and modern history compared to the arts on the rest of our list. Developed by two people named Justo Dieguez and Andy Norman, this martial art tends to become more and more popular.
Undoubtedly, the Batman movie series must have a share in this trend. Keysi basically has a street fighting system. It teaches the techniques of fighting with many people in a certain open or narrow space. It should be noted that Keysi is both an effective defense and a repulsive weapon against successive attacks. In Keysi, where unlimited energy and motivation dominate, the opponent can be destroyed with short moves.
25) Jeet Kune Do – The Way of the Stopping Fist
Jeet Kune Do is among the hybrid martial arts. As it can be understood from its Turkish equivalent, it describes the pursuit of a relentless fist. It is a hybrid system developed by Kung Fu master Bruce Lee. It is based on elements such as simplicity, simplicity and savings. It proposes to use the energy of the body, both concretely and abstractly, sparingly.
Based on Bruce Lee’s Wing-Chun teaching, Jeet Kune Do also has certain differences.
These differences are due to the fact that it is a hybrid martial art. It has integrated techniques from many martial arts such as fencing, boxing, taekwondo, judo and muay thai. According to Bruce Lee, the basic technique of Jeet Kune Do is the triumph of knowledge over everything. It is a very popular sport in the 1960s, thanks to its relationship with other martial arts.