The martial arts of today’s world are systematic and rigorous methods for using one’s body as a weapon in combat. There are generally considered to be three types of martial arts; those that involve strikes, those that involve grappling and those that involve weapons. Each martial art is unique and often stems from an style developed earlier, often with a combination of the main three fighting types. The martial arts are often created by a master of an older style or possibly by a group of fighting masters who have come together to combine their skills.

Chinese Origin
Kung-Fu (Wushu): Derived from the ancient fighting styles and divided into distinct schools, Wushu is one of the oldest martial arts and is the source for many modern day styles. It involves traning for both internal energy called qi and external techniques of strikes and weapons.

Tai Chi: Translated as Supreme Ultimate fist is a style that promotes self-defense and is often practiced for health benefits. Often practiced with slow movements, there are two main features: the solo form practiced with emphasis on the straight spine and the pushing hands which is practiced with a partner.

Jun Fan Jeet Kun Do: This martial art derived from the work and practices of the famous film legend Bruce Lee. This take on martial arts is different in that there is no rigid style set out for the student, the learner is suppose to allow their movements to flow like “dry land swimming”. Jeet Kun Do is meant to free the student from styles and methods, becoming more of a philosophy in fighting or expression. The art is suppose to remain simple and has a few principles to follow while training.

Japanese Origin
Karate: One of the most famous styles made widely known by the movie Karate kid made in the 1980’s, Karate is mainly composed of strikes. The philosophy of karate is aimed to free one of evil thoughts and the student is taught to almost never use the fighting techniques except for the most extreme conditions. The use of different colored belts is also used to denote rank.

Jujitsu: This style is based on making the opponent use their own force against them. It is generally considered a grappling technique and a branch of the martial art formed in South American called Brazilian Jujitsu.

Judo: This method is also a grappling technique like Jujitsu but unlike jujitsu it is centered around a different philosophy. Jujitsu is considered the art or science of softness while Judo is considered the path or way of softness. It was started in the late 19th century by a Japanese man Jigoro Kano.

Aikido: This art is generally considered a grappling art and is distinct because it requires very little strength to perform the moves. Philosophically its much closer to judo and could be translated the “way of combining forces”.

Kalari Payat (India): An Indian martial art practiced in the South Indian state of Kerala. It involves a large range of athletic movements for flexibility, striking techniques for hand-to-hand combat as well as weapons like daggers, swords and staffs. One of the most unique weapons found in Kalari is the Urumi, which is a flexible sword that can fit around the waste.

Muay Thai (Thailand): Is probably the most strike focused and is considered to be a kickboxing style of martial art. The formal movements are divided into two groups, a major group (mae mai) and a minor group (luk mai). The techniques follow the body parts used to fight, including punching, elbow, kicking, knee, foot-thrust, clinch and neck wrestling.

Taekwondo (Korean): Like Muay Thai, it is also a kickboxing style of marital art. There are two main branches of taekwondo, there is the traditional style and the sport style. There are also two different expressions in philosophy of taekwondo; there is the International Taekwondo Federation’s two oaths, and there is the Kukkiwon philosophy based on Eastern principles of samje, yin and yang. The raking is usually kept simple between junior and senior.

Sambo (Russia): This is considered an off-shoot of judo and karate with a lot of focus on wrestling. It is considered to have two founders, Viktor Spirindonov and Vasili Oshchepkov are considered the founders, who trained individually to later join their styles in the new form called Sambo. Following this, there are three main branches of Sambo, sport, combat and freestyle and ranking is done with competitive ratings or, less frequently, belts.

Honorable mention: Hapkido (Korean), Capoira (Afro-Brazil), Savate (France), glima (Iceland), Qinna (Chinese), Eskrima (Filipino), Kendo (Japanese), Gatka (India), Unifight (US Military), Krav maga (Isreal), Kapap (Isreal) and Gymnopaedia (ancient Sparta)

All of these combat techniques and methods have been used over the years in many different competitions and tournaments to see which style and fighter is the most dominant. Today, two of the most famous tournaments are the Ultimate Fighting championship hosted in the US and Pride which is hosted in Japan. Fedor Emilenenko and Josh Barnett are considered two of the best fighters, to enter the ring in combat, alive today.

A video to finish the post off