Top 10 Most Deadly Martial Arts of the World

With Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fights and demonstrations slowly becoming a worldwide phenomenon, many have traveled the world to seek out the best martial arts and master the techniques. Military and police forces all around the world combine martial arts techniques from different fields to be used during hand-to-hand combat and as part of arrest and self-defense methods. Martial arts vary in scope and variety; some prioritize striking movements, grappling maneuvers, with weapons or a combination of all three. While they vary from one another, they all share the same similarity; when used correctly and with force, martial arts are deadly. To pick a list of deadliest or strongest martial arts is a subjective matter; debates have arisen from the topic, many vouching for one martial arts technique over another and vice versa. We explore some of the more dangerous forms of martial arts practiced by its practitioners:

Martial Arts Forms

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KalarippayattuCapoeiraKrav MagaMuay ThaiNinjitsuSamboSilatTaekwondoWing Chunand a Karate Cat!
Krav Maga
Krav Maga
Muay Thai
Muay Thai
Wing Chun
Wing Chun
and a Karate Cat!
and a Karate Cat!


One of the oldest forms of martial arts in existence, Kalarippayattu originated from Kerala, in South India. Practitioners seek to instill a high level of intellect and spirituality by utilizing mantra shastra and tantra shastra. A skilled Kalarippayattu practitioner who has achieved that high level of spirituality is not only well-versed in striking, grappling and different weaponry skills but has the ability to sense movements from the opponent and defend before even being attacked. By developing psychic-like senses and agile movements, Kalarippayattu is quickly making a comeback in the modern era after being portrayed in a positive light in famous movies.


Originated in Korea and the national sport of South Korea, Taekwondo loosely means “the way of the foot and the fist”. With over 70 million practitioners and over 4 million black belt holders worldwide, taekwondo was included in the Summer Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000. Taekwondo is famous for its high impact kicks, with rationale being kicks having a much longer reach than punching and if executed swiftly, is considered the strongest weapon for a martial artist.


Literally meaning hand, karate is a full contact martial art originating from Okinawa in Japan that incorporates striking, grappling and locks to takedown an opponent. Practitioners of karate are called karatekas and they number as much as 23 million worldwide. Made famous by the film The Karate Kid starring Pat Morita as a karate master, karate is highly deadly martial art technique with current MMA world champions practicing karate as their main striking ability.

Martial Arts


Originated in the Russian Federation in 1938, Sambo is a grappling martial art with origins in Judo and other Eastern European wrestling techniques. Sambo differs from other martial arts with its different ranking system. Instead of colored belts, Sambo practitioners are awarded ratings such as Master of Sports and International of Sports. A special technique of Sambo called Combat Sambo is extensively used by military and Special Forces worldwide to neutralize enemies in a close combat situation. With its strong grappling techniques, Sambo practitioners can takedown opponents and maim a part of their body with a lock in a matter of mere seconds.

Muay Thai

Thailand’s national sport is taking the martial arts world by storm. Called the “Art of Eight Limbs”, an accomplished Muay Thai practitioner has the prowess and ability to strike using their shins, elbows, hands and knees instead of four contact points in fists and feet. Mainly a form of kickboxing, Muay Thai practitioners usually get opponents into a clinch, a hold an opponent has difficulty to get out of, and kneeing them directly at the heart, downing an opponent quickly and effectively.

Krav Maga

Literally meaning “hand to hand combat” and developed as a form of street fighting in Israel, Krav Maga has become one of the fastest growing martial arts around the globe currently. Krav Maga focuses more on threat defense instead of offensive attacks, making it ultimately practical and useful in the current global context. Different variations of Krav Maga are used in military forces around the world and in Special Forces like Israel’s Mossad, FBI and the British SAS.

Wing Chun

Specializing in close combat, Wing Chun practitioners are taught to be efficient, practical and quick on their feet. Believing the use of the least amount of force is the best way in battle, Wing Chun practitioners seek out the quickest way to take down an opponent through unique striking abilities, aiming blows at the throat, shin and sweeping opponents off the ground quickly with kicks. Wing Chun practitioners also have the ability to chain attacks, making their attacks deadly if not blocked and stopped prematurely.


Originated in Brazil, Capoeira is unique in the sense that it incorporates music and dance to the martial art. Used by slaves in the 1800s, it was disguised as a form of dance moves to trick slave owners into thinking the practitioners were merely dancing when they were really mastering techniques and sharpening their Capoeira moves. Capoeira is a form of martial art that is considered one of the hardest to counter since its moves are unorthodox yet very lethal. By implementing quick kicks and flowing punches, Capoeira is definitely one of the more unique martial arts globally.

Martial Arts Warrior Training


The way of the ninja. Practiced by shinobis in ancient Japan, Ninjitsu is considered one of the most unconventional martial arts techniques around the world today. Ninjitsu practitioners in ancient Japan were assassins and spies; hence their methods were based on stealth and taking out an opponent when he does not see it coming. Ninjitsu practitioners are taught various skills and weaponry and are considered guerrilla masters of the samurai sword.


While the origin of Silat is relatively unknown, and the popularity of the martial art is still considered low, what is known is Silat was created by the Malay people in Southeast Asia. Used mainly as a war dance and a form of self defense, Silat practitioners are skilled strikers trained to maintain a strong stance while applying slow and subtle movements with unique dance-like qualities to trick opponents into believing Silat practitioners were ill-trained and hence, making mistakes that Silat practitioners can take advantage of.

Martial Arts Odyssey


With historical references since the period of ancient Greeks, boxing has been refined and retooled numerous times in the modern context. Boxing in the modern world now mainly follows the Marquees of Queensberry rules with rounds and a three-round knockout system. Boxing is strictly striking using gloved fists, with different stances and different methods of strikes involved. A strong knockout boxer, like world famous Muhammad Ali, famous for the catchphrase “Float like a butterfly, Sting like a bee” could knock down an opponent and knock their lights out unconscious with a single punch.

With plenty of martial arts techniques around the globe, a martial artist is definitely spoiled for choice. While there will most definitely be debates with regards to the most deadly martial arts technique known to man, a man who can incorporate several of the above martial arts styles and make it his own would indeed be one of the most dangerous man alive

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Comments 448 comments

joecseko profile image

joecseko 2 years ago from New York, USA, Earth

Okay, why on Earth are Tae Kwon Do and Sambo on this list? How is Jeet Kun Do (Jun Fan Kung Foo) not?

Sambo and Judo are sports, and not true martial arts.

Drew 2 years ago

I agree with a few of these quotes I studied Isshinryu I've been a black belt for 30 years now unfortully I got hurt @ work broke my leg & back but tucked in my head from my trading when we would flip each other & do a break fall I learned from a Marine that studied in Japan under the GRANDMASTER & Founder to be honest all martial arts are deadly but it depends on the person

did one get a black belt from just doing his katas or from

fighting when I studied lawyers were not involved u dropped

your hands u got hit in the face u left your chest open u got hit

learning my my Sensei to me a great experience we used 50/50

hands & feet also take downs throws swipes ect to me leaning

from someone who was taught hand to hand combat just to

survive & turned out to Master it was a great part of my life we

trained hard if u didn't and acted up u either had to do push

ups or leave for that day there was a no nonsense approach

which I think made me respect the Martial Arts a lot more till

this day I still love the arts since im hurt I can work out but I

don't push my self I also studied Taekwondo for a short time

cause I moved for about 6 months I didn't wear a belt cause I

was already a black belt so I didn't feel the need for one & the

Sensei was ok with it he was a great guy but when I would fight

the black belts & jammed them up & come over with a back fist

they said no hands they don't count I don't know if that's every

school I can't say but I wasn't about to stay in a school were u

just did flashy kicks id admit it looked cool but if it were real

fights they had no defensive once there legs could not be used

like I said im not putting down all TKD this was just my

experience I also went to Shotokan cause I wanted my son to

learn he started to lose interest so I joined so he would have me

enrolled with him of course different classes I also didn't were

a belt there also I noticed that there katas were Isshinryu's

blocking drills so I was show 5 in my 1st day & the hardest part

was remembering the name of them but just like the TKD

school they had padded floors & music playing blasting how are

you supposed to consitrate I was used to hard floors but like I

said with all the laywers I guess you can't blame them another

thing is that I noticed im sure the real Martial Artists will agree

that now a days they promote people who don't deserve to be

cause they don't want to lose the $ it's a shame a lot of people

who have just received there black belts didn't earn them they

paid for them not all though I will not put down someone who

trained hard for it my Black Belt test consisted of a written test

& being able to count to a 100 in Japanese plus even before my

test I taught the kids class I was a kid my self but that was part

of becoming a Black belt the written part was long then after

that I had to preform my katas then after that I had to fight who

ever they selected then I passed my test I think its a shame u

have black belt out there that are not really black belts & it

discourages them when it wasn't there fault or go to fight in a

tournament & don't last more than a minute I feel for these kids

& even adults when I went to the these other schools and could not believe were the Martial Arts have come to well I wish everyone the best & train hard

Shotokan school after not really training

for about 3 years in 2 months I was told

after class I had to fight the Black Belts I

just started to train again but I fought 7 of

them one at a time beating all of them &

quickly then the Sensei stepped in to fight

me I scored on him he scored on me then

I was tierd so I went at him fast to get it

done quickly I had him crouched in a

corner with his hands over his head then it hit me it was his school his students so I backed off & left my chrst open he won he & I both know I really did but out of respect I let him win as long as he knew it I was good with it but 2-23 Black Belts came to me & said u really won I said no I didn't he did they said u had him in the corner I said vut no were to score & when he got up he caught me they smiled & said ok but me & the Sensei became close friends after that which is a plus so like I said it doesn't really matter what style you study unless your teacher is bad or its just a bad style but with that said its the students who chose if there going to be good or not are they going to train even at home after class & on days when there is no class or just go the days they say that's what makes the difference I loved the martial arts all my life I trained every day when I learned a new kata I would come home & practice ok well I appreciate reading from other great Martial Artists

boom 2 years ago

at age 21 wc martial arts can i start to practice i have anger problems

Douglas 3 years ago

Capoeira? Really? I am a martial artist from brazil and can tell you that capoeira shouldn't even be considerated a martial art. All the great martial arts have their root in secular training and improvement along the ages. Capoeira, as you stated, not only is recent but it was created by uncouth fellas with no proper training or scientific method to fight agains brazilian slavers that again didn't have any proper training.

MANIRENGAN 3 years ago

I am from India and I am blown off my feet by james comments on kalari and varmakali. Bullshit of the first order. Indians are like this spewing shit through their mouth. I personaly think that in an arena mma muaythai fighter has the best chance. in survival amy military style martial artist will survive

Syahrizad Akmal 3 years ago from Shah Alam, Malaysia

In silat got some skill that be legend for ppl that complete learning silat..its call IBU GAYONG..not all ppl can learn..only ppl that complete learning silat can learn this skill..hehhehe..

aikikenjitsu profile image

aikikenjitsu 3 years ago from Puyallup, WA

One comment mentioned Kali. Martial arts from the Philippines are very good. In fact, many Kenpo schools have integrated stick and knife fighting from the Philippines. I believe they learn weapons first and empty hand second. In Kenpo we learn empty hand first and weapons second. But we’re predominantly an empty hand art. So we’re not that perfect in weapons, hence Kali. There’s one thing I can say about Kenpo, the movements flow so well that without weapon’s training, a black belt in Kenpo can pick up a weapon and use it effectively against thugs. But to combat against a trained weapon’s fighter like Kali, a Kenpoist would have to train for a while in just weapons.

Gab 3 years ago

you forgot kali. it's from the philippines we usually call it arnis or eskrima in our school

aikikenjitsu profile image

aikikenjitsu 3 years ago from Puyallup, WA

I would add American Kenpo to that list. I've studied it for forty years and at 5'2", I've taken down some bad boys. But really, all martial arts are dangerous, but you picked some good ones. When people see me do Kenpo they think it Silat, similar I guess in many ways.

In your title Karate, that's just a general word meaning punching and kicking. If you want to be more specific, place American Kenpo under it.

It would be an excellent choice. Good going, you got a lot of replies.

MartialArtsRule 3 years ago

I agree with everyone here. Taekwondo is not as deadly as it would seem. What you forgot to put in this list is Kali and Jeet Kune Do. Kali was basically created to kill. It is a Filipino martial art that has been incorporated into the modern fighting system of both the U.S Marine Corp. and Russian Spetznaz. While Jeet Kune Do (that we all know to be created by Bruce Lee) has elements of both Kali and Wing Chun incorporated into the art.

duke 3 years ago

silat is not from Malay (Malaysia) the originally is from Indonesia

ThePrayingMantis 3 years ago

i think this site pretty good on what it says. even though there are a lot more deadly martial arts. SWAN DIVE, TO THE BEST NITE OF YOUR LIFE.

ThePrayingMantis 3 years ago

Roy Tornado have you ever taught anyone? cause one day i want to train people to do Mantis, Crane, Shaolon Fist. I don't know any Shaolon Fist but i will someday. Last question are you a master?

ThePrayingMantis 3 years ago

i am 13 years old and in the fighting style Mantis. Im done with the session for what i have to learn but should i go in Muay Thai or Karate next?

shaan 4 years ago

i see, all are really dangerous.

oscarthe rock 4 years ago

all martial arts are very dangerous and affective in any fights, but not to mention all of these are just plain business,.is there any place you can go now and get a free lesson to learn martial arts .and why don't we have a competition open to any martial artist and have their respective name on it winner take all and let the whole world decide.

porte 4 years ago

I am a black belt in shotokan and do tae kwon do also and to be honest I have had a few fights in the cage and nobody got anywhere near me, if they came close I closed the gap for them leaving them no room for nothing. works good in the street also as you don't actually need to hurt someone but if it came to it then you could instantly put an end to it any day.

Nickh 4 years ago

Sorry but this article is ridiculous, the secret to beating any black belt in taekwondo is to get up close to him. Like others have said it's a good martial art sport for kids but when it comes to real life situations you're screwed relying on that art especially since most of the taekwondo dojo's are belt factories now a days. MMA guys are pretty damn tough, but they focus on competition mostly (from my experience with mma trainers anyway.) So far I've found aikido, muay thai, wing chun, and gojuro to be the most effective types of art but I still plan to learn with an open mind.

bondo calona 4 years ago

90% of everything this said is ridiculously false.1 Kalarippayattu

the Indian martial art from the southern state of Kerala is amung the predictible and undefended martual art/2 capoeira was discovered by a french reporter in 1632 no on person knows ho founded it just the basics as mongolian slaves in the notourious poptoca lo tel ma ne translation the black day clan /Taekwondo translateing to ways of body/ and everything els im not going to go into other than your full of shit iv studied 7 of these martual arts for the most proportion of my life and consider them to be my life ....stop getting your imformation from the enternet

urban combatives 4 years ago

No holds barred you say, put a blue belt urban combatives in there and he will literly rip ANY opponant appart a black belt and upwards in urban combatives is like a wild animal with mad skills, like I said its real world stuff, we don't live in a cage we live in a big world, and can get attaked any where any time. No refs no tap outs no rules.

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