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Top Ten Martial Arts

Updated on April 8, 2016

Martial Arts

Martial arts was created originally for war in the 15th century. It began when the Chinese soldiers codified their fighting techniques. From thereon, martial arts has developed significantly into the popular sport that it is today.

Today martial arts competition takes three major forms. Creative forms/Kata, Creative weapons forms/ weapons kata, and Sparring/ Kumite(KUH-MIT-TAE). Creative forms is the unarmed non-contact display of techniques. One does this to develop their co-ordination, focus and confidence. This confidence is usually displayed and strengthened through a list of martial arts quotes.

Top Ten Martial Arts

The question is always posed, which is the best, deadliest, or coolest martial art. The truth is that the answer can be based solely on opinion. The following list is in order of reputation here in the western hemisphere. If you  are here to choose a martial art to join, you might consider attending a martial arts camp.

1. Karate

Karate, a Japanese style like some other martial arts, was developed to aid soldiers in warfare. Since then, it has developed into many different branches, each having its own founder, history, and doctrine.

-Seido Karate

This form of karate was founded by grand master Tadashi Nakamura. It is classified as traditional karate, and is very popular in both the western and eastern hemisphere.

-Shotokan Karate

This form of karate was developed by Gichin Funakoshi, and its grounds are formed from various different martial arts. This form of karate has some level of popularity, and is well established

2. Kung Fu

This is a martial art that was formed in China for the use of codified warfare. This martial art has gained very high popularity through martial arts movies, with Jackie Chan, and Jet Li being excellent representatives of what the art really is. Kung fu is well known for very fast movement, and its various branches.

-Drunken Fist

This branch of kung fu has interested greatly the people of the western world. It has done so through the very realistic drunkenness that are portrayed through its techniques.

- Grappling

This is not very popular in the western world in Kung Fu. This consists of joint locks, and the striking of pressure points.

3. Tae Kwon do

Taekwondo is a Korean martial art that was specifically design for the purpose of self defense. This martial art was founded by General Choi Hung Hi an army leader who design the art to train his soldiers for combat. This martial arts has different organizations, however they share the same doctrine. That is, same founder(not organization but art), same language. The difference is mainly reflected through its creative forms/patterns.

4. Kickboxing

This was designed to bring together in combat people of different martial arts that involve both kicking and punching. It then developed in what is called a hybrid martial art, because of it combination of element from many other martial art forms.

5. Aikido

This martial art is very common in North America. This art has been given light through famous actor Steven Seagal. This martial art is well known for its policy, which is to never fight to harm, but to restrain. This is one of many Japanese martial arts.

6. Hapkido

This is also a Korean martial art. This martial art employs the use of joint locks, close, and long range fighting techniques. This martial arts is well known for its use of flying kicks, and submission holds.


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    • profile image

      Cool guy 

      6 years ago

      Hapkido is boss

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      8 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Nice blog, I enjoyed it. I practiced Shoto-khan and Hapkido and I had tons of fun while doing it.

      Thanks for writing this! Cheers.

    • d-richie93 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago


      There many others that I later said that I should have added but if

      I were to add them I would have to change the title from top ten to top one hundred martial arts. The truth is a lot of them are so good and all are grea for self defense. My favorite however is ITF TaeKwon-Do

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great hub man. I learned a lot here. Thanks for sharing. By the way, not to be a critic or anything, but don't you think Muay Thai should be part of the top ten also? Or did you mean to incorporate all styles of kickboxing under your "kickboxing" category?

    • d-richie93 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Yes I do ITF TaeKwonDo and I think I was correct I disagree with that guy who"made corrections"

    • davidkaluge profile image


      8 years ago

      d-richie did you study martial art and are you still in it? I just bookmarked the page so I read for details later because someone corrected you about the orgin of the sport.

    • d-richie93 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      And again my friend thank you for the wonderful comments. Never knew that country had martial arts native to it ...I should check that out.

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 

      8 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      Thanks for sharing this. I've been associated with Shaolin basics during our PE classes in college but still in awe with Filipino martial arts like the Arnis and Sikaran (usually feet is more used than the hands).

      Bruce Lee even trained with a Filipino master, as may father told me when I was young.

    • d-richie93 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thanks@Jennuhlee and@ everryone else for the nice comments I appreciate them always

    • Jonesy0311 profile image


      8 years ago

      Great post. I have always been partial to Jiu Jitsu and Aikido for "real-world" applications. However, I have several friends and relatives who are black belts in Karate and Tae Kwon Do and they seem to be able to handle themselves pretty well.

    • Reviewit4u profile image


      8 years ago

      Great hub, I actually learned a few things!

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 

      8 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      I like doing Kickboxing... I would like to try Taekwando and karate but for the time being Kick boxing works just as well for me!

    • Jennuhlee profile image


      8 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Hey this is really quite fascinating, I've always wanted to learn some martial arts. Very well written hub, it was very clear and easy to read, Also thank you for the advice, I plan to work on that:]

    • d-richie93 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thank you @ the pink panther

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I kind of understand his grappling bit its just that it is a bit short

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Yes you are right. karate is okinawan. According to very worthy sources karate was developed in the Ryukyu Islands which is now Okinawa JAPAN. So you are wrong by saying that the hubber is wrong he is indeed correct about that point.

      YOu are indeed right Karate was not invented to aid aoldiers in warfare that kung fu.

      Everyone has their own opinion on the popularity of the karate types. maybe in his region it is the way he stated it. But from my observation

      Shotokan is infact hte most popular in the western world.

      his information seems to be based more on opinion and observation than facts. But if you look at it closely his information is not wrong its just in another perspective.

    • profile image

      phil doherty 

      8 years ago


      Karate is not Japanese but Okinawan. Okinawa - although run by the Japanese - is a separate people and culture, albeit strongly influenced by Japan and China.

      Karate was NOT invented to aid soldiers in warfare. It was a system of the peasants of Okinawa and its origins are more linked to Kung Fu than Japanese systems. It was originally known as Te or Tode and later as Karate, with the word Kara meaning China and Te meaning hand or fist...Chinese Fist.

      This was later changed to Kara - meaning empty - because when Funakoshi Gichin (from Okinawa) revealed the system to the astonished Japanese in the 1920s there was a deep anti-Chinese sentiment running through the country at the time.

      The only true Japanese Karate is Wado Ryu (Shorinji Kempo also comes allegedly from China and is Japanese for Shaolin). Shotokan Karate is a mix of different Okinawan KARATE styles and no other martial art (as Karate by this time was an established system in its own right). It was changed in 1948 by Sensei Nakayama to what it is today. If you want to see the original style invented by Gichin then look at Shotokai Karate which is more upright and fluid.

      A Shotokan is one of the largest martial arts in the world and is far far bigger than TKD in Europe and South America. Only in the USA is TKD bigger and America is not the world!

      As for Seido Karate - that is not very popular at all compared to the following Goju Ryu, Shotokan, Kyokinshin, Wado Ryu, and Shukokai (which also goes under the name Shito Ryu)

      Kickboxing has two roots - one Japanese the other American. In the US and Japan it was Karate that was mixed with boxing that formed the style. I've never heard of any other influences until relatively recently when Chinese styles such as San Shou and Lau Gar started using the same ideas but with a kung fu element thrown into the mix.

      Taekwondo was indeed invented by General Choi for self-defence. Sadly most TKD schools have moved so far away from his original idea that on the whole it is just a watered down sport nowadays (However - there are still a number of TKD schools that stick to its original form).

      I don't understand what you mean by your grappling bit...which seems to have a bit missing from the sentence. But if are trying to say grappling is not popular in the west you are simply wrong as its one of the mainstays of MMA. Grappling is simply an overterm that describes arts such as Greco-romano, catch-as-catch-can, Judo, Jujutsu, Brazillian Jiu-jitsu, Sumo etc...overall as a form its universal and is found everywhere...under different names.

      Drunken Fist - or master etc - that is probably one of the LEAST popular Kung Fu styles there is in the west. Systems such as Lau Gar, Hung Gar, Wing Chun and Praying Mantis...just to name a few are much more popular in the west.

      And Kung Fu was not invented for a "codified warfare" it was taught to Buddhist Monks in the Shaolin Temple by an Indian called Bodidharma who also taught them yoga.

      I hope that helps

      Phil Doherty

      Editor of Martial News

    • The Pink Panther profile image

      The Pink Panther 

      8 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      There are so many awesome martial arts, and you've made an excellent list of the best.

      Awesome hub!


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