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Types Of Martial Arts

Updated on October 22, 2011

Martial art is a set of various fighting skills originating from East Asia. Martial arts developed centuries ago in Japan and Korea and today there are nearly 200 types of martial arts.

The reason why these fighting skills are called art is that these fighting techniques, unlike the other fighting methods not only involve physical strength but it also involves a great deal of intelligence and reasoning.

Martial arts have been studied and practiced all over the world for centuries now. Some of the popular types of martial arts are mentioned below.


Karate is one of the oldest types of martial arts and was originated in Okinawa and Japan. Karate is an unarmed form of martial arts in which the person uses his legs and arms for fighting while maintaining a special body position.

Karate is at time confused with judo, another kind of martial arts, but the difference is that in karate the person has to strictly use his legs and arms and can not push, throw and wrestle the opponent.

Karate is not only a physical activity but it is a great mental and psychological activity. Practicing karate has numerous benefits, firstly is balances the body position, then it strengthens the leg and arm muscles.

It also makes the joints stronger and regulates the blood flow through out the body. It has been observed that people who perform karate do not suffer from stress.

There are four traditional styles of karate: Shito ryu, Shotokan, Goju Ryu and Wado Ryu. All these styles were basically developed in Okinawa which was formerly known as Ryukyu Islands. Out of this four Shotokan is the most technical form of karate.


Judo is a revised version of the ancient Japanese martial art known as jujitsu.

Judo was developed in 1882 by a Japanese professor Kano and since then has majorly replaced the original form of art from which it was developed.

Judo is a Japanese word which means ‘gentle way’. In judo the emphasis is to take control over the opponent and emphasis in pinning or throwing down of the opponent.

Unlike karate which uses both mental and physical skill, in judo mental alertness and skills are highly important.

Practicing judo enhances thinking, reasoning and improves reflexes. Judo can also be called slightly difficult as compared to karate.


Aikido is a complex type of martial arts developed by the greatest martial arts teacher of Japan, Morihei Ueshiba.

It involves techniques of Karate, jujitsu and ancient kenjutsu. In aikido the person can kick or punch the opponent, he can also lock down the opponent and pin him down.

Aikido uses all these techniques and executes them with discipline. The basic purpose of the game is to throw the opponent away from you.

Aikido requires a great amount of physical and mental strength but physical strength matters more here.

The body position during the fight should be like that in sword fighting and spear fighting.

Kung Fu

Kung fu is perhaps the oldest Chinese martial art and is the most disciplined of all the other types of martial arts.

Kung fu has various body movements and is of different types but in general all types of kung fu require a massive amount of patience, physical strength and mental strength.

The hits and blocks of kung fu fighters are so strong that they can break a bone easily in one blow.

Common styles of Kung fu are: Hung Gar, Wu Shu, Wing Chun and Shaolin Kempo.

The oldest of these types is the Shaolin Kempo which originated nearly 5000 years ago in China’s province of Fukian.

Kung fu usually involves the movement of arms and legs, the purpose is to hit and knock out the opponent and that too very patiently and strongly.

Different variations of Kung fu use various body movements like that of some animals such as snakes and some also such the fluid movement.

Today Kung fu is practiced all over the world with different variations.

It has taken an evolution of nearly 5000 years and today is considered as the most challenging and mentally demanding martial arts, kung fu fighters are not only exceptionally strong, but they are also very patient, disciplined and mentally fit.


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