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What is the hardest Martial Art in the world?

Updated on December 18, 2019

Martial Art Disciplines


Martial Arts is a highly regarded art in the world, especially now since the UFC has been in mainstream for over a decade. Many kids, teenagers, even adults watch UFC and learn the basic moves of Jiu-Jitsu, Boxing, Kickboxing and it adds a basic basis to their overall fight game.

Martial Art Concepts:

Many have different thoughts about Martial Arts either by their own thoughts/beliefs or by how they were taught in whichever discipline they have trained in. Example, in Aikido, it is strictly to be used for self-defense and nothing more. Never to challenge one to a fight and avoiding it at all costs. Most Martial Arts are like this and have the concept within their system.

But out of all the Martial Arts there are, which is the hardest one to master.

Average time to reach Black Belt:

Getting a black belt depends on the individual and his attitude towards it and how much work he puts into it, for instance. BJ Penn was introduced to the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu when he was 17 years old. In 3 years he became a BLACK BELT and on top of that, he became the first non Brazilian black belt to ever win the mundials, that is unheard of. Another notable fighter, Forrest Griffin, took him an average of 10 years to achieve his black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

On top of all this, there is a average time-line on what it takes for a person to achieve a black belt in certain disciplines. Here are the statistics.

Karate: Average time to achieve a black belt in Karate according to many sources, is 4 years.

Tae Kwon Do: Tae Kwon Do's average is 5 years. One year longer than Karate which is understandable, considering you need extreme precision and flexibility to a high degree.

Hapkido: According to sources, the average time to get a black belt in Hapkido is 5 years, do not mistake this though. Hapkido is a very hard martial art and takes lots of dedication to achieve this.

Wing Chun Kung Fu: Because I used to train in this art, I have the knowledge of how the ranks work. In Wing Chun Kung Fu, it is like a system of almost every other Martial art. You get a promotion every 3 months until you start getting to the advanced stages to encourage you (Of course you have to remember and do the material). But in Wing Chun, they work in sashes and don't refer to the color of the sash, they work in levels. There are 10 levels in Wing Chun Kung Fu, once you get to level 6 you are considered a black sash but black isn't where it ends in Wing chun, then there comes red then Gold. On Average, it takes 2.5 years to obtain your level 6, but to become a full master on average, it takes 10 years to obtain the level 10 status in Wing Chun Kung Fu.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu: In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu it takes on average, 8 years to obtain your Black Belt. But Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is completely different from all other Martial Arts, they work on the ground and do not do strikes like most and all martial arts do. They focus on ground game, submissions and holds, and also, it isn't like getting a belt every 3 months like most dojos. It actually takes dedication and most of all, patience, because to get your first promotion in Jiu-Jitsu, it takes 2 years on average to obtain your blue belt.

There are so many Martial Arts, I could go on and on and on, there are even Martial Arts I may not know about, so I will leave this to these most basic known Martial Art disciplines.

Which is the Hardest:

Training in Martial Arts for over the period of 6 years, and experiencing many different disciplines, my answer to this, and not just in my opinion, the opinion and respect of many others, the hardest Martial Art to master is....................

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Before MMA came to be, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was an unknown art and came out of the dark to the greatest tournament of fighting there has ever been. UFC came out in an attempt to find out which was the greatest discipline regarding all the Martial Arts and many people from all over the world came to enter this tournament from many different styles such as, Wrestling, Boxing, Karate, Judo, and of course Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

With all the fighters competing against each other, it came down to a man who was the son of Brazilian/(Gracie) Jiu Jitsu's originator, Royce Gracie. He had won the first tournament to prove Jiu Jitsu was the greatest art of all Martial Arts and had remained undefeated for 7 years, after that is where people started becoming more familiar with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

But why is it the hardest to master?

Because every man who has trained in a different discipline comes into Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to realize all that training he has accumulated means nothing the minute he steps on the mat. It is devastating. Many have stated and even acknowledged this fact such as Bruce Buffer (Martial Artist/Announcer of UFC), Joe Rogan (UFC Commentator/Martial Art black belt in Tae Kwon Do/Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu). I could give a list for days.

With all of this, "I" even had the experience of training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and believe me, the hardest part of Jiu Jitsu is sticking with it. So many people have ego's and don't like the fact that they lose and always get beat so it is very rare and hard to find someone who sticks with it.

It takes time and patience, love and appreciation of each-other in this art because there can be no ego in Jiu-Jitsu.

I hope you enjoyed this article tell me your thoughts on your Martial Art experience :)


Do you train in Martial Arts?

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Funny Jiu Jitsu

© 2013 PoeticPhilosophy


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    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Bjj is the toughest if you allow them to dictate the rules of engagement. Stepping onto their mat as the article says is the negative mindset of a combatant of another style. Hybrid form of traditional judo that even the Gracie grandfather was arrogant enough to challenge Japan's grandmaster and obviously get beaten just to get noticed by the international community of martial artists is by any means a desperate attempt to make a name for himself and his family and isn't the value of traditional martial artists and their mindset

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Kendo. Because the pass rate for hachidan each year is 0.01%.

    • ianjames25 lm profile image

      Ian Tamondong 

      4 years ago from Philippines

      At first, I thought that you meant 'hardest' because it was too violent. You meant, hardest to progress or get promoted or hardest to earn the next ranking.

      I am planning to train bjj so I'll keep this hub in mind.

      And Oh yeah, nice hub. keep it up! :)

    • profile image

      Evan Andrew 

      4 years ago

      I practice Brazilian jiu jitsu and ken po karate I have done kenpo for 6 and 1/2 years and I have earned the rank of black orange my sensi's oldest student will soon promote to adult black after about 18 years

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      like i wont pull out my 9mm and your dead that's my ju jitsu lol

    • kbdressman profile image


      4 years ago from Harlem, New York

      This is a well written article for the most part, but I don't think you can say XYZ art is the hardest art to master. It'll vary from person to person and school to school. Hapkido has lots of smaller motions in wrist and joint locks. For someone with poor fine motor skills, this is going to be very difficult. Juijitsu, Brillian Juijitsu and Judo might be harder if you don't have previous ground work, but people quit for more reasons than "it's hard." And, the number of years to a certain belt is deceiving. Both retention rate and time to rank advancement are inflated by number of injuries. Those pieces of evidence might point to it being more dangerous just as much as they point to it being more difficult. Additionally, time to advancement depends on things like how many hours a week do they average? What stage of life does the art attract?

      Bobkido made a good point as well.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      to all of you,ill repeat what bruce said this belt is only good for holding your pants up,when it comes down to a real life situation you must have mma. but remember it's a control sport with rules,in real life situation the rules don,t apply its about survival one good tip to all black belt teacher master etc. here is a good tip. please implement casual days in your training where student come to class in regurlar clothing,and perform as normal , this will help them deal with actal life threating situation on a better level, remember this is martial arts,peace and nothing but love ghost,

    • Bobkido profile image

      Bob E. 

      5 years ago from Omaha, Ne

      Does it matter how long it takes. Martial arts is a journey not a race. I got my 1st dan in Hapkido in 4 years. My second 3 years later, my 3rd 5 years later and I don't care if I test again. There is always some to learn, polish, tweek or relearn again. I think that some people pick stuff up quicker than others. So the time element is vague really. The path is never ending.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      In my Dojo as well as several other dojos (shotokan karate) no matter what you will not get your blackbelt in under 7 years

    • PoeticPhilosophy profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Canada

      I'm glad you have a care on the topic, but there's no need for being so serious about it. I simply stated, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the hardest art to master, simply because it has a high-drop rate, and the fact that is takes a lot longer to master than any other Martial Art, and still when you are a master.. you do not claim to be a master, because of how humbling of an art it is.

      The Gracies created "Gracie-Jiu-Jitsu" by incorporating moves from Japanese Jiu-Jitsu and Judo, because they had trained in both, which was the result in the blossom of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, as, they made it known by the tournament of the UFC.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Dude, it's not the martial art, it's the training. Chinese martial arts have ground fighting, Korean martial arts have ground fighting. In fact in Korea there was a ground grappling competition (What the hell, they bit the Brazilians to it) in the past.

      If a guy that did BJJ goes to a TKD school he'll say that it's the most difficult thing he has ever done. I've seen this time and time again. Grapplers have problems striking, but strikers learn grappling easier.

      BJJ is a grappling art. It's just not pragmatical enough.

      How can I break this to you...the Gracies didn't invent BJJ or create it. Oswaldo Fadda, Luis Franca and many with non-Gracie lineage also made Brazilian jiujitsu what it is today. I'd like to mention that the Japanese "invented" many of the moves you think were "added" to BJJ. Judo is far more than you think.

    • PoeticPhilosophy profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Canada

      Thank you for sharing your Martial Art experience :). Yeah it's hard to stick with it but if you just go in with a fun attitude and do it for the healthy benefit's it will be a lot funner and you'll be easily able to stick with it. Difference between Chinese/Japanese Jiu-Jitsu is that Japanese Jiu-Jitsu was the first "JuJutsu" that was originated and mixes it's art with strikes and even teaches to use "some" weapons. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was a new revolutionized art which took the base of Judo and wrestling and the Gracie's who created BJJ added more effective techniques which were proven to be supremely effective to this day and always will be. :)

    • Emmanuel Kariuki profile image

      Emmanuel Kariuki 

      6 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      When I was a teen I did a bit of Karate (shotokan) and really loved the game. I did not take it seriously for grading, so I never got a belt. I thought Kungfu was the hardest. This is the first time I am hearing about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and would like to know the difference with the original Chinese version. Great hub and keep writing.

    • PoeticPhilosophy profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Canada

      Thank you for your highly detailed message :). Yes I have also read Tao Of Jeet Kune Do! Awesome book, Bruce Lee was wayyy ahead of his time. Did you know he was an actual "MMA" fighter before it even originated 30 years later, haha amazing.

    • Romeos Quill profile image

      Romeos Quill 

      6 years ago from Lincolnshire, England

      Hi PoeticPhilosophy!

      Welcome, and thank you for your very kind comments on one of my Hubs, and on the Fan mail.

      There are some great talents here, and some thoroughly decent people, which make it a pleasure to write here, so I hope you enjoy it as much as I have over the last few weeks.

      This article you published was very informative, giving the lowdown on many of the more popular martial arts, which brought back some fond memories for me, when I used to practice Tae Kwon Do, and Shotokan Karate, which taught me discipline, respect, agility, and kept me super-fit.

      The Brazilian form of Jiu Jitsu seems fascinating, from the amount of success you've mentioned its main proponent, Royce Gracie has had.

      I also read ' The Tao Of Jeet Kune Do ', written, as you know, by Bruce Lee, and it captivated me; I noticed his system contained a lot of Wing Chun - I would have liked to have met him.The male world Judo champion actually came from the town I live in, and he has his own Dojo here.

      I look forward to reading more of your writing in the future.Thanks again.

      Yours Sincerely,

      Romeo's Quill


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