Top 10 Martial Arts and Their Origins

Added by Edan Barak on Apr 1, 2019
top 10 martial arts

"Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win." - Sun Tzu, master strategist and author of "The Art of War", regarding the human warrior spirit.

The martial arts are a collection of combat systems, strategies, and philosophies stemming from ancient techniques of war. Almost all the martial arts were borne from the need to survive; Capoeira was the African slave's answer to enslavement by Porteugeuse colonists, while Kali evolved by Filipino natives to repel the Spanish conquistadors from invading their country.

In recent history when countries were taken over, the occupying countries tended to outlaw martial arts in order to prevent uprisings, creating a defenseless population. For this reason arts like Ninjitsu formed to make use of everyday items found in farms such as sickles, sticks, and home-made weapons such as the sickle on a chain, which could be used as a throwing weapon.

The world has evolved many different styles of martial arts, from the grappling arts of Judo and Jiu Jitsu, the striking styles of Karate and Muay Thai, to the weapons-based arts of Kendo and Iaido. We'll be exploring 10 of the most fascinating styles and their origins in today's top ten.



Loosely translated as "the way of harmonious spirit", Aikido is considered a relatively new martial art, having been developed some 100 years ago in Japan. Aikido's founder, Morihei Ueshiba, entered the world of combat as a result of watching his father getting attacked and beaten by local thugs for his political ideas. Morihei's idea was to develop a form of fighting which could be used in self-defense while at the same time protecting the attacker from injury.

Aikido combines sword-play (Kenjitsu), spear-play (Sojitsu), and Jiu Jitsu, and is considered one of the deadliest martial arts in the world. It relies on powerful pain control locks such as wrist locks and arm locks to submit an opponent quickly. The idea behind this martial art is to blend with the movements of the opponent and redirecting the force of their attack, thereby using their force against themselves.



Derived from a number of different Asian martial art styles, Hapkido was developed in Korea and literally means "The art of coordination and internal energy." The style has its roots in another martial art called Daito-Ryu, and slowly developed by incorporating strategies from other fighting styles, mainly Taekwondo and Judo. Hapkido is unique in the sense that it incorporates a mainly defensive style of fighting, utilising kicks and punches aimed at the lower regions of the body, and can also be fought with weapons such as the sword, nunchuka and staff.

Today Hapido is taught to US special forces called the Green Beret, as well as CIA operatives and Korean special forces. It's a well-balanced style whose main goal is to breech the distance to an enemy fighter in order to be able to control the opponent's balance by manipulating the head and torso, and quickly take them down.

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