Martial Arts Styles and Descriptions

Are you curious about how many martial arts styles exist in the world? Well, read on to find out about the various martial arts and their description.
Aikido, Haidong Gumdo, Kajukenbo, Jujitsu, Tang Soo Do, Muay Thai, Kuk Sool Won, Daito Ryu Aiki Bujutsu...

No, these aren't popular dishes from a Japanese menu, neither are they names of women Jackie Chan has dated. In case you're still wondering what, in the name of God, do these tongue twisters mean, well, then let me end your misery. These were a few out of many, many martial arts that exist on this planet. For those of you who didn't know a word beyond Karate and Kung Fu, this must have come as a real shocker, didn't it?

Here are some of the most popular styles:
  • Judo: Judo is not only a martial art, but also an Olympic sport. It is a grappling style martial art that involves a lot of pins, joint locks, and throws in order to defeat the opponent. One of the main principles of judo is to use the opponent's strength to your advantage, and overpower him.
  • Tae Kwon Do: This martial art of Korean origin is probably the best-known martial art and certainly one of the most popular ones. It also happens to be the national sport of South Korea. Powerful kicking techniques are a striking feature of this widely practiced martial art.
  • Karate: The martial art that happens to be on most lips the world over, karate is a strike-based martial art which involves several types of kicks, punches and open hand strikes, in addition to the use of elbows and knees. Karate chops (made famous by Hollywood action movies) are one among the most popular martial arts moves known.
  • Kung Fu: The term 'Kung Fu' refers to a family of Chinese martial art styles as well as techniques of strengthening and balancing one's mind and body. Kung Fu became a rage in the western world thanks to a certain Bruce Lee. Kung Fu fighting styles incorporate a variety of kicks, punches, and hand strikes. At the same time, it also focuses on agility, reflexes, strategies and reading the opponent's mind.
For those of you who would be interested in a simple list of all martial arts, rather than detailed descriptions about the various styles of martial arts, here is a simple list (in random order, and excluding the ones which have been mentioned at the beginning of the article).
  • Chanbara
  • Tae Kwon Do
  • Capoeira
  • T'ai Chi
  • Wing Chun
  • Judo
  • Kick-boxing
  • Krav Maga
  • Kenpo
  • Gatka
  • Tahtib
  • Jeet Kune Do
  • Kali Silat
  • Kobudo
  • Naginata
  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
  • Kalaripayattu
  • Choi Kwang Do
  • Stav
  • Zen Do Kai
  • Bartitsu
  • Combat Hopak
  • Sambo
  • Iaido
  • Svebor
  • Zipota
  • Nindokai
  • Qwan Ki Do
  • Boabom
  • Angampora
  • Shorinji Kempo
  • Krabi Krabong
  • Dim Mak
  • Pehlwani
  • Mongolian wrestling
  • Eskrima
  • Shuai Jiao
  • Bando Thaing
  • Mowie Di Do
  • Savate
  • Sumo
  • Taido
  • Bokator
  • Kenjutsu
  • Praying Mantis, and a few more
A Comparison of Different Martial Arts
For those who are interested in knowing about differences, here is a small classification chart based on the fundamental concept of the martial art, the technique used, etc.

GrapplingWeapon-basedStrike-based (Hand and Leg)Mixed Styles
AikidoIaidoTae Kwon DoBartitsu
JudoKenjutsuSavateKrav Maga
JujutsuTahtibKung FuPraying Mantis

In case of grappling-based martial arts, the person aims at wrestling and pinning his opponent to the ground, so that he ends up in a position where it is possible for him to dominate his opponent. Grappling involves various methods such as takedowns, throwing, submission holds, pinning, etc. Weapon-based martial arts, as the name suggests, involve the use of a sword, stick, knife, etc. as a potential fighting weapon. By the way, weapon-based martial arts are not necessarily entirely offensive. Some of them focus purely on self-defense rather than offense. Strike-based martial arts involve a variety of methods such as kicking, punching, open hand strikes, using elbows and knees, etc. Mixed or hybrid martial arts basically combine the techniques and fundamentals of two or more styles, to come up with an entirely new style of martial arts.

This was a short introduction to the many styles in martial arts. Remember, learning and practicing a martial art is not only useful for self-defense, but also a great way of staying fit.