Top 5 Most Popular Martial Arts in the World
Martial arts have been around for centuries and are practiced by tens of millions of people around the globe. With so many different types of martial arts to choose from, it can be difficult to know which one is the most popular. In this blog post, let’s take a look at the top 5 most popular martial arts in the world.
Karate is a Japanese martial art that originated on the island of Okinawa in the early 19th century. It is a striking-based martial art that emphasizes punches, kicks, knee strikes, and elbow strikes, as well as blocking techniques and throws.
Karate is one of the most popular martial arts in the world, with millions of practitioners all over the globe. It is also an Olympic sport, with both kata (forms) and kumite (sparring) competitions.
Karate uses an intricate belt system, which is used to indicate a practitioner’s level of skill and expertise. There are typically ten levels of belts, ranging from white (beginner) to black (expert). In addition to belts, karate practitioners also earn ranks, such as Kyu and Dan, which indicate their level of proficiency.
There are many different styles of karate, each with its own unique techniques and philosophies. Some of the most popular styles include Shotokan, Goju-Ryu, and Wado-Ryu. Shotokan is known for its powerful, linear strikes and deep stances, while Goju-Ryu emphasizes circular movements and breathing techniques. Wado-Ryu is known for its fluid, evasive footwork and emphasis on timing and distance.
Taekwondo is a Korean martial art that was developed in the 1940s and 1950s. It is a striking-based martial art that emphasizes kicks, as well as punches, blocks, and throws. Taekwondo is one of the most popular martial arts in the world, with millions of practitioners in over 200 countries.
One of the unique aspects of taekwondo is its emphasis on high, fast kicks. Practitioners of taekwondo are known for their impressive jumping kicks, spinning kicks, and flying kicks. Taekwondo also emphasizes quick footwork and powerful hand techniques, making it a well-rounded martial art. If we’re comparing taekwondo with the others on this list, it may just be the most exciting form of combat to watch as a spectator, even if the most impressive moves may not be the most practical forms to use in a real-life self-defense situation.
Taekwondo training typically involves a combination of group classes and individual practice. In group classes, students learn techniques and practice drills with partners. They also perform poomsaes, which are pre-arranged sequences of movements that simulate real-world combat scenarios.
Judo is a Japanese martial art that was founded by Jigoro Kano in the late 19th century. It is a grappling-based martial art that emphasizes throws, pins, and joint locks, as well as chokes and strangles.
One of the unique aspects of judo is its emphasis on using an opponent’s strength and momentum against them. Judo techniques are designed to allow a smaller, weaker person to overcome a larger, stronger opponent by using leverage and proper technique.
Judo training typically involves a combination of group classes and individual practice. In group classes, students learn techniques and practice drills with partners. They also practice randori, which is a form of sparring that allows students to apply their techniques in a live, dynamic setting.
Individual practice is also an important part of judo training, as it allows students to refine their techniques and develop their physical and mental conditioning.
One of the many reasons judo has become popular around the world is its inclusion in the Olympics. Admittedly it can be a very exciting sport to witness as you can often see people being thrown to the ground in spectacular fashion!
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art that focuses on ground fighting and submission grappling. It was developed in Brazil in the early 20th century by the Gracie family, who adapted traditional Japanese Jiu Jitsu techniques to work effectively in real-life fighting situations.
Here at SmartMMA, BJJ is one of our favorite styles to practice as it is extremely effective and can be less injury-prone than other forms of fighting as there is not an emphasis on striking.
BJJ is known for its use of leverage and technique over physical strength, allowing practitioners to successfully defend themselves against larger and stronger opponents. The key principle of BJJ is that a smaller, weaker person can defeat a larger, stronger opponent by using proper technique and leverage.
BJJ training typically involves a combination of group classes and individual practice. In group classes, students learn techniques and practice drills with partners. They also engage in live sparring, known as “rolling,” where they apply techniques in a realistic setting.
BJJ is not just a physical practice, but also emphasizes mental discipline and character development. BJJ practitioners strive to develop a strong spirit, respect for others, and a commitment to personal excellence. BJJ also promotes the values of mutual welfare and benefit, which emphasize the importance of helping others and contributing to the community.
BJJ has gained popularity in recent years as a sport, with tournaments held all over the world. Competitions are scored based on points earned for takedowns, passing the guard, achieving the mount position, and executing submissions such as chokes and joint locks.
In addition to being a popular sport, BJJ is also widely used for self-defense and has been adopted by law enforcement and military personnel around the world. BJJ techniques can be used to control and subdue an opponent without causing serious injury, making it an effective form of self-defense.
Kung Fu is a Chinese martial art that has been around for centuries. It is a highly popular form of fighting that emphasizes striking techniques, such as kicks, punches, and open-handed techniques like palm strikes and knife-hands. Kung Fu also includes grappling techniques, but its focus is primarily on striking.
Kung Fu has a long and rich history in China, dating back over 1500 years. It is said to have been developed by the Shaolin monks in the Henan province of China as a means of physical and mental training. The monks trained in Kung Fu as a means to defend themselves against bandits and wild animals, as well as to improve their health and spiritual well-being.
Over time, Kung Fu spread throughout China and became popular among the general population. Today, Kung Fu is practiced all over the world, and there are many different styles of Kung Fu, each with its own unique techniques and philosophies.
One of the most famous styles of Kung Fu is Shaolin Kung Fu. This style is named after the Shaolin Temple in Henan province, where it was developed by the monks who reside there. Shaolin Kung Fu emphasizes hard, direct strikes and powerful kicks, and it is known for its acrobatic movements and high-flying kicks.
Another popular style of Kung Fu is Wing Chun, which is known for its close-range fighting techniques and rapid-fire strikes. Wing Chun emphasizes sensitivity, timing, and accuracy, and it is said to have been developed by a woman named Yim Wing Chun in the 18th century as a means of self-defense.
Other styles of Kung Fu include Wushu, which is a modern competitive form of Kung Fu that emphasizes speed, agility, and acrobatics, and Baguazhang, which emphasizes circular movements and fluid, evasive footwork.
These are the top 5 most popular martial arts in the world: karate, taekwondo, judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and kung fu. Each of these martial arts has its own unique style and focus, but they all share a common goal: to improve physical fitness, mental discipline, and self-defense skills.