The Ultimate Martial Arts Guide: Everything You Wish to Learn About Today’s Martial Arts World


Martial arts, a term that conjures images of agile fighters and disciplined training, encompasses many practices rooted in combat and self-defense. Each style, whether striking or grappling, stand-up or ground-based, offers a unique approach to combat, reflecting the diverse history and cultural significance of martial arts worldwide.

Beyond physical fitness and combat effectiveness, martial arts are a testament to the human spirit’s resilience and adaptability. They teach not only the techniques of fighting but also principles of respect, perseverance, and mental fortitude.

Let me show you the multifaceted types of martial arts, enriching your journey through its teachings, traditions and tournaments.

History of Martial Arts

The journey through the history of martial arts is as profound as it is ancient, tracing back to a time before recorded history, evidenced by cave paintings in Spain that date back over 12,000 years.

While martial arts have sprung up independently across various regions of the world, Chinese martial arts, notably Shuai Jiao (Chinese Wrestling), are revered as among the oldest, tracing their origins back to the Xia Dynasty, millennia before the Common Era.

Over the centuries, martial arts have undergone profound transformations, adapting to changing times while retaining their core principles. Today, these ancient practices have transcended their combative origins, becoming global phenomena embraced by millions for their physical, mental, and spiritual benefits.

What are the Different Categories of Martial Arts?

Martial arts encompass a rich and diverse spectrum of styles and disciplines, reflecting the cultural, historical, and philosophical backgrounds of their origins. Here’s a breakdown of six primary categories, each representing a unique approach to the art of combat and self-defense:

  1. Japanese Martial Arts

Japanese martial arts, with their deep-rooted traditions, offer a variety of styles, each with its own philosophy and techniques. Karate, one of the prominent modern Japanese martial arts, focuses on striking techniques, including punches, kicks, and knee strikes. It emphasizes self-discipline, respect, and continuous improvement, embodying the spirit of “empty hand” combat.

  1. Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)

MMA is a contemporary combat sport that integrates techniques from various martial arts disciplines, challenging the notion of a single dominant martial art style. It combines striking and grappling, with fighters often specializing in disciplines like Muay Thai for striking and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for grappling, creating a versatile and comprehensive combat skill set.

  1. Korean Martial Arts

In Korean martial arts, Taekwondo stands out for its dynamic and high-energy techniques, focusing on speed, agility, and the power of the kick. It’s not just a physical discipline but also a way of cultivating the mind and character, promoting courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and an indomitable spirit.

  1. Chinese Martial Arts

Chinese martial arts are renowned for their internal and external styles. Tai Chi, an internal style, is practiced for its health benefits and its philosophical approach to combat, emphasizing fluidity, grace, and the harmony of mind and body, often described as “meditation in motion.”

  1. Brazilian Martial Arts

Capoeira is a unique Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics, and music, creating a rhythmic and fluid combat style that is as deceptive as it is effective, focusing on evasive movements and quick, unexpected attacks.

  1. Reality-Based Self-Defense

Focusing on practical, real-world scenarios, reality-based self-defense systems like Krav Maga are designed for efficiency and adaptability, teaching practitioners to defend against various attacks, emphasizing instinctive movements, practical techniques, and situational awareness.

What are the Different Types of Martial Arts?

Let’s take a quick look at the types of martial arts commonly practiced.

  1. Striking and Stand-Up Martial Arts

These are disciplines where practitioners primarily engage in combat while standing, utilizing various parts of the body to strike the opponent. These arts include:

  • Karate: Originating from Japan, Karate focuses on precise strikes using hands, feet, elbows, and knees. It emphasizes discipline, self-control, and ethical behavior.
  • Taekwondo: A Korean martial art known for emphasizing high kicks and rapid footwork, Taekwondo encourages physical and mental well-being alongside self-defense skills.
  • Muay Thai: Often referred to as “The Art of Eight Limbs,” this martial art utilizes fists, elbows, knees, and shins, offering a comprehensive striking system.
  • Kung Fu: A term that encompasses various Chinese martial arts, Kung Fu includes a wide array of styles, each with its own unique techniques, often inspired by the movements of animals.
  1. Grappling Martial Arts

Grappling martial arts focuses on close-quarters combat, aiming to control or subdue the opponent through holds, throws, and submission techniques. These include:

  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ): A martial art that emphasizes ground fighting and submission holds, allowing a smaller person to defend against a larger adversary by using leverage and proper technique.
  • Judo: Originated in Japan, Judo is a martial art that focuses on throws and takedowns, with a significant emphasis on balance, efficiency, and control.
  • Sambo: A Russian martial art, Sambo blends judo and wrestling techniques, emphasizing throws, joint locks, and ground control.
  • Wrestling: One of the oldest forms of combat, wrestling involves techniques of clinch fighting, throws, and takedowns, with the aim of pinning or controlling the opponent.
  1. Hybrid Martial Arts

Hybrid martial arts combine striking and grappling techniques, offering a versatile approach to combat. Examples include:

  • Mixed Martial Arts (MMA): As the name suggests, MMA integrates techniques from various martial arts, allowing punches, kicks, elbows, knees, grappling, and submissions, making it one of the most comprehensive combat sports.
  • Jeet Kune Do: Developed by Bruce Lee, this martial art is a philosophical and practical approach to combat that emphasizes efficiency, directness, and simplicity, incorporating elements from different fighting styles.
  • Krav Maga: Although it’s often categorized as a reality-based self-defense system, Krav Maga integrates techniques from boxing, wrestling, judo, and more, focusing on practical, effective responses to real-world threats.

What are the Major Upcoming Events of Martial Arts in 2024?

In 2024, the martial arts world is brimming with major upcoming events that promise to captivate fans and practitioners alike.

From the iconic UFC 305, offering a slate of high-stakes matchups that could reshape divisional hierarchies, to the Bellator Champions Series in Dublin, where fighters will clash in a city renowned for its combat sports heritage, the year is packed with action.

  • PFL Las Vegas

Event Date: April 12, 2024

PFL (Professional Fighters League) Las Vegas, scheduled for April 12, 2024, is a highly anticipated event in the world of mixed martial arts, showcasing a unique format where fighters compete in a regular season, playoffs, and championship. This event stands out as fighters accumulate points through their performances, aiming to qualify for the playoffs and ultimately vie for a championship title in their weight class.

  • UFC 300

Event Date: April 13, 2024

UFC 300, set to take place on April 13, 2024, marks a monumental milestone in the world of mixed martial arts, celebrating the 300th event of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the premier organization in MMA. This landmark event is expected to feature an array of high-profile fights, showcasing some of the most skilled and popular fighters in the sport.

  • PFL Chicago

Event Date: April 19, 2024

The PFL (Professional Fighters League) Chicago event on April 19, 2024, is set to be a thrilling showcase of mixed martial arts talent. This event, marking the conclusion of the first half of the 2024 PFL Regular Season, will feature bouts in the Welterweight and Featherweight divisions. A highlight of the evening will be the main event, where undefeated Welterweight Magomed Umalatov will face former Bellator Welterweight Champion Andrey Koreshkov.

  • UFC Vegas 91: Nicolau VS. Perez

Event Date: April 27, 2024

UFC Vegas 91: Nicolau vs. Perez, scheduled for April 27, 2024, is set to be a thrilling showcase in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s series of events in Las Vegas. This event features a headline bout between two formidable competitors in the UFC’s flyweight division, with Matheus Nicolau facing off against Alex Perez. Both fighters are known for their dynamic fighting styles and strategic prowess, promising an intense and tactical battle. UFC

  • UFC 301

Event Date: May 4, 2024

UFC 301 is shaping up to be an electrifying event, scheduled for May 4, 2024, at Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro. The main event features an intense match-up between Paul Craig and Caio Borralho.

This event also includes a compelling lightweight bout between Joaquim Silva and Drakkar Klose, adding to the excitement of the night. Additionally, the fight card includes various talented fighters across different weight classes, promising a night filled with action-packed matches for MMA enthusiasts.

  • UFC 302

Event Date: June 1, 2024

UFC 302, scheduled for June 1, 2024, is set to be another standout event in the Ultimate Fighting Championship calendar, continuing the organization’s legacy of delivering top-tier mixed martial arts action. While specific details about the fight card might still be under wraps, UFC 302 is expected to feature a lineup of high-caliber matchups, including headlining bouts that draw in fans from around the globe.

  • UFC Saudi Arabia

Event Date: June 22, 2024

UFC Saudi Arabia, set for June 22, 2024, at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, is anticipated to be a landmark event with a card headlined by a middleweight bout between former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker and the undefeated Khamzat Chimaev.

This event marks the UFC’s first foray into Saudi Arabia and features additional compelling matchups, including a welterweight bout between Kelvin Gastelum and Daniel Rodriguez and a light heavyweight clash between Johnny Walker and Volkan Oezdemir.

  • Bellator Champions Series Dublin

Event Date: June 22, 2024

The Bellator Champions Series Dublin, scheduled for June 22, 2024, is poised to be a standout event in the world of mixed martial arts, particularly within the Bellator organization known for its exciting fight cards and showcasing of top-tier talent.

Set against the vibrant backdrop of Dublin, a city with a rich fighting history and passionate fan base, this event will feature a series of bouts, including potentially title-defining matches and clashes between rising stars and established veterans.

  • UFC 303

Event Date: June 29, 2024

UFC 303, scheduled for June 29, 2024, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, is set to be a standout event featuring a highly anticipated flyweight bout between Cody Durden and Carlos Hernandez.

This event, part of the UFC’s International Fight Week, also promises the exciting return of “The Notorious” Conor McGregor, who will face Michael Chandler, adding a layer of excitement to an already stellar fight card.

  • UFC 305

Event Date: August 17, 2024

UFC 305, scheduled for August 17, 2024, promises to be a highlight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s annual lineup, featuring an array of compelling matchups across various weight classes. While the full fight card may still be taking shape, anticipation is high for this event, which is expected to showcase a blend of established champions, rising stars, and seasoned contenders all vying for supremacy and career-defining victories.

  • UFC 306

Event Date: September 14, 2024

UFC 306, scheduled for September 14, 2024, at The Sphere in Las Vegas, Nevada, is set to be a historic event as it marks the first UFC event at this venue and coincides with the promotion’s 2nd “Noche UFC” edition, celebrating Mexican Independence Day. While the full fight card details are still shaping up, the event is expected to feature top-tier matchups, including potential fights involving prominent fighters to honor the significance of the occasion.

What are the Best Martial Arts Tournaments to Watch?

The world of martial arts offers a plethora of exhilarating tournaments that captivate enthusiasts and athletes alike, each showcasing a unique blend of skill, strategy, and spirit. Here are some of the best martial arts tournaments to watch:

  • Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is a premier global mixed martial arts (MMA) organization that showcases the highest level of competition.

Featuring over 700 fighters from more than 70 countries, the UFC presents a diverse array of talent across various weight classes, from flyweight to heavyweight. Athletes in the UFC compete in a rigorous schedule of events held around the world, where they demonstrate a blend of striking, grappling, and wrestling techniques.

  • Bellator MMA

Bellator MMA, now acquired by the Professional Fighters League (PFL), continues to be a significant force in the mixed martial arts world. The organization is known for its diverse weight classes and a broad array of talent. The PFL’s acquisition of Bellator has merged two of the most prominent MMA organizations, creating a new powerhouse in the sport.

  • ONE Championship

ONE Championship is a prominent mixed martial arts organization based in Singapore, known for its diverse roster of fighters and its inclusion of various combat sports. It boasts over 500 athletes, representing more than 80 countries, competing in MMA, Muay Thai, kickboxing, and grappling. ONE Championship stands out for its unique approach to martial arts, emphasizing respect, honor, and cultural values.

  • Professional Fighters League (PFL)

The Professional Fighters League (PFL) presents a unique sports-season format for MMA, including a Regular Season, Playoffs, and Championship. Fighters accumulate points through victories and performance within the bouts to advance. The PFL features various weight classes and includes athletes from the recent acquisition of Bellator fighters.

  • RIZIN Fighting Federation

RIZIN Fighting Federation is a Japan-based mixed martial arts organization that has quickly made a name for itself with its distinctive approach to the sport, combining elements from Japan’s rich MMA history with modern innovations.

The organization features a varied roster of around 200 fighters, including both rising stars and established veterans from around the world, competing in various weight classes.

  • World Series of Fighting (WSOF)

The World Series of Fighting (WSOF), rebranded as the Professional Fighters League (PFL), is a mixed martial arts organization that initially gained prominence for showcasing a wide array of talent across various weight classes. During its operation under the WSOF banner, the organization featured over 200 fighters, including seasoned veterans and promising newcomers from around the world.

  • Cage Warriors

Cage Warriors is an Irish-owned MMA promotion based in London, established in 2001. It has become a platform where many notable MMA fighters like Conor McGregor and Michael Bisping have launched their careers. The promotion is known for hosting events across Europe, North America, and the Middle East, broadcasting globally via partners like BT Sport and UFC Fight Pass.

  • M-1 Global

M-1 Global is a prominent mixed martial arts organization based in Russia, renowned for its role in developing MMA talent, particularly in Eastern Europe and beyond. With a roster boasting over 200 fighters from various countries, M-1 Global serves as a pivotal platform for emerging and established martial artists, offering a spectrum of weight classes and competitive opportunities.

  • LFC – Legacy Fighting Championship

Legacy Fighting Championship (LFC) is a United States-based mixed martial arts organization that has garnered attention for being a launching pad for fighters to progress to larger international platforms. With around 200 fighters in its roster, LFC showcases a mix of up-and-coming talent and seasoned professionals across various weight classes.

  • Absolute Championship Berkut (ACB)

Absolute Championship Berkut (ACB), now known as Absolute Championship Akhmat (ACA), is a prominent mixed martial arts promotion based in Russia. It is renowned for featuring top-level fighters from around the world, offering a platform for emerging talents and seasoned veterans alike.

What are the Best Top Martial Arts Gyms?

Here’s a table listing the top 10 martial arts gyms as per the reference, each renowned for their contributions to the sport and the success of their athletes:

Rank Gym Name Location Notable Aspects/Produced Fighters
1 Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu North America Home to fighters like Nick Diaz and Nate Diaz
2 The Alliance North America Known for ground game; produced Dominick Cruz
3 Roufusport North America Produced champions like Anthony Pettis and Tyron Woodley
4 Sanford MMA North America Trains fighters like Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns
5 Jackson Wink MMA North America Produced fighters like Jon Jones and Holly Holm
6 American Kickboxing Academy North America Home to champions like Cain Velasquez and Khabib Nurmagomedov
7 Tristar Gym North America Produced Georges St-Pierre and Rory Macdonald
8 American Top Team North America Produced numerous world champions
9 Brazilian Top Team South America Produced Vitor Belfort and the Nogueira brothers
10 Chute Boxe Academy South America Known for aggressive style; produced Anderson Silva and Wanderlei Silva

Who are the Best Top 10 Martial Artists to Watch?

Here’s an overview of the top 10 martial artists to watch, each renowned for their exceptional contributions to the sport:

  • Stipe Miocic

A two-time UFC heavyweight champion, Miocic is celebrated for his boxing prowess and wrestling techniques. With 20 wins, 15 by knockout, he’s known for defeating top names like Werdum, Overeem, and Cormier.

  • Amanda Nunes

The first woman to become a two-division UFC champion, Nunes is hailed as the best female MMA fighter ever, defending two titles simultaneously and boasting knockout wins over elite fighters like Shevchenko and Rousey.

  • Jose Aldo

Once the UFC featherweight champion with a decade of dominance, Aldo’s legacy includes victories over renowned fighters like Swanson and Faber, showcasing his Muay Thai skills and defensive wrestling.

  • Conor McGregor

Known for his striking power and psychological warfare, McGregor made history with his quick knockout of Aldo and victories across multiple weight classes, becoming a prominent figure in MMA.

  • Demetrious Johnson

Tied for the most consecutive title defenses in UFC history, “Mighty Mouse” is celebrated for his flyweight reign, showcasing unmatched agility and technique in the octagon.

  • Fedor Emelianenko

Noted for an impressive undefeated streak and considered one of the greatest heavyweights, Emelianenko’s victories over legends like Filipovic and Nogueira have cemented his status in MMA lore.

  • Anderson Silva

Holding the record for the longest title defense streak in UFC history, Silva’s counter-attacking prowess and memorable victories have made him a legend in the sport.

  • Jon Jones

The youngest UFC champion, Jones is renowned for his title defenses and diverse skill set, overcoming top fighters and setting records in the light heavyweight division.

  • Georges St-Pierre

With championships in two weight classes and victories over elite competitors, St-Pierre’s versatile skills have led many to regard him as one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time.

  • Khabib Nurmagomedov

With a perfect record and dominance in the lightweight division, Nurmagomedov’s grappling expertise and comprehensive victories have made him a standout figure in MMA history.

Who are the Top 10 Martial Artists of All Time?

Here’s an overview of the top 10 martial artists of all time, highlighting their contributions to martial arts and their achievements in the field:

  • Bruce Lee

Widely regarded as the greatest martial artist of all time, Bruce Lee’s influence extends beyond martial arts, impacting film and culture globally. His philosophy of Jeet Kune Do emphasized adaptability and efficiency, making significant strides in evolving martial arts.

  • Jackie Chan

Known for his acrobatic fighting style and innovative stunts, Jackie Chan has become a beloved martial artist and actor worldwide. His approach to martial arts, infused with humor and daring physical feats, has inspired countless enthusiasts.

  • Vidyut Jammwal

An Indian action star renowned for his roles in the Commando series, Jammwal is celebrated for his mastery of Kalaripayattu, an ancient Indian martial art, showcasing his skills in various action-packed films.

  • Jet Li

A former Wushu champion turned international film star, Jet Li has showcased his martial arts prowess in numerous movies, blending traditional Chinese martial arts with cinematic storytelling, earning him global recognition.

  • Wesley Snipes

Not just a Hollywood actor but also a skilled martial artist, Snipes holds black belts in multiple martial arts disciplines, including Shotokan Karate and Hapkido, reflecting his dedication and versatility in martial arts.

  • Jean-Claude Van Damme

A Belgian actor and martial artist known for his karate skills, Van Damme rose to fame in the 1980s and 1990s with a series of action films that showcased his flexibility and martial arts expertise.

  • Donnie Yen

Renowned for his roles in Ip Man and other martial arts films, Yen is a versatile martial artist with expertise in various styles, including Wushu and Tai Chi, contributing significantly to martial arts cinema.

  • Tony Jaa

Hailing from Thailand, Jaa is known for his proficiency in Muay Thai, demonstrated in films like Ong-Bak, where he performs breathtaking stunts and combat sequences without the use of wires or CGI.

  • Johnny Trí Nguyễn

A Vietnamese-American martial artist and actor, Nguyễn has made a name for himself in the Vietnamese film industry and beyond, showcasing his skills in various international projects.

Who are the Best Coaches in Martial Arts?

Here are five of the best managers in martial arts, each with their unique contributions to the sport:

  • Greg Jackson

A cornerstone in MMA coaching, Jackson has nurtured numerous UFC champions at his Jackson Wink MMA Academy. Known for integrating various martial arts styles, his fighters excel in adaptability and strategy, making his academy a sought-after training ground for aspiring champions.

  • Javier Mendez

At the helm of American Kickboxing Academy, Mendez has coached many notable fighters, including Khabib Nurmagomedov. His emphasis on blending striking with wrestling and grappling has produced well-rounded athletes, establishing AKA as a powerhouse in MMA training.

  • Firas Zahabi

The brain behind the success of fighters like Georges St-Pierre, Zahabi’s Tristar Gym is renowned for its strategic and mental training approach. His emphasis on technique and intellect in fighting has made him a revered figure in the coaching world.

  • Duke Roufus

Transitioning from kickboxing to MMA coaching, Roufus has excelled in developing striking skills at Roufusport MMA Academy. His integration of diverse striking arts has helped his fighters achieve notable success in MMA, showcasing his prowess in coaching stand-up combat.

  • Rafael Cordeiro

With a rich history of coaching MMA legends at Kings MMA, Cordeiro’s expertise in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has crafted fighters proficient in striking and grappling. His influence extends beyond his gym, impacting the sport globally through his successful trainees.


The World Open Martial Arts Championship (WOMAC) is one of the largest annual tournaments, held in New York City, drawing hundreds of competitors globally to compete in various styles, including Wushu and Kung Fu.

There are over 180 distinct styles of martial arts, each offering unique techniques and philosophies, necessitating careful selection to match one’s interests and goals for personal growth and training.

Martial arts tournaments can last anywhere from three to six hours, influenced by the number of events a competitor is involved in and whether they choose to watch other matches.

In the Olympics, there are three martial arts: Karate, Judo, and Taekwondo, with Wushu actively seeking inclusion, highlighting the global recognition of these disciplines.

Khabib Nurmagomedov, renowned for his exceptional grappling skills and unbeaten record, is often considered the best in MMA history, dominating the lightweight division as a champion.

Greg Jackson, celebrated for his profound impact in MMA, is regarded as one of the greatest coaches, known for his strategic mastery and the development of numerous champions in the sport.

Wrap Up

Martial arts is an ever-evolving domain, blending tradition with innovation, where each style, tournament, and practitioner contributes to the tapestry of this ancient yet continually adapting discipline. Whether you’re drawn to the strategic depth of grappling, the precision of striking arts, or the versatility of hybrid styles, there’s a place for you in the martial arts world.

We encourage enthusiasts, practitioners, and newcomers alike to delve deeper into martial arts, exploring its various forms, understanding its philosophies, and appreciating the dedication of its athletes and coaches.

Jaxon Davis

Jaxon Davis

Jaxon Davis is your ultimate guide to the bustling world of online sports streaming. With a background in sports journalism and a passion for digital innovation, he can help you navigate the complex world of watching sports online. He brings deep insights into sports with a knack for breaking down the technicalities of streaming services so you never miss a match!

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