The 6 Categories of Martial Arts

The 6 Categories of Martial Arts

While most people are familiar with karate, boxing, and kung fu, some may not realise that there are actually many more martial arts styles than just those. Some are steeped in history and tradition while others were developed in recent years, but all of them can be divided into 6 main categories of martial arts. Some styles are practised to learn self-defence or simply as a way to get fit, but no matter the reason for wanting to take up a martial art, you may find it difficult to decide which style is best for you.

Striking or Stand-Up Styles

The striking or stand-up martial art styles teach practitioners how to defend themselves while on their feet through the use of blocks, kicks, punches, knees and elbows. The degree of force used depends on the style being practised and these are just a few examples of the striking or stand-up martial art styles:

  • Boxing
  • Capoeira
  • Karate
  • Kickboxing
  • Krav Maga
  • Kung Fu
  • Muay Thai
  • Tae Kwon Do
  • Tang Soo Do

Grappling or Ground-Fighting Styles

Practitioners are taught techniques for bringing their opponents to the ground in the grappling or ground-fighting martial art styles. Once the opponent is brought to the ground, a dominant position with be achieved or a submission hold will be utilised in order to end the fight. A few examples of the grappling or ground-fighting martial art styles:

  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
  • Catch Wrestling
  • Jujutsu
  • Luta Livre
  • Russian Sambo
  • Sumo
  • Wrestling

Throwing or Takedown Styles

Almost as popular as real slots NZ, the throwing or takedown martial art styles always start combat from a standing position and takedowns or throws are used to get the opponent to the ground. While there is a significant amount of overlap with grappling or ground-fighting martial art styles as they both teach takedowns, the primary focus of the throwing styles is the various methods of takedowns. Throwing or takedown styles include:

  • Aikido
  • Judo
  • Hapkido
  • Shuai Jiao

Weapon-Based Styles

While many of the aforementioned styles use weapons as part of the training – Goju-ryu karate makes use of a wooden sword known as a bokken – there are certain martial arts that are centred entirely on the use of weapons. The weapon-based styles of martial arts include:

  • Kali
  • Iaindo
  • Kendo

Meditative or Low-Impact Styles

Meditative or low-impact martial art styles are typically focused mainly on breathing techniques, fitness, and the spiritual aspect of movement rather than combat. However, all of these styles were at one point in history used for combat and, if adapted, can still be. Meditative or low-impact martial art styles include:

  • Baguazhang
  • Tai Chi
  • Chi-Gong

Hybrid Fighting Styles

Many martial arts can best be described as an amalgamation of techniques found in other styles and in recent years Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has become a popular trend. Popularised by tournaments such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), hybrid fighting martial art styles combine grappling, stand-up fighting, takedowns, and submissions. These styles include the following:

  • Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)
  • Jeet Kune Do
  • Ninjutsu
  • Shootfighting