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Did you know that there’s more than one type of martial art style in the world? There are easily more than a dozen different styles to choose from. This is fantastic news, as it means there’s a perfect style out there for every one of us.

The tricky part is figuring out which one is right for you. Given the sheer number of options, choosing can become challenging. Ideally, you should take the time to research each style and see which is the most appealing to you. With that in mind, here is a basic rundown of some of the most popular martial arts styles.


Karate is arguably one of the most common martial arts available. In truth, there are many subsets of styles within Karate, so keep this in mind. Karate is a form of self-defense that utilizes kicking, striking, and blocking. Martial artists can use their hands, knees, forearms, elbows, and heels to attack and block.


Judo is a more modern Japanese style of martial arts. It was first developed in 1882 (by Kano Jigoro). Judo was designed to subdue an enemy without using deadly force or the more lethal techniques commonly found in Jiu Jitsu. 

As such, Judo predominantly utilizes grappling techniques and immobilization methods as the primary modes of subduing enemies. 


Aikido is another popular martial arts form, though perhaps not as common in some areas as those listed above. It was first developed in the 1920s. Like Judo, it was designed to deflect attackers without causing injuries. One will see heavy use of joint locks and throwing in Aikido.

Jiu Jitsu

Jiu-Jitsu is another famous martial art with both armed and unarmed versions of fighting. The style is on the older side (dating back to 700 AD) and provides both offensive and defensive moves. 

Tai Chi

Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art. It’s also been called Taiji Quan, and many see it as a form of meditation alongside a form of self-defense. Tai Chi is most commonly practiced and pictured in its slow and steady form, though practiced martial artists can show you the power these moves offer.

Kung Fu

Kung Fu is another famous martial art. As with Karate, there are several different forms within this subset. Martial artists under this style will utilize kicking, hitting, grabbing, and wrestling as the need arises. There are also weapon forms.