When someone asks, “What’s the difference between the different styles of martial arts?” you can respond with this knowledge.

Aikido is a Japanese martial art that is practised by flowing with the attacker’s motion rather than directly opposing it. It is classified as a grappling technique. As the practitioner directs the attacker’s momentum with entering and turning motions, followed by various throws or joint locks, this demands significantly less physical strength.

Hapkido is a Korean martial art that employs joint locks, punches, kicks, and other striking techniques. Swords, nunchaku, rope, cane, and staff are also utilised, with varying degrees of emphasis. Hapkido focuses on circular motions, non-resisting movements, and opponent control, gaining leverage through footwork and body alignment and avoiding strength against strength. Although aikido and hapkido are said to have a common history, their philosophy, range of reactions, and technique execution differ greatly.

Judo is a Japanese martial art that is relatively new (created in 1882). Judo’s purpose is to throw or take down an opponent to the ground, then immobilise or subdue them using a grappling manoeuvre, joint lock, strangling hold, or choke. Strikes and thrusts with the hands and feet, as well as weapons, are only permitted in pre-arranged forms (kata), not in competition or free practise.

Jiu Jitsu (Jujitsu, Jujutsu) is a Japanese martial art in which one utilises no weapon or only a short weapon to overcome an armed and armoured opponent. Pins, joint locks, and throws are used to neutralise an opponent by redirecting an attacker’s energy rather than directly resisting it (as with other martial arts such as karate). Blocking, fulcrum throw, non-fulcrum throw, evading, and hitting are the five main domains or skills of training.


Karate is a Japanese martial art that emphasises striking techniques like punching, kicking, knee and elbow strikes, as well as open-handed techniques like knife-hands (karate chop). Karate, as opposed to tae kwon do, focuses hand blows, whilst tae kwon do emphasises kicking techniques. Shotokan, Shito Ryu, Goju Ryu, and Wado Ryu are the four primary traditional karate styles.

Krav Maga is a hand-to-hand combat system developed in Israel that incorporates wrestling, grappling, and striking techniques. It is best known for its extremely effective and brutal counter-attacks, which are used to keep the practitioner safe while incapacitating the opponent by any means necessary. In general, there are no rules in krav maga, and it is not affiliated with any sporting organisation. Furthermore, there is no formal uniform, however some organisations use rank badges, levels, and belts to denote achievement.

Kung Fu

Kung Fu (Chinese martial arts) is a collection of fighting systems that have evolved in China over ages. The diverse styles share some similar themes (which are usually classified by families, schools, or sects). Physical exercises that replicate animal movements are used in some forms, while others are based on Chinese philosophies, religions, and tales. Internal styles are primarily concerned with qi, whereas external styles are concerned on muscle and cardiovascular health. Eagle Claw, Hung Gar, Five Animals (Shaolin Kung Fu), Monkey, Praying Mantis, and Wing Chun are some of the more popular styles. (Though the term kung fu is commonly used in the west to refer to Chinese martial arts, its original meaning refers to one’s proficiency in any discipline, not only martial arts.) MMA (Mixed Martial Arts): a full-contact sport that allows a variety of combat methods to be used (including martial and non-martial arts techniques). Striking and grappling methods are permitted, whether performed standing or on the ground. Many traditional methods were used in the early years of the sport, but as the sport progressed, many of them were found to be inefficient. Fighters are now training in many genres to develop a more balanced skill set.

Muay Thai is a Thai martial art that focuses on punching and clinching from a standing position. Punches, kicks, elbow strikes, and knee strikes are prevalent, with eight points of contact, as opposed to the hands and feet (four contact points) that are more commonly used in other martial arts. Muay Thai skills can be found in MMA in a variety of forms.


Taekwondo is a Korean self-defense technique that is one of the oldest forms of martial arts (dating back over 2,000 years) and the most commonly practised martial art on the planet. Training include mastering a system of blocks, kicks, punches, and open-handed strikes, as well as a variety of take-downs, throws, and joint locks, all of which help to improve strength, speed, balance, flexibility, and stamina. When compared to other martial arts like karate, Taekwondo is noted for its concentration on kicking techniques. Students practise predetermined sequences of techniques known as forms or poomsae in addition to self-defense training (known in other martial arts as kata). The only two martial arts included in the Olympic Games are tae kwon do and judo.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi is a Chinese internal martial technique that is used for both self-defense and health advantages. There are many different types of training, such as the westernised, standardised version of tai chi (tai chi chih), which has visual similarities to Chinese tai chi (tai chi chuan) but no martial arts component. Because of their sluggish pace, some forms are particularly well-known.

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