Deadliest Martial Arts Styles Practiced Around the World (Part 2)

Nov 21, 2016 | History

In Part 1 of this two-part series, we had touched briefly on the origins and varied purposes of martial arts before exploring some of the deadliest martial arts styles from around the world- Shaolin Kung Fu, Muay Thai, Kalaripayattu, Krav Maga and Ninjutsu. In this part, we continue in the same vein and look at the origins and features of a few more styles with the prime focus being on combat and self-defense.

Deadliest Martial Arts Styles : Types of Martial Arts

Sambo (former Soviet Union)

Origin: Sambo is a combat martial art style developed by the Soviet Red Army to improve their hand-to-hand combat skills. It is an acronym of SAMozashchita Bez Oruzhiya, which means ‘self-defense without weapons’. It formed as a convergence of two fighting styles developed independently by Viktor Spiridonov and Vasili Oshchepkov. Oshchepkov had trained in Judo for several years in Japan and had earned his second-degree black belt from Judo’s founder, Kano Jigoro. He later taught judo in the Red Army. Spiridonov had experience in various Soviet martial arts coupled with an interest in Japanese Jujutsu. Both were driven by the belief that Soviet military hand-to-hand combat techniques could be improved by combining with techniques from other foreign martial arts. This led to both developing their own fighting styles which eventually cross-pollinated to give rise to Sambo.

Features & characteristics: Sambo is a combination of techniques from various combat sports and martial arts such as Judo, Catch wrestling, Jujutsu and native Soviet styles. Its striking feature is its deadly mix of grappling, wrestling and striking. Some of its characteristic techniques involve takedowns combining wrestling and judo maneuvers, ground control skills and leg locks.

Deadliest Martial Arts Styles : Sambo

Eskrima or Arnis (Philippines)

Origin: Eskrima, also known as Arnis and Kali, is the traditional martial arts style and national sport of Philippines. Its origin can be traced to native fighting techniques that developed during conflicts among Filipino tribes and kingdoms prior to Spanish colonization. Over time, it was influenced by Spanish fencing as well as by Chinese, Arab and Indian martial arts introduced by settlers and traders. Another theory is that Arnis may have its roots in Silambam, a stick/staff martial art style of India, which also influenced some south-east Asian martial arts such as Silat.

Features & characteristics: Eskrima is primarily a weapons-based martial arts style that is focused on stick, knife and sword fighting. The fighting techniques are characterized by brilliant footwork, low stance and defending against or reacting to angles of attack rather than specific strikes. It also includes various hand-to-hand combat techniques such as kicking, punching, locking and grappling as well as weapons disarming techniques.

Eskrima or Arnis

LINE (U.S.A)

Origin: LINE, a backronym for “Linear Infighting Neural Override Engagement”, is a close quarters combat system used by the United States Marine Corps. It was developed by a retired Marine named Ron Donvito. It has been used by the Marines between 1989 and 1998 and by the U.S. Army Special Forces from 1998 to 2007. It was designed to be used in specific and stringent combat situations.

Features & characteristics: The techniques used in LINE are derived from various martial arts and feature several grappling and striking techniques. It is designed to be executed under low vision conditions, extreme fatigue and with full combat gear on. It is lethal by design and mandates that proper execution of techniques must cause death to the opponent. Also known as 7 Deadly Moves of Combat Philosophy, it was replaced by the Modern Army Combatives Program (MACP) in 2007.

Martial Arts: LINE (USA)

Taekwondo (Korea)

Origin: Taekwondo is a Korean martial arts style formed from the words: tae (meaning ‘to stomp or trample’), kwon (meaning ‘fist’) and do (meaning ‘discipline’). It traces its origin to martial art schools called kwans, that opened shortly after the end of the Japanese rule in Korea in around 1945. Each of these schools practiced their own unique martial art style during the 1940s and 1950s that unified to form Taekwondo. It was initially called Tae Su Do, but General Choi Hong Hi, a South Korean army general and martial artist, advocated the name Tae Kwon Do, replacing the su (meaning ‘hand’) with kwon. Though slow to catch on among the masses, the use of Taekwondo by South Korean military helped increase its popularity.

Features & characteristics: Focused on speed and agility, Taekwondo is characterized by its emphasis on head-height kicks, jumping and spinning kicks and fast kicking techniques. To improve agility, it uses narrower stances than those used in other martial arts. The rationale behind Taekwondo’s primary focus on kicking and striking is that legs are the longest and strongest weapon of an individual and thus, have the greatest potential to inflict powerful strikes.

Deadliest Martial Arts: Taekwondo

Gatka (India)

Origin: Gatka is a traditional combat martial art style developed by the Sikhs. It has shaped into its current form over centuries since the sixth Sikh patriarch, Guru Hargobind, first propagated the warrior-saint(miri-piri) philosophy and laid emphasis on the need to practice fighting for self-defense. The development of Gatka received further impetus after the foundation of the Khalsa brotherhood by the tenth Sikh patriarch, Guru Gobind Singh, who wanted the community to be excellent marksmen, swordsmen and wielders of spear and chakram (a throwing weapon). Over time, it has also been influenced by the simpler style of Gatka practiced by the Jat community.

Features & characteristics: Focused primarily on weaponry, Gatka uses weapons such as sword, Kirpan (knife), Kataar (dagger), stick and shields. There are altogether ten forms of Gatka, which are inspired by animals and deities, and one progresses systematically through them in a specific order. Ambidexterity is highly valued and Gatka emphasizes having something in both hands (such as two sticks, sword and stick, sword and shield).  It also incorporates the concept of chatka or ‘quick kill’- finish the fight as quickly as possible by either killing the opponents or rendering them incapable of fighting by knocking them unconscious or disabling their limbs.

Gatka Martial Arts