17 Deadliest Martial Arts in The World

The deadliest martial art in the world is not something that can be learned in a single day. There are many different styles of martial arts, and they all have their strengths and weaknesses.

Some styles are more suited for self-defence while others are better for fighting competitions or street fights.

When most people think of the deadliest martial arts, you think about Bruce Lee in Enter The Dragon, and other Martial Arts and Kung-Fu style movies, Cobra Kai in the Karate Kid franchise, etc etc.

However, when we talking about the deadliest martial art, outside of the cinema, there are a lot of effective disciplines that can really hurt or potentially kill your opponent.

Below we will look at various martial arts and looking at how lethal and whether or not they really are considered deadly.

The 15 Deadliest Martial Arts

Krav Maga

Krav Maga is considered to be one of the world’s deadliest martial arts.

The reason for this is that this martial art was developed for the Israeli Defense force, to train their soldiers in hand-to-hand combat. Krav Maga is highly respected and is still used today for their military forces, Police and special forces.

The martial art is designed to defend one’s self against unarmed and armed opponents and got it’s name from it’s founder Imrich Sde-Ora.

Krav Maga was designed to inflict the maximum pain possible to an opponent. It’s highly aggressive, fast and will use techniques that are designed to kill an opponent.

This form of combat looks a training philosophy of “he or I”, which in some situations can be life-threatening. Krav Maga gives people the right mindset in a self-defense situation.

So it comes as no surprise that Krav Maga is considered one of the world’s deadliest martial arts in the world.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (also known as BJJ) is considered to be one of the most effective grappling sports in the world and the submissions taught could definitely end life if held on for too long.

Sparring is one of the few martial arts ever where people can train at maximum effort without injuring each other, as people can tape out to finish a submission.

However, it falls into the deadliest martial arts list thanks to the application of chokeholds, and in a self-defense situation, a choke or joint manipulation can be an incredibly effective way of disabling an assailant.

It was created when Mitsuyo Maedo, a travelling Judoka travelled to Brazil and started teaching the Gracie family ground fighting aspects of Judo.

This gave birth to Gracie Jiu-jitsu while ultimately evolved into Brazilian Jiu-jitsu you see today. Some of the most famous Gracies include Carlos Gracie, Helio Gracie, Royce Gracie, Rickson Gracie and Roger Gracie.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is considered an incredibly deadly martial art, thanks to the effectiveness of the techniques in Mixed Martial Arts, vale tudo and self-defense.

This martial art style is so effective that in certain states in the USA, it is being taught to law enforcement officers to help them restrain people safely and effectively.


Judo is a traditional form of martial art that originates from Japan. While this grappling-based fighting style is possibly underrated, nothing hits harder than the ground.

The fact of the matter is that, in Japan. hundreds of children have died from practising it, which makes it one of the few legitimate deadly martial arts out there.

A swift throw from a Judo martial artist can very quickly disable an opponent. Many people do not have the knowledge or skill to land like a judoka and can often get injured.

If an assailant get’s thrown onto concrete, without knowing how to fall safely then there’s a very high chance that Judo can be considered a deadly martial art.

One of the most famous modern Judo practitioners has to be Ronda Rousey. Her martial arts background allowed her to dominate other opponents in MMA. She credited a lot of her early wins to her Olympic-level Judo, where she earned two Bronze medals.

Ronda Rousey paved the way for women’s mixed martial arts, as she was one of the first female fighters, along with Meisha Tate, who fought in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

Combat Sambo

Combining karate, judo, wrestling and other Eastern fighting styles with European wrestling based moves, Combat Sambo is a Soviet martial art developed in the 1920s.

In addition to training takedowns and throws of all types (including European-style wrestling), this martial art also permits the following techniques:

Punching, kicking (including shin kicks and roundhouse kicks), knee strikes (both shins and knees), elbow or forearm strikes, head butts; joint locks such as armbars, kneebars, wrist locks etc.

What makes this full-contact fighting style even more deadly is the ability to legally soccer kick people in the head while they are grounded, groin strikes are legal and grabbing head guards for strikes are also permitted

How’s that for deadly martial arts?

Former UFC lightweight world champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is a 2x World Combat Sambo Champion. Now retired he is undefeated in MMA competition, with 28-0 total accolades.

Muay Thai

Known as the art of eight limbs, Muay Thai is one of the more modern popular martial arts, thanks to it’s effectiveness is Vale Tudo and MMA.

In regard’s to its status as one of the world’s deadliest martial arts, well this is one of the few sports where you can really do damage to people thanks to effective knees, kicks, punches and elbows.

Unlike other martial arts, this one is effective in all ranges. Kicks can be used to keep opponents at a range away like Taekwondo. If an attacker gets into grappling distance though, sharp elbow strikes and knee strikes become the best option for self-defense.

Muay Thai, in contrast to training in other types of martial arts, is designed for targeted strikes that can cause significant harm.

For example, challengers will be faced with fractured ribs and orbital bones after a fight with the Muay Thai fighter; opponents may also experience blood in their urine from days following the match. Compared to other forms of fighting such as boxing or karate still has some weaknesses, Muay Thai focuses purely on debilitating damage rather than just points earned by the number of hits landed.

Muay Thai is an intense martial art to train for. It is also a deadly one, as it has resulted in many documented deaths in recent years.


Wrestling is known as one of the oldest martial art, and for good reason; it’s training and techniques are highly effective. Many of the UFC’s top fighters base their MMA strategy around wrestling.

Wrestling is one of the most effective martial arts in a setting like MMA. It was also featured as one of the original contests in the Olympic games.

Ever been double-legged by a proficient wrestler? Well, I wouldn’t like that to be on the receiving end of one of those, in a street fight situation. That sounds like a pretty deadly form of martial art.


Taekwondo is a Korean martial art that makes this list due to its fast kicks, which are powerful and full of force.

There are many full-contact martial arts techniques such as roundhouse and axe kicks in Taekwondo that can knock someone out before they have time to blink.

All of these martial arts have their strengths and weaknesses, but there’s a surprising amount of brutal Taekwondo knockout footage online.

LINE System

LINE (Linear Infighting Neural-Override Engagement) is a training program and form of martial arts that has been used to train over 750,000 US Marines for combat.

The system includes:

  • groin grabs
  • eye gouges
  • head stomps
  • knee striking

There are certain techniques that can make a martial art very lethal, even though they’re banned in sporting competitions. These techniques do contribute to how dangerous martial arts can be, but there are some drawbacks.

After some consideration, LINE was replaced with the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) because of its inflexibility.

This essentially means it wasn’t always effective in the context of real combat. So while certain techniques may be able to kill an opponent effectively—it’s a little hit-or-miss. And while the MCMAP is said to be more balanced and well-rounded, this form of martial arts is not as ferocious as LINE.

The MCMAP is a look at how different styles of martial arts compare to see which one may be most effective. The post observes that the style borrows grappling skills from BJJ and Muay Thai, as well as striking techniques.


The MCMAP is a formal fight system developed by the US Marine corps that both teaches individuals how to defend themselves and gives them an opportunity to develop their mental and physical well-being.

The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program teaches unarmed combat, edged weapons, weaponry of opportunity, rifle and bayonet techniques to Marines.

However, the training system also stresses mental and character development that includes responsible use of force, leadership, and teamwork.

Utilizing a variety of martial arts in different countries, today’s Marines have learned to adapt and improvise weapons into their fighting style. Today the Marines train extensively with improvised weapons, bayonets, or other weapon parts as a way to inflict pain on opponents.


Lethwei is the more lethal sibling of Muay Thai. Known as the “art of nine limbs“, Lethwei also incorporates headbutts as well as kicks, knees, punches and elbows.

First developed back in the Pyu Empire in Maynmar, Lethwei has quite the reputation for being one of the most violent martial arts in the world, similar to Krav Maga.

Kung Fu

Compared to other disciplines, Kung Fu may be quite old. It was one of many Chinese martial arts developed for self defense and is believed to have been used primarily by hunters.

Bruce Lee, one of the most prominent martial artists in the world, made the art popular in the West, where he dazzled audiences with amazing moves as seen in movies like Enter the Dragon and Game of Death. However, Bruce Lee took the most lethal aspect of Kung-Fu for his own martial art style Jeet Kune Do.

Kung Fu training is both a historic and modern martial art- many UFC fighters train in Kung Fu as well, such as Roy “Big Country” Nelson and Cung Le. What’s more, Le has had many jaw-dropping knockouts.

There’s no doubt that Kung Fu is one of the most popular martial arts in the world, it could also be considered very deadly.

Rough and Tumble

“Rough and tumble” or gouging, is a form of martial arts popular in rural parts of the United States.

Oftentimes, gouging out an opponent’s eye was the goal of this brutal martial art. Other techniques included biting and deliberately disfiguring the face or body would often take place in order to settle disputes.

As a sport, this martial art wasn’t organized but individual fights would be scheduled as one could schedule a duel, and the victor was treated like a hero.

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, gouging was a common form of duel that arose most often among southern states’.

Kyokushin Karate

Karate is known all around the world as one of the world’s most effective martial art, but how deadly is it?

While Kyokushin Karate, doesn’t allow punching to the head, it does allow full force kicking to the skull.

The deadly martial art encourages full-contact sparring where practitioners will regularly punch each other in the ribs and kick the head.

Keysi Fighting Method

Let’s look at which martial arts system Christian Bale based his fighting style around when he played the part of Batman in the Christopher Nolan trilogy.

This deadly fighting style started in Spain in the 1980s. It was created by a martial artist named Justo Dieguez and it was specifically designed to help him take on street opponents.


Arnis, known as Kali or Eskrima in the Philippines and Escrima in Puerto Rico, is a national martial art.

The martial art focuses on weapon-based fighting with sticks, knives, bladed weapons, and various improvised weapons, as well as hand to hand techniques without weapons.


There are many different martial arts from which to choose: some focus on strikes, others on joint manipulation or weaponry.

Compared to traditional martial arts that focus on meditation or self-perfection, Silat is unique in its violent approach.

This point of difference makes it one of the deadliest forms of defence in the world.

Its fighting style is all about exploiting an opponent’s flaws and incapacitating them as quickly as possible.

Silat training focuses only on inflicting pain. The martial art is characterized by quick attacks that break your opponents in ten seconds and then knock them unconscious with a strong blow to the face, throat, or kidney.

No honour, no fame in Silat, just dirty fighting techniques to disable your opponent as fast as possible. Brutal.

Wing Chun

Some people might be surprised to see Wing Chun on the list; but there’s more to it!

When practiced all-out, Wing Chun’s techniques are brutal. They’re designed for sport and instead of incapacitating an attacker. In particular, many Wing Chun hand strikes aim to cause eye and throat damage.

Rampage Jackson and Wonderboy Thompson are just two of the big names in MMA that two fighters to be successful in the cage with Wing Chun.


Bojuka is deadly because of its slogan: Fast, Brutal, Effective. There’s a reason we added it to the list

Bojuka look at incorporating boxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) and karate into one fighting style.

Due to the inherently violent nature of Bojuka, it does not focus on scoring points or being flashy.

The founder of Bojuka is named Tom Schrenk. He has trained everyone from military and federal law enforcement officers to his academy’s logo, which pays tribute to the deadliness of his fighting style.


There are hundreds of styles of martial arts in the world. Created thousands of years ago, to modern-day fighting systems developed by the military.

But what do we think is the deadliest martial arts? Well, one of the biggest contenders in the list has to be Krav Maga, thanks to its proficiency in disabling an opponent.

LINE and MCMAP are also in the running for consideration, but in all honesty, any of these could be considered deadly if used effectively.