CONTRIBUTOR'S WANTED! Would you like to contribute to We are always looking for quality relevant articles.
If you are interested please email your article to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Which is the 'Deadliest' Martial Art Style?

By Matthew McKernan

It seems you can't get into a discussion about martial arts without someone claiming that the style they practice is the best. Of course this isn't possible, because at least someone else in the group either practices the best martial arts style or knows someone who does. If you go online you will find thousands of opinions on the subject. Each person claims they can prove that their style is the best. Like religion, martial arts practitioners defend their style vehemently and aggressively. This can be pretty confusing especially if you don't know anything about the martial arts. But no matter what your level of experience, it always comes down to one question: Which martial arts style is the deadliest?

kumiteWell, that is actually a trick question and it is often asked by people who are uneducated about martial arts. Anyone saying they teach or know the most deadly style of martial arts is a liar or they're very much mistaken. The truth is there isn't one martial arts style that is the most deadly and if there was don't you think everyone would be studying it? Nothing can be kept secret for very long so don't believe the hype when it comes to martial arts. There are a lot of cliche's when it comes to martial arts and self defense.

If you want a style of martial arts that is effective in combat you have to look back in history and find out what style worked in street fights and on the field of battle applicable to modern times. All martial arts claim a combat heritage, but not all styles remain combat effective. They become either out dated or become "civilized". It doesn't happen overnight, but over time a style can become sanitized with rules and restrictions.

Take karate for example, which started out as a practical martial art where the primary goal was killing or disabling your enemy. Sounds pretty brutal, but that isn't what's being taught in strip mall schools around the United States. The martial art being practiced is a sport or 'nice' watered down version of karate. All the potentially deadly moves and strikes have been removed to prevent injury or death in competition. Remember just because something was created for combat doesn't mean it is still effective; the yo-yo started off as a weapon, but when was the last time you heard of someone killing somebody with one?

Films and TV add to this misconception and are largely responsible for misinforming people about martial arts, and can't be used as your guide. Many great martial artists like Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee have made martial arts films, but even they needed to change their styles so it would have more of a theatrical impact. On screen, conventional martial arts aren't "flashy enough", so like anything theatrical in nature they have been made bigger and louder. In real life, if a smart and well trained martial artist is surrounded by armed thugs they're going to try to fight their way out so they can run to safety NOT fight them all at the same time. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was nice to watch, but nobody can catch bullets, fly through the air and break the laws of physics no matter how hard they train. The Hollywood scriptwriter, not a fighter's martial arts knowledge, dictates how a fight goes and anybody's style can be made to look cool on camera. Enjoy martial arts films as entertainment, but remember it isn't real not by a long shot.

Another over exaggeration of a martial artist's capability is the image of an elderly Asian martial artist killing or disabling an attacker with a single touch known as the death touch or "dim mak". Now, while it is possible to kill with one strike the idea of "tapping" someone and watching them pass out is ludicrous. I know there are a lot of martial arts videos on the market and on the internet that show martial artists claiming to have this ability, but you should seriously think about it. If there really was a "death touch" don't you think everyone would be using it? With all the money people invest in professional fighting and sports and all the contact that happens, don't you think more people would be dropping dead in the ring or on the field by accidentally hitting these areas? If the "death touch" truly existed, people would abandon what they were practicing and learn it or spend their time building defenses against it, because why would you bother with anything else. Remember, there's no documentation or police report that exists that has the cause of death as "dim mak"!

Even some of the best martial artists in the world have admitted that in a real fight to resorting to grabbing an attacker's testicles or gouging an eye or even biting to survive a deadly encounter (Read Gichin Funakoshi's Karate-Do). In reality, most people die from being strangled, blunt force trauma or serious blood loss, not magic or secret moves. If there is a "deadliest style" or system of martial arts it is one that teaches you to do the above quickly, ruthlessly and without regard for human life.



  • Guest - Alexander

    The deadliest martial art in the world is a very controversial question but it boils down to one thing: "Is this art designed specifically to kill or cause serious injury"? It also depends on a variety of other factors like physical fitness, number of years training, and least movement maximum effectiveness.
    Now I have done martial arts for almost 12 years now have learned a-lot. Though I am a very nice guy I love the sheer deadliness of some martial arts. Having the knowledge and power to kill or maim a bad guy with your bare hands is kind of a pride thing.
    Now my opinion on the deadliest martial arts boil down to AKBAN Ninjutsu, Krav Maga, and Special Forces Combat Hand to Hand.
    AKBAN is a refined form of Ninjutsu using many dangerous techniques from other martial arts. I take it and it is wonderful. It involves high physical fitness, full contact fights and spars, and it takes about 12 years to qualify for a 1st Dan. Trust me it's serious stuff. My sensei taught that if you can't avoid a fight, or you get in a serious fight to kill or maim. Eye gouging, etc. We are also taught to end a fight as quick as possible etc.
    Krav Maga was made specifically for Israeli Special Forces as a back up plan on the battlefield. I have had the honor to talk with an Israeli Soldier who had to use Krav Maga in close combat and use killing techniques. It is no nonsense.
    Special Forces says it all. It is kill or be killed thinking and 85% of what you learn is designed to kill.

    As for the Dim Mak "death punch", well that's a very real thing and is very hard to do. It requires a high amount of power and an even higher form of technique. There are 3 places to strike and kill. The neck, the back of the head, and the Xyphoid process. In the TV special "Fight Science" a man from bujinkan performed a Dim Mak on a dummy and generated more pressure than a baseball bat being swung at something. On the same show a man from Karate performed a tiger strike generating 2600 lbs of pressure. More than enough to kill a man instantly. But if u want to kill a man easily.... go for the throat.

    So to wrap up the deadliest martial arts are not flashy, showy, has a bunch of spinning crazy kicks etc, it is quick, ruthless, and simple. We don't fly through the air doing flips, we end a fight with speed and effect. The deadliest martial art is not a sport either. It's not tae kwon do, or karate, UFC/MMA ( though those three can be deadly), it is an art designed to kill or cause serious injury period. It's not an art for little 10 year old "black belts". It is for those who take life seriously. Who enjoy life, but know who to end it if the need arises. But no man should take pleasure in harming or taking another mans life.
    Alright I'm getting off topic.
    AKBAN, Krav Maga, and stuff used in SF.
    That's my opinion.

  • Guest - bobby

    In reply to: Guest - Alexander

    I agree with you, yes a single blow can be deadly, but even you admitted that it requires high power /technique, the OP said that it is silly to present it as a "tap", in media when things are made to look cooler at times just by making it look like they were easily done or something like that, anyways you're both right I think, OP was probably referring to douches with fake tans and spiked bleached hair and sunglasses in tank tops and saggy khaki shorts who are all like "hey man watch out and respect me cuz I can kill you with my pinky I learned it on Jersey Shore", but yeah over all you're both right I guess

  • Guest - Teresa Roberts

    The whole point of a martial art is to have the skills to prevent a to fight and preserve life especialy your own. It is about having compitance to get out of the situation with fighting as the last resort and serious injury to a person only if absolutly nessicary. All martial arts are deadly in their own right.

  • Guest - dhruv

    I think kali / eskrima (filipino martial arts)

    from India
  • Guest - steven oconnor

    The deadliest martial art isnt real there is no number one style but some are better then other some are ful of it and now it thoes are sports system or weaken and fixed system like judo,karate and aikido, kendo. If you want a better style find about six diff and good style so one or two fill the weakness of the other in the set and then cut away all the uesless off and absorb what is useful and keep doing so to make a fighting style that is good for you and has real effectivness in real combat situation and is flexible and adapt to consant changes of live combat. Use simple attack directly to the target on the most economical route with no effort to conceal it get in dont let up most martial art are base in street fighting no rule anything goes stuff other in military combative systems but most military systems are mixing of many other style not a self made military systems so are not alway the best to go off of no military has the same systems they re not even the same in all the diff parts of military that we have in the US. GO for schools that teaches all modern self defense even guns and other weapons defense techniques and weapons techniques like knive fighting and other Im picks would be jeet kune do, ninjutsu, jujutsu, lua, krav maga, sanda kung ku, silat, mamap or matine corp martial art progarm and savate.But it better to find your own but jeet kune dois a must even you dont find a school for look up Bruce lee philosophy.

  • Guest - ajay

    It is varma kalai, from southern india. Apart from grapplings, kicks and punches it also features marma shastra, which means attacking the vital points on the body, it is also the oldest martial art whose origins date back to 3000 bce in Rig Veda. There are 108 vital points in our body, 96 are classified as thodu varma which can be triggered by a mere touch, even though they are not fatal but can disable/disarm a person, padu varma consists of 12 vital points, which can be triggered by hard blows/kicks, it has immediate and severe effects (even death) upon the victim. Thatu varmam, decisive vital points that are used by the master. These are kept confidential until the master pass on the knowledge to the selected disciple.

    Nokku varmam, it is an amazing art where a master (or as an) can kill a person by just focusing or concentrating on the target, it requires no physical contact. So no need of any severe exercises.

    Kalaripayattu, another martial from southern india is of 2 types northern kalari and southern kalari. Southern kalari involves varma kalai and northern kalari is weapon based. Unlike varma kalai, kalaripayattu requires strict principles and severe exercises.…

    Watch these videos… part 1)… 2)

    Modern form of kung fu originated from kalaripayattu, a south indian monk named bodhidharma traveleed to china as a buddhist philosopher he found that chinese people were very weak and were unable to follow the strict life of buddhism and were frequently attacked by local bandits and therefore taught this wonderful martial art to them and established shaolin temple, that is why most of the martial arts are taught by buddhist monks. Modern form of kung fu, karate, muay thai, silat,e.t.c has it's origins in kalaripayattu. There are many temples for bodhidharma (da mo by chinese) in china, japan and other south east asian countries. It is ironical the great bodhi dharma is unknown in his own country.… of Kung Fu: China? Wrong! Guess Again! (1of2))… kalai)

    varma kalai and nokku varmam by prakasa gurukal… 1)… 2)… nokku varmam

    You may find it to be false, there is nothing wrong in it because i myself went through the same experience. So if you don't believe it do research on this topic, it is completely true, as you would have noticed that a person from the channel (vijay tv) decided to test prakasan's ability, he fainted as he was unable to bear his attack (nokku varmam).

    Comment last edited on about 1 month ago by Big Boss
    from India
  • Guest - ajay


    from India
  • Great post, what you said is really helpful to me. I agree with you anymore. I have been talking with my friend about, he though it is really interesting as well. Keep up with your good work; I would come back to you.

Leave your comments

Post comment as a guest

Your comments are subjected to administrator's moderation.
terms and condition.