25 Most Lethal Martial Arts Ever Created

Posted by , Updated on June 23, 2024

Looking for the **best martial arts** for real fights? You’re in the right place. Check out the most dangerous martial arts and fighting techniques here. Martial arts started with basic moves using sticks and stones. Now, they’ve become **complex and deadly**. Ready to uncover the **25 Deadliest Martial Arts** ever made?





An ancient Cambodian martial art having its origins on the battlefield, its name literally translates to “pounding a lion.” By using a diverse array of strikes and weapons it may not be surprising to know that Bokator has been responsible for numerous deaths.



bill underwood

Although technically it is no longer practiced, Combato was an extremely lethal martial art style used in World War II by the Canadian Armed Forces. First developed by Bill Underwood in 1910, after the war, several law enforcement agencies requested him to teach their officers. Bill refused, however, on the grounds that Combato was too violent and thus developed Defendo as a more civilian-friendly successor.


Jeet Kun Do

bruce lee

Developed by Bruce Lee, this hybrid martial art style was his response to the “flowery” techniques used in other systems. Bruce felt that although these stylistic forms certainly had aesthetic appeal, their practical usefulness was nearly zero.


Shippalgi (Sib Pal Gi)

south korean militarymartial-arts.findthebest.com, http://enacademic.com/dic.nsf/enwiki/1390867

Practiced by the Korean military for hundreds of years, this martial art is split into three categories – thrust, strike, and slice. Unlike many of its Korean counterparts, however, its focus is much more on practical fighting techniques than artsy philosophies.




Although today it is more of a display of finesse and skill than anything else, this martial art was born in the slave ghettos of Brazil hundreds of years ago. Originally, it was a technique by which slaves could free or defend themselves against attackers. Powerful kicks and clever movements were disguised as dance, giving slaves opportunity to discreetly practice. Due to its dangerous nature and history, there have been periods of time where it’s been outlawed in Brazil and is even frowned upon in certain Brazilian social groups today.




Originating on the streets of the crime ridden Palama settlement in Hawaii, this highly effective and to-the-point martial art style combines numerous influences and was developed specifically to give locales the ability to defend themselves against not only gangs but also drunk navy sailors who had a tendency of starting fights.


Keysi Fighting Method

batman symbol

Developed by Justo Deigues Serrano as the cumulation of his fighting experiences on the streets of Spain, the Keysi method is intended to be used for self defense in violent street level encounters. It has gained widespread popularity in recent years and was even featured in the newer Batman movies.




Sambo is a deadly combination of grappling and wrestling that was developed for the Red Army in the early 1920’s. It was originally created specifically to improve the Soviet special force’s hand to hand combat capabilities, but after a surge in crime, the government began training security guards and public law enforcement as well. Evidently, it’s a bad idea to rob banks in Russia.


Dim Mak

finger towards pressure pointhttps://blackbeltmag.com/arts/chinese-arts/dim-mak-martial-arts-touch-of-death; http://www.dimmak.net/

Also known as kyusho-jutsu or pressure-point fighting, this ancient martial art style centers around attacking the susceptible on the opponent’s body through certain acupuncture points. Attacking these dim mak points, as they are called, can lead to knock out or death. Maybe the most dangerous part of this martial art, though, is that many people underestimate and misunderstand just how deadly it can be.



kyokushinhttp://www.blackbeltwiki.com/kyokushin, http://www.kyokushinkaikan.org/en/about/spirit.html

This martial art is a full contact, upright style of karate. It has deep philisophical roots of self-improvement, discipline, and respect. It’s known as one of the “harder” martial arts as it allows and even focuses on full-contact sparing that uses very little protective gear. As one of its “spirits” states, “The heart of our karate is real fighting. There can be no proof without real fighting. Without proof there is no trust. Without trust there is no respect. This is a definition in the world of Martial Arts”



bojuka logohttp://www.bojuka.com/bojuka-home.shtml

Similar to other non-sport martial arts, this hybrid fighting technique developed by Tom Schrenk in the 90s doesn’t focus on scoring points or having correct form. Its sole purpose is to enable an outnumbered defender to turn the odds in his favor during a violent street assault. Unlike some other martial arts styles on this list, however, it does make an attempt to at least use reasonable levels of force.




This fighting style hails from Malaysia. If you notice, many of the art form on this list still have an underlying philosophical and moral focus. Silat, however, is all about violence. While there is debate and uncertainty surrounding its origins, it’s all about exploiting your opponents weaknesses and taking them out as quickly as possible.


Kung Fu

kung fuhttps://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/worlds-deadliest-martial-arts/4/

Kung fu is actual a blanket term for all Chinese martial arts. While there are many different styles, the main components boil down to striking your opponent with super speed and insane power.




A lethal combat method employed by the Russian Special Forces, Systema is similar to Krav Maga in that its sole purpose is to do as much damage to your adversary as quickly and efficiently as possible.


Brazilian Jiu Jitsu


Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gained popularity around the world when Royce Gracie won the first, second, and fourth ultimate fighting championships. The effectiveness of bjj, however, comes from its emphasis on ground fighting and giving smaller practitioners an advantage by employing body leverage.


Muay Thai

muay tainightclubsecurity.com

Otherwise known as the “Art of Eight Limbs” for its heavy inclusion of elbow and knee strikes, it should come as no surprise that such a deadly form of martial arts self defense would emerge from a place like Thailand, a country well acquainted with violence and conquest.


Kapu Ku’ialua

old photo of lua practitioners

Also known as just Lua, this unconventional Hawaiian martial art focuses on bone breaking, joint manipulation, and even open ocean warfare. The name itself actually means “two hits” and apart from having a long history on the battlefield, practitioners go to great lengths to turn the odds in their favor with some warriors even coating themselves in coconut oil so they couldn’t be grappled in battle.




Also known as Vacon, this Peruvian martial art style was born on the streets of Lima. It blends numerous martial arts and is designed to quickly inflict maximum injury to an opponent. Due to the emphasis on hidden weapons and deception, it is not unusual for fights to end in death.




This marital art born in the Philippines also goes by the names of Kali and Eskrima. Like other martial arts on this list, discipline and moral values are of high importance. One notable feature of this art is the use of a cane, although historically, a bladed weapon longer than a knife was used (as implied by the Malayan word Kali).



boxing fight

Also known as boxing, this combat sport is seen in numerous variations around the globe. It is notoriously dangerous as the head is a primary target, and it was even outlawed in several countries during the nineteenth century.


Vale Tudo

vale tudo

Portuguese for “anything goes,” this is a full contact combat sport popular in Brazil. It has a very limited number of rules and takes techniques from numerous martial arts. The only problem is that it is so dangerous and bloody that it often creates quite a stir in the media. For this reason, most of the events are held underground.



ninja in a smokey room

Practiced by the shinobi, or ninja, in feudal Japan, this martial art focused on unconventional warfare, espionage, and assassination. Its practitioners were even sometimes referred to as hinin, or non-humans.


Rough and Tumble

rough and tumble fighters

Often considered one of the few fighting styles native to the United States, this form of violent encounter was very popular around the time of the American Revolution. With emphasis on maximum disfigurement, it often involved everything from men gauging out each other’s eyes to literally biting the tongues of their opponents. Very few of the other entries on this list even come close to attaining the level of violence in these colonial era blood baths.



LINE demonstration and training

An acronym standing for Linear Infighting Neural Override Engagement, this deadly martial arts style was used by the United States Marine Corps for most of the 90’s and is still employed by numerous special forces. It was succeeded by the MCMAP or Marine Corps Martial Arts Program in recent years, however, due to the fact that it was relatively inflexible. Because it almost always involved ending the life of your opponent, the military couldn’t use it in non-emergent situations such as peacekeeping operations.


Krav Maga

krav maga fighterskrav-maga.com

Not surprisingly, the world’s most effective and deadly martial arts comes to us from one of the most conflicted regions of the world. Developed for use by the IDF or Israeli Defense Force, Krav Maga is a non-sport martial art, meaning it doesn’t concern itself with the opponent’s well-being. In fact, it generally assumes no quarters, or the idea that your opponent intends to kill you. For this reason, the brutal techniques of Krav Maga have been developed with the sole intention of inflicting as much pain as quickly and efficiently as possible, which very often includes deliberately ending the life of your adversary.

Photo: Featured Image - shutterstock, 1. shutterstock, 2. 070516-F-9429S-202.JPG (Public Domain), 3. wikimedia commons (Public Domain), 4. shutterstock, 5. pxhere.com (Public Domain), 6. shutterstock, 7. Andrew Villasis via flickr, Boys in the Park (Practicing their Arnis), CC BY 2.0, 8. shutterstock, 9. wikimedia commons (Public Domain), 10. shutterstock, 11. Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes (Public Domain), 12. shutterstock, 13. pixabay (Public Domain), 14. Frédéric MICHEL, Brest 2012 - Pencak-Silat (5), CC BY-SA 3.0 , 15. www.bojuka.com/ (Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only), 16. wikimedia commons (Public Domain), 17. Kurmis, Ippon-Ken, CC BY 3.0 , 18. President.az, Sambo at the 2015 European Games, CC BY 4.0 , 19. pixabay (Public Domain), 20. wikimedia commons (Public Domain), 21. shutterstock, 22. shutterstock, 23. wikimedia commons (Public Domain), 24. Defendovn, Defendo-bill-underwood-kenhvothuat-01, CC BY-SA 4.0 , 25. shutterstock