Exploring the Different Forms of Martial Arts: From MMA to Kun Khmer

January 31, 2023
From: Spartacus
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For centuries, people from all corners of the globe have been developing and practising diverse systems of combat training and physical exercise. These techniques are designed to not only teach you how to kick butt, but also help you build strength, endurance, and discipline.

From flying kicks to arm bars, martial arts encompass a wide range of techniques that vary from culture to culture. Each martial art has its own unique history, philosophy, and cultural traditions that have been passed down through the ages. Whether you’re looking to become a top-notch fighter or just want to get in shape, there’s a martial art out there for you.

We’ll be taking a look at ten types of martial arts and explore the features that make each one unique and delve into their impact on the world of combat sports, self-defence, and fitness. 

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)

This full-contact combat sport has taken the world by storm, combining traditional martial arts styles like striking, grappling, and submissions into one action-packed spectacle.

While MMA might seem like a modern creation, its roots can be traced back to ancient Greece, where Pankration was a popular competition combining boxing and wrestling. Fast forward to the 1990s, when the first Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was held, igniting a fire in the hearts of fighters and fans alike. The UFC set out to determine which martial art was the most effective by pitting practitioners against each other in a no-holds-barred competition.

MMA is not for the faint of heart, as fighters use a combination of punches, kicks, knees, elbows, grappling, and submissions to take down their opponents. Training in MMA involves a gruelling combination of strength and conditioning, technical drills, sparring, and live competition.

The sport of MMA has attracted a plethora of top fighters, including the likes of Conor McGregor, Jon Jones, Kamaru Usman, Israel Adesanya, and Amanda Nunes. Major organisations in the world of MMA include the UFC, Bellator MMA, and ONE Championship.

But the future of MMA is what truly excites fans and fighters alike. With the sport’s growing popularity and a global audience, new talent is rising to the challenge and pushing the boundaries of what is possible. MMA is poised to remain one of the most thrilling and dynamic forms of martial arts for years to come, with fans eagerly awaiting the next epic showdown in the octagon.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Have you ever found yourself pinned to the ground during a scuffle, wishing you knew how to turn the tables on your opponent? Well, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) might be just the martial art you need in your arsenal. This grappling and ground fighting style was born in Brazil in the early 20th century, derived from the traditional Japanese martial art of Judo.

BJJ is all about using leverage, submissions, and chokeholds to take down and control an opponent. It’s a physically demanding sport that requires not only strength and endurance, but also technical proficiency. BJJ training involves drilling and sparring to develop skills in taking an opponent to the ground, controlling them, and submitting them.

But don’t let the physical demands of BJJ intimidate you. It has become one of the most popular and widely recognized forms of martial arts in the world, particularly in the world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). And with key fighters like Royce Gracie, Helio Gracie, and Marcelo Garcia leading the way, it’s no wonder that BJJ has a growing community of fighters around the globe.

Whether you’re looking to compete or simply improve your grappling skills, BJJ offers a comprehensive system of techniques, strategies, and training methods that can help you achieve your goals.


Judo is a modern martial art that originated in Japan in the late 19th century. It’s all about leverage, balance, and movement, and it’s perfect for anyone who wants to learn some cool moves while getting a great workout.

Judo is all about throws, holds, pins, and submissions. It’s a grappling-based sport that is both challenging and rewarding. Plus, it’s one of the most popular martial arts in the world, so you’ll be joining a global community of Judo enthusiasts!

The best part about Judo is that it’s suitable for people of all ages and abilities. You don’t have to be a super-athlete to start practising Judo, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll progress with the right training.

Some of the biggest names in Judo include Tadahiro Nomura, Ilias Iliadis, and Kayla Harrison. And, let’s not forget that Judo is an Olympic sport! So, if you’re feeling competitive, you could even aim for Olympic gold!

Whether you’re looking to get fit, learn some cool moves, or become a Judo master, this versatile and dynamic martial art has got you covered. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to get your Judo on!


Taekwondo, the art of high-flying kicks, originated in Korea and has become one of the most popular martial arts in the world. If you’re looking for a martial art that emphasises speed, agility, and control, then Taekwondo might just be the perfect fit for you!

In Taekwondo, the feet are the stars of the show! The kicks in this martial art are so fast and powerful that they can knock out an opponent in just one strike. But Taekwondo isn’t just about fancy kicks; it also involves hand techniques and blocks, making it a well-rounded martial art.

Training in Taekwondo involves practising patterns of movements, sparring, and breaking boards and bricks with your kicks. And in competition, the adrenaline is pumping as practitioners wear protective gear and score points by striking specific targets on their opponent’s body.

Taekwondo isn’t just about physical training; it also emphasises respect, discipline, and mental toughness. The focus on personal development and self-defence makes it a great choice for people of all ages and abilities.

If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out famous Taekwondo practitioners like the late Roh Tae-woo, who was the first president of South Korea and a black belt in Taekwondo. Or, take a look at current Olympic champions like Jade Jones and Kim So-hui who have dominated their opponents with lightning-fast kicks.

With major organisations like the World Taekwondo Federation, Kukkiwon, and the Taekwondo Alliance, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved and join the Taekwondo community.


Get ready to channel your inner Mr. Miyagi and wax on, wax off! Karate is all about striking your opponents with quick, precise moves. Developed in Okinawa, Japan, this traditional martial art has been practised for centuries as a means of self-defence. But these days, Karate is also a popular sport around the globe, attracting practitioners of all ages and abilities.

In Karate, you’ll learn a range of techniques, including punches, kicks, strikes, and grappling. And let’s not forget about the all-important kiai – the loud shout you make to focus your energy and intimidate your opponent.

When it comes to Karate legends, we can’t forget about Ryota Kihata, Ryo Kiyuna, and Rika Usami. These fighters have honed their skills to perfection and show off their expertise in major competitions.

If you’re looking to get involved in Karate, there are plenty of organisations to choose from, including the World Karate Federation and the Japan Karate Association.

If you’re looking to improve your physical fitness, develop your mental discipline, or become a Karate master, this ancient martial art has something for everyone. 

Muay Thai

Muay Thai, also known as “The Art of Eight Limbs,” is a striking-based sport that uses punches, kicks, knees, elbows, and grappling to take down opponents.

This intense martial art has been practised for centuries in Thailand and is now recognized as one of the most popular forms of martial arts in the world. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned fighter, Muay Thai will challenge you both mentally and physically.

Through training, you’ll develop incredible speed, power, and technical skills. You’ll also learn the history and culture behind this fascinating martial art, and how it was used for self-defence and as a means of cultivating the body and mind.

Key fighters in Muay Thai, like Buakaw Banchamek, Saenchai, and Yodsanklai Fairtex, have become legends in the sport for their incredible feats of strength and skill. And major organisations like the World Muay Thai Council and the Muay Thai Association of Thailand are constantly pushing the sport to new heights..

Kung Fu

Kung Fu, the ancient and legendary martial art from China, has been around for thousands of years. It’s a striking-based sport that packs a punch with its punches, kicks, strikes, grappling, and weapons techniques.

Kung Fu is more than just a fighting style; it’s a way of life that emphasises the cultivation of the body, mind, and spirit. The art form has evolved over time and has become a popular sport in China and worldwide, attracting practitioners of all ages and backgrounds.

Training in Kung Fu is an intense and rewarding experience that involves strength and conditioning exercises, technical drills, sparring, and live competition. The various techniques can take years to master, but the rewards are worth the effort.

Kung Fu has produced some of the most legendary fighters and movie stars in history, including Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and Jet Li. These icons have inspired a generation of martial arts enthusiasts to take up the practice of Kung Fu and continue its legacy.

Major organisations like the International Kung Fu Federation and the Chinese Wushu Association have helped to promote and preserve Kung Fu around the world. Through their efforts, Kung Fu continues to thrive as a powerful and dynamic form of martial arts that has stood the test of time.

Sanda (Wushu)

Sanda, also known as “Chinese kickboxing,” is the perfect blend of traditional Chinese martial arts and modern-day kickboxing. Imagine combining the grace and precision of martial arts with the raw power and intensity of kickboxing – that’s Sanda!

Invented in the 20th century as a way to modernise ancient Chinese martial arts, Sanda has quickly gained popularity in China and across the globe. It’s no surprise – this full-contact sport involves everything from powerful punches and kicks to grappling and throws. It’s a total-body workout that requires both strength and finesse.

If you’re interested in learning Sanda, you’ll need to master a wide range of techniques. This includes punches, kicks, knees, elbows, grappling, and throws. To hone your skills, you’ll need to put in some serious training time. That means strength and conditioning workouts, technical drills, sparring, and of course, live competition.

Some of the top Sanda fighters include Wu Jingyu, Liu Hailong, and Xu Yan. These athletes are at the top of their game, using their skills to dominate their opponents in the ring. And when it comes to organisations, the International Wushu Federation and the Chinese Wushu Association are leading the way.

So why choose Sanda? For starters, it’s a thrilling and dynamic sport that combines the best of two worlds. But it’s also steeped in history and tradition, making it a truly unique martial art. With more and more people discovering the excitement of Sanda, it’s only a matter of time before this sport takes the world by storm.


Lethwei, also known as Burmese bare-knuckle boxing is a full-contact sport hailing from Myanmar (Burma) and is not for the faint of heart, as it involves striking, grappling, and submissions at an extreme level of violence and aggression.

But don’t let the intensity of Lethwei scare you away, as this martial art has a rich history dating back centuries. In ancient Myanmar, Lethwei was used as a form of military training and as a way to settle disputes. Today, Lethwei is a beloved sport in Myanmar and among the Burmese diaspora, and has gained international recognition as a new generation of fighters emerge onto the scene.

In Lethwei, fighters use a variety of techniques such as punches, kicks, elbows, knee strikes, and grappling. To become a skilled Lethwei fighter, one must undergo a rigorous training regimen that includes strength and conditioning, technical drills, sparring, and live competition.

If you’re looking for some of the key players in the Lethwei world, look no further than Tun Tun Min, Too Too, and Aung La N Sang. And when it comes to major organisations in Lethwei, you’ll want to check out the Myanmar Lethwei World Federation and the Myanmar Traditional Boxing Federation.

Despite its reputation for violence, Lethwei has a loyal following and continues to grow in popularity in Myanmar and beyond. As new talent emerges and the sport continues to gain recognition, there’s no telling how high Lethwei will rise in the world of martial arts. 

Kun Khmer

Kun Khmer is not just a sport, it’s a way of life in Cambodia. It’s a martial art that has been passed down through generations and is deeply ingrained in Cambodian culture and tradition. In fact, it’s so important to Cambodians that it was even featured in the opening ceremony of the 2023 Southeast Asian Games, which were held in Phnom Penh.

When it comes to techniques, Kun Khmer fighters are known for their devastating elbow strikes. These strikes are so powerful that they have been known to knock out opponents with just one blow. But don’t underestimate their other moves, as they also use a variety of kicks, punches, knees, and grappling techniques to dominate their opponents.

Fighters train for years to perfect their technique and endurance, and fights can last up to five rounds of three minutes each. It takes a lot of physical and mental strength to compete in this sport, and Kun Khmer fighters are some of the toughest athletes out there.

Despite its popularity in Cambodia, Kun Khmer is still relatively unknown outside of the country. However, with the rise of Cambodian fighters like Chan Rothana and Sovannahry Em, who have gained international recognition, Kun Khmer is starting to get the attention it deserves.


From the striking-focused art of Muay Thai to the grappling-heavy Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, each martial art has its own techniques and history that have helped shape it into the powerhouse it is today.

Whether you’re interested in self-defence, combat sports, or just want to get in shape, martial arts have got you covered. With their comprehensive training methods and strategies, these arts provide a holistic approach to physical and mental fitness.

If you’re a fan of martial arts and looking to expand your knowledge and skills in different forms, Spartacus is a one-stop destination for you. Spartacus MMA that offers live events featuring professional MMA fighters showcasing their skills in different forms of martial arts. By attending or streaming Spartacus’ live events, you can get a first-hand experience of different forms of martial arts and see how they can be used in MMA. Spartacus’ live events feature different forms of martial arts, such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Karate, Muay Thai, Kickboxing, and more. Also make sure to follow Spartacus on social media and check their app for upcoming events and live streams.


Is MMA a Traditional Martial Art?

While MMA may seem like a contemporary innovation, its roots can be traced all the way back to ancient Greece with the sport of Pankration. It’s a versatile sport that combines elements from traditional martial arts such as striking, grappling, and submissions to form a holistic full-contact combat sport.

What Makes Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Unique?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu primarily focuses on ground fighting and uses an intricate system of leverage, submissions, and chokeholds to control or submit an opponent effectively. Due to its specialised nature, it has become a vital and integral component in the realm of MMA. 

Can Anyone Learn Judo?

Yes, absolutely! Judo is an inclusive martial art that accommodates people of all ages, fitness levels, and abilities. It features a variety of throws, holds, pins, and submission techniques, and it has been recognized as an Olympic sport since 1964.

What Are the Key Techniques in Taekwondo?

Taekwondo is characterised by its fast and powerful kicks, but it’s not limited to just that. Hand techniques and blocks are also an integral part of the curriculum. Taekwondo places a strong emphasis on speed, agility, and control, making it a multifaceted martial art.

How Is Karate Different from Other Martial Arts?

Originating from Okinawa, Japan, Karate predominantly focuses on striking techniques such as punches, kicks, and knee strikes. It offers a well-rounded skill set that also encompasses aspects of mental discipline and self-control, setting it apart from other martial arts.

What’s Unique About Muay Thai?

Known as “The Art of Eight Limbs,” Muay Thai employs a comprehensive striking-based system that includes the use of punches, kicks, knees, and elbows. It also incorporates some elements of grappling, making it a versatile choice for stand-up combat.

What Is Kung Fu Famous For?

Kung Fu is a broad term that encompasses a variety of Chinese martial arts. It is primarily a striking-based martial art but also includes kicks, strikes, grappling techniques, and even weapons training. Its rich history spans thousands of years, and it has evolved into a popular global sport and art form.

How Intense Is Lethwei?

Lethwei, also referred to as Burmese bare-knuckle boxing, is an extremely intense and full-contact sport. It includes an array of techniques like striking, grappling, and submissions. It’s a demanding sport both physically and mentally and is not recommended for those who are faint-hearted, but it is deeply rooted in Burmese culture and history.

What Makes Kun Khmer Special?

Kun Khmer is more than just a martial art; it’s deeply embedded in the fabric of Cambodian culture and tradition. It is known for its devastating elbow strikes and incorporates a diverse range of other techniques, such as kicks, punches, and knee strikes.

Which Martial Art is Best for Self-Defence?

The ‘best’ martial art for self-defence can vary widely based on individual preferences, circumstances, and physical abilities. However, many of the martial arts covered in the article offer strong components suitable for self-defence. For instance, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is excellent for ground fighting scenarios, while Muay Thai provides effective striking techniques.

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