In this article, we will take a look at the top 15 deadliest martial arts in the world.
Deadliest martial arts in the world are Krav Maga, Line, Rough and Tumble, Ninjutsu, Vale Tudo, Bacom, Eskrima, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai (Thai Boxing), Silat, Kung Fu, Taekwondo, MCMAP, Karate, and Sambo.
Now, we will rank the top 15 deadliest martial arts in the world from weakest to strongest and look at the usage and examples of those martial arts.
Top 15 Deadliest Martial Arts in The World – Ranked
15. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art that focuses on grappling and especially on ground fighting with the aim of gaining a dominant position and using joint locks and chocking to force the opponent to surrender.
The system developed from a modified version of Judo practiced before World War II including some techniques from classical Jujutsu and with a focus on non-waza (floor techniques).
It promotes the principle that a smaller, weaker person using balance and technique can successfully defend against a bigger and stronger attacker.
BJJ can be trained for self-defense, sports grappling tournaments (gi and non-gi), and mixed martial arts (MMA). Sparring (popularly called “rolling”) with an opponent plays an important role in training.
It can be a very deadly martial art, and it is especially good for you if you are a smaller person, but it all depends on the conditions under which it is used.
Karate is a Japanese martial art that uses all parts of the body for self-defense. The birthplace of karate is the island of Okinawa, located south of Japan in the Ryu Kyu Islands.
Karate incorporates the whole body during the fighting. Punching, kicking, elbows, throws, and open-handed “knife strikes” are all staples of the form, and Kyokushin Karate allows blows with full force, and fighters carry no protection.
Karate is different from other deadliest martial arts on this list mostly because it truly focuses on the mind as much as the body. With a focused mind and a fully trained body, Karate can easily become one of the deadliest martial arts in the world.
Taekwondo is a Korean martial art that originated in the 1940s by combining different skills that were practiced at the time. Its name comes from the word Tae (태, hanja 跆), which means to kick, Kwon (권, hanja 拳), which means to strike with the hand, and Do (도, hanja 道), which means to hit.
Taekwondo is a striking skill characterized by attractive foot techniques and speed. Today, taekwondo is considered one of the most popular martial arts and sports, and the number of practitioners in the world is estimated at more than 100 million.
The emphasis of Taekwondo is on kicking. As the longest, strongest limb, fighters realized that using legs in combat gave them an edge over other fighting styles that focus on punching. The devastating power of a Taekwondo kick can drop opponents in seconds, and that is the main reason why it is on our list of deadliest martial arts in the world.
12. Kung Fu
In general, kung fu/kungfu refers to the Chinese martial arts, also called wushu and quanfa. In China, it refers to any study, learning, or practice that requires patience, energy, and time to complete. In its original meaning, kung fu can refer to any discipline or skill achieved through hard work and practice, not necessarily martial arts.
It is one of the oldest hand to hand martial art, it is practiced for centuries, and it was used by Chinese warriors as a form of attack as well as self-defense.
There are many styles of Kung Fu, but they all have the same goal, to strike your enemy with lightning speed and preventable power, and that is what makes it one of the deadliest martial arts in the world.
Sambo, the martial art of unarmed self-defense, developed in the USSR where it was practiced by elite units. In the 1990s, sambo – a combination of judo, kickboxing, Thai boxing, and boxing – became popular all over the world.
It was originally trained by Red Army soldiers and government agents, but as the crime was on the rise, Sambo began to be taught by security guards and private bodyguards who added some innovations like knives, batons, etc.
Sambo has multiple disciplines. Sports sambo is reminiscent of judo because opponents compete without punches. Sambo for self-defense is based on jiu-jitsu and aikido and can be practiced with sports sambo.
Combat sambo is a more demanding discipline, intended primarily for the army and police, in which almost everything is allowed, blows to the head, elbow, knees…
Special sambo is a special variant of martial sambo whose techniques are kept secret for members of special units.
In America, freestyle sambo has also developed as a civilian variant that is not trained in classic sports clubs.
Combat and Special Sambo definitely deserve to be on our list of deadliest martial arts in the world.
10. MCMAP – Marine Corps Martial Arts Program
The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) is a combat system developed by the United States Marine Corps to combine existing and new hand-to-hand and close quarters combat techniques with morale and team-building functions and instruction in the Warrior Ethos.
The program, which began in 2001, trains Marines (and U.S. Navy personnel attached to Marine units) in unarmed combat, edged weapons, weapons of opportunity, and rifle and bayonet techniques. 
It also stresses mental and character development, including the responsible use of force, leadership, and teamwork.
Today, that skill has advanced by getting the best out of other martial arts across the countries where the Marines fought wars. The latest workouts include improvised weapons, bayonets, and even weapon parts as a means of inflicting pain.
Prior to MCMAP, the Marines used a martial art called the LINE system. The line for “Linear Infighting Neural Override Engagement” whose only goal was to kill the opponent with as strong blows as possible on fragile parts of the body.
Subsequently, given that the Marines operated in missions in which it was not essential to kill everyone present, MCMAP emerged as a milder version of LINE and therefore, more humane.
9. Muay Thai (Thai Boxing)
Muay Thai or Thai boxing is a martial art created as a product of the constant conflicts of the Thai people on the way from their homeland (southeast China) to the area of present-day Thailand.
Due to the constant conflicts with other peoples of Indochina, there was a need for a martial art that would be learned quickly, and at the same time was very applicable in almost constant conflicts on the borders.
Initially, Thai boxing was taught as part of the so-called “Warrior skills” which included fencing, spear handling, archery, and horseback riding, and among the oldest documents mentioning Thai boxing is a legend from 1548. about the boxing fight between the Thai King Naresuan and the Burmese King.
Thus was born Muay Thai, i.e. the Art of the Eight Limbs. Yes, eight limbs. In Muay Thai, elbows and knees are counted under the limbs and are used in combat to strike the opponent as hard as possible and overcome as quickly as possible.
Silat is the collective term for a class of indigenous martial arts from the Nusantara and surrounding geocultural areas of Southeast Asia. It is traditionally practiced in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Southern Thailand, Southern Philippines, and Southern Vietnam, the indigenous homes to the Malayo-Sumbawan and Javanese speaking peoples.
There are hundreds of different styles (aliran) and schools (perguruan) which tend to focus either on strikes, joint manipulation, weaponry, or some combination thereof.
Silat is different than most martial arts, because, unlike other that focus on spirituality or self-perfection, Silat is all about one thing: violence, and that is what makes it one of the deadliest martial arts in the world.
Its fighting style is all about exploiting weaknesses in your enemy and incapacitating them as quickly as possible.
Silat is concentrated only on causing pain. The style is characterized by a quick attack in which it is very important to get close to the opponent quickly, break him in ten seconds and then knock him unconscious with a strong blow to the face, throat, or kidney. No honor, no fame, just dirty punches, and exploitation of weaknesses.
They even encourage blows to the crotch. Yes, in the testicles. All students of this skill in training must experience what it is like when someone breaks a row of bricks stacked on your ribs or when you have to bend metal bars around your neck.
“Kris” or “Keris”, ie a dagger, is also used in Silat. A corrugated knife for quickly stabbing an opponent into soft body parts. And yes, they usually put one of the most powerful neurotoxins in the world on a dagger that will kill an opponent just a few tens of seconds after being wounded.
Arnis, also known as Kali or Eskrima/Escrima, is the national martial art of the Philippines. The three are roughly interchangeable umbrella terms for the traditional martial arts of the Philippines, which emphasize weapon-based fighting with sticks, knives, bladed weapons, and various improvised weapons, as well as “open hand” techniques without weapons.
For hundreds of years, Filipinos have nurtured this tradition and the skill of quick punches, grabbing hands or feet, disarming, and killing people. The philosophy of Eskrima is that the absence of weapons does not necessarily mean that you cannot kill an opponent with your bare hands.
Modern Eskrima has two versions. One wears full-body armor with masks, while the other version, a little more brutal, takes place in illegal fights with metal sticks and a little sponge.
Bacom is one of the deadliest martial arts. The other name of Bacom is Vacon. This is a Peruvian martial art. This martial art is developed in the street of Lima for the development of the Peruvian Military.
In this martial art, one can injure the opponents within a short span of time. It also involves the usage of hidden weapons and extreme punches. It is a combination of Jiu-Jitsu and street fighting techniques.
Bacom required an emphasis on power, with the attacks designed to ruin an opponent’s balance. There is also an element of surprise and deception as fighters can use hidden, secretive weapons in battle.
What makes Bacom distinct from other combat practices is the vicious nature of the martial art. The fighting style is made to inflict the maximum amount of pain on the opponent and become too much for the opponent to handle.
A fight that takes place when Bacom is utilized, many times ends in the death of one of the competitors. It also involves armlocks.
Top 5 Deadliest Martial Arts in the World
We’ve come to the end of the list, the top 5 deadliest martial arts in the world. Let’s proceed!
5. Rough and Tumble
Rough and tumble or gouging was a form of fighting in rural portions of the United States, primarily in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
It was often characterized by the objective of gouging out an opponent’s eye but also included other brutally disfiguring techniques, including biting and typically took place in order to settle disputes.
Though it was never an organized sport, participants would sometimes schedule their fights (as one could schedule a duel), and victors were treated as local heroes.
Gouging was essentially a type of duel to defend one’s honor that was most common among the poor and was especially common in southern states in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries
It was extremely brutal, with no concern about the opponent’s safety and with the sole purpose to disable or kill opponents, so it is with rights so high on our list of deadliest martial arts in the world.
4. Vale Tudo
Vale Tudo (translated “Everything Goes”) is an unarmed, full-contact combat sport with relatively few rules. It became popular in Brazil during the 20th century. It uses techniques from many martial arts.
Vale Tudo is an extremely brutal martial art, and it is so deadly that its fights are mostly held underground, and it often creates a stir in the media.
Ninjutsu is also known as Ninpo and Shinobijutsu, is a Japanese martial art that is a set of different skills that include espionage, gathering information, navigating and surviving in nature, hiding and sneaking, camouflage, avoiding enemies, infiltration, overcoming natural and artificial obstacles, fighting with bare hands, various weapons, and hand tools, etc.
The Ninjutsu most likely appeared in the 13th century, at the time of the appearance of the first shogunate ruled by the Minamoto clan.
Despite the fact that there are many contradictions in the written sources, they were most likely renegade peasants, who, exhausted by the constant terror of the samurai, whose class was experiencing a great rise at the time, and unable to oppose them, sought safety in the mountainous areas of Ig and Koga, the central Japanese island of Honshu.
During the 1970s and 1980s, there was a huge interest in exotic Oriental skills in the West, especially in the United States. Shrouded in a veil of secrecy and numerous myths, the ninja came to us in the form of films, novels, and manuals of dubious content.
At the time, ninjas were practiced in Japan by only a few hundred people, appalled by the publicity and kept away from journalists and adventurers who did their best to get in touch with them and reveal their “secrets”.
Today, ninjutsu is practiced by tens of thousands of people, of all ages, in hundreds of halls around the world. Freed from the dishonorable burden of the past, the ninjutsu, strictly controlled by its home school and spiritual leader in Japan, has become an extremely effective, integral system of self-defense and one of the deadliest martial arts in the world.
LINE is a close quarters combat system, derived from various martial arts, used by the United States Marine Corps between 1989 and 1998, and then from 1998 through to 2007 for the US Army Special Forces. It was developed by retired combat-arms Marine Ron Donvito.
Officially, the name stands for Linear Infighting Neural Override Engagement; this is, however, a backronym coined during the project’s inception.
The system was designed to be executed within specific and stringent combat-oriented conditions:
- all techniques must not be vision dominant; techniques may be executed effectively in low-light conditions, or other impaired visibility conditions (i.e., smoke or gas)
- extreme mental and physical fatigue
- usable by the Marine/soldier while wearing full combat gear
- proper execution of the techniques must cause death to the opponent
- gender neutrality; must be usable by—and against—either gender
These parameters are viewed as the most likely conditions that a combat Marine or Soldier would face in close-range combat since most close combat engagements were likely to occur at night or under reduced visibility, while the Marine was fatigued and wearing his combat load, and when facing asymmetrical odds, such as a numerically superior force.
These requirements meant that many flamboyant techniques, exotic kicks, or movements requiring extraordinary feats of strength or agility were excluded from consideration under the LINE system. Techniques like classic judo “hip throw”, for instance, were excluded because of the possibility of entanglement on a practitioner’s war-belt.
The system’s techniques were designed to be easily learned and retained through repetition. The requirement and demands that the system is drilled, repeated, and constantly revisited have led to some criticism since the primary users – military and special operations personnel – often have enormous demands upon their time, and as a consequence often lacked the ability to maintain high degrees of proficiency in the techniques.
It was built to directly kill your opponent, which makes it one of the deadliest martial arts in the world. But, because it was relatively inflexible especially for non-emergent situations such as peacekeeping operations, the US army isn’t using it anymore, rather they decided to use MCMAP.
1. Krav Maga
Krav Maga is an Israeli martial art widely accepted in the military, police, and similar branches as a defense against bare-handed and even armed attackers. It proved to be excellent on the field and got its name from its founder Imrich Sde-Ora.
Eyal Yanilov has been the right hand of the founder for over fifteen years and leads the International Krav Maga Federation. Krav Maga began working under that name from the founding of Israel in 1948, but the founder himself taught many just after his defection in 1940 from Bratislava to what was then Palestine before the Nazis.
Had he not defected we would probably have been left without one effective and efficient martial art.
A practical method of combat that trains how to avoid, prevent, and resolve any kind of violence and attack. Krav Maga trains self-defense, martial and combat skills, as well as the skills of protecting others, all in a unique and easy way to learn.
Yet the basic philosophy of training and coaching is a ‘he or I’ situation in an environment where defeat would be deadly.
It probably comes as no surprise that the world’s most effective and dangerous form of martial art is also the deadliest in the world. Krav Maga is a non-sport form of martial arts, which means it doesn’t care for rules and opponents well being.