What Is The Deadliest Martial Arts?

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Martial arts have many purposes, and people train to master them for many reasons.

Some are great for defending yourself from an attack, others are good for competitive sport, some help to build fitness levels, and the rest are ideal if your goal is becoming a deadly assassin.

Martial arts might seem like a cool thing to learn to pass the time, but many of these methods of combat were developed to be lethal weapons.

Not all can have this claim to fame though, but many styles around the world can be used to kill someone if you’re able to master them well enough.

So, what are the deadliest martial arts in the world?

Among the list of lethal martial arts are some you might not expect like Brazilian jiu-jitsu and karate, and others that have a serious force like Muay Thai and the Marine Corp Martial Arts Program.

A martial art can only be as deadly as the practitioner, so it requires the highest level of skill to use them as a lethal weapon.

The goal of most people learning martial arts is to build fitness or compete professionally, but in some parts of the world, they’re a serious training tool and deadly as well.

If you’ve always wanted to learn more about the potential power of the deadliest martial arts, we’ve got a list of the most serious contenders.

The Deadliest Martial Arts in the World

Humans have always been adept at building skills that are crucial for their survival, and although the world has changed for many people and we no longer rely on having to protect ourselves with bare hands, that doesn’t mean it’s always been that way.

Martial arts being used as a fatal weapon is a tradition that dates back as old as these forms of combat, and a way that many people kept themselves out of harm’s way.

Although many of these styles were developed out of necessity to protect themselves or provide military service, today they might look slightly different.

Learning martial arts today is more about self-defense than brute force, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t thrilling to study. If you’re interested to know which of these forms are powerful enough for this purpose, we’ve found the most lethal for you to consider.

Marine Corp Martial Arts Program


Although the Marine Corp is known for being a deadly force against those who oppose them, not everyone knows that they’ve developed their very own martial arts program.

The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) is a combined form of both hand to hand and close quarter techniques that their soldiers can use during combat, either individually or with others.

In addition to teaching a range of skills in unarmed combat, the program also delves into edged weapons, rifles, bayonets, and weapons of opportunity.

Like other forms of martial arts, it’s not all about what you can do to kill a man, but also about the mental development needed to succeed and how to use this force responsibly.



The type of taekwondo responsible for killing someone isn’t the same skills your kid is learning on their Saturday morning class.

Many modern practitioners have no idea how deadly the force can be, but some techniques were designed to take a life if you know how to use them correctly.

This Korean fighting style is known as one of the most popular in the world, but it was initially designed for killing and serious injury.

Translated to “the art of kicking and punching”, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that these blows can be powerful. Some taekwondo techniques were even added to the US Military Martial Arts programs to aid in unarmed combat, due to their efficiency.

Muay Thai


If you’ve ever watched a match of Muay Thai, you’d know what we mean when we say it can be a deadly sport.

The power of the limbs that are used by the martial arts practitioners will blow you away, and because you’re able to apply brute force with knees and elbows, you’ll be capable of doing serious damage.

Muay Thai might not be deadly when done for competitive purposes, but one hit done the wrong way can end it all.

Although the practitioners wear gloves, they don’t protect against much, especially when you can get a knee to the ribs or elbow to the head which can do a lot of harm, and has even killed some people in the past.



The traditional Indonesian form of martial arts is indigenous to the country but has become a widespread combat sport in recent years.

The goal of silat is to perform devastating moves that completely disable your opponent to prevent them from doing you harm, and in the past, some of its aims have been to kill.

The sport has become slightly regulated and there are limits to how much damage you can do to an opponent during a battle, but because of the sheer force of the strikes, this has been hard.

If you’re looking for a good way to scare off would-be attackers on the street and do some serious damage to them afterward, Silat is the martial art form for you.

Krav Maga


When you want a deadly martial arts form, go straight to the source. The famous Israeli developed Krav Maga was designed by their military, so it’s capable of doing serious damage, and even killing people with just a few swift moves.

Although you can practice Krav Maga at a sporting and competitive level today, there’s no need to fear death if you do.

The techniques that are capable of killing someone are kept secret to the military still, due to their sheer force and power. However, unlike other martial arts that focus on the spiritual and mental side of things, Krav Maga’s only goal is to hurt your opponent and do it fast.



Karate is a broad term to describe many of the Asian martial arts around today, and one of the oldest and deadliest forms.

Like other deadly arts we’ve discovered, karate focuses on using the whole body to defeat your opponent, rather than just delivering a punch here and there.

A typical fight in karate will incorporate kicks, elbows, throws, and open-handed strikes, and when done by a professional trained in the art, they can be deadly.

Many karate practitioners today will only learn the basic level of karate and never know about its deadly origins, but for those who have studied hard enough, they’ll understand the rich history of this lethal weapon.

Related Questions

For most people, learning a martial art isn’t done with the intention of harming anyone, but rather for competitive sport or in a self-defense situation.

There are lots of great ways to utilize your skills in these forms of combat, so if you want to learn more about training in them, read on. We’ve answered some commonly asked questions to point you in the right direction and find out which style is best for you.

What is the Easiest Martial Art to Learn?

If you’re a beginner wanting to get into martial arts, there are some better suited to newcomers than others. Karate, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling are all forms of combat that are welcoming to beginners, but there are still a lot of moves and techniques to learn.

Although it will take years to become proficient enough to compete at a professional level in any combat sport, they are easy enough for people with no previous experience to learn.

How Long Does it Take to Master Martial Arts?

A martial artist is always working on their skills, even if they appear to have mastered it to the fullest extent.

However, if you want to know how long it will take for you to have enough skill to compete professionally with another in your chosen form of combat, it will depend on the sport.

You can expect to train for a couple of years before you can get to a point where you can fight others, as long as they are at the same skill level as you.

Can MMA Kill Someone?

Although mixed martial arts have a reputation for being a brutal combat sport, it’s one of the safer options out there for young people to learn.

When compared to boxing for example, it’s nowhere near as fatal. To date, there have been a total of seven recorded deaths from sanctioned MMA fights, but none in the Ultimate Fighting Championship promotion so far.

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