The Ten Deadliest Martial Arts? You tell me!

I came across an interesting article recently. I was just messing around on the search engine and decided to see what the overall opinion of the “deadliest” martial arts would be. Keep in mind that this is not my list and I did not search for most “effective”, “best”, “coolest”, or any other appropriate adjective you can think of. I ended up going with the list on and will now tell you their list in order of most deadly from the #10 spot all the way to what they consider to be #1. I’m also going to add my opinion.

#10 Muay Thai or “Art of Eight Limbs”. They placed this at number 10. They must have not considered that the traditional Muay Thai styles also
included weapons. This art was developed to help Thai farmers defend themselves from Samurai and/or other invaders seeking to harm them. Traditional Muay Thai included the use of common tools as weapons as well as using elbows and knees effectively to do major damage. In my opinion, someone very well versed in Muay Thai would destroy almost every other combatant in the list below. They did not give the deadly nature of this art enough weight, maybe because it is also a sport… Hope they don’t learn the hard way.

#9 Kapu Ku’ialua the Hawaiian martial art is also know as Lua. Bone breaking, manipulating the joints, and the craziest part open ocean warfare. The complicated name actually means “two hits”. I don’t know much about this art, but I know Hawaiians can “scrap”. If the techniques are effective and you can really break bones, it would certainly be one for consideration. Not enough practical knowledge to give an educated opinion
of this one. In any case, if it were as deadly as they say, there should be more publicity.

#8 Bacom. Designed for maximum injury to your opponent as quickly as possible. They also teach hidden weapons and use deception. Now with the weapon talk, that is certainly under the category of deadly. Against a trained fighter that uses a weapon, you have little chance in real life situations unless you have a weapon of your own. The videos that I saw on this art, demonstrated practical techniques that are very deadly. I would give this martial art some real weight.

#7 Jailhouse Rock is an improvisational fighting style developed in the US Penal system. I didn’t make this up, they put this one at number 7. So what could be more realistic than two guys with nothing to lose, fighting for their lives? With shanks as weapons, this art can really be considered deadly. My question is: Is this a real martial art?

#6 Pugilism
is basically boxing where the head is the primary target although shots to the body are also performed. Ok, so this is a serious martial art but deadlier than those lower on the list? No doubt that boxers are skilled fighters, but being more deadly than someone trained to use elbows, legs, and knees. More deadly than someone who can use weapons? I don’t doubt that if a good boxer strikes first and unexpected, there will most likely be an knockout, I just don’t think it is deadlier than other arts on this list.

#5 Vale Tudo “Anything Goes” This is a full contact combat sport that is very popular in Brazil. It has almost NO rules. To be proficient in this fighting style you’re required to use techniques from numerous martial arts. This is basically the birth of MMA. It is MMA but with far less rules. This basically goes back to the early days of the UFC where head butts, straight elbows, and kicking downed opponents was legal. We are definitely talking a deadly art here. In my opinion, since this is a practical art that covers a large number of different disciplines, including those that are on this list, Vale Tudo may be the deadliest art here.

#4 Ninjutsu unconventional warfare, deception, espionage and assassination. At one time these “ninjas” were even considered to be non-human or Hinin. In my humble opinion, I don’t believe that Ninjutsu trumps any of the other arts on this list when it comes to a fair and expected fight. If the goal is to lie in wait, then jump on someone who is not expecting it, ninjutsu is your art. In straight hand to hand combat, I don’t believe this art to be superior. I will say in its defense, that many weapons are taught in this art and if those weapons are used, this art is very deadly.

#3 Rough and Tumble is the name of an art. It is street fighting and can be likened to Jailhouse Rock. This art is basically as “dirty” as it gets and includes eye gauging or pulling a Tyson on someone’s tongue and biting it off. Street fighting is not a martial art in my opinion, it is the opposite in fact. Street fighting is the antithesis of a martial art, it is the reason martial arts are studied. Street fighting is going with your instincts where martial arts train us to go against our instincts in favor of practical technique.

#2 Line Linear Infighting Neural Override Engagement is the long form name of a combat style the United States Marine Corps conceived in the 1990’s. The goal of this art is when one ends up taking the life of an opponent. We have all met those Marines that say they can kill you with one finger. I have yet to see this work in a real fight, in fact, I believe this art fills them up with a false sense of bravado. No doubt someone skilled in LINE fighting can whoop your average street fighter, I believe that this will get you hurt in a real fight. If this martial art includes the use of Marine weapons, then it would definitely become instantly more deadly. Since it is mainly close quarters and designed for less than ideal environmental situations, I don’t believe this to be as deadly as most of these arts.

#1 Krav Maga Israeli Defense Force. This thing is a non sport martial art. That means its got NO concern for the opponents wellbeing..focus is to inflict as much damage or pain as fast and effectively as possible, which usually results in deliberately ending the life of your opponent. Ok, so the way this is learned by the Israeli Military may be highly deadly, but it has become a mainstream art in the U.S. of A. This watered down version of a martial art is not what we must focus on in my opinion. If we are talking about the deadliness of a particular martial art, then we should focus on the potential. With that said, I don’t believe that someone trained in Krav Maga would defeat someone well versed in Muay Thai in a straight up fist fight.

In summation, I would say that with all martial arts, it is going to vary on how effective they are based on how long and well the practicioner trained. The age and health of the practicioner is also going to come into play. We should all come away with this with the belief that martial arts are generally good for our health, confidence, and mental well-being. They can also get us out of sticky situations if we are ever in need of defending ourselves. That is what is important!

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