Military Martial Arts From Around The World

Military Martial Arts

The greatest military forces in the world are known for using their own special form of combat. Each country created its military martial arts to make its soldiers ready for anything they may face in battle.

Here is a list of 10 of the most known and deadly military martial arts in the world. Check out the list to learn what all is taught within these effective military fighting styles.

Military Martial Arts

Krav Maga(Israel)

Krav Maga

One of the most known and effective military martial arts practiced today is the fighting art of Krav Maga. Krav was created by Hungarian-Israeli martial artist Imi Litchenfeld for the Israeli Defense Force(IDF).

It was originally a fighting style created for the Jewish people of Europe to defend themselves against invading Nazi forces. Imi Litchenfeld was an accomplished martial artist in many disciplines, as well as a champion athlete.

After fleeing to Israel to avoid being captured by Nazi forces, Litchenfeld began to develop modern Krav Maga. This military martial art emphasizes simplistic and efficient movements to take out an enemy as quickly and safely as possible.

Krav consists of various elements from different forms of striking and grappling, as well as weapon defense and use. Today, Krav Maga is not only now used by the IDF and police forces, but also by civilians.



Muay Thai is the national martial art of Thailand and also one of the world’s most effective fighting styles. What many may not know is that there’s another form of Muay Thai practiced by the Thai military called Lerdrit.

The fighting style of Lerdrit is one of the world’s most effective military martial arts. It is a militarized form of Thai boxing used by the Royal Thai Armed Forces.

This combat system integrates elements of Muay Thai with military tactics and techniques tailored for military personnel. Lerdrit training takes Thai boxing training as its base while including training scenarios that soldiers will likely find themselves in during combat.

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Lerdrit is renowned for its effectiveness and is considered one of the world’s top military martial arts.



There are many military combat experts that believe the Russian style of Systema is one of the best military martial arts. During the Soviet Union era in Russia, the government wanted to make a complete fighting system for the military.

What they came up with was the Russian military combat art known as Systema. This military fighting style consists of various Russian martial arts from Sambo, native wrestling forms, boxing, and weapons training.

Systema is one of the primary fighting styles practiced by Spetsnaz(Special Designation) forces.

MCMAP(United States) 


Easily one of the top military martial arts in the world is the US Marine’s fighting system known as MCMAP. MCMAP stands for “Marine Corps Martial Arts Program” which was created by the Marine Corps Order 1500.54 in 2002. 

The US Marines developed this self-defense system over decades of studying and testing of their older training programs. Commandant James L. Jones assigned Lieutenant Colonel George Bristol and Master Gunnery Sergeant Cardo Urso to create the modern program.

The modern MCMAP blends everything from existing and modern hand-to-hand, close-quarter, weapons, and combative techniques. Along with effective fighting techniques, the Marine’s program also incorporates morale and team-building functions and instructions in their warrior ethos.

What makes MCMAP so effective is that it was designed to be adaptable and altered to meet modern combat needs.



One of the best military martial arts that doesn’t get talked about enough is Finland’s fighting system called Defendo. The Finnish fighting art of Defendo was created by martial artist and soldier Heikki Martikainen.

Defendo focuses on practical and efficient techniques for real-life combat scenarios. It emphasizes the simplicity, adaptability,and rapid response to any threats.

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In Defendo training, Finnish soldiers learn a range of techniques from striking, grappling, and joint lock. Also various defenses against both armed and unarmed attackers.

The Defendo system prioritizes natural body movements and instinctive movement, which makes it suitable for all fitness levels and martial arts experiences.

Today, the Finnish fighting system is not only used by the Finland military personnel and law enforcement, but also civilians.

Pencak Silat(Indonesia)

Pencak Silat

Within the country of Indonesia, their military uses a variation of the nation’s ancient art of Pencak Silat. It’s a traditional martial art that encompasses a wide variety of hand-to-hand, grappling, and weapons techniques.

Pencak Silat is characterized by its fluid and intricate movements using the previously mentioned fighting techniques. One of the defining features of Pencak Silat, the style puts an emphasis on both mental and physical development. 

Practitioners of martial art not only train to improve their skills but also cultivate inner strength, discipline, and spiritual awareness.

The fighting style has been used by Indonesian warriors for centuries and a modern-version is used by the Indonesian military today. 

Teukong Moosool(South Korea) 

Teukong Moosool

Teukong Moosool or Tukong Musol is one of the top military martial arts created by the Republic of Korea Armed Forces. It’s a comprehensive system that integrates techniques from various traditional Korean martial arts and modern military tactics.

The Korean military fighting style of Tukong Musol emphasizes practicality and efficiency in combative situations. Focusing on everything from unarmed combat, weapons techniques, and defense against multiple attackers.

One of the most distinguishing features of Teukong Moosool is its adaptability to different combative scenarios. It’s designed to be effective in both closed-quarters and open-field engagements.

In addition to the techniques, Teukong Moosool also puts emphasis on mental discipline, resilience, and teamwork. Practitioners learn to stay calm under pressure, quickly assess threats, and respond decisively. 



Goshinkwai is one of the main combat styles used by both the British and Australian SAS Forces. It was originally created in South Wales by Gordon and John Warfield. 

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The Warfield brothers created this form of combative jiu-jitsu from Judo and jujutsu books they received as children. They become infatuated with learning grappling, which led them to create Goshinkwai.

After learning under Japanese Budo Master, Kenshiro Abbe, the two began creating their own style. Master Abbe is the one who dubbed their style Goshinkwai.

The brother’s style became popular in the UK and was eventually adopted by both the UK and Australian special forces. Both SAS forces used a variety of different styles, but Goshinkwai is one of the main ones.



In Japan, their special forces learn one of the top military martial arts in the world that’s a mouthful known as Jieitaikakutōjutsu. This is a military and self-defense style that was developed for JSDF(Japanese Special Defense Force) personnel. 

Jieitaikakutōjutsu is based on the Nippon Kempo that incorporates various forms of combat used in military conflict. Everything from striking, joint locks, throws, chokeholds, knife, and rifle defense.

In 2008, the style was modified into a newer style called “shinkakuto.” However, this newer style still teaches many of the same techniques within the older form of Jieitaikakutōjutsu.

Pekiti-Tirsia Kali(Philippines)

Pekiti-Tirsia Kali

The last of the military martial arts that we’ll spotlight is the Filipino fighting style known as Pekiti-Tirsia Kali. This style was originally created by the Tortal family in 1897 and the sole heir and guardian now is Leo Gage.

Pekiti-Tirsia Kali. is a strictly combat-oriented system that has a focus on edged, impact, and improvised weapons. It is one of the most diverse fighting systems in the world, where numerous weapons and hand-to-hand techniques are taught.

This style was based on the teaching of Arnis, but expanded into a more complete military fighting style. It is one of the main styles used by the Philippine’s elite military forces.