Are you interested in finding out what the most popular martial arts style currently is? Well of course you are, who isn’t am I right?
Just to clear things up before we start, this isn’t:
- Top 10 Best Martial Arts
- Top 10 Deadliest Martial Arts Discipline
- List of Top 10 Martial Arts
- Top 10 Martial Arts for Self Defense
- Top Ten Most Effective Martial Arts
Or some other top 10 biased martial arts list that claims a martial arts better over another, anyways you get the idea. This is simply going to be a list of 150 types of martial arts styles solely based on their popularity.
We are first going to list the top 10 most popular martial arts styles, than keep listing down martial arts styles as they decrease in popularity.
How are we going to be making the decision on what’s the most popular martial arts style you might ask? Well we’re going to be using a cool tool by google that tells us how many people type a specific martial arts style in there search box. I believe that’s the best tool we can actually use to find out what is currently the most popular martial art style.
We will also be looking at google trends to see whether a martial arts style is losing popularity or gaining it. This could indicate the future of a martial arts style. Whether it’s going to surpass the current campion, or pile underneath all the other different types of martial arts.
Top 10 Most Popular Martial Arts Styles
Without further ado, let’s start listing the top 10 most famous martial arts styles in 2018.
- Kung Fu
- Krav Maga
- Muay Thai
- Tai Chi
- Wing Chun
My sincere apologies but rank number 2 for most popular martial art, was tied by 16 martial art styles. Hence the reason why I listed down 17 martial arts instead of 10. If you’d like to see the complete, top 150 martial art list of popular types of martial arts styles scroll down to number 18).
MMA also known as mixed martial arts. This martial arts style needs no introduction, unless your living under a rock you know what mma is. It’s taken over the martial arts scene by a landslide these last few decades. In fact it’s the only martial art from the 150 martial arts that I entered in google’s tool that got a whooping 1 million to 10 million searches a month. That’s insane if you ask me.
This by far shows how popular MMA has become, but is it’s popularity decaying let’s find out.
According to google trends MMA is,
In fact decaying. Closing to 50% of what it once were at its peak in the year 2009, will we see a raise of a different martial art soon? Or will MMA start getting traction again, I sure hope it does would hate seeing such a style becoming irrelevant.
2) Kung Fu
Kung fu is also one of those martial arts that, no matter the type of person you are you simply know about kung fu. All those great movies when we were kids, amazing times. To be honest It kind of saddened me that kung fu tied with 16 other martial arts. I thought kung fu would tie with MMA in terms of popularity, though don’t be too disappointed as kung fu still got an astonishing 100 thousand to 1 million searches per month. This by all means shows that kung fu is still one of the most popular martial arts even with its age.
Now lets see how its been doing these last few years, has kung fu been dieing or awakening?
What’s going on here? That’s what I thought seeing this graph. So I decided to see what’s causing these popularity spikes in kung fu. Sadly the reason was the release of kung fu panda and other kung fu panda sequels, made people search the term kung fu more. Well besides the disappointing discovery of why the spikes where happening, Kung fu seemed to keep a more steady interest throughout the years.
Aikido “the way of unifying life energy” has also tied for the second position. To be honest I’m not the biggest fan of Aikido. Though you can’t diss the martial art, it has become quite popular. To be honest I still think there are some great interesting things to be learned from Aikido.
So what’s going on with aikido’s popularity? Let’s find out.
Ouch is all I can say. Damm this really gotta sting, as I said I’m not to fond of Aikido but this is just to much. I hope Aikido can get a comeback or else it’s really going to end up becoming irrelevant. It’s lost a staggering 86% of its total monthly searches since 2004 as I’m currently writing this. I’m wondering if I should re-title this article as, are martial arts dying.
Capoeira the cool 16th century brazilian martial art, that utilises elements of dance, acrobatics and music to it’s advantage. I really want to learn this style, I doubt it’s as effective in self defence as other more ‘static’ martial arts. Nonetheless its practitioners really astonish me.
So how’s this cool martial art going in terms of popularity.
Well this is sad, I was really expecting this martial art to be going nothing but up. It seems like in this age something like Capoeira should be going through the roof. I mean it looks like such a fun healthy style I’m really confused how this martial art style is losing popularity. Losing 84% of it’s popularity since its peak in 2004.
The close combat japanese martial art system Jiu-jitsu, that’s main objective is to disarm your opponent’s weapon. Jiu-jitsu is a martial art that has been implemented in many other martial arts, also a lot of different modern martial arts have there core teachings in Jiu-jitsu. This makes this martial art quite an important style when discussing martial arts.
How has Jiu-jitsu’s popularity changed throughout the time?
Surprise, surprise seems like Jiu-jitsu is also going down. With a loss of 89% of its popularity since 2004. This isn’t even the saddest thing, I wasn’t even going to mention it to not complicate the popularity matter. Google used to have 86,142,700,000 searches per year in 2004, in 2016 it was expected that there were 1,200,000,000,000 searches thats 13.9 X more than in 2004. Therefore even if the graphs were going up it might not indicate that martial arts are becoming more popular but more people are using the internet. The fact that the graphs are pointing downwards really shows that something is going wrong in the martial arts scene.
Judo the throwing martial art, created by Jigoro Kano in 1882. Much like Jiu-jitsu, judo has shaped many martial arts that followed after it. Judo has even started to be held as an olympic sport in 1964. I for one think this is a really good art, that will improve your current martial art.
So let’s see if judo’s popularity also plummeted.
Wooo! Finally a martial art style with a ‘positive’ popularity graph. So let me explain this graph, we can notice that every 4 years the graph spikes upwards. We can also notice that it’s the same years the judo summer olympics are held. This shows that the reason it spikes is related to people being interested in the sport due to the olympics. We can still notice that it has been dropping since 2004 but at least not as significantly as other martial art styles have been dropping.
Kali is an ancient martial art style from the Philippines that used to be called Maharlika. This martial art pre-dates the Spanish conquest and is a cultural treasure to the philippines. After doing some more research I came to the conclusion that kali shouldn’t really be ranking on the number 2 slot. This is because there are numerous things with the same name as kali so people were searching for kali with different intentions not just for kali the martial art. As the second part of our ‘research’ will also be effected in a way that disrupts the actual results, I will be skipping it for this martial art.
The first taste of martial arts I ever had, miss those shotokan karate days. Used to have so much fun after getting a new karate belt, the nostalgia. Anyways karate was developed in the Ryukyu Kingdom, from there karate has inspired and spread in multiple styles. You can usually tell someone has trained karate from the way they fight they have a very snappy fast way of striking. I think nowadays you can find a local karate dojo in any country. Karate has really spread its roots towards being globalised.
Lets see if karate is still growing or slowly being replaced.
Seems like people are also losing interest in this big martial art, not as rapidly as other martial arts we saw but still lost about 45% of its popularity since 2004. If your wondering on what made that huge popularity spike in 2010 of karate, it was the time karate kid (2010) came out. So it had nothing to do with people searching for the martial art karate.
Bjj also known as brazilian jiu jitsu has been quite the hot martial art recently. Mainly as it’s been a big part of MMA, it has started to be quite a compliment to any martial art really. Being a very good grappling martial art has giving fighters a huge advantage over those that practice strictly stand up fighting styles. Personally BJJ is my second favourite martial art after MMA, as it’s a very fun style to practice. There’s also that safeish feel to it I like about BBJ, I have a bad habit of getting too close to strike and end up with both me and my partner with a bloody face. That doesn’t really happen in BJJ but anyways I’m getting off topic here.
I’m really hoping for BJJ to be doing great in the next segment of our popularity contest.
Boi’s we’ve finally got a winner! finally a martial art that isn’t dying, which happens to be one of my favourite martial arts. (This made made more happy than I’d like to admit haha). Could BJJ be the one that replaces MMA? I don’t really think so to be honest. I think MMA is a more fun spectator sport than BJJ can be. Though I think BJJ might be slightly more fun than MMA for the person practicing it. So I think MMA will still be the more dominant martial art, thou when it comes to people practicing it I can see it surpassing MMA to be honest.
Kendo is a modern Japanese martial art, that utilises bamboo swords, and light protective armour. This is also actually a really fun martial art I want to practice one day. I went into HEMA as a weapons training martial art which I think is a better weapon fighting style, though kendo looks like a lot of fun to be honest.
So how’s kendo doing, I’m thinking down haven’t really heard that much about kendo these last few years.
Though it’s not the most positive graph, it looks better than most of the others. Even though in 2018 kendo has lost about 60% of it’s searches since 2004. It has increase it’s searches by 200% since 2009, maybe there’s hope that kendo starts getting traction and reaches its former popularity.
Kickboxing the martial art everyone wants to classify as a sport. If your interested in hearing me argue about whether kickboxing is a martial art or sport here’s a link to it. I’ve been seeing kickboxing ad’s quite a lot recently, they seem to be getting some traction, at least that’s what I’d like to believe. I also see kickboxing as the MMA equivalent of a strictly stand up fighting style. Even though I believe Muay thai would make a better stand up fighting style than kickboxing.
Before seeing the results, I have great expectations that kickboxing has increase in popularity since 2004.
Guys, never ever bet on my predictions you will be disappointed. Seems like kickboxing has also lost popularity, I can’t imagine why almost all martial arts are losing popularity.
12) Krav Maga
Krav Maga the martial art designed by the IDF (Israel Defense Forces). To not over glorify this martial art it’s basically a less sporty and more street MMA. Though I believe it’s a good martial art better than a lot of other martial arts in fact, there’s one thing I really don’t like about krav maga. It’s that krav maga doesn’t have any competitive matches, this leads to a lot of McDojo’s taking the great name of this amazing martial art and ruining it with bad practices. Since there are no competitive matches, how would you know if your trainings legit? Anyways this has nothing to do with what’s the most popular martial arts, so lets get back on track.
I believe that krav maga has gained a lot of popularity recently, lets see what the graph says.
Seems like the graph indicates that krav maga has maintained its popularity peaking in 2010 and 2012. Unfortunately it looks like krav maga’s popularity is going down and might become lower than it was in 2004.
13) Muay Thai
Muay thai my personal favourite stand up martial art. This martial art that was created in thailand utilises all of your limbs. That being a very cool aspect as your not being limited to punches and kicks only. Though that is not all, muay thai also emphasise greatly on the clinch.
In terms of this martial arts popularity, sadly I think it’s slowly dying.
Well look at that, seems like muay thai’s popularity has gone up since 2004. Though it seems to be going down from it’s all time high in 2012.
The korean martial art taekwondo, recognised from their signature crazy high kicks. I never practiced this type of martial art, never was into those high flying kicks to be honest. Though I will not doubt it’s greatness.
I’m not aware that I know someone personally that practices taekwondo. I will assume that taekwondo is losing their spark at least in my country they are.
Actually it seems like taekwondo has maintained it’s popularity through the time. This is amazing I did some research related to those spikes in the graph. I found out that they all correspond to a event related to taekwondo.
15) Tai Chi
Tai chi beautiful martial art enjoyed by many people. Recently been under some really bad stigma due to that MMA fighter that beat that Tai Chi master in under 10 minutes. I personally don’t think Tai Chi is an efficient self defence martial art. Though it still has a lot of benefits, to a verity amount of people.
I think Tai Chi is actually becoming more popular.
Sadly it seems that tai chi is dying out with time. Ehh I taught the comotion with the MMA fighter might have actually brought more interest to tai chi but I guess I was wrong. To be fair in my country I know quite a lot of middle aged people practicing tai chi.
16) Wing Chun
The traditional Southern Chinese Kung fu. Wing chun acceles at close range combat. There have been many old movies about wing chun and it’s definitely part of china’s history. Wing chun also ranked in 2nd place with 100 thousand to 1 million searches per month.
I personally think that wing chun is losing popularity as these ancient martial art styles are becoming slightly less pleasing to the masses.
As the graph shows wing chun has been losing interest over time. You might be wondering about the spike in 2010, well sadly the reason for the spike was because of a movie called Kung Fu Wing Chun that was released in 2010.
I’m surprised wrestling didn’t have as many searches as MMA did. It still ranked in 2nd place with plenty of searches but still I remember back in the day smackdown was the bomb. I think adults have moved to UFC nowadays while smackdown and raw are more targeting the younger generation. Though it used to be that adults were also very interested in these wrestling shows.
I think that wrestling is definitely declining, there used to be so much hype as I already said nowadays it’s more of a nostalgic feel at least for me. Well let’s see what the trends are saying.
Well this is definitely an interesting graph we have in front of us. So far we haven’t seen such a bouncy graph in our martial art list. To be honest I have no idea why it looks like that, though as I predicted wrestling is definaley a martial art that’s losing popularity.
Top 150 Most Popular Martial Arts Styles
Well we covered the, Top 10 most popular martial arts. Even though we ended up with 17 different martial arts styles that tied in the second place. However this isn’t the Top 10 most popular martial arts list is it?
No. We’re going all the way and list the most popular 150 martial art styles now!
We will not be as detailed as we were with the top 10 martial arts list, as it would take far too long to list everything. Though I have checked over 200 different martial art styles and how many people search them each month and I’m going to be sharing them with you.
Most Popular Martial Arts List
- MMA (1st) (1m-10m)
- Kung Fu (2nd) (100k-1m)
- Krav Maga
- Muay Thai
- Tai Chi
- Wing Chun
- Arnis (3rd) (10k-100k)
- Gracie Barra
- Gracie Jiu Jitsu
- Jailhouse Rock
- Jeet Kune Do
- Kyokushin Karate
- Pencak Silat
- Shaolin Kung Fu
- Sumo Wrestling
- Tai Chi Chuan
- Tang Soo Do
- Vale Tudo
- American Kenpo (4th 1k-10k)
- Bak Mei
- Choi Kwang Do
- Choy Lee Fut
- Chun Kuk Do
- College Wrestling
- Collegiate Wrestling
- Daito-Ryu Aikijujutsu
- GKR Karate
- Goju Ryu
- Greek Wrestling
- Haidong Gumdo
- Historical European Martial Arts HEMA
- Hung Gar
- Hwa Rang Do
- Isshinryu Karate
- Japanese Jiu Jitsu
- Jogo Do Pau
- Kenpo Karate
- Keysi Fighting Method
- Krabi Krabong
- Kuk Sool Won
- Kun Khmer
- Kyusho Jitsu
- Lima Lama
- Mongolian Wrestling
- Muay Boran
- Nhat Nam
- Nihon Tai Jitsu
- Nippon Kempo
- Okinawan Karate
- Pa Kua
- Real Aikido
- Roman Wrestling
- Shorin Ryu
- Shorinji Kempo
- Shuai Jiao
- Sipalki Do
- Soo Bahk Do
- Swiss Wrestling
- Tarung Derajat
- Thai Kickboxing
- Turkish Wrestling
- Uechi Ryu
- Varma Kalai
- Wado Ryu
- Xing Yi Quan
- Yaw Yan
- Zen Do Kai
- GongKwon Yusul (5th 100-1k)
- Karate Shidokan
- Lathi Khela
- Street Jiu Jitsu
- Yagli Gures
Concluding Top 150 Most Popular Martial Arts Styles List
This was probably the hardest article I’ve ever written on martial arts nerd and the one that I learned the most of while making this long martial arts list. I had no idea there were so many martial arts styles that people still are interested in. However I was really disappointed to find out that a lot of martial arts are losing popularity. I hope that something happens that spikes people interest in martial arts, could it mean we’re living in safer times. Well that’s for sure but still we need to practice some form of martial art just in case something happens.
Anyways I hope you learned something from this full martial art list analysing each style’s popularity.