Martial Arts: The Ancient Ones in the World

Kung-fu, Judo and Karate are some forms of martial arts known by the world. However, there are several other forms which are way more ancient and are rarely heard of. 

In the last two decades, several movies have been made that represents different forms of martial arts such as Kung-Fu, Karate, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Boxing and Kick Boxing. Thus, these fighting forms have gained significant popularity among the general masses. Not just movies, but the above-mentioned martial art forms have been inducted in several tournaments as well. For example, Judo, Taekwondo and Wrestling are three forms that are part of the Olympic games. However, these forms do not date back to ancient times.

There are lesser-known martial forms whose origins are hard to trace. In this article, allow us to take you through such lesser-known ancient martial art forms.

Shuai Jiao

As per Chinese imperial records, Shuai Jiao probably started in 2697BC when the Yellow Emperor and Chih Yiu fought against each other. Later on, its name turned into Jiao Ti which became immensely popular during the Zhou Dynasty as the dynasty inducted it into its military training.

In this form of martial art, fighters used to wear a horned headgear and tried to head butt their opponents in an attempt to throw them out of a circle.


MMA or mixed martial art is said to be inspired from Pankration as the ancient fight style involved wrestling, boxing and kicking as well. As per Greek mythology, this style of fighting was used by Hercules in combat against Nemean Lion and Theseus.

As per historians, the inception of this fighting form can be traced back to 2000 BCE as a war technique, mostly used by Alexander the Great and the ferocious Spartans. In 648 BCE, this fighting style was also a part of the Olympics.


Found in the state of Kerala, India; Kalarippayattu can be traced back to 3000 years ago as per legends. It is said that this fighting form was designed by Parashurama, an avatar of Hindu deity Vishnu.

There are several mentions about this fighting form in the Vedas, which are knowledge texts found in the ancient subcontinent of India. It is also said that Kalarippayattu gave birth to Shaolin Kung Fu and Jiu-Jitsu. This form of martial art is considered as a defensive warfare and uses a wide range of weapons such as short staffs to spears and daggers.

Earlier a form of discipline, martial arts was also used for offence and defence in the military. Over the years, they have now turned into a form of sport that entertains millions of people around the globe.