10 Martial Arts Styles You’ve Never Heard of

From the rebirth of a lost tradition to one
of the oldest forms of fighting in the world, here are 10 martial arts styles you’ve never
heard of Number 10 Okichitaw
Okichitaw is a martial art that uses elements from the fighting techniques of the Plains
Cree First Nations. It was founded by Canadian martial artist
George J. Lepine, who is Plains-Cree from Manitoba. From a young age Lepine was taught traditional
wrestling and hand-to-hand combat techniques called “miche che kiske”. He learned tomahawk throwing, tracking and
other hunting techniques but also trained in martial arts such as judo or taekwondo. Towards the end of the 1990s, Lepine combined
his knowledge into the Okichitaw fighting system. Basic training involves the use of the gunstock
war club, a club originally inspired by rifle stocks. There are also weapons such as the dagger,
the long knife and the lance. Number 9 Chun Kuk Do
In recent years Chuck Norris has become better known as a meme than for his extensive film
and television career. Most Chuck Norris memes give him superhuman
attributes with a funny twist. Although these are obvious exaggerations,
there is some truth to the man’s mythical reputation. That’s because Chuck Norris is a black belt
in six different martial arts, including his own. Norris’ martial arts training started while
he was in the US Air Force and stationed in South Korea, in the late 1950s. He subsequently founded Chun Kuk Do. Norris has perfected his fighting system by
studying a number of other martial arts, particularly the Korean Tang Soo Do, but also Judo, Kyokushin,
Tae Kwon Do or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Chun Kuk Do comes with a code of honor and
10 rules for life, personally developed by Chuck Norris. Quiz Question
Before we move on, answer this question. Which of these martial arts styles is known
as the “art of eight limbs”? Is it
a. Jeet Kune Do
b. Muay Thai
c. Capoeira
d. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Let us know what you think in the comments section below and stay tuned to find out the
right answer. Number 8 Colombian Grima
Some historians claim that the grima, also known as Colombian machete fencing, was brought
to the country by African slaves while others say it was inspired by European sword-fighting. Practitioners fight using sticks, lances or
knives and, above all, the machete. Their skilled movements are performed with
extreme cunning and corporal dexterity. The many styles of grima are known as “juegos”
and they all come with slightly different tactics, footwork, ranges and choreographed
sequences. Traditionally, grima has been linked with
the struggles for honor of the country’s Afro-Colombian population. Number 7 Gouging
Some fighting styles focus on fluid motions and well-timed strikes, others on submissions,
trips and throws. And then there are those which focus exclusively
on sheer violence. Rough and tumble, also known as gouging, was
popular in the rural US in the 18th and 19th centuries. There wasn’t much artistry to speak of and
it essentially represented a way for people to settle disputes and defend their honor. It emphasized the maximum disfigurement of
a combatant by their opponent, something rather unique among fighting styles. Biting, scratching or fish-hooking were all
allowed. As was the disfigurement of noses, lips, ears
or genitals. Eye gouging was a preferred technique and
the best gougers were known by reputation. A report from the day claims that “a particularly
dextrous fellow could pluck his opponent’s eyeballs from their sockets with one good
thrust of the thumbs”. However, as revolvers and Bowie knives became
more widespread, the manner of settling disputes moved away from gouging. Number 6 Glima
Glima is a sort of umbrella term that covers traditional Nordic fighting styles, most of
which are centered on wrestling. Its practice most likely pre-dates the 9th
century AD, when Norse settlers migrated to Iceland. Since most Viking warriors were physically
strong, the main objective of martial arts training was grappling and taking an opponent
down. One version of glima involves grappling with
specialized belts that extend from the waist to the lower thighs. Trouser-grip glima is most popular in Iceland,
where it’s a national sport. The objective is to take the opponent down,
with an emphasis on technique rather than strength. More aggressive forms of glima involve loose-grip
wrestling, or lausatok, where opponents may use holds as they wish. Number 5 SPEAR
The SPEAR fighting system has received attention from the British Police and from several branches
of US law enforcement. That being said, you’ve probably never heard
of it. SPEAR was developed by Tony Blauer during
the 1980s and is an acronym for Spontaneous Protection Enabling Accelerated Response. Its main objective is to use a person’s
reflex action as a means of defense. The system is essentially fueled by our natural
startle-flinch response. The goal of this science-based martial art
is to train the brain’s reticular cortex to recognize the most common attack patterns. One major component of SPEAR is training its
practitioners in understanding and dealing with the physical and psychological aspects
of fear. An impact reduction suit designed by Blauer
enables role-playing techniques at high speed, close to what one might see in real combat. Number 4 Bokator
Used by Khmer armies more than 1,700 years ago, Bokator is a martial art that blends
animal movements with weapons and hand-to-hand combat. The Cambodian fighting style was inspired
by nature and implements strikes and dodges observed in horses, eagles, cranes and other
fauna. The term bokator actually translates as “pounding
a lion”. It’s said that, in ancient times, a warrior
killed a lion that was attacking a village with a single knee strike. Aside from the animal forms there are also
straight practical fighting and various weapons techniques. There are up to 10,000 different moves and
only true masters may attain the coveted golden krama. The Cambodian people had to struggle in order
to keep Bokator alive. It was banned both during Pol Pot’s bloody
regime and during the Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia. Number 3 Tire Machèt
Here’s another martial art in which the machete plays a center role. Tire machèt comes from Haiti and traces its
roots back to the Haitian Revolution, between 1791 and 1804. Rebel slaves didn’t have access to many
weapons aside from the machetes they used to cut sugar cane. They blended European fencing with traditional
African fighting styles to create tire machèt. They practiced it in secret and unleashed
it on Napoleon’s colonial army with spectacular results. The Haitian Revolution is sometimes remembered
as the most successful slave rebellion in recorded history. Quiz Answer
So, which martial arts style is known as the “art of eight limbs”? The right answer was b, Muay Thai. Born in Thailand in the mid-18th century,
Muay Thai draws its common name from fighters using their fists, elbows, knees and shins,
so a total of eight limbs. It’s a highly effective striking style practiced
within international competitions and widely implemented in the training of mixed martial
artists. If you haven’t yet, make sure to check out
our video on “When Muay Thai Goes Wrong”, the link will be in the description below. Number 2 Lethwei
Lethwei, also known as Burmese bare knuckle boxing, originated in Myanmar more than 2,000
years ago. In many ways, it’s similar to the aforementioned
martial art of Muay Thai. There’s much of the same clinch work and
it too allows for punishing elbow and knee strikes, in addition to fists and legs. Spectacular techniques such as flying knees
or spinning elbows are also common and may deliver brutal knockouts. There is, however, a point where the similarities
between Lethwei and Muay Thai end. While most combat sports, including the latter,
actively discourage headbutting, Lethwei embraces it. The head is the ninth limb used in this ancient
martial art and seasoned practitioners can headbutt their opponents with incredible power
and accuracy. Lethwei has also stayed true to its bloody
roots as fighters only use tape and gauze on their hands. It’s one of the reasons why it’s counted
among the most brutal and aggressive martial arts on the planet. Number 1 Kalaripayattu
Kalaripayattu is often referred to as the oldest martial arts in the world, as it dates
back to the 3rd century BC. It was initially practiced by all castes of
warriors from the Indian region of Kerala. Elements of yoga and knowledge of pressure
points are embedded into Kalaripayattu, the practice of which places an emphasis on physical
flexibility. Kalaripayattu practitioners progress from
learning hand-to-hand combat to short and long stick fighting. While some modern schools have moved away
from specialized iron weapons, they are a staple of traditional Kalaripayattu. They include daggers, swords, spears as well
as bows and arrows. Students who are deemed worthy may be taught
how to kill or disable an opponent by striking the correct vital point, or “marmam”. They must also show great mental composure
so as not to abuse the technique. In the 6th century BC, an Indian physician
named Sushruta wrote about the 107 vital points of the human body. Out of these, he deemed that 64 were lethal
when properly hit with a stick or a fist. Thanks for watching! If you had to choose, would you rather fight
Chuck Norris or Bruce Lee? Let us know in the comments section below!


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