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Martial Arts You Never Heard Of

Martial arts are not something that goes unnoticed in the world today. Since MMA or mixed martial arts became popular, people have been talking about martial arts on the regular. When a new contender enters the ring and knocks out a couple of people, they gain popularity, but so does the martial art that they practice or predominantly use.

Even with the popularity of MMA, there are still many niche martial arts, at least compared to those that people know of and which are relatively popular in the world – the ones that we can normally find on websites like Here are the martial arts which you have probably not heard of.


stof GauthieKrystof Gauthier (France), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commonsr (France),via Wikimedia Commons

Bando is a martial art that comes from Burma. Burma is an interesting country that had multiple changes during history, some more radical than others. Burma is a lovely place to visit, but even lovelier when you know that Bando comes from Burma.

Bando bases its movements on that of various animals, most of them being relatively common, but also popular animals in Asia or Asian cultures. The Eagle is a reference to blocking and striking, but using both hands. The Monkey is used to explain dynamic movements. The Python is a symbol for holds and chokes and the Scorpion is used for precise movements and pinches, most notably of nerve centers.


This is a relatively rare martial art that comes from Israel. It can be traced back to 18th century BCE, and is mostly practiced by Jewish people in a specific part of Israel. Abir means gentleman and the fighting style is pretty strange compared to most styles. It is similar to aikido in a fashion, but it is also quite different, less effective, according to many. 

Abir revolves around tripping and throwing, a series of techniques where the goal is to disable the opponent. It is a rather specific martial art, which is why it still remains relatively unknown.

Kuk Sool Won

Stu Younger, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This martial art hails from Korea and is relatively modern, having been founded by Suh In-Hyuk in 1958. The martial art is actually a combination of different martial arts, such as Kung Fu, Taekkyeon (similar to taekwondo, with a focus on kicks and throws/trips), Hapkido and many more.

There is a bit of everything in Kuk Sool Won, from punches, kicks, trips, joint locks, to even meditation training. It is an all around martial art.


Bakom is one of those martial arts that people hear of through their reputation, but are not actually aware of what they are. It hails from Peru, and was created by a retired marine, Roberto Puch Bezada, in the 1980s. This martial art focuses on living and disabling the opponent as fast as possible. Whether through subterfuge or effective and deadly attacks, one would disable (sometimes permanently) their opponents, should they feel that their life is in danger. From neck breaking to using hidden weapons and various “cheats”, this martial art is more about surviving the brutality of the world, than it is about philosophy.


Silat is an interesting method of fighting which is focused on quick counter attacks and disabling the opponent. It is mainly practiced in South Asia, currently in Malaysia, particularly in the military. Silat is a combination of many moves, many different martial arts, meaning that the practitioner will learn many techniques, but primarily how to effectively defend oneself. 

The world is full of wonders and some of those wonders are martial arts which we have never heard of. Among these martial arts, you will find the ones mentioned above, but probably thousands more which remain unknown to us.