The Most Beautiful Martial Art: A Ranking of Exquisite Fighting Forms

Choose the martial art you think is the most beautiful!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Jun 16, 2023 10:17 (Updated on Dec 5, 2023 05:46)
Welcome to StrawPoll, the ultimate platform for sharing your opinions and discovering new insights! We're excited to announce our latest ranking: "What is the most beautiful martial art?" Martial arts have captivated millions with their grace, discipline, and power, but which one stands out as the most visually stunning? From the fluid movements of Tai Chi to the explosive techniques of Taekwondo, we've gathered the most awe-inspiring martial arts for you to vote on and decide! So step into the arena, embrace your inner warrior, and make your voice heard. And if you feel we've missed a martial art that deserves recognition, don't hesitate to suggest it! Let the journey of discovery begin, and may the most elegant art triumph!

What Is the Most Beautiful Martial Art?

  1. 1
    It is a Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics, and music. It is visually stunning and requires a high level of athleticism.
    Capoeira is a dynamic and expressive Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics, and music. It originated during the colonial era in Brazil and was developed by enslaved Africans as a method of self-defense and cultural preservation. Capoeira is characterized by its graceful and fluid movements, often performed to the rhythm of traditional instruments like the berimbau. It is often described as a game or a conversation between two participants, who engage in a series of acrobatic maneuvers, kicks, and sweeps.
    • Origins: Developed in Brazil by enslaved Africans
    • Movement Style: Graceful, fluid, and acrobatic
    • Music: Accompanied by traditional instruments like the berimbau
    • Non-Contact: Emphasizes evasion, dodging, and clever footwork rather than direct strikes
    • Roda: The circle where Capoeira is played
  2. 2
    It is an Indian martial art that dates back to the 3rd century BCE. It is known for its fluid movements and graceful techniques.
    Kalaripayattu is an ancient Indian martial art form that originated in the state of Kerala. It is considered one of the most beautiful martial arts due to its graceful movements and fluidity. Kalaripayattu combines physical training, self-defense techniques, and traditional healing methods. It is not only a martial art but also a way of life and a form of meditation. The practice of Kalaripayattu involves vigorous body movements, flexibility exercises, and the use of weapons such as wooden sticks, swords, and daggers.
    • Age: Ancient, dating back over 3,000 years
    • Location: Originated in Kerala, India
    • Style: Traditionally practiced in Northern and Southern styles
    • Physical Training: Focuses on flexibility, agility, and strength
    • Weapons: Incorporates the use of weapons like sticks, swords, and daggers
  3. 3

    Tai Chi

    Chen Wangting
    It is a Chinese martial art that focuses on slow, controlled movements that are both meditative and beautiful to watch. It is also known for its health benefits.
    Tai Chi, also known as Taiji Quan, is a traditional Chinese martial art and exercise system that incorporates slow, smooth, and graceful movements with deep breathing and mental focus. It is often referred to as a moving meditation and a way to cultivate qi (energy) within the body. Tai Chi is known for its fluid and rhythmic movements, promoting balance, flexibility, and harmony in both mind and body.
    • Origin: 17th-century China
    • Purpose: Self-defense, stress reduction, health promotion
    • Styles: Chen, Yang, Wu, Sun, and Hao styles
    • Principles: Yin and Yang, relaxation, rooting, alignment, weight shifting
    • Slow and gentle movements: Flowing sequences of postures performed at a relaxed pace
    Tai Chi in other rankings
  4. 4
    It is a Japanese martial art that emphasizes using an opponent's energy against them, resulting in graceful and fluid movements.
    Aikido is a Japanese martial art that focuses on using the opponent's energy and movements against themselves, rather than relying on brute force. It emphasizes blending and redirecting attacks, aiming to neutralize aggressors without causing harm. Aikido techniques often involve joint locks and throws, with an emphasis on fluid motion and maintaining stability.
    • Philosophy: Harmony and non-aggression
    • Joint locks: Utilizes various joint manipulation techniques
    • Throws: Emphasizes throwing opponents off balance
    • Non-resistance: Avoids clashing with an attacker's force
    • Circular motion: Uses circular movements to redirect attacks
  5. 5
    Wing Chun
    Unknown authorUnknown author · Public domain
    It is a Chinese martial art that is known for its efficient and direct movements. Its techniques are often described as "elegant" and "simple."
    Wing Chun is a highly refined and systematic martial art that originated in southern China. It is known for its practicality, efficiency, and directness in combat.
    • Close-range combat: Wing Chun specializes in close-range fighting and employs simultaneous defense and offense techniques.
    • Centerline principle: It focuses on attacking and defending along the centerline of the body, aiming for maximum efficiency.
    • Economy of motion: Wing Chun emphasizes the use of the simplest and most direct movements to conserve energy.
    • Scientific principles: It incorporates principles of physics, biomechanics, and body structure to generate power and efficiency in techniques.
    • Chi Sao: Chi Sao, or sticky hands, is a training drill that develops sensitivity and reflexes for close-quarters combat.
    Wing Chun in other rankings
  6. 6
    It is a Korean martial art that utilizes joint locks, throws, and strikes. Its techniques are often fluid and graceful.
    Hapkido is a dynamic and versatile martial art originating from Korea. It is a comprehensive self-defense system that focuses on redirecting an opponent's energy and neutralizing attacks through various techniques.
    • Techniques: Hapkido encompasses a wide range of strikes, kicks, joint locks, throws, and grappling techniques.
    • Fluidity: Flowing movements and circular motions are emphasized in Hapkido, allowing practitioners to seamlessly adapt to changing situations.
    • Joint Manipulation: Hapkido emphasizes joint manipulation techniques to control and immobilize opponents.
    • Pressure Points: The art incorporates the use of pressure points to exploit weaknesses in the opponent's body.
    • Throws and Takedowns: Hapkido includes an extensive repertoire of throws and takedowns, allowing practitioners to efficiently neutralize attackers.
  7. 7
    It is a Japanese martial art that involves the use of bamboo swords and protective armor. Its techniques are often described as "precise" and "graceful."
    Kendo is a traditional Japanese martial art that focuses on sword fighting using bamboo swords called shinai. It emphasizes discipline, honor, and respect, and is often seen as a way of life rather than just a physical activity. Kendo practitioners wear protective armor called bogu, which enables them to strike with full force while minimizing the risk of injury.
    • Weapon: Bamboo sword (shinai)
    • Armor: Bogu
    • Etiquette: Strict code of conduct
    • Strikes: Targeting specific areas of the body
    • Kiai: Vocalization of spirit during strikes
  8. 8
    It is a Southeast Asian martial art that emphasizes fluid movements and the use of the whole body in combat.
    Silat is a traditional martial art originating from Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei. It is characterized by fluid and intricate movements, combining strikes, grappling, and weapon techniques. Silat is not only a means of self-defense but also a way of life, encompassing spiritual, cultural, and social aspects.
    • Origin: Southeast Asia
    • Countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei
    • Style: Hybrid Martial Art
    • Movements: Fluid and intricate
    • Techniques: Strikes, grappling, weapon techniques
  9. 9
    It is a Japanese martial art that is known for its powerful strikes and disciplined movements. It can also be visually impressive when executed correctly.
    Karate is a traditional Japanese martial art that emphasizes striking techniques, such as punches, kicks, knee strikes, and open-hand techniques. It is renowned for its dynamic and powerful movements, making it both a practical self-defense system and a competitive sport.
    • Striking Techniques: Karate primarily focuses on striking techniques using punches, kicks, knee strikes, and open-hand techniques.
    • Forms (Kata): Karate practitioners learn and perform forms (kata) consisting of set movements, which helps to develop techniques, balance, and body control.
    • Sparring (Kumite): Kumite involves supervised sparring sessions where practitioners apply their techniques against a partner or opponent, allowing them to practice timing, distancing, and strategy.
    • Belts (Kyu/Dan system): Karate uses a colored belt ranking system (Kyu/Dan system) to indicate the proficiency and progress of practitioners.
    • Physical Fitness: Karate helps develop physical fitness, including strength, flexibility, speed, and cardiovascular endurance.
  10. 10
    Krav Maga
    TZAHAL · Public domain

    Krav Maga

    Imi Lichtenfeld
    It is an Israeli martial art that focuses on practical self-defense techniques. Despite its emphasis on efficiency and effectiveness, its techniques can be smooth and graceful when executed correctly.
    Krav Maga is a highly efficient and practical martial art and self-defense system developed for the Israeli military. It combines elements of various fighting techniques and focuses on real-world scenarios.
    • Focus: Self-defense and real-world combat
    • Origins: Israel
    • Principles: Simultaneous defense and attack
    • Techniques: Strikes, grappling, and submissions
    • Training methods: Emphasizes practical and instinctive movements
    Krav Maga in other rankings

Missing your favorite martial art?


Ranking factors for beautiful martial art

  1. Aesthetic appeal
    Consider the fluidity, grace, and harmony of movements in the martial art. This includes the beauty of its form and the elegance of its techniques, as well as the balance and rhythm of the movements.
  2. Efficiency and effectiveness
    Evaluate the practicality and usefulness of the techniques in real-life self-defense situations. Beautiful martial arts should not only look good but also be functional and applicable in various contexts.
  3. Depth and complexity
    Examine the variety and intricacy of techniques, stances, and movements, as well as the layering and sophistication of the martial art's principles and concepts.
  4. Mental and spiritual aspects
    Assess the martial art's focus on mental discipline, self-awareness, and personal growth. Some martial arts emphasize meditation, breathing exercises, and a holistic approach to personal development, making them more appealing to certain individuals.
  5. Cultural and historical significance
    Consider the martial art's origins, evolution, and legacy in its native culture. This can add to the beauty and richness of the martial art, as well as provide insights into its techniques and philosophy.
  6. Ease of learning and accessibility
    Take into account the availability of resources, training materials, and qualified instructors, as well as the ease with which beginners can grasp and master the basics of the martial art.
  7. Physical benefits
    Assess the fitness requirements, health benefits, and overall impact on physical well-being of practicing the martial art, including factors like strength, flexibility, and endurance.
  8. Overall appeal and popularity
    Consider the martial art's reputation, presence in popular media, and global following. Although subjective, a martial art may be deemed more beautiful if it resonates with a broader audience and has a strong following.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most beautiful martial art. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or martial art is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 210 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each martial art once every 24 hours. The rank of each martial art is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most beautiful martial art

Martial arts have been practiced for centuries and have become a popular form of exercise, self-defense, and competition. The beauty of martial arts lies not only in their physical movements but also in the culture and philosophy that surrounds them. Each martial art has its unique techniques, forms, and history that make it beautiful in its own way. From the fluidity of Tai Chi to the explosive power of Muay Thai, there is no shortage of beauty in martial arts. In this poll, we aim to discover which martial art is considered the most beautiful by our community. So, let's explore the different styles and cast your vote for the martial art that you think deserves the title of the most beautiful.

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