The Deadliest Martial Art In The World
From the day when man first realized that he could bash his little brother in the head with a closed fist, it’s been a literal arms race to see who could come up with the best fighting technique.
And it’s resulted in dozens of different ways to injure and maim. According to Karate City, there are roughly 170 recognized martial arts, with widely varied disciplines ranging from Bartitsu, the 19th century art of British walking stick fighting, to Taekwondo, the art of being dropped off by your parents at a strip mall for an hour on Saturdays.
And the wide array of fighting styles only makes sense. Setting aside the natural human predisposition towards being as much like a Power Ranger as possible, martial arts provide practitioners a way to discipline both the mind and body. And mixed martial arts tournaments have become a multi-billion dollar industry, pulling in television viewers and wealthy attendees, all enthusiastic to find out which form of dude-smacking is going to generate the best concussions this week.
But after thousands of years of knuckle-popping physical inhumanity to our fellow man, have we found a definitive answer to the question “what’s the deadliest martial art in the world?”
There seem to be two main contenders: Lua and Krav Maga.
Hawaii, with its scenic vistas and posi-vibe Instagramability, might not spring to mind when you’re putting together a list of places where folks are great at kicking the snot out of each other. But ancient Hawaiian society could be extremely brutal, which led to the creation of Lua, also called Kapu Kuialua, a martial art traditionally taught to royal guards which has a focus on breaking an opponent’s bones and taking advantage of their pressure points.
To hear it described, Lua almost has the air of urban legend about it. Kids grow up hearing stories about noble warriors with almost supernatural abilities. In fact, according to Black Belt Magazine, the first European descriptions of the art form in 1865 included vague references to the use of hypnotism and telepathy.
You don’t actually need to be a member of the X-Men to learn Lua, though. You do, though, need to be able to adapt to modern realities, as modern Lua is one of the only self defense techniques to incorporate the use of guns, a blind spot in most martial arts that would make Tai Chi in the park a whole different experience. Also worth mentioning: its practitioners regularly drench themselves in coconut oil in order to avoid being grappled, which means that their gymnasiums probably smell amazing.
And then there’s Krav Maga, which is one of the newer martial arts disciplines in the world. It was created by Imi Lichtenfeld, a Jewish acrobat, boxer and wrestler who quickly deduced that the rules of sport didn’t mean anything in a real street fight. Living in Czechoslovakia in the 1930s, Lichtenfeld organized a defense committee to protect his neighborhood from anti-semitic hooligans, and soon began refining his fighting techniques in actual life-or-death street battles.
Enter Krav Maga, the martial art focused on causing as much pain and damage as possible in the shortest amount of time. It’s one of those special forms of pugilism that you just can’t turn into a sport, since half of the competitors would wind up, optimistically, in traction, while the other ones headed to jail. Krav Maga, as described by Elite Training Center, hinges on a squirm-worthy but fundamental truth:
“Every joint in the body is designed to bend a specific way, and by forcing it in the other direction, it snaps.”
After serving with the British forces in World War II, Lichtenfeld began training members of the newly formed Israeli army in his special techniques. Today, Krav Maga incorporates elements of Aikido and judo, and it’s the go-to method of self defense for the Israeli Special Forces.
So what’s the deadliest martial art? Lua? Krav Maga? Or something else? Well, it’s impossible to say, because it really boils down to the expertise of the individual. A week-one Krav Maga student, even with the rich history of the art form in their corner, might still be taken down by, say, a 20-year practitioner of pillow fighting.
So MMA might be our best guide, as most fighters incorporate a mish-mash of techniques swiped a la carte from various disciplines. The deadliest martial art of all is one that incorporates everything, like the one we just made up which is called “Professor X wielding a flamethrower while riding a T-Rex with machetes strapped to its toes.”
Your move, pillow fighters.
#MartialArts #KravMaga #Lua
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