Types of Martial Arts


  • Description
  • Background
  • Theory
  • Research

There’s nothing like an opponent trying to do you physical harm to motivate you to become better. Don’t worry though, if copping a few on the chin doesn’t sound like you, there are plenty of non-contact martial arts here.


Classes are held in dojos and include a warm up, then technique, speed, stamina, stretches and sparring (non-contact or with protective gear), followed by a cool down to end the class. Classes generally run from 1 to 2 hours. Coloured belts are used to rank students with the colours differing between different arts. Weapons training is an option in some dojos.


We all know martial arts to be a type of fighting. While this is true, it is also true that martial arts are much more than this. Physical and mental exercise, self-discipline, overall health, spiritual growth, emotional growth, harmony with one’s surroundings and even meditation are all used in, and benefits of martial arts.


Most martial arts dojo’s practice and teach their art for self-defence, self-confidence, life balance and fitness. However martial arts techniques are also use by law enforcement and the military around the world for both attack and defence purposes.


The truth is that almost anyone can enjoy and benefit from martial arts. Male or female, child to elderly, mentally or physically handicapped, or simply average. You’d be surprised how good martial arts can make you feel.


There are literally hundreds of different types of martial arts, each with their own point of difference. Some of the more popular types in the ‘other’ category include Krav Maga, Muay Thai, Kenpo, Wing Chun, Aikido, Capoeira, Jeet Kune Do, Ninjutso, Hapkido. These and many others are practiced in smaller dojo’s around Australia.

There are many myths surrounding the origins of martial arts, with evidence to suggest they date back up to 5,000 years. What we do know is that they were mostly founded in China, Japan and India.


Martial arts have been influence by the religions and philosophies of the East, developing intellectual concepts and physical techniques over time. Buddhism, Taoist and Confucianism introduced balance, harmony, rhythm, adaptation to natural flow, breathing methods, meditation, mental and spiritual awareness and ethical behaviour. Some martial artists are also regarded as healers of Traditional Chinese Medicine, because of their overlapping knowledge of the human body.


Around 1945, American and British World War 2 veterans introduced martial arts to the west. Interest grew and due to a series of TV shows and movies, popularity surged in the 1970’s and continued to grow to the diverse offering we have today.

Qi, the fundamental life energy of the universe, as conceptualised by traditional Chinese philosophy, is the basic concept behind many martial arts. Techniques and breathing improve the practitioner’s qi, and therefore their strength and ability. Qi and its meridians (channels along which qi flows) are used in some arts by pressing meridians with specific techniques, to immobilise attackers.


Conceptually, the opposites of yin (cold, passive, inward and yielding) and yang (heat, active and assertive) are combined for balance and appropriate response.

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