Types of Martial Arts – Unarmed

Though this website is dedicated to kendo, kendo is not the only form of martial arts still practiced. One of the most commonly known for its entrance into the main stream viewing is the art of Jujutsu. Jujutsu is a form of close combat using swift, calculated maneuvers to disarm or decommission an opponent. Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has generated a lot of awareness around this Japanese fighting style over the recent years.

When looking at the various Japanese fighting styles there is ‘armed’ and ‘unarmed’. Before investing the time and money into learning a technique you should determine which you prefer to learn. Below is a brief bullet point list of a few of the most common.


  • Aikido – a non-lethal form that uses the attacker’s own motion and body weight to fend them off.
  • Judo – similar to modern day American wrestling, the objective is to subdue the opponent by a pin or ‘tap out’.
  • Karate – a well known stand up martial art taught around the world. It teaches defense using strikes with the palms, fists, elbows, knees, and legs.
  • Kenpo – solely a defense martial art. It too uses much of the attacker’s momentum to end the fight as efficiently as possible. This too is a stand up martial art.
  • Sumo – I’m sure you all know of this sport. Not really one you would think of as a ‘defensive’ art but more or less is for sport. The objective is to overpower the opponent and either push them out of a ring or get them to touch the ground with any body part aside from the soles of their feet.
  • Taido – an energetic fighting style that incorporates punches, kicks, and flips toward the opponent.


There are numerous other unarmed fighting styles however these are some of the most common. In our next blog we’ll cover some of the more well known armed fighting styles that incorporate weapons such as katanas, tantos, wakizashis, and others.