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What Martial Art Does the Military Use? – Top 5 Martial Arts

Written by Everett Bledsoe / Fact checked by Brain Bartell

what martial art does the military use

In some parts of the world, Children ages 5 or 6 already begin learning and training in martial arts because it instills valuable behaviors and traits like respect, honor, and determination through its disciplined system.

Furthermore, martial arts receive high praise for their remarkable ability to enhance and nurture flexibility, agility, and strength.

Discover what martial art does the military use. Explore Tae Kwon Do, Jiu Jitsu, Boxing, and other martial arts, and learn their importance for soldiers in military training.

Different Martial Arts Used by the Military


Learning martial arts transcends beyond the surface, demanding physical and mental preparedness for those who venture into this transformative journey.

It serves as a channel for cultivating the well-rounded development of the body and mind.

Martial arts programs vary in different military branches. However, did you know that the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program stands to be the most comprehensive among them?

The Marines must be exceedingly flexible and adaptive because they conduct and lead military operations in various locations, including the air, land, and water.

Martial arts assist the Marines in developing and becoming great leaders in military operations across various sectors. It is the reason why the Marines are among the strongest military members due to their extensive training.

Techniques and Styles Used

Soldiers undergo martial arts training to enhance their military fighting style. The Special Forces and the U.S. Army have also instituted programs for their personnel to practice martial arts and improve fighting techniques.

The curriculum of the Army martial arts places significant emphasis on weapon instructional guidelines, arm and leg strikes, grappling, and submissions. Fueled by their enthusiasm, the Army has established championship fights dedicated to this combative martial arts discipline.

There are over 180 styles of martial arts, which originated as ancient battle techniques.

These techniques vary based on the following factors:

  • Particular attention to forms or self-defense methods situations.
  • The amount of touch used in a specific method or practice session (contact or non-contact)
  • Employed instruments such as feet, fists, and swords.

It is immensely significant to highlight that, despite differences in manner and technique, they all serve the same intention to promote self-development via physical sport and cultivate personal discipline.

Get ready to discover the most common martial arts styles employed by the military:

1. Boxing


This martial arts style utilizes hand-to-hand combat techniques. Soldiers have been trained in boxing for centuries, as it enhances fitness, strength, perseverance, and courage.

Within the military, there are over 36 Olympic boxers, with 12 of them having earned medals.

Take a look at the following list of fundamental techniques commonly employed in boxing. Additionally, you can explore some instructional videos to assist you in understanding and practicing these techniques:





2. Jiu Jitsu


It is an art that aims to neutralize opponents who may have a size or strength advantage, making it suitable for individuals of all skill levels, genders, and ages.

That is why the military favors Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for its ground-based fighting system.

Practitioners utilize these techniques to achieve two goals: taking the opponent down to the ground and asserting control to defeat them in ground combat.

Standing techniques:

  1. takedowns
  2. throws

Ground techniques:

  1. submissions
  2. sweeps
  3. escapes

3. Tae Kwon Do


The Tae Kwon Do martial arts style focuses on self-defense fighting. It emerged in the 1940s and 1950s when the Korean Military, recognized for their mastery of Tae Kwon Do, integrated it into their collaboration with the U.S. military during the conflict against the North Vietnamese.

This unarmed combat style became invaluable in close-quarters combat situations or when soldiers were without firearms.

Experts have previously said that efficiently utilizing this martial arts method in military operations or conflict has the ability to incapacitate foes.

The Axe Kick is a noteworthy military maneuver in which practitioners elevate their heel and forcibly bring it down on the intended target.

4. Krav Maga


It is a distinctive martial arts style utilized by various military branches in the USA and created by the Israeli Military. This style aims to deliver a simple and effective fighting system, emphasizing self-protection and physical training.

Karva Maga earns widespread recognition as one of the deadliest martial arts due to its extensive repertoire of techniques. Here are a few Karva Maga techniques:


  • Neutral Stance
  • Fighting Stance

Strikes and Punches:

  • Elbow Strike
  • Eye Strike
  • Palm Heel Strike
  • Hammer Fist
  • Headbutt
  • Mouth of Hand
  • Outside Chop
  • Cross Body Punch
  • Hook Punch
  • Straight Punch
  • Uppercut Punch

5. Judo


At the West Point Military Academy, this specific martial arts program serves as one of their sports clubs, aiming to promote physical fitness, self-defense proficiency, and overall life improvement.

This martial arts style found its way to the United States in approximately 1902 through the efforts of former President Theodore Roosevelt.

It further gained prominence in the 1950s as the U.S. Air Force made it a mandatory discipline.

This martial art divides into three primary categories:

  1. Throwing Techniques (Nage Waza)
  2. Grappling Techniques (Katame Waza)
  3. Vital-Point Striking Techniques (Atemi Waza).


Now, you know the answer to, what martial art does the military use and the techniques associated with each style.

We discovered that Krav Maga is an exceptionally effective fighting technique, although it is one of the most lethal forms of martial arts. Similarly, Jiu-Jitsu offers a style that neutralizes opponents without being constrained by factors such as height.

Furthermore, this article provides an in-depth understanding of how the military engages in martial arts training for self-defense, protecting others, and combat purposes.

Regardless of the motive, the soldiers’ ultimate objective remains the pursuit of peace.

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