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Everyone knows about karate and taekwondo, but there are actually hundreds of martial arts in the world. Each one has its own origin story and application. Here are just a few of the lesser-known styles of martial arts.



Okichitaw is one of the rare martial arts that’s based on a Native American fighting style. Its strikes are like tomahawks; its kicks are like pointed spears. It comes from the Plains Cree people of the First Nations and was adapted for modern fighters by a Canadian.



Created in Japan by an army vet who was tired of fighting, aikido is almost entirely based in self-defense. It requires your opponent to move against you first so that you can redirect their energy and use their own force and momentum against them. It’s a popular martial art for women and children.



Also called “Irish stick fighting,” bataireacht was formed in the days of Irish occupation. They weren’t allowed to carry weapons against the English, so they taught themselves how to use sticks and clubs to keep their oppressors off their backs. They historically honed their skills at parties, weddings, festivals, and other social gatherings.



Bakom is a ruthless martial art that originated in Peru. Unlike some martial arts that emphasize things like harmony and spirituality, bakom teaches its practitioners how to land quick, brutal punches. It even encourages the use of hidden weapons and other sneaky tactics if it means victory in a fight.



Dambe comes from Africa, and you can immediately recognize the people using it. They wrap their arms and legs in tightly-bound cloth that’s held in place with wraparound cords, ropes and chains. They want their strikes to be as effective as possible. This might have something to do with the fact that dambe originated from butchers.



You might expect Russian martial arts to be hardcore, and you’d be right. Systema is a tough, no-holds-barred way of fighting, and it also teaches its practitioners how to handle multiple attackers at once. It wants you to be prepared for anything.


These are just a few examples of uncommon martial arts. Studying any martial art takes time, effort, and dedication, and that is especially true of these relatively uncommon styles.



Javill Byron is an accomplished martial artist, entrepreneur, businessman, and philanthropist based in Miami. As the owner of Top Shot Miami and WMB Martial Arts, Javill strives to serve as a valuable resource for individuals who want to improve their physical abilities and learn to protect themselves. Javill is especially passionate about helping children with disabilities and children who are bullied.


As a philanthropy-minded person, Javill Byron devotes much of his time to his nonprofit, WMB Foundation, Inc., which provides services to families and children diagnosed with ADHD, ADD, or Autism and aims to promote academic success and generally enrich their lives.