The Best Asian Martial Arts: From Kendo to Silat

Martial arts have been a part of Asian culture for centuries. From ancient times until now, martial arts have developed and evolved into various forms that are now being practiced by people all over the world. Here, we’ll explore some of the most popular Asian martial arts, and what makes them stand out.


Kendo is a modern Japanese martial art that involves using bamboo swords and protective gear. It was developed in the late 19th century and is now practiced by millions of people worldwide. Kendo is known for its emphasis on etiquette and discipline, as well as the physical and mental aspects of training. It is also considered a sport in Japan and is included in national and international competitions.


Karate is a popular martial art that originated in Okinawa, Japan. It became widespread in the 20th century and is now practiced all over the world. Karate involves various punches, kicks, and strikes, and is known for its focus on striking with power and precision. It can be practiced for self-defense or as a sport, and there are many variations of karate, each with its own distinct style and techniques.


Taekwondo is a Korean martial art that focuses on kicks and footwork. It was developed in the 1940s and has since spread worldwide, becoming a popular sport in the Olympics. Taekwondo also emphasises values such as integrity, perseverance, and self-control. It is a high-energy, fast-paced martial art that requires a lot of practice and dedication.


Judo is a Japanese martial art that is focused on throwing and grappling techniques. It was developed in the late 19th century and has since become a popular sport worldwide. Judo is known for its emphasis on improvising techniques on the spot and using leverage and timing to overcome an opponent. It also teaches values like respect, discipline, and humility.


Silat is a Southeast Asian martial art that is known for its fluidity, techniques, and strategies. It originated in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, and is now practiced in many other countries. Silat emphasises traditional weapons and hand-to-hand combat, with techniques that can be used for self-defense or sport. It also focuses on the spiritual and philosophical aspects of martial arts, with values like respect, discipline, and harmony.

In conclusion, the Asian martial arts are a rich and diverse group of combat practices that have been passed down through generations. Whether you choose to practice kendo, karate, taekwondo, judo, or silat, each martial art offers benefits for both the body and mind. The physical training is accompanied by mental discipline, respect, and self-control, and it can be a life-long journey of self-improvement.

The Best Asian Martial Arts: From Kendo to Silat – Answering Your Frequently Asked Questions

Martial arts refer to a set of practices that are utilized for self-defense, spiritual, or combat purposes. Over time, martial arts have evolved into various styles and techniques that encompass cultural and geographical variations. This post aims to answer the frequently asked questions about the best Asian martial arts, ranging from Kendo to Silat.

What is Kendo?

Kendo is a traditional Japanese martial art that uses bamboo swords (shinai) and protective armor (bogu) during training and competition. Kendo practitioners use various techniques such as strikes, thrusts, and parries to strike specific targets on an opponent’s body. Practicing Kendo emphasizes mental and physical discipline, respect, and etiquette, typical values in Japanese culture.

What is Karate?

Karate originated from the Ryukyu Kingdom, now known as Okinawa, Japan. Karate emphasizes striking techniques using hands, fists, elbows, knees, and feet. Practicing Karate also emphasizes techniques like grappling, joint-locking, and throwing, and it involves non-contact sparring and training using breakable objects such as boards or tiles.

What is Taekwondo?

Taekwondo is a Korean martial art that uses hands and feet for striking, blocking, and evasion techniques. Taekwondo emphasizes high kicks, spinning kicks, and jumping kicks, and it is suitable for both self-defense and competitive purposes. Practicing Taekwondo also emphasizes mental and physical discipline and respect, and it is an Olympic sport since 2000.

What is Muay Thai?

Muay Thai or Thai boxing originated from Thailand and emphasizes the use of fists, elbows, knees, shins, and feet for strikes, evasion, and clinching techniques. Muay Thai is known for its linear striking style and physical conditioning, and it is suitable for self-defense and competitive purposes.

What is Wing Chun?

Wing Chun is a Chinese martial art that emphasizes close-range combat and simultaneous attacking and defending techniques. Wing Chun practitioners use punches, kicks, and strikes to redirect an opponent’s force and attack their weak spots. Wing Chun is suitable for self-defense but also promotes mental and physical discipline and relaxation.

What is Jujutsu?

Jujutsu is a Japanese martial art that primarily focuses on grappling, joint-locking, and throwing techniques to immobilize or neutralize an opponent. Jujutsu training also includes striking using open and closed-hand techniques, knee, and elbow strikes. Jujutsu is suitable for self-defense and combat situations, and it also emphasizes respect, discipline, and mindfulness.

What is Silat?

Silat is a traditional martial art that has roots in Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Silat emphasizes a blend of striking, grappling, and weapon techniques, such as knives, sticks, and swords. Practicing Silat also involves spiritual aspects and philosophical principles such as humility, perseverance, and compassion.

Which Asian martial art should I choose?

Choosing an Asian martial art depends on various factors such as your interest, goals, fitness level, location, and availability of training. It’s essential to choose a credible instructor and a reputable school that aligns with your values and expectations. It’s also advisable to try different martial arts and styles to find the one that suits you best.

What are the benefits of practicing Asian martial arts?

Practicing Asian martial arts brings numerous benefits, including physical fitness, self-defense, stress relief, improved coordination, flexibility, and focus. Martial arts training also promotes mental and emotional well-being, encourages self-discipline, respect, and perseverance. Moreover, martial arts practice provides cultural and historical context and creates a sense of community among practitioners.

In conclusion, martial arts continue to expand and diversify across countries and cultures, representing a dynamic and evolving set of practices. Whether you’re interested in self-defense, fitness, competition, or personal development, choosing an Asian martial art can bring numerous benefits. Ensure you choose a credible instructor and a reputable school that aligns with your values and expectations, and never forget to respect the martial arts principles and practicing etiquette.

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