Karate is actually a number of different variations of a Japanese style of martual arts.  It is a hard style with tournament point-fighting and katas. I consider it primarily reactive, a type of self-defense style, however, it includes training with weapons; staff, nunchaka, katana sword, etc. which are all aggressive fighting arts.

Kung Fu

Kung Fu is the heart of all martial arts. I tis strictly an open-hand art, no weapons, and is intended to use an attacker's momentum against him. This is a hard style with flowing hand and body movements, and it strives for a strong mind-body harmony to develop chi power.

Tae Kwon-Do

Tae Kwon-Do is a hard style martial art with very agressive techniques.  With one's feet and legs being much stronger than their hands and arms, a TKD student trains their legs and feet to be as versatile fighting weapons as their arms and hands. Tournaments consist of continuous sparring, poomsae (forms), and breaking challenges.

Muay Thai Kick-boxing

Muay Thai Kick-boxing is a Thai version of boxing including knee-strikes, elbow-strikes and strong kicks to an opponents legs. This hard style is very agressive and consists of extremely intense areobic training, ... not to mention the numerous bruises and great potential for broken bones.

Brazilian Jiu-jitsu grappling

Brazillian Jiu-jitsu grappling is a hard style with the presumption of nearly all fights between two individuals quickly evolving into a version of ground-fighting, as opposed to toe-to-toe stand-up fighting.  It consists of wrestling techniques with punches, chokes, and joint-lock submissions. Like most martial arts, it is a sport with tournament rules to avoid severe injury --no eye gougeing or strikes to the back of the head, groin or use of pressure point techniques.


Tai-chi is a Chinese soft style with exagerated body movements providing both strength and flexibility training. The movements are also effective in self-defense as they are the same or similar to Kung Fu --a sort of Kung Fu version of Yoga

Mixed Martial Arts --MMA

Mixed Martial Arts is often confused with grappling as it involves both ground fighting and stand-up fighting. The difference is all forms of grappling are for sport and focus primarily on fighting a single unarmed attacker. True MMA is training in a mixture of techniques from various martial arts styles used and used for self-defense, especially against an armed and/or multiple attackers. For this reason, Krav Maga training is chiefly involved, where this is not true for grappling.

Extreme Martial Arts --XMA

Is a recent introduction to martial arts competitions.  It is a stylized exageration of movements combined with gymnastics tricks --jumping kicks combined with flips, and ariel spins.  Movements are theatrical and highly expressive but rarely genuine traditional techniques.

Black Belt Magazine