You Wouldn’t Karate Chop a Boxer…

Martial arts get compared constantly, but is there a best fighting style? Is that even the right question?

John Bullock


Picture: RyanMcGuire — Pixabay

If you look at the comments in any online conversation about martial arts comparisons, you will invariably find people comparing one style to another, with all manner of logic and evidence justifying why their martial art of choice is superior.

They are always wrong.

I can say this confidently because the fact that they are comparing martial arts styles and declaring one to be superior at all shows they are starting from a flawed premise.

It helps to think of martial arts as tools. You have many tools, and each tool serves a specific purpose. Hammers are for nails, for example, while screwdrivers are for screws.

Screwdrivers are unquestionably better than hammers when it comes to screwing things together. Does that make the screwdriver superior to a hammer? Of course!

Well… if you’re screwing things together.

The key factor about martial arts is that they have a purpose, and they are supposed be good at that purpose. So let’s consider the purposes of some of the more commonly discussed martial arts.


Karate is one of the more misunderstood out of the popular martial arts because it doesn’t have the best record mixed martial art scenarios. And there is a reason for that.

“[Karate] is not intended to be used against a single opponent but instead as a way of avoiding injury by using the hands and feet should one by any chance be confronted by a villain or ruffian.” — Anko Itosu

Karate was never intended as a professional fighting style, or a way to take out a dozen armed men on horses with nothing more than kenpo stick. Karate was a style intended for regular people to enable them to defend themselves against unskilled “ruffians” on the street.


The darling child of today’s MMA-centric martial arts world, jujutsu originated as a method for defeating armoured opponents. Where the emphasis in karate was striking hard and escaping, the emphasis in jujutsu was joint locks and…



John Bullock

Freelance content writer with an eclectic employment history and an interest in game development. Find links to things at