UNM Jujutsu Club

Andrew Yiannakis, Ph.D., Rokudan


Martial Sports

Martial sports are activities which employ martial skills in rule-governed competitive sports contexts in which the contestants struggle to attain victory over their opponents. They typically require extensive training and the acquisition and development of effective contest skills. Most students who engage in martial sports typically drop out of the sport when their competition days are over. Others transition to playing as recreational participants and a few go into teaching or coaching.

Examples of martial sports include modern judo, wrestling, taekowndo, boxing and sumo, among others.

Martial Arts

The martial arts are combative systems that stress the importance of history, tradition and lineage and are engaged in as paths to self actualization through the practice and development of combative skills, meditation and a strict adherence to a guiding philosophy. In most martial systems training involves the development of both offensive and defensive skills that challenge the student to grow and acquire important character traits. These include self discipline, self understanding, control and inner power, among others. Those who engage in martial systems are often dedicated to a lifelong path of learning, commitment and personal sacrifice.

Examples of martial arts include various forms of jujutsu, aikido, older forms of karate, kung fu, kenjutsu, and the like.



1. The differences outlined above are not about individuals, or how individuals are motivated to engage in such activities. The differences are about systems (or approaches), what they stand for, and what they stress.

2. It is possible to practice an activity as a martial art but also compete in it as a martial sport. However, when the focus of the training becomes the martial sport, the mindset, the training content and a whole host of other attributes also change in emphasis.