Beyond Boxing: Strangest Martial Arts and Combat Competitions

Martial arts have always fascinated people around the world. From self-defense techniques to physical fitness, martial arts offer numerous benefits. While many of us are familiar with popular martial arts like karate, judo, or taekwondo, there are several unconventional and downright bizarre martial arts and combat competitions that exist beyond the traditional boxing ring. In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the strangest martial arts and combat competitions found around the globe.

1. Chess Boxing

Chess Boxing is a unique hybrid sport that combines the intense mental concentration of chess with the physical demands of boxing. Two opponents compete in alternating rounds of chess and boxing, requiring both strategic thinking and physical prowess. Originally conceived by Dutch artist Iepe Rubingh, chess boxing has gained popularity in various countries, attracting participants who possess the rare combination of intellectual and physical capabilities.

2. Toe Wrestling

Originating from the United Kingdom, toe wrestling takes the concept of arm wrestling and applies it to the feet. Competitors lock toes and attempt to pin their opponent's foot down for a set number of seconds. The World Toe Wrestling Championship, held annually in Derbyshire, attracts participants from around the world who engage in fierce toe-to-toe battles.

3. Combat juggling

Combat juggling puts a twist on traditional juggling by introducing competitive elements. Two or more jugglers engage in combat-like duels while trying to keep their juggling patterns intact. The idea is to disrupt the opponent's juggling rhythm and force them to drop one or more objects. This unique discipline pushes jugglers to enhance their coordination and agility while incorporating elements of strategy and competition.

4. Lethwei: Burmese Bare-knuckle Boxing

Lethwei, also known as Burmese bare-knuckle boxing, is an ancient martial art that originated in Myanmar. Unlike traditional boxing, fighters are allowed to strike with fists, elbows, knees, and feet, making it an incredibly brutal and intense combat sport. Lethwei matches have no weight classes, and the fights continue until one fighter is knocked out or unable to continue. It is a combat sport that requires exceptional toughness and resilience from its participants.

5. Kuk Sool Won: The Martial Art of All Techniques

Kuk Sool Won is a comprehensive Korean martial art system that encompasses an extensive range of techniques. It combines striking, grappling, joint locks, throws, acrobatics, and traditional Korean weapons into an intricate and highly disciplined form of combat. Kuk Sool Won practitioners dedicate many years to master its diverse techniques, making it one of the most challenging martial arts to pursue.


While boxing may be the most mainstream combat sport, there are numerous unconventional martial arts and combat competitions that cater to unique interests and showcase various skills. From the mental and physical demands of chess boxing to the toe-to-toe battles of toe wrestling, these disciplines highlight the diverse nature of combat sports. So, if you're looking to explore beyond the realm of traditional martial arts, these strange and fascinating competitions might just pique your interest.