Is boxing a martial art ?

24 Answers

  • Obviously this is a subject of much debate.

    I would classify it as a martial art because it is a codified system that teaches skills useful in self-defense. I certainly train it that way, and I’m not alone. Before Eastern martial arts became wildly popular in the West (late 19th/early 20th Centuries), boxing and wrestling were rightly taught as means of self-defense. Here’s an old boxing book, available for free PDF download, that’s actually titled, “Dorian’s Science of Self-Defense”:…

    Another one, by the hard-hitting champ Bob Fitzsimmons, is entitled “Physical Culture and Self Defense”:…

    Boxing is less ritualized and more personalized than many Eastern martial arts, but when the pressure is on, someone with six months of training at your average boxing gym stands a better chance of defending themselves than someone with a year of training at your average karate dojo. There’s a lot that those who practice Eastern martial arts could learn from boxing.

  • Is Boxing A Martial Art

  • Just because there is a sport side to boxing, does not mean it is not a martial art. Plenty of martial arts have competitions in which rules are applied, if every art form that had a sport side to it was not a martial art then;

    muay thai, not a martial art

    karate not a martial art as it is sport oriented and used in competitions.

    TKD not a martial art

    kyokushin is not a martial art

    kung fu is not a martial art

    kickboxing is not a martial art

    mixed MARTIAL ARTS is not a martial art

    jujutsu is not a martial art

    judo is not a martial art

    sumo is not a martial art

    wow looks like the only martial art is Krav Maga, but they do not consider themselves a martial art but a combat technique.

    ok now to all those who obviously do not know the truth boxing is a martial art, while it has a combat sport side to it it also has a very effective street defense aspect and boxing is actually the OLDEST martial art as greek and roman boxing matches predate asian martial arts by several hundreds of years.

  • Martial arts means simply: The methods of war. War is a conflict between opponents. By these definitions (from the dictionary, not my opinion) any time you use a skill to defeat an opponent can be considered a martial art. What this means is that boxing, wrestling, chess, even tennis and football can technically be considered martial arts. Now, don’t get your panties in a wad, let me finish. You have all heard the saying “Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight”. Pete Sampras isn’t going to open up a can of [email protected] on a guy with his racket. He has a skill for a particular type of contest. All martial arts teach specific techniques to deal with a specific situation, whether it’s street self defense, tournament competition, or just self expression. Being able to do one of those things doesn’t make you good at the others. You can agree with me or not. But by definition, boxing and wrestling are martial arts.

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  • It sure is. However, it first started in Egypt as a combat sport and when it came over to countries like Rome, it was taught to be used in war as well as sports. It’s probably just as old as wrestling and much older than Chinese martial arts. Back then, it actually included headbutts, kicks, groin strikes, biting, etc. It had much less limitations than MMA today and back then. They even wore steel gloves which hurts more than bare knuckles(obviously).

    PS: Tournaments has rules. Martial arts doesn’t. Maybe some kind of code of honor but no limitations.

    Edit: What’s with all the thumbs down on the correct answers? The fact is it first started out as a sport and was also taught for war purpose in another country. It was pretty much seen as a sport by the time it was passed on to UK and US though. It’s a fact that it was taught as a martial art in some country.

  • Yes in my opinion any form of combat is a martial art. Not just the ones that involve kicking. Boxing has 4 different punches the jab the cross the hook and the uppercut and if I remember right all of those punches are used in karate and teakwondo. So yes I think that boxing is a martial art. Boxing has actually been around since 688 bc.

  • Boxing is a combat sport.

    Basically if it was designed or is taught based on a set of rules for the sole purpose of competing it is a sport.

    No Asian based arts are not the only Martial Arts out there, but that still does not make boxing anything more than a sport.


    I see there are a lot of good answers already but I won’t let that stop me. Wrestling and boxing are martial arts, just like skeet shooting is still training to use a firearm. Just because something is used in sport does not mean it becomes deprecated for real-life use. I know martial artist who disdain Kata/forms because they are convinced you can’t use them for anything. While you’d never defend yourself with a Kata/form, unless you were fighting a mime, they teach body control, balance, movement, etc, all of which are very important when fighting. Anything that is systematic and developed to aid in bodily defense or attacks, no matter how stylized, is a martial art. Folks who don’t understand that are missing a very basic point.

  • Boxing, contrary to what has been said, is simply a sport. The entire purpose to train in it is to compete and win in a sport environment. There is nothing besides that. It was developed simply for a spectator event, not war, and the military does not train in boxing (maybe at one time they did but not today). Regardless of what people say I will never classify boxing as a martial art as it is just a sport…and yes I was a boxer at one time as well as my martial arts studies.

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