Skip to Content

Is Boxing Considered A Martial Art? Yes, Here’s Why

Photo by BagoGames

When you think about martial arts, what’s the first thing to pop into your head? Ninjas? Samurai swords? Bruce Lee? Well, if we were to think of all the fighting skills in the martial arts family, it’s hard not to mention boxing. Boxing is certainly a fighting sport, but can it be classified as a martial art?

Boxing is considered a martial art because it fits the definition of a martial art perfectly. It is a combat skill that can be used for self-defense, as a sport, or used by the military as a means of close-quarters combat. Boxing has systemized methods of training for the purpose of combat.

Many people debate as to whether boxing is a martial art or not, and in the modern context of what we see as a televised sport and the huge payday’s that boxers receive, may contribute to it being seen as a sport rather than a martial art. However, the roots of boxing provide undeniable confirmation of boxing being a true martial art.

Why Boxing Is Considered A Martial Art

Martial arts are techniques that have been practiced for many centuries. It is a skill that is used both in self-defense and for fighting that has ancient origins. Depictions of boxing from the Sumerian culture have been found, which date back to 3000 BC, as well as in the ancient Egyptian culture and even in ancient India.

Boxing is a martial art because it has specific moves and techniques for combat that are taught in a systematic way. The object of boxing is to incapacitate or subdue an opponent to the point where they are no longer capable of posing a combat threat.

Boxing has been practiced as a fighting skill for thousands of years. Boxing was introduced as an event in the Olympic games in ancient Greece as early as 688 BC. Boxing was seen as an important skill to master for war in ancient times as a means of hand-to-hand combat if you became disarmed or ran out of weapons to use in battle.

Boxing was seen as a means to incapacitate an opponent by beating them into submission with fists or knocking them unconscious. A correctly placed punch was even known to kill.

Boxing skills are still taught to military personnel as a method of gaining the upper hand over an opponent in hand-to-hand combat, in conjunction with skills from other fighting styles.

Is Boxing A Martial Art Or A Sport?

Many martial arts, even the eastern styles of martial arts that come to most people’s minds as true martial arts, are considered as a sport. Karate is a prime example of this; it is a martial art, and it is also a recognized sport with worldwide tournaments and competitions.

Boxing is a martial art that has become a sport. It is a martial art because of the nature of the techniques and the intent that are part of boxing. It is a sport because it is a martial art that has been used as a means of competition, and rules have been put in place to reduce the risk of serious injury.

Boxing is an incredible fighting sport that, at first glance, looks pretty violent. However, boxing requires a rare form of athleticism and concentration, which might make it one of the most mentally challenging martial arts.

Boxing is a complex martial art that requires you to perform at your best, both mentally and physically. This sport requires insane skills and technical precision, and a high degree of physical strength and fitness.

When Was Boxing Invented?

Boxing was not invented as such but rather evolved from a battlefield skill into a spectator sport through the years and as mankind became more civilized.

Boxing has a long and colorful history, starting back in ancient times dating back to 1600 BCE in the ancient middle east, Egypt, India, and Greece. During the rule of the Roman Empire, boxing became a popular spectator sport, and fighters began wrapping leather thongs around their knuckles to protect them. 

During the Roman era, metal studs were added to the leather thongs to make the fight more brutal. In the early 1500s, boxing re-emerged as a public spectacle in the form of bare-knuckle boxing in Britain. It was often called prize fighting because the winner was rewarded with a cash prize at the end of the fight. It was during this era in Britain that the term boxing was first used to describe this combative sport.

In these early days, there were few rules, but as the years progressed, rules were put in place to outlaw activities such as headbutting, scratching, and gouging. Kicking and hitting a man while he was down, holding the ropes, biting and using hard objects in the hand as weapons were also banned from the ring.

Prizefighting was eventually banned due to its brutality and the gambling activities that were spawned from the activity.

Even as recently as the early 1900s, boxing struggled to achieve legitimacy as a sport, but fight promotors and great boxing champions prevailed, and modern boxing began to be accepted. The amateur version was even introduced as a sport in British schools, and soon, amateur boxing clubs sprang up across the country.

Why People Say Boxing Is Not A Martial Art

This can be something of a controversial topic, as some martial arts experts claim that complete proficiency in a martial art implies mastery of all ranges of unarmed combat, including weapons. But this argument would discount some eastern martial arts as well. They go on to say that boxing is not considered a true martial art because it only covers one range of unarmed combat: striking at mid-range.

The main reason people consider boxing not to be a martial art is because of the commercialization of it as a sport, and it has lost the traditions and training that historically defined it as a martial art. Others simply reason that because it did not originate in the east, it is not a martial art.

However, when considering the historical component, boxing has to retain its status as a martial art, just like any other traditional martial art created to improve self-defense. When you look at the history of boxing, for example, you will find that Roman soldiers were taught boxing to improve their hand-to-hand combat. Therefore, it’s hard to argue against boxing not being a martial art in this regard if you consider how ancient boxing was taught to enhance its fighting skills.

Is Boxing The Best Striking Art?

Boxing is a complex sport that teaches a fighter how to read their opponent, anticipate strikes, how to defend against strikes, and fighting strategies and tactics. The strike, however, is the main offensive technique in the style.

Boxing is the best striking art because the strike is the core of the offensive technique in boxing. Multiple strikes are taught from many different angles and positions with pinpoint accuracy and power. The full-contact nature of the sport allows for no holding back with strikes. 

The fact that boxing is a full-contact fighting sport also allows for full power strikes, which teaches a boxing student how to punch without holding back due to no-contact rules.

Is Boxing Good For Self-Defense?

Boxing is a combat martial art that teaches both offensive and defensive fighting techniques, but how well would these skills fare if you are in a situation where you need to defend yourself? Would boxing skills count in your favor and give you an advantage for self-defense?

Boxing is a great self-defense fighting art because of the variety of techniques taught, from anticipating an attack to fending it off and striking back with offensive techniques and strikes with speed. An untrained person on the street will easily be overcome by an experienced, trained boxer.

A trained boxer will have a greater chance of achieving a one-punch knockout of their assailant. Boxing also teaches balance which will help a person who is trained as a boxer to stay on their feet in the event of an attack and how to anticipate and deflect blows from an attacker.

Boxers are also taught to strike with speed and accuracy. This speed combined with placement for maximum effect could easily catch an attacker unawares and end an attack before it gains momentum.

What Martial Arts Can Beat Boxing?

Boxers have an advantage because they are taught to fight hard and use full strength and power. Many other martial artists in other fighting disciplines are taught to hold back since there are few that allow full contact. The techniques that boxing teaches are also very effective at close quarters. So, which martial art stands the best chance against a boxer?

Boxing does not teach grappling, kicks, and takedown techniques. A boxer would be at a disadvantage at close quarters or defending against a martial art that specializes in these techniques. Thus, BJJ, Wrestling, and Sambo could possibly take down a boxer unless he gets a punch in first.

This is why there is no one fighting style that is perfect and why MMA fighters train in a variety of fighting styles. They use the appropriate techniques from different styles to their advantage against opponents who are lacking in certain fighting areas.


Boxing is definitely a martial art based on its history and the techniques that are taught as part of this fighting style. The fact that techniques from boxing are still taught to law enforcement officers and military personnel further cements the validity of boxing as a martial art.