If you are a martial arts enthusiast, you probably have watched the movie “The Karate Kid.” If so, you must have fantasized numerous times about how it would feel to be able to break a block of wood with your bare hands.

Well, learning martial arts is where you start. This will make you feel more confident and in better shape to undertake any challenge.

However, there are so many martial arts, and you may be in a tight spot choosing. The two most popular martial arts include Shaolin Kung fu vs. MMA.

Tag along to learn what sets each fighting style apart.

What does Shaolin kung fu Entail?

Shaolin kung fu is a martial art originally from China. It heavily draws from Chinese Kung Fu and is among the many martial arts that are associated with Shaolin Temple.

It involves a comprehensive range of knowledge and skills. It focuses on philosophy, self-defense, and combat training for monks.

The goal of the art includes training the body, mind, and soul. The style employs a combination of strength, flexibility, balance, and endurance to create the perfect self-defense.

Shaolin kung fu puts more emphasis on training the mind and the energy. As such, its main philosophy revolves around personal development rather than effective fighting.

Also, unlike other martial arts, Shaolin Kung Fu forbids its practitioners from using grappling and takedown tactics.

Hence, it is a useful arsenal for developing one’s character as one learns how to control their emotions.

What about MMA?

MMA, or mixed martial arts, is a full-contact combat sport that involves two people fighting in a ring or cage.

The goal of the fights is to knock the opponents out. However, there are rules against illegal strikes such as head butts, eye gouges, and attacks on the groins.

MMA involves cross-training in a variety of techniques from different combat martial arts such as boxing, judo, kickboxing, muay Thai, submission wrestling, BJJ, karate, and even Kung fu.

One standing rule in MMA is that fighters are only allowed to compete within their weight class.

Having been created in the early 1990s, MMA is a fast-growing sport that has different combat fighting styles unified under MMA. Currently, the sport has really revolutionized and receives millions of views worldwide.


  • Shaolin kung fu is a traditional art, while MMA is a modern style of fighting
  • Shaolin kung fu does not allow grappling and takedown. MMA has several different ways of fighting and it typically uses strikes, submissions, joint locks, ground fighting, and throws.
  • The primary objective of Shaolin kung fu is to improve one’s physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. MMA aims to defeat the opponent.
  • The training methods employed in Shaolin kung fu are intense and take a long time to master. MMA involves cross-training in a couple of combat martial arts that are more practical and applicable in real fights.
  • Shaolin kung fu emphasizes the physical and spiritual health of the user. MMA focuses on winning at all costs, and the fighter must be very fit for their high-intensity training sessions.


  • The training methods for both techniques are intense and require a lot of dedication and focus to improve the technique.
  • Both techniques are effective for self-defense.
  • Both techniques require flexibility, endurance, strength, and speed.

What to choose

If you’re looking for an activity to increase your overall health and wellness, Shaolin Kung fu would be a better fit.

It is also more holistic in nature. MMA is a modern form of fighting that involves training in mixed martial arts.

It is more practical because it strictly focuses on martial arts and victories. Moreover, it is an excellent way to maintain a healthy weight.


You might be wondering who would win if the two practitioners went into a contest. Well, this might be a tight contest, especially if the Shaolin Kung fu master has honed their skills over a long period of time.

However, in most cases, MMA would win due to its flexibility, diversity, and cardio strength. If the fighters are equally skilled, they should be evenly matched.

However, an MMA fighter will have the upper hand because MMA incorporates more than one style of fighting at a time.

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