Is Boxing a Martial Art? (The Answer Might Be Simpler than You Think)

Boxing is one of the most well-known combat sports and it has been popular for a very long time. And through out the years, people have been wondering whether or not boxing can be considered a type of martial art in its own right.

So is boxing a martial art? The short answer is yes, absolutely!

In this article, I will cover the definition of martial arts, if another popular combat sport MMA is a martial art, and why I think boxing is definitely a martial art.

Let’s dive right in!

is boxing a martial art

What Is the Definition of Martial Arts?

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of the term “martial art” is “any of several arts of combat and self-defense (such as karate or judo) that are widely practiced as a sport.”

If you look purely at the definition of martial arts that has been provided, then it would seem that boxing ticks all the right boxes. It is a combat art and it is definitely widely practiced as a sport. So why is it that some people don’t see boxing as a proper martial art?

One of the reasons for the disconnect between boxing and martial arts, is probably that boxing is primarily thought of as a sport and entertainment you watch on TV and on the internet for most people.

Boxing is one of the oldest combat sports that is still a popular part of modern culture. Boxing matches have been thrilling the masses for a very long time. It’s definitely seen as a form of combat but people think of it as something that they watch for entertainment.

There are people who learn the art of boxing for self-defense purposes but for some reason, people don’t make the connection between martial arts and boxing.

Boxing is definitely a style of martial arts no matter how you look at it. It’s a form of fighting that teaches people how to strike fast, punch hard, and move gracefully. Some people even think that boxing might be the best type of striking combat to learn.

Is MMA a Martial Art?

MMA is a combat system where many different styles of martial arts can compete against one another. It’s a blending of styles in order to compete under a specific set of rules.

So, many people wouldn’t consider MMA to be a martial art but rather a modern combat system.

Of course some argue that since many martial arts have been created over the years by combining certain styles and making changes based on new strategies or ideas, MMA should be considered a martial art too.

As MMA has done the same by combining elements of wrestling, boxing, muay thai, karate, judo, jujitsu, and more into one effective form of combat.

But the difference here is that training in most MMA gyms consists of separate training sessions of boxing, kickboxing, muay thai, BJJ, and wrestling.

Of course they do have MMA sessions where they mix it up, but generally MMA is not taught as one martial art, but a mix of several different martial arts. The name Mixed Martial Arts is probably the biggest give away.

So to me, MMA is not a martial art, but mix of several martial arts which includes boxing, making that argument for why boxing is not a martial art completely null and void.

Why Boxing is A Martial Art

According to Wiki, martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practiced for a number of reasons such as self-defense; military and law enforcement applications; competition; physical, mental, and spiritual development; entertainment; and the preservation of a nation’s intangible cultural heritage.

Boxing is definitely a martial art no matter how you look at it.

Whether boxing has the same versatility as a striking art compared to Muay Thai might be up for debate, but you cannot deny that boxing has great utility. Even mixed martial artists wind up incorporating many boxing techniques into their striking strategies in modern times.

Boxing has its own culture and style, making it a distinct form of fighting. It has a set of rules and it takes years to truly master, just as with any other martial art.

Some people don’t accept it into the martial arts category and prefer for it to be its own thing, and that’s fine by me. Whether or not you want to consider boxing a martial art is of course completely up to you.

In Conclusion

I think boxing is definitely a martial art based purely on the definition of martial arts and everything that boxing brings to the table.

You might not agree depending on your viewpoint and background. Regardless, you can respect the fact that boxing has a long and storied tradition, as well as being one of most effective arts of hand to hand combat!