Haris Talundžić def. Bahatebole Batebolati (Phil Lambert/Combat Press)

Oldest Martial Arts That We Still Practice Today

Since the earliest human civilizations fighting has been an important aspect of culture. Whether for survival, sport, or entertainment, people have always enjoyed the idea of single combat. And that love remains today in the form of popular combat sports like MMA, boxing, jiu jitsu, and more.

Betting on Combat Sports

Not only are combat sports big, but so is betting on them. In fact, if you visit any of the popular sportsbooks, you will find that they put quite the effort in covering fighting sports. Boxing and MMA are, of course, the most popular here. 


In 2023, most people go online to do their betting. Wagering websites are no safer than ever, employing encryption tech to ensure a safe experience for everyone involved. If you are so inclined, you can try betting online, not just on boxing or MMA, but any of the popular sports today.

In 2023, we place bets using our mobile devices. However, that does not mean that betting on combat is a new phenomenon. In fact, we’ve been wagering on physical competitions since the oldest human civilizations. In this article, we will look at the oldest martial arts in the world, that people are still practicing, watching, and betting on. 


In most people’s opinion, wrestling is the oldest martial art still being practiced today. Certainly, the evidence seems to bear this out. The essence of wrestling is basically grappling. Putting down your opponent with tackles, throws, pushes, and shoves. Indeed, grappling techniques are some of the most effective when you need to subdue an enemy, so wrestling being the oldest fighting style makes perfect sense.

What is most fascinating about wrestling, are all of the different regional variants of the sport. Of course, most will be familiar with Greco-Roman. However, the truth is that most countries have their own regional variation. Some of the most popular include the Indian mala-yuddha, Japanese sumo, and the Olympic-accepted “free style.” 


On the opposite side of grappling lies “striking.” And what is boxing if not the essence of the “striking” aspect of martial arts? Evidence suggests that boxing has been around since the oldest Egyptian societies. However, some historians claim that boxing and wrestling co-developed years before people began building large civilizations. 

Boxing remains the most popular combat sport today. Boxing gyms are full of prospective boxers, pay-per-view matches are some of the best-sold television events, and athletes within the sport are celebrated by both the mainstream and the dedicated boxing subculture. 

Mixed Martial Arts

In the minds of many, MMA is a relatively new phenomenon. Indeed, the modern iteration of MMA came about in the 20th century. However, top-grade fighters have been mixing styles and techniques since the earliest combat sports. 

In Ancient Greece, for example, a deadly sport called Pankration dominated soldier barracks and sporting events alike. The fighting style involved a mixture of grappling and striking, with a healthy dose of brutality to go along with it.

Meanwhile, half-way across the world, in China, the Emperor’s Court would organize freeform martial arts tournaments. Men practicing different styles of combat could join, with little-to-no regulation. Indeed, mixed martial arts has been around for as long as more than one martial art has existed.