I recall reading many years ago about an attempt to organize a martial art where, for example, a team of (say) five members would fight a similar team, with all members participating in the battle at the same time. Each team was expected to use small unit tactics such as cover and flanking, and also take advantage of each team member's particular strengths and weaknesses (e.g. small and nimble dodgers versus "tanky" blockers). In retrospect, it was fairly reminiscent of a kind of crossover between paintball and a LARP, but it had several aspects that seemed to paint it specifically as a martial art, rather than a sport or an RPG:

  • The physical fitness requirements were somewhat modest, similar to boffer LARP (with judges calling critical hits from plastic and rubber "swords"), but without the associated fantasy roleplaying. Grips, throws, take-downs, and pins were disallowed.
  • It's progression/ranking system was based on mastering specific techniques and passing exams in them, rather than on amassing tournament "wins" as would be typical in a sport. That is, being at "Teamwork Level 5" and "Sword Blocks Level 3" was more important than being in top bracket for this year's championship.
  • It emphasized internal discipline and self-sacrifice for the team. That is, teamwork wasn't simply a practical requirement, being an effective team member was part of the art.

In other words, it was kind of a "fencing with teams" with a heavy dose of 21st century white-collar "soft skills" teamwork lessons (supporting strengths, being both a leader and a follower, taking turns, not always having to be "the hero", etc.).

Unfortunately, I can find no record of what it was I found, or of anything resembling it. Is there a martial art that focuses on fighting as part of a small team and being effective within that team?

To be clear, I'm not asking for an identification of the exact art or program that I'm remembering (it might not exist anymore, or it could be a false-memory synthesis of various combat sports and role playing games that I've encountered in the past), but asking whether something like this exists at all in martial arts.

1 Answer 1


There have been a few formal attempts at a competition like this, such as "Team Fighting Championship" (video) or Hip Show: Arena Combat, which added obstacles. So far, they've been little more than novelties in part to the difficulty of following the action, and the increased risk of injury.

Source: When MMA Gets Weird

If you're asking about an actual style, you'd probably be looking at something like HEMA.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.