- "I studied martial arts for several years. It was required by ONI for anyone engaging in frontline diplomacy with the Sangheili."
- — Olympia Vale
Martial arts are fighting systems devised and employed for combat, self-defense, or sport. A practitioner of martial arts is referred to as a martial artist.
Unarmed martial arts teach striking or grappling techniques for hand-to-hand combat, whereas weapon-based martial arts employ the use of various hand-held objects such as swords, staffs, clubs, or knives. Many cultures practice different styles of combat based around unarmed and armed fighting. Pan guth was an early fighting art that was practiced by the Forerunners.
Many United Nations Space Command inter-species delegates were required to learn martial arts as a prerequisite for serving as a frontline diplomat for the Office of Naval Intelligence with the Sangheili. Olympia Vale studied martial arts for several years at the Green Cloud institute in order to fulfill that requirement. The Spartan supersoldiers were exceptionally well-versed in martial arts. The Spartan-II soldiers had spent years training on Reach with martial arts specialists provided by their drill instructor Franklin Mendez. Li-008 was considered one of the best martial artists among the Spartan-II supersoldiers. In addition to their War Games training aboard the UNSC Infinity, Spartan-IV soldiers practice multiple different forms of unarmed martial arts. The Infinity also hosts fighting events where its crew members and Spartans can showcase their pugilistic skills in "cage matches".
The Shadow Master of Buwan, an Unggoy Heavy warrior serving under Yapyap the Destroyer, is a martial artist and taught his disciples ancient Balaho martial arts and a number of useful rope knot tricks.
- Boxing – Boxing is a combat sport in which two contenders fight with their fists in an attempt to knock out the opposing fighter. The martial art had been outlawed on the human Outer Colony of Eridanus II by the turn of the 26th century.
- Stick-fighting – Stick-fighting is a generic term for martial arts which use simple slender wooden 'sticks' for fighting; such as a pugil stick, staff, cane, baton or similar. The Sangheili train extensively with sticks from youth, learning combat skills and the basics of the art of swordsmanship.
- Swordsmanship – Sword fighting is the art and skill of combating with a sword weapon. The Sangheili have a long history of using bladed weapons, like the curveblade, burnblade, twin scythe, and the favored energy sword. A Sangheili warrior who became a master swordsman would ordinarily be referred to by the suffix -ai. In Sangheili culture, a Sangheili-ai's great prowness would attain them the social status of Aristocrat or the title of Blademaster. Swordsmen train in various fighting styles and master numerous dueling techniques, many of which that are unfamiliar to Humans. One technique, known as the 'Anyame technique, is taught by Xaebho 'Anyame in the fortress of Deithvo. The warriors of Sumai keep are well familiar with the 'Anyame technique and were taught to counter it by feigning incompetence in a duel. At times some swordfighters, most notably Arbiters Fal 'Chavamee and Ripa 'Moramee, utilized a style of combat where they dual wielded two plasma blades in battle.
- Wrestling – Wrestling is a combat sport involving grappling techniques such as throws, takedowns, pins and other grappling holds. During their years of military training, the Spartan-IIs spent endless hours on wrestling mats sparing with their teammates and handlers. In 2520, Spartan trainee Carris-137 inadvertently killed a handler during a wrestling routine. She had reversed her handler's pin and thrown him away, causing the man to die instantly when his fifth and sixth cervical vertebrae were severed in the fall.
John-117 fighting several ODSTs in a boxing ring.
A young Thel 'Vadam trains with a wooden staff.
Spartan Sarah Palmer engaging Spartan Vladimir Scruggs in hand to hand combat after his defection.
John-117 and Jameson Locke engaged in hand to hand combat.
- Halo: Hunters in the Dark, page 153
- Halo: Cryptum, page 93
- Halo: First Strike, page 374
- Halo: First Strike, page 265 (2010)
- Halo: Escalation, Issue #4
- Halo 4 UNSC Infinity Briefing Packet
- Halo Waypoint: Canon Fodder - Haze of Glory
- Hunt the Truth, Episode 03: CRITICAL CONDITION
- Halo: Evolutions - The Return motion comic
- Halo: Glasslands, page 54 and 55
- Halo: Shadow of Intent, page 15 (Google Play edition)
- Halo: Hunters in the Dark, Page 106
- Halo: Hunters in the Dark, pages 49-50 (Google Play edition)
- Dr. Halsey's personal journal