The Top 20 Most Popular Martial Arts in the United States

William Chon
Analytics Vidhya
Published in
9 min readMay 27, 2020

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Scraping Yelp data from all 50 states to see how Americans fight

Fighting in America is truly international, with the most popular styles originating from other parts of the world. A question that I have always been interested in is what is the most popular combat sport in America? Unfortunately, Google didn’t have a good answer, so with the help of Yelp I try to answer the question:

Which combat sport has the most practitioners in America?

Approach: In order to learn a combat sport, you need to train at a gym. So one way to estimate the number of people that practice a sport is to count how many gyms there are for that particular sport.

This is where Yelp comes in — if we can count the number of gyms, studios, dojos, etc. for each sport in America, we can start to get a better understanding what type of demand there is for different combat sports in America. And later in this article, I also take a quick look at how these trends compare within different regions of the US for the most popular sports.

And now.. for the ranking —

#1: Boxing (26% of gyms, 37% of reviews)

#2: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (20% of gyms, 19% of reviews)

#3 (tie): Karate (14% of gyms, 6% of reviews) & Taekwondo (13% of gyms, 6% of reviews)

#5 (tie): MMA (5% of gyms, 8% of reviews), Kickboxing (4% of gyms, 10% of reviews)

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William Chon
Analytics Vidhya

Data scientist and occasional writer. My day job is to turn R into $.