Is it permissible to perform martial arts or play sports involving fighting?
In the Name of Allah, the All-Beneficent, the All-Merciful.
May Allah bless Muhammad and his Family and damn their enemies.
It is permissible as long as it does not lead to harm upon yourself and others. Ordinary pain gained from training, however, is not considered as harm.
Moreover, one must avoid engaging in such activities if they are performed in an indecent environment, such as where the two genders mix and engage actively, and where music is played, and overall where sin is performed.
Also, certain forms of martial arts include ritual-like activities with origins in Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism or other faiths that perform or believe in idol worship, polytheism, paganism, pantheism, atheism or other forms which represent disbelief – which one must avoid to participate in.
However, there is nothing problematic in learning skills from non-Muslims as long as one does not participate in anything that violates Islam.
The Office of Sheikh al-Habib