This is a lot more sill than brawn, so martial arts makes sense to me as a skill.
The mechanics involved in getting someone in a chokehold pretty much precludes any sort of defense on the attacker's part. They are relying on their position behind the person being choked as 'defense'. That works fine when the opponent is unarmed. It doesn't work well at all when the opponent has a blade or a short barreled firearm (like a pistol).
All that being said, the hand to hand system here is pretty good. A real choke hold is going to end a fight in a few seconds once you get it locked in. The fact that it takes much longer than that in game to choke someone out implies, to me, that there is still a lot of struggling going on. By struggling I mean active resistance and skill checks being done via the 'resist' command.
By the styles they meant, the actual messages you see, like MA has Jujitsu, Krav Maga, etc. When you fight it show different messages. Brawling would have BJJ, Box, Karate, whatever.
People as always get distracted by mechanics instead of thinking about flavor. Style, is a very themely thing and key to the genera. Its not so much what can you do, but *how* you do it.
Also although not necessary, it would be neat to be able to push people around literally out of a room similar as how shove works with rooftop edge, etc.
The concept of styles each having their own pluses and minuses is a good one. It kind of falls apart at the higher levels though.
While everyone starts with one style, what eventually happens is people start cross training. They also adapt the style to their body type and own capabilities and physical limitations.
Then you get to the point where a body can only move so many ways, a joint wants to move one way and not another, etc. And then it really doesn't matter what 'style' you use because you're just using what is effective for any given situation.
It would be great if we can avoid recreating the 'my style is better than yours' argument that ALWAYS comes up when people start talking about martial arts / combat. People who have been training for a long time are going to agree that it comes down to the practitioner and not the art.
All the technique in the world is not going to save the 150lb guy fighting the 250lb guy if they have both been dedicated to honing their bodies and training. That is why there are weight classes. When two equally 'skilled' opponents compete, 99% of the time the bigger / stronger person is going to win. There is a reason that most bouncers are big, burly guys and not lithe, agile Bruce Lee types.
To keep it on topic, maybe there could be an @fatal like switch for 'resist'. The default would be 'escape' with the option to 'reverse'. Reversing would be more difficult than escaping.