About Martial Arts
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The martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practices. They are practiced for a variety of reasons, including self-defense, competition, physical health and fitness, as well as mental, physical, and spiritual development.


The term martial art has become heavily associated with the fighting arts of eastern Asia, but was originally used in regard to the combat systems of Europe as early as the 1550s. An English fencing manual of 1639 used the term in reference specifically to the "Science and Art" of swordplay. The term is ultimately derived from Latin, and means "Arts of Mars," where Mars is the Roman god of war. Some martial arts are considered 'traditional' and are tied to an ethnic, cultural or religious background, while others are modern systems developed either by a founder or an association.



Variation and scope

Martial arts may be categorized along a variety of criteria, including:

  • Traditional or historical arts and contemporary styles of folk wrestling vs. modern hybrid martial arts.
  • Regional origin, especially Eastern Martial Arts vs. Western Martial Arts
  • Techniques taught: Armed vs. unarmed, and within these groups by type of weapon (swordsmanship, stick fighting etc.) and by type of combat (grappling vs. striking; stand-up fighting vs. ground fighting)
    By application or intent: self-defense, combat sport, choreography or demonstration of forms, physical fitness, meditation, etc.
  • Within Chinese tradition: "external" vs. "internal" styles

By technical focus

Unarmed

Unarmed martial arts can be broadly grouped into focusing on strikes, those focusing on grappling and those that cover both fields, often described as hybrid martial arts.


Strikes

Punching : Boxing (Western), Wing Chun
Kicking : Capoeira, Kickboxing, Taekwondo, Tang Soo Do, Savate
Others using strikes : Karate, Muay Thai, Sanshou, Vale Tudo, Wushu


Grappling

Throwing : Aikido, Glima, Hapkido, Judo, Sambo
Joint lock/Chokes/Submission holds : Aikido, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Hapkido, Submission Wrestling
Pinning Techniques : Judo, Wrestling, Sambo


Weapon-based

Those traditional martial arts which train armed combat often encompass a wide spectrum of melee weapons, including bladed weapons and polearms. Such traditions include eskrima, silat, Kalarippayattu, kobudo, and historical European martial arts, especially those of the German Renaissance. Many forms of Chinese martial arts also feature weapons as part of their curriculum.

Sometimes, training with one specific weapon will be considered a style of martial arts in its own right. This is especially the case in Japanese martial arts with disciplines such as kenjutsu and kendo (sword), bojutsu (staff), and kyudo (archery). Similarly, modern Western martial arts and sports include modern fencing, stick-fighting systems like canne de combat or singlestick, and modern competitive archery.

 

 
 
   

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