Martial arts is a term used to mean all the different training systems that have been systematically tied together or arranged. Or so I say.
Generally, the different styles or systems have all been designed to serve one purpose: defending oneself against threats and defeating opponents physically. The word martial is derived from Mars; he was the god of war among the Romans.
In a broader sense, it refers to any technique of combat that often stresses on foot and hand combat. It refers to self defense that originated from Asia although it is practiced throughout the world. The search for enlightenment and mental discipline are some of the reasons that people enroll in martial arts. Some forms focus on using feet to disarm or attack an opponent while others concentrate on using throws or the hands to make an opponent harmless.
The History of Martial Arts
All types of ancient peoples engaged in hunting, war, and fighting. As a result, every single civilization had its own version of combat or martial arts. To most people Asia comes to mind when the term martial arts is mentioned.
At around 600 BC, trading between China and India was flourishing. Historians believe that it was during this period that information concerning the Chinese martial arts was passed on to the Indians and vice versa.
According to history, it was Bodhidharma, the Indian monk that facilitated the transmission of Chinese or Japanese martial arts to China when he relocated to the southern part of country. Martial arts borrowed a lot from his teaching. Teachings such as restraint and humility still continue to be applied even today. In fact, it is widely believed that Bodhidharma initiated Shaolin martial arts.
Popular Forms of Martial Arts
With action movies, mma, and bjj, martial arts have exploded tremendously in popularity over the last decade. Some popular forms include Taekwando, Kung Fu, Jujitsu, Aikido, and Karate. All stress on how to be disciplined and mentally focused. Through repeatedly practicing moves, techniques, and motions, a person develops mental discipline, strength, and grace.
Examples of Martial Arts
Taekwondo – this translates to the way of the fist and foot. It is an art that primarily focuses on striking with the foot. It also teaches individuals to use their own hands to attack an opponent or to block the punches or kicks of an opponent. This martial art is Korean born and it stresses mental discipline and flexibility.
Submission Wrestling – this is basically bjj without the gi. Or catch wrestling, or submission grappling.
Vale Tudo - a kick ass form of no hold barred fighting. The ancestor or founding father of our beloved mixed martial arts.
Jiu-Jitsu - this is a Japanese martial art that was originally developed to counter the use of weapons when fighting which was common among the Samurais. With time, its focus was shifted to hand combat, though some teachings on jiu-jitsu still emphasize the use of weaponry.
Aikido – this is a martial art that instructor Morihei Ueshiba developed. It focuses on joint locks and throws. It does not focus on using kicks or punches on defeating opponents; rather, it focuses on using the energy of the opponent to control him or to toss him aside.
Muay Thai – for me, this is the most devastating of the striking arts, the art of 8 limbs since everything is a weapon. Elbows, knees, you name it.
Kung Fu – is among the most popular and honored style. Kung fu teachings are based on the movements of the snake, the dragon, the crane, the tiger, and the leopard. Any kung fu student learns mental discipline, strength, and grace while studying this form of martial arts.
Mixed Martial Arts – when all this poop comes together into one skilled, fighting, bad mambo jambo, it is called mixed martial arts.
Further Reading on Martial Arts
I have quite a few posts up about various forms of martial arts. I wouldn’t call it a series but they are connected or related. The next post in order is titled ‘Types of Martial Arts’. In that post, I break down martial arts into the two basic categories, striking and grappling. Then I go over what I think are the most effective styles for mma and then some other types. Click the following link to go check it out: Types of Martial Arts.