Martial Arts

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From The Martial Arts Encyclopedia
Martial Arts

Martial arts are fighting styles; often intended for self defense or warfare. In common usage, the term used is derrived from the Japanese word "Bujutsu" or "Warrior Skill" and refers to the fighting disciplines developed in Asia, such as Kung Fu (also transliterated 'Gung Fu'), and includes disciplines such as Jiu-Jitsu, Karate, Kendo or Aikido.

The Martial Arts are, primarily, systems of techniques used for fighting. There are many hundreds of styles and schools of martials arts; however, they are not all focused on combat. Certain martial arts, such as tai chi chuan are used for exercise or health. Some styles, such as Wushu and Parkour are used almost exclusively for performances or demonstration purposes. And other styles, such as iaido, seek to preserve the traditions in warrior customs and cultures of days gone by.

Contrary to popular belief, not all Martial Arts were developed in or derrived from Asian sources. Savate, for example, was developed as a form of kickboxing in France. Capoeira's athletic movements were developed in Brazil.


There are three primary categories or "ranges" of Martial Arts.

Most, if not all techniques can be categorized into these three ranges.


Martial Arts and styles themselves can be categorized into the following groups:


Violence is an inherent feature of nature given the need for predator to feed on prey. The earliest humans used their fists, rudimentary clubs and spears to hunt for food and kill their enemies. As society started taking shape, wars were fought between tribes, cities, and nations. These wars required trained soldiers, and herein lies the genesis of the Martial Arts. Some of the oldest written material on the subject is from the European 1400s, and written by notable teachers like Hans Talhoffer and George Silver. Some transcripts of yet older texts have survived, the oldest being a manuscript going by the name of I.33 and dating from the late 1200s.

Individual Styles

Martial Arts developed in Asia include:

Martial Arts developed in Europe include:

Krav Maga
Greco-Roman fighting
Leonese fighting

Martial Arts developed in South America include:

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Martial Arts developed in Africa include:

Zulu stick fighting
Canarian fighting

Martial Arts developed in the North America include:

Jeet Kune Do (of asian descent) by Bruce Lee
American Kenpo also see Ed Parker

Martial arts weapons include: