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Martial arts refer to various codified systems and traditional combat practices. The reasons for practicing martial arts include self-defence, physicafitness, competition as well as physical, mental and spiritual development.

Martial Arts

Martial arts are types of codified traditions and systems of combat practices. These arts are practiced for numerous reasons, such as self-defense, fitness of physical health, competition and spiritual and mental development.

The terminology of martial art has currently become strongly associated with fighting arts that are practiced eastern Asia. However, it was originally meant to be used to describe the combat systems that were practiced in Europe during the 16th century. A fencing manual of English origin from 1639 used this term in reference mainly to the art and science of swordplay. The name martial art is derived from Latin, which denotes "Arts of Mars." Mars is considered as the God of War by the Romans. Some varieties of martial arts are believed to be traditional and are connected to a cultural, ethnic or religious background; the other varieties of martial arts are developed in modern times either by an association or by a founder.

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Variation and scope of Martial Arts

The various types of martial arts can categorized according to different types of criteria, such as

  • Historical or traditional arts as well as contemporary forms of folk wrestling versus modern hybridized types of martial arts.
  • Martial arts having a regional origin, such as Western Martial Arts versus Eastern Martial Arts.
  • The various techniques that are taught, such as armed versus unarmed, as well as based on the type of weapons that were used, for example stick fighting, swordsmanship, etc. and the type of combat, like striking versus grappling, ground fighting versus stand-up fighting.
  • According to application or intent, like self-defense, physical fitness, choreography and demonstration of forms, combat sport, meditation, etc.
  • Variation in styles within the Chinese tradition, such as "internal" versus "external" styles

Martial arts using technical focus


The various forms of unarmed martial arts are classified into 3 groups; one group that uses striking, the other group uses grappling, and a third group that employs both skills and are frequently referred to as the hybrid martial arts.


Punching: Wing Chun, Boxing (Western)

Kicking: Kickboxing, Capoeira, Taekwondo, Savate, Tang Soo Do

Others martial arts using strikes: Kung Fu, Karate, Ninjutsu, Muay Thai, Wushu, Vale Tudo, Sanshou


Throwing: Glima, Aikido, Judo, Hapkido, Sambo

Joint lock/Submission holds/Chokes: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Aikido, Submission Wrestling, Hapkido

Pinning Techniques: Wrestling, Judo, Sambo

Martial arts that are based on use of weapons

The traditional types of martial arts that provide training on armed combat often include a numerous melee weapons, such as polearms and bladed weapons. These traditions include Kalarippayattu, silat, eskrima, kobudo as well as historical martial arts from Europe, mainly those from German Renaissance. Numerous Chinese martial art forms also feature the use of weapons as a part of their overall curriculum.