What Is A Martial Art? Explained

Marital arts have been around for centuries and are practiced by millions of people around the globe for various reasons, including self-defense to improve their health and fitness.

In this article, we answer the question ‘what is a martial art?’ and discuss some common facts and queries about martial arts.

What Is A Martial Art?

A martial art is a system of techniques, practices, and training methods designed to be used for self-defense, military, or law enforcement purposes or to preserve and promote cultural heritage. There are many different martial arts styles, each with its own unique techniques, philosophies, and training methods. Some examples of martial arts include Karate, Taekwondo, Kung Fu, and Judo.

What Does The Word Martial Art Mean?

The term “martial art” has a long history, and its usage has evolved over time. It is generally believed to have originated from the Latin term “ars martialis,” which means “arts of Mars.” Mars was the Roman god of war, and the word “ars martialis” referred to the various systems of training and techniques used by soldiers to prepare for war. The term “martial art” has been used to describe various combat practices and fighting systems throughout history, including boxing, wrestling, fencing, and many others.

Types of Martial Arts

There are many different types of martial arts, each with its own unique techniques, traditions, and philosophies. Some examples of martial arts include:

  1. Karate: A Japanese martial art that emphasizes striking techniques such as punches, kicks, and knee strikes.
  2. Taekwondo: A Korean martial art that focuses on high, fast kicks.
  3. Judo: A Japanese martial art that involves throws and submission holds.
  4. Kung Fu: A Chinese martial art that includes various techniques, including strikes, kicks, throws, and joint locks.
  5. Muay Thai: A Thai martial art that utilizes strikes with fists, elbows, knees, and shins.
  6. Boxing: A martial art that involves striking with fists and is usually practiced in a ring with gloves.
  7. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: A martial art that focuses on ground fighting and submission holds and is often taught in conjunction with judo.
  8. Kung-fu: A Chinese martial art that emphasizes fluid, graceful movements and quick reflexes.
  9. Kickboxing: A martial art that combines elements of boxing and karate and involves striking with the hands and feet.
  10. Aikido: A Japanese martial art that uses techniques to redirect an opponent’s energy and momentum and focuses on self-defense.

Benefits of Martial Arts Training

benefits of martial arts

There are many benefits to training martial arts. Some of the physical, mental and social benefits include:

  1. Improved physical fitness: Training in martial arts can help improve strength, endurance, and coordination.
  2. Stress relief: Martial arts training can be a great way to relieve stress and relax.
  3. Self-defense: By learning martial arts, you can gain the skills and confidence to defend yourself in dangerous situations.
  4. Discipline: Many martial arts styles strongly emphasize discipline and respect, which can be beneficial in other areas of your life.
  5. Self-confidence: Training in martial arts can help boost your self-confidence and self-esteem.
  6. Mental focus: The discipline and focus required for martial arts training can help improve your mental focus and concentration.
  7. Fun: Finally, martial arts can be a lot of fun! It’s a great way to make new friends and have a good time while getting in shape.

Popular Martial Arts Events & Organisations 

Many martial arts events and organizations are popular around the world. Some examples include:

  1. Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) – This is a mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion company based in the United States. It is one of the world’s most popular and well-known martial arts organizations.
  2. ONE Championship – This is a Singapore-based martial arts promotion company that hosts events featuring a variety of martial arts disciplines, including MMA, Muay Thai, and BJJ.
  3. The International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) – This organization hosts Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) tournaments worldwide, including the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship, which is one of the most prestigious BJJ tournaments.
  4. The World Karate Federation (WKF) – This organization is the governing body for the sport of Karate and hosts tournaments and events around the world.
  5. The International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) – This organization is the governing body for the sport of Taekwondo and hosts tournaments and events around the world.

These are just a few examples of popular martial arts events and organizations; many others are well-known and widely followed.

What Equipment Do Martial Artists Use

Martial arts equipment is used for a variety of reasons, such as to improve technique, increase conditioning, protect against injury, and for sparring or competition. 

Different types of equipment are used for various purposes, and martial arts may have unique pieces of equipment. For example, some martial artists may use weapons as part of their training, while others may use protective gear for sparring. Ultimately, the use of martial arts equipment depends on the specific goals and needs of the individual practitioner or martial arts school.

Below are some examples of common martial arts equipment widely used:

  1. Boxing gloves: used for sparring or hitting heavy bags in boxing
  2. Hand wraps: worn under boxing gloves to protect the wrists and hands
  3. Mouthguard: worn to protect the teeth and mouth from injury
  4. Shin guards: worn to protect the shins from injury
  5. Headgear: worn to protect the head from injury
  6. Grappling dummy: used for practicing throws, takedowns, and ground techniques
  7. Punching bag: used for practicing punches and other strikes
  8. Focus mitts: used for practicing punches and other strikes with a partner
  9. Training knives: used for practicing self-defense techniques involving knives
  10. Training guns: used for practicing self-defense techniques involving guns
  11. Protective cups: worn to protect the groin area from injury
  12. Karate uniform (gi): worn in karate, judo, and other martial arts styles

Many other pieces of equipment are used in martial arts training, depending on the specific martial art being practiced.

What’s A Martial Art?

A martial art is a fighting style involving training in physical combat techniques, such as punching, kicking, and weapons use. These styles are usually structured and systematic and often have a set of principles or philosophies that students are expected to follow. Some examples of martial arts include karate, taekwondo, judo, and kung fu.

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Gareth Davies

I'm a martial arts competitor and enthusiast. Over the last 15 years, I have trained and competed in several martial arts. I live in Manchester U.K working as a strength & conditioning coach when I'm not travelling and exploring martial arts around the world.
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