What to know before going into martial art
Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practiced for a number of reasons such as self-defense, military and law enforcement applications, physical, mental and spiritual development; as well as entertainment and the preservation of a nation’s intangible cultural heritage.
There are a large number of distinct styles and schools of martial arts. Sometimes, schools or styles are introduced by individual teachers or masters, or as a brand name by a specific gym. Martial arts can be grouped by type or focus, or alternatively by regional origin. This article focuses on the latter grouping.
For hybrid martial arts, as they originated from the late 19th century and especially after 1950, it may be impossible to identify unique or predominant regional origins. It is not trivial to distinguish “traditional” from “modern” martial arts. Chronology is not the decisive criterion, as, for example, “traditional taekwondo” was developed in the 1950s, while the “modern” hybrid martial art of Bartitsu was developed in ca. 1900.
A large portion of traditional martial arts can be categorized as folk wrestling (see the separate article), although in some cases a folk wrestling style and a modern combat sport may overlap or become indistinguishable from each other once the sport has been regulated.