What Truely Is A Martial Art?


A martial art is identified as any skill that is usefull within warfare. The definition of martial means “military.” So traditionally, a martial art is a military art. The first things that usually pop into your head when discussing modern fighting systems do you think leaping, kicking, punching, blocking, inverting elbows, twisting necks, throwing, and weapons combat. But also horsemanship, javelin throwing, archery, spear fighting, halberd fighting, wrestling, knife fighting, rifle, shotgun, and pistol shooting, demolitions, logistics, and battle strategy can all be classified within as the field of martial arts. Anything that a soldier might do in battle is a martial art.

By martial art usually it is meant aikido, arnis, boxing, capoeria, chow gar, choy la fut, hapkido, hsing’i, hun gar, jeet kune do, jow gar, judo, jujitsu, karate, kempo, kick boxing, krav maga, kung fu, pa kua, penjak silat, praying mantis, savate, shaolin, tae kwon do, tai chi, white crane, ving tsun, wu shu and more! As you can see the list is quite long and it is actually very promising how many combat arts systems there are and how many methods of self defense can be formulated.

The best style out there for you is the style that helps you achieve the product you have set for yourself, and that advances you to take your skills up a level. If that means full contact training, then you need styles that can give you that.

Often within a martial arts school it is taught that ‘this style is the best system and it was created to beat all the others’. Of course every martial artist would have the viewpoint their style is the best because that is the style they have chosen to do, but in reality what they are saying is ‘this is the best style for me as it suits myattitude and I like the teaching environment’.

There is a ongoing joke in the martial arts, that basically says when someone says theirs is the best style, what they really mean is “I study X”. Have an open mind and open eyes, and you will find the style or styles that best fit your needs.

The changing of the arts

During the period of this history and development of the martial arts and all the combat systems of man our training tools have been instrumental in evolving and perfecting these fighting systems.

All the martial arts have been altered due to the function that mechanical devices play whether it be weapons, dojo mats, breaking boards or even the uniforms we wear – all these paraphanialia indentify the martial arts into their systems and style.

The main players in shaping our new martial arts would surely be the non-contemporary wooden dummy, ving tsun rings, iron palm ointments and even the system of using forms and karta have developed the martial arts into their current form.

Even today modern training tools are common and again the martial arts are evolving and growing with new training products such as the Wavemaster, the BOB training dummy, the Focus Master. All with a common idea, to create a well rounded combat system.

Ideally a martial arts solo training tool definately has to be workable for all and based on great background ideals and through constant drilling develop into sound physical application. The ideology and theory would have to take into account all the history of the combat technology of man and give this competition and street application.