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General Martial Arts

We have 8 different styles of Martial Arts that you can learn, each with its own hobby page. Below is the general overview of martial arts. To learn about the individual martial arts styles, go to these link pages; Aikido, Capoeira, Ju Jitsu, Judo, Karate, Kung Fu, Mixed Martial Arts - MMA, and Taekwondo.

Learning martial arts can be something easy to get into after making some basic choices regarding your preferences. The three common reasons for getting into martial arts are wanting to start tournament competition, self defense, or physical and mental development. Then you must choose a style that suites your interest and body type.

Below is a terrific introductory article where you can learn the basics and how to get started. You can help grow our learning community by contributing your knowledge to the article. Just click on the edit tab in the wiki article below.

Use the white subtabs above to navigate the other Martial Arts resources. We have a Martial Arts forum where you can get your questions & doubts answered, a page with Martial Arts how-to videos, a page with the best handpicked links to other sites, and a page with the best Martial Arts books and products.

Good Luck and Have Fun!
Duncan Davis

 

Introduction


A martial art refers to a form of fighting that has a distinct code. This code will, at the very least, set down moves that can be learned, trained, and utilized by its practitioners. Additionally, philosophic or religious aspects can be tied to a martial art, but it is not necessary.




Often when people hear the term martial arts, they usually associate it with fighting styles which were founded in the east. Karate, Kung Fu, Judo, are just a few examples of some of these styles. However, martial arts can apply to all fighting techniques from every corner of the world.




A martial art will train someone in three major areas. It does not need to include all of these elements, but chances are these areas will be addressed. The three main areas are grappling, striking, and the use of weaponry.




Martial Arts is derived from the word mars who is the Roman god of war. Martial Arts have been in existence since prehistoric period. It started due to the human need of protecting and defending their families and homeland from the intruders. It does not exist in just one form. There are so many ways and techniques in it and it has under gone the process of evolution. No matter where you are, one thing is for sure that if you are interested in it, then you can surely catch a martial arts teacher or trainer in your vicinity. It can be broadly classified as the arts, which is either concrete encompassing kicks, punches, strikes etc or on the other hand soft which uses systematic breathing, internal excursion, concentration etc.




Styles and Types of martial arts:


Martial arts have earned popularity like a wild fire. Nowadays, every third person is practicing it for protection (self-defense as well as protection of his loved ones), comfort, numerous competition and mental relaxation. There are numerous types of martial arts. Recently it is estimated that martial arts have above 250 different types. Thousands of training schools are present which teaches different styles of martial arts. Many types are very much similar to each other so can be sometimes considered as one type. Categorizing of martial arts types depends upon its technique. It could be striking or can be grappling. Grappling includes throwing, locking and wrestling techniques. It teaches us how to neutralize the opponent attack without the use of any striking technique. It is to handle the opponent or attacker by his own power. There are various types of grappling martial arts but some widely use are as follows:




1- Judo




2- Jujitsu




3- Aikido




4- Bando Thaing




5- Kali Silat




The other major technique of martial art is striking. It is to hit your opponent with your knees, hands, feet, elbows and even with your head. It is an aggressive way of fighting where you attack or respond the opponent attack with the quality and powerful style. It also have variety of types. But some major types of striking martial arts are listed below:




1-Kung Fu




2- Taekwondo




3-Karate




4-Kendo




5-Kick boxing


 


Following are few types of martial arts, which are extremely practiced by the people:




Taekwondo: it originated from Korea and it includes flying and spinning kicks. The word taekwondo is a mixture of three words of Korean language i.e. TAE: it means foot or kick, KWON: it means fist or punch and the last word is DO: it means art of living. If we talk in actual or collectively the word Taekwondo means way of wrestling or fighting with the help of your foot and hands.


 



Uniform or Dress


The trainer or the one who is getting training wear white colored loose tunic, which is known as dobok. To identify the rank of the person numerous colored belts are used. A person with black belt is considered a master or an expert of taekwondo.




Karate:


It is a kind of martial arts, which primarily focuses on self-defense without any arm. It includes specific type of body movements and shouts, which majorly includes kicks and punches. Different ways for controlling and maneuvering are taught, which can assist a person in case of danger. Lesson in karate taught us with how to self guard yourself. A person being a fighter is also taught moral values, good way or art of living and discipline. Speed, power and technique are basic characteristic of an expert or Karate Dan.




Uniform or Dress




While practicing karate, each individual wear a tunic of white color which is said to be Gi. There are a variety of belts that indicates the skills of an individual. A person with white belt is considered to be a beginner. Where as a person with black belt is considered to be an expert and is called as Dan. A person who gives you karate training is said to or called as Sensai.




Jujitsu:




It originated from Japan. This type of martial arts uses kicking, throwing, kneeing, choking holds and numerous sort of tools. The word Jujitsu is a mixture of two Japanese language words.




1- Ju: means mild or flexible (soft) way to transfer or respond to the aggression of the attacker.




2- Jitsu: means way or art of using the energy or power from your opponent attack.




It is believed that the basis of jitsu primarily depends upon various types of martial arts which was inherited by Japanese from Asia.


 


Uniform or Dress




There is no proper uniform or dress for jitsu.




Martial arts weapons:




There are several hundred weapons for martial arts. Weapons vary from type to type or style to style.




The most common used weapons are Nunchacku, Steel Blade Kama, Martial arts gloves, Round Chrome Sai, Kung Fu Swords, octagon Sai, Dulo-Dulo, Tai Chi Swords, Action Flex Nunchaku, Garrote ,Rubber Knife, Wood Knife, Samurai Swords and Wooden Bokken.




These weapons are available in various color, style and sizes. They are mainly used for self-defense.




Three major areas of Martial Arts


As stated before, a martial art will utilize striking, grappling, and/or the use of weapons. Many will specialize in only one of these areas, while others may train in all three. Most commonly, the art will have an emphasis on one major area.


 



Striking


Nearly every area will have a rudimentary form of striking. However, exceptions do exist. Wrestling in nearly all western forms are a good example to this exception.




The primary goal to using a strike is simple. Hit your opponent in a vulnerable area to incapacitate them. For some of the more lethal arts, this may include killing the individual. Even in the direst situations is this practiced. Many martial arts in the armed forces don’t incorporate the use of deadly force unless no other alternative is available.




Due to the possibility of death, many martial arts will reserve the most lethal techniques for the highest level practitioners of the art. By doing this, they can be confident that the practitioner is responsible and mature enough to know the proper use of what they have learned.




The following are some examples of martial arts that specialize in striking. Notice that these techniques are practiced with padded gear to prevent more serious injury.




Examples of striking styles




Striking with feet: Kick Boxing.




Striking with hands: Boxing.


 



Grappling


Given the deadly power of striking, other forms of techniques were developed. Not only do grappling styles still have the ability to disable an opponent, but many can be used in tight quarters.




The ability to strike greatly diminishes when a person is given less space. However, a grappler will gain a huge advantage by being closer to the other person. What is more, these styles can utilize different physiques.




Wrestling favors strength. Although speed does give an added benefit if the strength of both opponents are equal. However, judo will focus on skill. By directing the power of their opponent they’ll triumph.




Both of these martial arts are grappling varieties. This demonstrates that no matter the area of specialty, there is no one correct way to fight. This also gives you the option of how you would like to improve yourself.




Examples of grappling styles




Throwing: Glima, Jujutsu, Sambo, Judo




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




Pinning Techniques: Wrestling, Judo


 



Weaponry


From swords to staves, all forms of weaponry can be typically found in a martial art. The implementation of these weapons expands on the concept of striking. However, the modification that weapons provide, results in the need for training.




Left untrained in any weapon, a person would be more likely to do harm to themselves. Many martial arts have to implant the idea that the weapon is an extension of yourself.




Consider this; we as humans are a mediocre create naturally. We can swim, but we are not as fast as a seal. We can run, but an average horse can beat the best human runner and so on. However, the one thing we have over the natural kingdom is our intelligence.




We have the ability to modify ourselves to compensate for our deficiency. A sword is an artificial claw. A staff is an extension to our limbs. A shield serves as a carapace that we weren’t born with.




Keeping this concept in mind, if we want to utilize these new features we must become accustomed to them. This is where the martial arts come into play. As babies we needed to figure out how to walk. So too do we need to become aware of the potential of the weapon we hold.




Of course, the use of weapons is vastly more dangerous than learning to use your body in new ways. Because of this, more protective gear is typically needed when learning these forms of martial arts.




Examples of weaponry styles




Traditional Weaponry: Eskrima, Fencing, Gatka, Kendo, Kyūdō




Modern Weaponry: Jukendo


The most common use of martial arts today can be found in competitions. Whether the individual is competing against practitioners of the same martial discipline or against mixed formats, the idea of a competitive event is what is accepted in today’s society.




Each competitive event will allow the participants to attain a goal. This could involve medals, belts, trophies, titles, or ranking system. All of these methods give the individuals participating to display their proficiency and drive to win.




Another level to martial arts competitions involves differing degrees of intensity. Certain events will only allow light contact, while others require medium or even full contact. These differing levels will determine how a contest is handled.




Light and medium contact levels are mostly judged on points. The goal in these conditions is to touch vulnerable areas which are scored in various ways. Each martial art will determine the point for the spot touched cleanly. The head and chest are just two examples of areas that many fighting styles view as highly vulnerable and therefore highly valued areas to score on.




A full contact sport will still keep a track of points. However, these points are usually only used in determining ties. The objective of most full contact martial arts is to knock the opponent out or make them submit. These forms of competition are extremely dangerous and result in a short career as a martial artist for many.




The various sporting styles


Only a hand full of martial arts has been recognized by the world as a proper event. These few art styles are held as Olympic events in the summer games. On this level of competition the art it is partly shadowed by national pride in ones country.




As such, many martial arts whose focus is based on morale principles shy away from promoting themselves in such venues. These martial arts tend to view events like the Olympics as a way that may degrade their art form.




Another style of competition, primarily favored by eastern martial arts, is a non-combative display. This will vary depending on the principles taught by the particular art. Breaking bricks or following a routine known as a kata, are examples of this type of competitive display. Scoring is based on clean breaks and/or excellence of form. Many even view these forms of events as dance.




Mixed martial arts


Mixed martial art is one of the world’s most fast growing games. It is now everywhere, no matter where you are, you can have its training centers near you. In spite of the fact that this game is gaining its popularity at a very fast pace, still people are ignorant of its basic rules and regulations. Initially this game was not liked by the general masses and they used to find it as a game which is all about bloodshed but then later on its image improved. The reason behind their distaste for it was that there used to be no rules in the game and the players were supposed to fight with other like beasts in the cage. The poor players were generally badly hurt in the game and used to have their bones fractured. At that time even the referee didn’t know what to do and what his role was in the game. Later on due to the emergence of certain rules and regulations, this particular sport got its approval and now it is known world over.




Nowadays the youngsters who are interested in pursuing it as a career must know one thing that they should have mixed martial art training. It is a must for them or else they cannot survive in the game as it is becoming tougher and tougher and more challenging.




Use of martial arts on Modern battlefield


It is a question that is raised very often that what is the use or the practical application of mixed martial arts. There are so many fighting techniques that are being taught and have no practical use. They are just so much out dated but on the contrary mixed martial arts is not like that so. It is applied even today as well. During the Second World War it was commonly practiced by the army, more over US army, Canadian army and many other countries asked for the services of mixed martial arts trainers to train their soldiers. Even today as well, when any country has to send its troop to a very tough location or to a location where there is a lot of resistance. There the troops are given mixed martial arts training because it is not easy for a normal soldier to cope up with such a harsh environment.




Competition and Testing


Testing and evaluation is required in one form or the other. It could be the necessity for many reasons, like the student wants to know how much he or she has learnt so far or where are they standing amongst the class. This may also be required for the instructor to evaluate his/ her students as well. The evaluation is done by the instructor and as far as the evaluation criterion is concerned it actually varies a lot from type to type since there are hundreds of types of martial arts. In order to distinguish between different ranks based on knowledge, generally belts are used. White belt signifies the least and black shows that you are the master in it.




In order to evaluate any of the kind of martial arts, the instructor will either be making decision using form or sparring. These two terms are generally not very familiar.


In ‘Forms’ the student will be performing certain acts but these acts are generally predefined. The student can perform these acts either solo or it could be with an instructor. In this type of testing mechanism the student is suppose to perform some very specialized acts and the more the act is difficult to execute, the more the points the student gets.




Sparring is further divided into two types




1) Light or medium contact




2) Full contact




As the name suggests, in light contact the competitors are ought to follow more strict rules and regulations than full contact. In light contact, the competitors are told not to hit each other in the eyes or groin. In fact there are certain zones that are prohibited for the competitors to hit each other on. More over there are certain moves as well that are not allowed. The judges evaluate the players on the basis of the scores they make within a specified interval of time. In full contact, the competitors are least restrained by rules and regulations as there are very few rules they need to abide like the players can hit each other anywhere except the groin. There are also few movements that are not allowed like biting etc but this match is more intense.




The basic difference between form and sparring is this that in ‘form’ the fight that the competitors fight is predictable. Their bodies moves are already known to the competitor but in ‘sparring’ the moves are not known to the opponent. Every move is random and is based on the opponent’s move.




Advantages of martial arts


There are so many benefits of this sport that it is really impossible to tell each and every one of them. Here are few of them.




The first and foremost benefit that you get is this that you can protect yourself from the intruder in spite of being unarmed.




It also acts as a very good exercise as well. It not only keeps you physically fit but also internally as it also constitutes some rhythmic breathing exercises and ways to overcome mental stress and pressure. Workouts involved in martial arts trainings increase immune system that helps our body to protect from various ailments. Recently physiotherapist to make sure that injuries and wound heels with perfect and in less time has also adopted it. In simple, martial arts provides us with uncountable benefits that can never be achieved via some other exercise.




What you need to get started


There are a number of ways through which one can learn martial arts. You can do self-learning or join a martial arts school or center. Self-learning of martial arts can be done at home. You can take help from CDs/ DVD, books or even online. Nowadays, there are many website which offers guidance to you and allows to you learn at your home. These websites has lessons and step by step guide for beginners. Most of these Martial arts websites are free to join.




The other option is to join a martial arts center or school. There are various schools and centers in which you can enroll. You can enroll in a general program or can even join a specific program. For this decide the style or technique you want to learn. There are many schools or centers which allow the guest to various styles and choose accordingly. Make sure you do that in order to make the decision. You will also get an idea about the school or center itself and the environment with this.




Occasionally, schools, both grade school and college level, will offer classes in certain arts. Wrestling for instance is primarily available only through academic channels. Other more extreme forms may have you join an organization. Many military styles exist, but will only be given access to eligible personnel, i.e. members of that particular military organization.




Once you have found a martial art that is accessible to you, you can then proceed to do a more in-depth study of it. Keep in mind that many martial arts will share principles with a particular religious belief. If you take offense with these practices, it’s better to find out as soon as possible. This is not always the case.




Martial arts studios that pride themselves on competitions will more than likely have a greater focus on training and less on religion. Typical religious doctrine is usually only loosely followed in any case. However, the last thing any martial art would promote is for you to compromise your own beliefs.




Provided the martial art meets your needs, both physically and mentally, you can then determine the gear you’ll need. The amount of equipment needed will vary both in cost and practicality.




Training dummies that help you learn sword and shield techniques are not typically something you can find at your local store. Not to mention, someone qualified in the art form may be somewhat problematic to find.




Nearly every discipline will have their own specific uniform for training. Many eastern styles are simple with only a gi, martial arts uniform, and belt as the official clothing. Where as, wrestling will call for a singlet, special shoes, mouth guard, head gear, and possibly a few more pads and/or supports, can cost you a great deal more money.




By doing a small amount of investigation, it’s relatively easy to judge how much you’ll actually need. Certain martial arts studios can provide literature on what they offer and also what is required by students. If not, feel free to ask. These studios are always looking to help someone new to their craft and provide information readily.




Whatever your decision, you should never under estimate that any martial art offers. The following briefly covers some of these benefits that arise. Remember, this should also play a significant role in which art you choose to participate in.




Conclusion


As people, we have found the need to either protect ourselves or others. This in turn has spawned the birth of numerous styles of fighting. The values and reasons passed in each of these methods vary as widely as how the style originated.




The common factor though still remains. A well trained person in any martial art will tend to display a great deal of confidence in their life. In addition, they learn the importance of keeping your body healthy and methods on keeping it in top condition.




Martial art is not only fun and enjoyable but it is a great way to strengthen yourself and allows you to learn how to physically defend yourself. Workout involved in training provides a boost to your flexibility, stamina, strength and art of living. The best about it is that it not only provides you with fighting art but it enables you to learn moral values. No matter what is your age martial arts ensures to make your routine life much easier.




Many times martial arts will provide a focus for those who need it. These arts often have a morale component to teach responsibility or discovery of oneself. This of course is only a generalization and does not encapsulate every martial art. This is why you should always do your research on the art form that interests you. It is important that you find the form that not only fits you but you it.