The Evolution of Martial Arts: From Ancient Times to Modern Day

Martial Arts have been around for thousands of years. Learn about their evolution from ancient times to modern day.

The Evolution of Martial Arts: From Ancient Times to Modern Day

It is often believed that martial arts are the oldest form of combat in the world, with deep roots in Indian mythology that date back thousands of years. One of the earliest forms of Korean martial arts is Taekkyon, which has records that date back to around 50 BC. C., in paintings found in the ancient Muyongchong and Samsilchong tombs of the Goguryeo dynasty. Other Indian martial arts, such as Silambam, are still practiced in countries of the Indian cultural sphere, such as Indonesia and Malaysia. When forms of combat become competitive, they become a sport in their own right that dissociates itself from its combative origin, as is the case with Western fencing.

Martial arts teaching in Asia has historically followed cultural traditions, with students trained in a strictly hierarchical system by a master instructor. Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practiced for various reasons, such as self-defense; military and police applications; competition; physical, mental and spiritual development; entertainment; and the preservation of a nation's intangible cultural heritage. It wasn't until a large number of Western military personnel spent time in Korea, China, Japan, and elsewhere that soldiers gradually began to recognize the value of Eastern martial arts in Western culture, and it was this that promoted the start of training. Some authors have argued that martial arts or combat systems would be more appropriate terms on the basis that many martial arts were never martial in the sense that they were used or created by professional warriors. In many cases, it is difficult to provide an accurate date of origin for a particular martial art due to lack of human records from early human history. Beemat analyzes the history of martial arts and how they have evolved over thousands of years to become what they are today.

Between the middle and end of the 19th century, modern sports developed from previous traditional combat systems. This proved to be commercially viable and many martial arts workshops (also known as McDojos and belt factories) adopted colored belt systems as a means of generating additional money. Martial arts have a wide variety of benefits, can improve balance, strength, endurance, flexibility and posture, and can also improve weight loss and improve muscle tone. Although the popularity of these martial arts is widespread all over the world, thanks in large part to movies and television, they are quite recent in the history of martial arts. Sykes was recruited by the Special Operations Executive (SOE) to teach his Defendu martial art (which in turn is based on Western boxing and jujutsu) and to shoot with a pistol at special forces in the United Kingdom, United States and Canada. Shuai Jiao (known as Lucha Libre China in English), is considered the oldest martial art in China.

Today, boxing is still a popular sport for spectators and is an essential part of modern mixed martial arts (MMA). Testing or evaluation is important for martial artists from many disciplines who want to determine their progression or their own level of skill in specific contexts.