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About the term "martial arts"


Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practices, which are practiced for many reasons, such as self-defense, military and law enforcement applications, mental and spiritual development, entertainment, and the preservation of a nation's cultural heritage.

The term

Although the term martial arts has become generally associated with the fighting arts of eastern Asia, it originally referred to the combat systems of Europe as early as the 1550s. The term is derived from Latin and means "arts of Mars", the Roman god of war. Some authors have argued that a better term would be ‘fighting arts’ or “fighting systems” on the basis that many martial arts were never "martial" in that they were not created by professional warriors or used in warfare.

The term "martial arts" has become a generic term used to describe any type of human physical fighting, be it classical karate, traditional taekwondo, sports taekwondo, boxing, wrestling, or the mixed martial arts (MMA). However, if a fighting style does not include the 'art' in its methods, philosophy, teaching, or training, it should not be classified a martial art, then it is just a fighting style or method. The 'art' is what separates a martial art from a fighting style. An 'art' is not just a way of fighting, it entails a way of life (as the “do” in taekwondo), a melding of body, mind, and spirit, with the goal of attaining an unattainable level of perfection.

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