Martial – of war, warlike
Arts – the practical skills or abilities in such work
Most Martial Arts have their origins in Asia, spreading and developing throughout areas as a means of protecting individuals, communities, property and land. Historically, Martial Arts were practiced as a vocation (way of life). As political trends changed, secrecy was often necessary to avoid punishment or death for Martial Art’s practitioners.
All Martial Arts follow precise behavior codes; their Tenets include honesty, loyalty, integrity, courtesy, respect and self-control which are translated into daily use both within the Martial Arts organization itself and in the daily lives of its individual members interacting in the community and their personal lives.
Students following a Martial Art training, strive to achieve a balance of mind, body and spirit. Without a balance of indomitable spirit, physical strength and humility, the Martial Art’s student will not attain true self- control, even if they follow the other tenets of their Martial Art discipline.
Today Martial Arts are practiced all around the world. Many armed forces use Martial Arts as part of their training regime for both self-defense or attack strategies during close combat. Each Martial Art is renowned for specific techniques. Students who start their Martial Arts journey do so for a variety of reasons, not least for the particular techniques/skills that appeal to them. Younger Martial Art students may begin their journey through friends and Parental choice; Older students through research and choice.
There are literally hundreds of Martial Arts Schools with regional variations and overlaps between some of them. Karate and Kung Fu are both famed for their powerful hand techniques. Taekwondo, like Karate has hand techniques but is better known for its powerful kicks. Judo is known for its off-balancing throws. Mixed martial arts, Boxing and Knockdown Karate use full contact, while grappling techniques are used in Jujitsu and Sumo. Weapons may also be used e.g. stick fighting in Kendo, Nunchucks in Kung Fu and the Okinawa staff in Bojutsu.
Lending itself to other sports, Martial Arts such as Karate, Kung Fu and Taekwondo build up stamina, develop faster reaction-reflexes, improve co-ordination and agility, strengthen resilience and empower students with confidence. All these positive developments can be translated to other sporting activities such as football, gymnastics, dance and tennis.
Worldwide recognition of sportsmanship can also be made through Martial Arts. Judo, Taekwondo and Greek/Roman style wrestling are all on the agenda of the Olympic Games. Most Martial Arts Clubs compete at local, inter-club and international events within their sport, so there are plenty of opportunities to develop social and team-building skills.
Martial Arts are suitable for everybody because they embrace all ages, cultures, religious beliefs, ethnicities, gender-orientation and abilities. The ethos of all Martial Arts is, it is more important to do your best than be the best. Regardless of the Martial Art chosen, students who diligently follow their tenets and train regularly will all benefit from improvement in fitness, agility, flexibility, strength, co-ordination and self-confidence.