The history of martial arts is a tricky subject.
You could ask 10 different people from 10 different arts and get 10 different answers. You could also ask
10people from the same art and get 10 different answers. The truth is that we only have a general idea about
when Martial Arts began.
Here is a short look at the history of martial arts after we here at thefightgame. tv compared notes as to what
we have been taught and learned throughout the course of our studies in the arts. This is meant only as a
guideline. We can't guarantee the accuracy of the information contained here in. It's just a compilation of
what we've been taught.
Martial arts is another way saying the "art of combat" or "art of waging of war." In it's infancy, it was used as
a weapon to survive. Kill or be killed. Martial arts can be a set of movements used for offensive or defensive
purposes (called Kata's or forms). It can also be a set of movements used to promote health. It has structure
and every movement has meaning. Then again, the late Bruce Lee taught that one should take the best from
all arts and adapt them to whatever situation one finds oneself in. By not having structure and preset
movements, one is not limited and confined. But as some have pointed out, therein lies the structure.
Martial arts has evolved into everything from simple to complex systems of fighting and health. For
example, in Kung Fu, some mimic movements from the animal kingdom and adapt them to human fighting.
Other's, like in Tae Kwon Do, use focus techniques to build up "Chi" (Ones Life Force) and use it to generate
powerful strikes. While others, like in Tai-Chi, use it to promote health. The list goes on and on.
The truth of the matter is most martial arts are similar. They all teach similar principles (like the ones
mentioned above), just in different ways. It's like religion. Many different religions but they all have something
in common, they worship some form of deity. The one thing all martial arts have in common is that they
promote self-defense. Hence the reason martial arts is called the "Art of self-defense" and it just depends on
your personality, your range of movement and your comfort level as to which martial art will work best for
Furthermore, traditional martial arts, as we know them today, has it's roots in religion and philosophy.
Buddhism had a great impact in India and China which impacted Chinese martial arts. Taoism and Buddhism
in Japan led to Zen and all three impacted Japanese Martial Arts. Moreover, Chinese and Japanese
philosophers too had an impact on martial arts. They strived to set a code of ethics and morals to live by.
The Japanese Samurai, for example, had the code of the Bushido.
So where did it all begin?
Well, we've heard martial arts started in China way back in 1,300 - 1,000 B.C.
We've also heard martial arts started in Greece with the Romans and wrestling somewhere near 40 B.C.
And yet, there are still others that believe that it started in India somewhere in the first or second century
B.C. and was brought over to China in or around 500 A.D.
And we've heard it started in Europe around 750 B.C. and that wrestling was the first martial art known as
Still others believe it goes back even further to 2,500 B.C. to the Egyptians, as they had some form of hand
to hand combat.
More than likely, in some form, wrestling was the first martial art. When and where, who knows.
The closest thing that historians can agree upon is when a martial art started in a particular country.
For example, from what we've been told, most historians believe Kung Fu started around 500 A.D. when a
man named Bodhidharma, who was said to be a monk from India, wandered the plains in search of
enlightenment. He wandered into China and came across a Shaolin Temple where he began to teach his
philosophy to the monks and some exercise skills. It is there where Kung Fu had it's beginnings.
And F.Y.I., Kung Fu is more of a western term as it means "he who possesses skill or ability." The Chinese
refer to martial arts as Wu Shu.
As you can tell, we here at thefightgame. tv have heard many explanations as to when it all began. All we
know is that we are extremely grateful it has survived and flourished in our times.
Martial artists have adapted that which was used to fight wars of yesteryear into a gift of physical and
mental conditioning for our times.
This art, that teaches the ultimate skills for war, that has been handed down from generation to generation,
has also transformed its practitioners into some of the most mellow, well mannered individuals the world has
ever seen. From the day when a martial artist was in a kill or be killed situation, it has grown into somewhat
of an oxymoron. That of a peaceful warrior. He/she would rather walk away from a fight than be in one.
The greatest victory one can achieve is that which you do not use your physical skills but that which you win
by using your mental skills.
If you are interested in learning more about martial arts history, go down to your local library and check out a
couple of book on the subject. You could also go down to your local martial arts studio and ask an Instructor
for their views. There are also many great documentaries available on television and video you can view.
Don't be discourage if you come up with many different answers. That's half the fun. Somewhere within all the
theories probably lies the truth.
We here at thefightgame.tv like to think that martial arts started the very first time a human being took a
breathe on this earth. It is the thought of where the next meal will come from. It is the battle to achieve
shelter. It is the struggle to survive.
Martial arts is everywhere.
We would like to leave you with a quote. We hope you like it.
"Martial Arts is not about fighting. It has evolved into an art. The Kung Fu is not the fighting that you are
learning. That is but a small aspect of the art. The Kung Fu is between you and me. The Communication,
The Respect, The Discipline to do that which is most difficult. Therein lies Kung Fu. Therein lies the Martial
Sihing Kurt Smith
Choy Li Fut Kung Fu