Martial Arts (武道, Budō) are codified systems and traditions of various fighting styles and combat practices. They contain systematized methods of training for combat, both armed and unarmed, which are practiced for a variety of reasons.

There are a large number of distinct styles and schools of martial arts. Sometimes, schools or styles are introduced by individual teachers or masters, or as a brand name by a specific gym. Martial arts can be grouped by type or focus, or alternatively by regional origin.

Hybrid martial arts or Mixed Martial arts refer to martial arts or fighting systems that incorporate techniques and theories from several particular martial arts . While numerous martial arts borrow or adapt from other arts and to some extent could be considered hybrids, a hybrid martial art emphasizes its disparate origins.

Variation and Scope[edit | edit source]

Martial arts may be categorized along a variety of criteria, including:

  • Traditional or historical arts vs. contemporary and modern hybrid martial arts.
  • Techniques taught: Armed vs. unarmed, and within these groups by type of weapon (swordsmanship, stick fighting etc.) and by type of combat (grappling vs. striking; stand-up fighting vs. ground fighting)
  • By application or intent: self-defense, combat sport, choreography or demonstration of forms, physical fitness, meditation, etc.
  • Within Chinese tradition: hard/external vs. soft/internal styles

By Technical Focus[edit | edit source]

Unarmed[edit | edit source]

Unarmed martial arts can be broadly grouped into focusing on strikes, those focusing on grappling and those that cover both fields, often described as hybrid martial arts.

Strikes[edit | edit source]
Grappling[edit | edit source]

Weapon-based[edit | edit source]

Main article: Weapons

Those traditional martial arts which train armed combat often encompass a wide spectrum of melee weapons, including bladed weapons and polearms.

Training with one specific weapon will be considered a style of martial arts in its own right, which is especially the case in Japanese martial arts with disciplines such as kenjutsu and kendo (sword), bojutsu (staff), and kyudo (archery).

By application or intent[edit | edit source]

Combat-oriented[edit | edit source]

Martial arts can be used as a countermeasure that involves defending the well-being of oneself or of another from harm.

They can be used as a competitive contact sport with one-on-one combat. Determining the winner depends on the particular contest's rules. In many fighting sports, a contestant wins by scoring more points than the opponent or by disabling the opponent.

Health-oriented[edit | edit source]

Many martial arts, especially those originating from Asia, also teach side disciplines which pertain to medicinal practices. This is particularly prevalent in traditional Asian martial arts which may teach bone-setting, herbalism, and other aspects of traditional medicine.

Spirituality-oriented[edit | edit source]

Martial arts can also be linked with religion and spirituality. Numerous systems are reputed to have been founded, disseminated, or practiced by monks or nuns.

Throughout Asia, meditation may be incorporated as part of training. In those countries influenced by Hindu-Buddhist philosophy, the art itself may be used as an aid to attaining enlightenment.

Some martial arts in various cultures can be performed in dance-like settings for various reasons, such as for evoking ferocity in preparation for battle or showing off skill in a more stylized manner. Many such martial arts incorporate music, especially strong percussive rhythms.

Ki[edit | edit source]

Main article: Ki

Ki is a power for a Martial Artist and the willpower of the user. The users of ki can drastically increase their attack and defense power to inhuman levels. Ki can be divided into two types, Dou and Sei. With Dou the martial artist uses anger to exceed their limits. A Dou fighter focuses on making their ki "explode" after channeling it through a target to deal damage. With Sei the martial artist fights using hidden and calculated strength, focusing on sensing their environment, then releases it quickly in response to danger. Some people can learn to use both ki's through forbidden techniques.

List of Martial Arts Styles[edit | edit source]

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