Try Martial Arts For Fun, Fitness And Developing Physical And Mental Strength
Martial Arts refers to various systems and traditions of physical combat, although, these days is mostly used for general health and fitness training, self-defence, competition, entertainment as well as mental and spiritual development.
The history of the many Martial Arts varies from one art to another, but they were all originally invented for one purpose: defend oneself from intruders and defeat the opponent.
As a martial artist, you will be in the best shape or your life. Martial arts can be divided into three variants: light, medium or full contact. Depending on your style, take your pick!
The History Of Martial Arts
Martial Arts including boxing, wrestling or spear fighting were depicted in ancient art and literature from as early as 3000BC in Egypt, Rome, Greece, Mesopotamia or Vietnam.
In Persia, Koshti (wrestling) and Varzeh-e Bastani (calisthenics and martial arts) were taught in schools from as far as 100BC.
In Arabia and Middle East, the ideals of honour and chivalry met with the traditions of horsemanship, grappling and armed combat including archery.
In ancient China, the general Huangdi wrote about martial arts, before becoming Yellow Emperor and initiating Chinese civilisation, around 2000BC.
Chinese and Indian martial arts have a lot in common due to people travelling along the Silk Roads from as far back as 600BC.
According to legend an Indian monk, Daruma, created Zen Buddhism inspiring the combat arts of the Shaolin monks who had to defend themselves from bandits in 610AD.
In India, the Kama Sutra advised women to practice sword fighting and archery.
In the fourth century, Ayurvedic medicine was taught alongside martial arts and included the knowledge of attack and defence of vital points on the body.
In Japan, the use of weapons was restricted to members of the warrior class. From the twelfth century, samurai trained to be masters in combat. In 23BC, Jujitsu was born and Sumo existed since the third century.
The earliest European martial arts manual, the MS. I.33, was written by German monks around the thirteenth century. Wrestling, Fencing and Jousting were very popular.
There is also a tradition of martial arts in the Americas. For example, in Canada, Okichitaw involved the use of a bow, knife, lance, tomahawk as well as grappling and striking.
In Brazil, Capoeira, originating from Africa, has been around for five hundred years demanding flexibility and endurance.
In Africa, throwing knives have been used in combat for centuries. Also wrestling is popular in West Africa, while stick fighting is important in Zulu culture in South Africa.
Types Of Martial Arts
Dueling sword, Wrestling, Savate (Kick Boxing) and Fencing where popular when the West became interested in East Asian martial arts in the nineteenth century.
On his return from Japan the British railway engineer, EW Barton-Wright, taught Asian martial arts in Europe inventing Bartitsu (a mix between Jujitsu, Judo, Boxing and stick fighting).
In the early twentieth century, Judo inspired the creation of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Aikido.
In the 1930s, modern rules from International boxing were incorporated in Muay Thai, the Thai fighting art which was already centuries old.
The 1970s and 1980s saw a growing interest in martial arts, like Kung Fu and Karate, as featured on many movies at the time.
Latest types of martial arts competitions include the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in the USA, and the PRIDE in Japan also known as Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).
Various martial arts used in the police or military forces involve Krav Maga in Israel, San Shou in China, Kombato in Brazil, Rough and Tumble (RAT) in South Africa.
In the Olympic games you find Wrestling, Boxing, Judo, Tae Kwon Do, Fencing, Archery and Javelin. Wushu failed to take part so far, but is going strong.
Benefits Of Martial Arts
The main benefits of becoming a martial artist are self-defence and supreme fitness. As you learn to defend yourself, you get a full body workout and strengthen all your muscles.
As you get stronger and leaner, you will greatly improve your coordination and flexibility.
Martial arts are hard work but truly rewarding as you go through challenges, breakthroughs and setbacks.
You will learn about your strength and how to make the best of your weaknesses.
You will also learn about focus and stillness. In the world we live in, it is increasingly difficult to be silent within ourselves, to live without distractions.
Training in Martial Arts provides many mental advantages, one of which includes conflict resolution in your personal and professional life.
Classes are sometimes full contact, therefore the earlier you accept the fact that you will get hit during class, the earlier you can relax and start learning to defend yourself thus enabling you to anticipate and better respond.
When body and mind connect, it is easier to control your emotions and fear.
As a result, you gain confidence and respect towards self and others as well as self-knowledge.
While learning discipline, you meet awesome people and enjoy the camaraderie you find at your local club.
How To Get Started With Martial Arts
It’s so easy to start as martial arts clubs are increasingly more accessible. There are many types of martial arts depending on your needs and personality.
It can be confusing choosing the right one but don’t feel intimidated and be sure to try before you make a decision.
To help you make that decision consider why you want to learn a martial art.
For example, Jujitsu for self-defence, Kung Fu for physical fitness, Naginata for self-confidence or Taekwondo for discipline and self-control. Or maybe you have a cultural interest.
Do not feel pressured to stay if you want to leave and try something else. So it’s preferable to pay a monthly membership rather than commit to a yearly membership.
And you will be surprised at how friendly people are. Clubs welcome people from all ages and levels of fitness, and some have a free introduction class for beginners.
Do some online research first. Not all arts will be available in your area. The reason you stay could be totally different from the reason you joined in the first place.
Once you have done your homework and find the right art for you and a qualified teacher, you will definitely not regret it. It will be the best decision you have ever made!