Martial arts have been part of human culture for a long time.
The natural progress of evolution has meant that humans have survived without claws or sharp teeth or venom for millions of years, slowly evolving into what we are today, and that is all thanks to our ability to adapt, and our big brains. Through the use of that adaptability and that big brain of ours, we developed martial arts - a way to use our bodies as weapons when defending ourselves and to give ourselves a better chance in a fight.

The earliest examples of martial arts dates back to 10,000-6,000 BC, but way back then it was more a system of war than a discipline with rules, regulations and self defence classes. We will be exploring the histories of select martial arts in this article.

Krav Maga

Krav Maga is the hybrid fighting technique of the Israeli Defence Force, and is designed to be brutally efficient at taking down an enemy quickly and without the practitioner taking any damage. While it mostly stresses to avoid confrontation wherever possible, it is practiced with the idea of even being able to defend oneself against a weapon-wielding assailant.

Krav Maga was developed in the 1930’s by Imi Lichtenfeld as a way to defend the Jewish quarter of Bratislava, Czechoslovakia. Still practiced today, it is one of the many hybrid martial arts being practiced worldwide.

Karate

Karate was created in the Ryukyu Kingdom in the 1300’s as a common fighting system among the more wealthy of the Kingdom. After trade connections to mainland China were established, Chinese martial arts began to influence the development of Karate and subsequently caused it to split off into several different styles of fighting.

Eventually, when Japan took over the island kingdom of Ryukyu, Japanese martial arts began to influence Karate’s development as well, after which the fighting style made it’s way out into the world. Based on striking with the hands, feet, knees and palms, Karate is still very widely practiced today.

Aikido

Aikido is a much more modern martial art, created in the 20th century in Tokyo, Japan. It focuses on “Unifying with life energy”, and mainly revolves around the idea of being able to defend oneself without harming or damaging the attacker.

It wasn’t until 1951 that Aikido left Japan and spread to the rest of the world, where it’s messages of compassion and love being spread to those meaning you harm took root in a great many people, making it the popular self-defence discipline it is today.

Wing Chun

Wing Chun began in the 1800’s, and it’s origins are hard to trace, due to the civil unrest during which it was conceived. Supposedly, it was developed based on a fight between a snake and a crane that was witnessed by a young lady, Yim Wing Chun, however there were many stories of the origins of Wing Chun thrown about to distract the Qing Dynasty, which the Shaolin and Ming were resisting at the time.

Since then it has slowly grown into the martial art it is today, with a recent explosion in popularity due to the Ip Man movies, based on the life of Grandmaster Yip Man.

Muay Thai

Muay Thai came into being during the mid 16th century; created by Nai Khanomtom while fighting for his freedom from captors during the Burmese war with Siam. After winning his freedom, he was lauded as a hero, and “Siamese Boxing” was created, which changed through the ages into Muay Thai. Muay Thai is known as the “Art of Eight Limbs”, due to it’s use of elbows, knees, arms, and legs, thus making eight points of contact in all.

The histories of these fighting styles are long and storied - far too long for one article, so go out to a library, or go online and explore them in depth, and enjoy the many intricacies of each.

Author's Bio: 

Caitlyn Bell is an Arts student whose experiences in life make her really tougher than anyone else. She can lend you expert tips on diverse topics ranging from relationship to fashion, making money, health and so on. Her write-ups are a window into her thoughts and knowledge.