Monday, March 15, 2010

Martial arts

Martial arts or fighting arts are systems of codified practices and traditions of training for combat. Martial arts all have a very similar objective: defend oneself or others from physical threat. In addition, some martial arts are linked to beliefs such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism or Shinto while others follow a particular code of honor. Martial arts are considered as both an art and a science. Many arts are also practiced competitively, most commonly as combat sports, but may also take the form of dance.

The term martial arts refers to the art of warfare (derived from Mars, the Roman god of war) and comes from a 15th-century European term for fighting arts now known as historical European martial arts. A practitioner of martial arts is referred to as a martial artist.

When originally coined in the 1920s, the term martial arts referred specifically to Asian fighting styles, especially the combat systems that originated in East Asia. However, the term both in its literal meaning and in its subsequent usage may be taken to refer to any codified combat system, regardless of origin.

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