Martial Arts Around the World

Human beings knew how to defend themselves long before guns, tanks, or military helicopters were created and used in wars. Every civilization developed some sort of martial art in the past and they’re now part of their culture.

Although the majority of martial arts are used for combat, in the military, or by law enforcement, some of them were created for health and spiritual development or just for entertainment. The term martial arts come from the Latin “the art of Mars,” where Mars was the Roman god of war.

Istunka – Somalia

During the Middle Ages in the Ajuran period, the Istunka martial arts festival was developed to symbolize the defense of the community and its honor. It’s now celebrated annually in the Afgooye region during the Somali New Year.

In the past, each team would be accompanied by poets, female singers, and dancers, and all members wore full combat gear, including battle axes and swords. Nowadays, they just use batons and large sticks for safety reasons.

Taekwondo – Korea

It might be surprising to know that tis a recently created martial art. It was developed in the 1940s and ‘50s as a mix of traditional Korean and Chinese martial arts and karate.

The main features of Taekwondo are the head-high kicks, spinning, and jumping. There’s also an emphasis on speed and agility as the martial art was based on physics and biomechanics laws, which proved that a person can generate more power by being fast. So, in theory, size didn’t matter that much.

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Judo – Japan

Judo is probably one of the most famous martial arts with worldwide championships, including the Olympics. It was created in 1882 by Jigoro Kano, who suffered bullying at school and decided to find a way to defend himself.

The name in Japanese means “the gentle way” as the idea is not to resist an opponent, but to adjust and evade his or her attack. The concept was adopted as a way of life and students who followed the techniques would improve themselves and create a better society.

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