Martial Arts Around the World
Fencing – Spain
Fencing is the sport where two opponents fight each other using slim swords with sharp points. Points are scored when the sword makes contact with the body. It was one of the first sports to be played in the Olympics.
It’s thought to have been created in Spain as a form of swordsmanship for self-defense and duels. But, during the Renaissance, the Italian school developed the mechanics of modern fencing, which was later improved by French fencing schools.
Combat Hopak – Ukraine
If you take a bit of fist fighting, folk wrestling, and Cossack sabre fencing, and add war dances such as Hopak and Metelycia, you’ll get Combat Hopak. It was systematized by Volodymyr Pylat, a descendant of Cossacks, in 1985.
The reason the martial art was mixed with dances was to hide from the Soviet Union, which suppressed Cossack military traditions. Apart from kicks, strikes, and grappling, many techniques resemble the Cossack dance, with fighters quickly moving from crouches to high jumps.
Wrestling – Nearly All Countries
Wrestling is probably the oldest form of combat, being practiced by most civilizations throughout history. In fact, there are cave paintings in France depicting wrestlers that are 15,000 years old.
Nowadays, there are many different styles wrestling, ranging from the Oil Wrestling practiced in Turkey to the somewhat theatrical WWE in the USA. However, the Olympic sport is the Greco-Roman version of wrestling.