The history of martial arts is a tricky subject. 


You could ask 10 different people from 10 different arts and get 10 different answers. You could also ask

10people from the same art and get 10 different answers. The truth is that we only have a general idea about

when Martial Arts began.  


Here is a short look at the history of martial arts after we here at thefightgame. tv compared notes as to what

we have been taught and learned throughout the course of our studies in the arts. This is meant only as a

guideline. We can't guarantee  the accuracy of the information contained here in. It's just a compilation of

what we've been taught.




Martial arts  is another way saying the "art of combat" or "art of waging of war." In it's infancy, it was used as

a weapon to survive. Kill or be killed. Martial arts can be a set of movements used for offensive or defensive

purposes (called Kata's or forms). It can also be a set of movements used to promote health. It has structure

and every movement has meaning. Then again, the late Bruce Lee taught that one should take the best from

all arts and adapt them to whatever situation one finds oneself in.  By not having structure and preset

movements, one is not limited and confined. But as some have pointed out, therein lies the structure.  

Martial arts has evolved into everything from simple  to complex systems of fighting and health. For

example,  in Kung Fu, some mimic movements from the animal kingdom and adapt them to human fighting.

Other's, like in Tae Kwon Do, use focus techniques to build up "Chi" (Ones Life Force) and use it to generate

powerful strikes. While others, like in Tai-Chi, use it to promote health. The list goes on and on.


The truth of the matter is most martial arts are similar. They all teach similar principles (like the ones

mentioned above), just in different ways. It's like religion. Many different religions but they all have something

in common, they worship some form of deity. The one thing all martial arts have in common is that they

promote self-defense. Hence the reason martial arts is called  the "Art of self-defense" and it just depends on

your personality, your range of movement and your comfort level as to which martial art will work best for



Furthermore, traditional martial arts, as we know them today, has it's roots in religion and philosophy.

Buddhism had a great impact in India and China which impacted Chinese martial arts. Taoism and Buddhism

in Japan led to Zen and all three impacted Japanese Martial Arts.  Moreover,  Chinese and Japanese

philosophers too had an impact  on martial arts. They strived to set a code of ethics and morals to live by.

The Japanese Samurai, for example, had the code of the Bushido.


The Beginning


So where did it all begin?

Well, we've heard martial arts started in China  way back in 1,300 - 1,000 B.C.  

We've also heard martial arts started in Greece with the Romans and wrestling somewhere near 40 B.C.



And yet, there are still others that believe that it started in India somewhere in the first or second century

B.C. and was brought over to China in or around 500 A.D.  


And we've heard it started in Europe around 750 B.C. and that wrestling was the first martial art known as



Still others believe it goes back even further to 2,500 B.C. to the Egyptians, as they had some form of hand

to hand combat.


More than likely, in some form, wrestling was the first martial art. When and where, who knows.


The closest  thing that historians can agree upon is when a martial art started in a particular country.


For example, from what we've been told, most historians believe Kung Fu started around 500 A.D. when a

man named Bodhidharma, who was said to be a monk from India, wandered the plains in search of

enlightenment. He wandered into China and came across a Shaolin Temple where he began to teach his

philosophy to the monks and some exercise skills.  It is there where  Kung Fu had it's beginnings. 


And F.Y.I., Kung Fu is more of a western term as it means "he who possesses skill or ability."  The Chinese

refer to martial arts as Wu Shu.


As you can tell, we here at thefightgame. tv have heard many explanations as to when it all began. All we

know is that we are extremely grateful it has survived and flourished in our times.




Martial artists  have adapted that which was used to fight wars of yesteryear into a gift of physical and

mental conditioning for our  times. 


This art, that teaches the ultimate skills for  war, that has been handed down from generation to generation,

has also transformed its practitioners into some of the most mellow, well mannered individuals the world has

ever seen. From the day when a martial artist  was in a kill or be killed situation, it has grown into somewhat

of an oxymoron. That of a peaceful warrior.  He/she would rather walk away from a fight than be in one. 



The greatest victory one can achieve is that which you do not use your physical skills but that which you win

by using your mental skills. 




If you are interested in learning more about martial arts history, go down to your local library and check out a

couple of book on the subject. You could also go down to your local martial arts studio and ask an Instructor

for their views. There are also many great documentaries  available on television and video you can view.


Don't be discourage if you come up with many different answers. That's half the fun. Somewhere within all the

theories probably lies the truth.


We here at thefightgame.tv like to think that martial arts started the very first time a human being took a

breathe on this earth. It is the thought of where the next meal will come from. It is the battle to achieve

shelter. It is the struggle to survive.


Martial arts is everywhere. 


We would like to leave you with a quote.  We hope you like it.


"Martial Arts is not about fighting.  It has evolved into an art. The Kung Fu is not the fighting that you are

learning. That is but a small aspect of the art. The Kung Fu is between you and me. The Communication,

The Respect, The Discipline to do that which is most difficult. Therein lies Kung Fu. Therein lies the Martial


Sihing Kurt Smith

Choy Li Fut Kung Fu


Back to the Top