Martial arts

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Fresco in Akrotiri, Greece

As a martial art called to styles that teach the skills and techniques of serious physical confrontation with an opponent. The movement patterns are often taught and learned in traditional processes (kata or form). In addition, there is often a philosophical superstructure and ethical and moral requirements. Rules to be observed extend into daily life, diet, etc. The practitioners often see martial arts as a way of life.

Martial arts is a comparative sporting match that emerged from the martial arts styles. Depending on the style, its relationships to the original martial art are more or less easy to recognize. However, there are also martial arts that are not practiced in the variation of comparative sporting combat.

In practice, there are numerous styles that are a mixture of martial arts and martial arts and add other aspects such as philosophy , culture , religious elements, mindset, everyday life and health to the teaching .


The concept element fight can take depending on the tradition and the subject any of the meanings associated with the root word (see battle ). In contrast to aesthetic creation ( art ), art is to be understood here as a skill or skill. Therefore the term martial art appears as an adequate translation of the Latin term "Ars Martialis", "the art of Mars ", the Roman god of war (cf. martial ). This term can be found in a little modified form in many new languages, for example "Martial Arts" (English), "Arts Martiaux" (French), "Artes marciales" (Spanish) or "Arti Marziali" (Italian).


Traditional martial arts have often been developed with the aim of preparing those practicing for military combat missions. Therefore, unarmed and armed disciplines are taught in many traditional martial arts. The handling of more sophisticated weapons has been formalized in certain traditions, for example in Japanese kyūjutsu , kenjutsu , with which these styles meet the requirements of a military education ( formal service ), but at the same time are no longer a pure martial art.

In some styles the emphasis on the practitioner's character development has shifted, with the term martial art not being discarded. In doing so, they sometimes develop away from practicing the real use of force towards ritual and spiritual practices that are also intended to serve the purpose of self-discovery or self- improvement.

Modern martial arts as well as modern interpretations of traditional teachings are practiced primarily with the aim of physical training and self-defense . Part of the focus here is on winning the competition, which in turn makes it difficult to distinguish it from the concept of martial arts . Modern martial arts can also be found in certain areas of military and security training today.

Martial arts and sports in the narrower sense

Martial arts is the measurement of one's own fighting ability against that of an opponent according to established rules. The focus is on the sporting aspect, i. In other words, it's about winning by following the rules and being better than your opponent.

In contrast, there are very different possible goals in the practice of martial arts , such as perfecting one's style, discipline and other more spiritual components.

Martial arts by cultural and geographical origin

Martial arts have developed wherever people have arguments with other people. The oldest traditions can be found in Europe (for example pankration , pale and pygme in antiquity , and Liechtenauer's fencing school in the 14th century) as well as the fencing instructions of Hans Talhoffers (* approx. 1420; † approx. 1490) that are partly based on them. Numerous traditional schools and styles developed in South , Southeast and East Asia .

Many Asian martial arts are heavily ritualized and associated with philosophical and religious thinking and acting.

See also



  • Miyamoto Musashi: The Book of the Five Rings. Classic strategies from ancient Japan. Piper, 2006, ISBN 978-3-492-04962-7 .
  • Uschi Schlosser-Nathusius (Hrsg.): Martial arts as a way of life . Orig. Edition. Kristkeitz, Heidelberg / Leimen 2004, ISBN 3-932337-14-X .
  • Ralf Pfeifer: Mechanics and structure of martial arts: manual for trainers in martial arts and martial arts . 3rd, reprint from 2006 edition. Sportverlag Strauss, Cologne 2006, ISBN 978-3-939390-03-9 .


  • Sunzi : About the Art of War / Sun Bin : About the Art of War
  • Hanko Döbringer: Cod.HS.3227a. 1389, Germanisches Nationalmuseum Nürnberg
  • Hans Talhoffer: First Gotha Codex. 1443, Ms. Chart. A558, Gotha Research Library
  • Peter of Danzig: Cod. 44 A 8 [Cod. 1449]. 1452, Biblioteca dell'Academica Nazionale dei Lincei e Corsiniana
  • Siegmund Ringeck: Mscr. Dresden. C 487.1452, Saxon State Library, Dresden
  • Johannes Lecküchner: Cod. Pal. Germ. 430. 1452, Heidelberg University Library
  • Albrecht Dürer: HS. 26-232. 1512, Michigan State University, Albertina, Vienna

Web links

Wiktionary: Martial arts  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Hans-Peter Hils: Siegmund am Ringeck. In: Author's Lexicon . Volume VIII, Col. 1209-1211.