Martial arts

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In German-speaking countries, martial arts is the collective term used in public (outside of specialist circles) for the many different fighting styles , especially those in which no firearms are used. The term is particularly often associated with the Asian tradition of Japanese Budo , Chinese Kung Fu (actually Wushu ) or Korean Taekwondo . Among the best known in Europe martial arts include boxing , karate , judo , wrestling and locally important sports such as the Swiss Swing , the Russian Sambo or the Turkish oil wrestling .

Martial arts and martial arts

In professional circles, a more precise differentiation between martial arts and martial arts is usually used. In martial arts, the focus is on regulated athletic competition , which is about winning within the framework of the rules and being better than the opponent. In most martial arts no weapons are used and if they are, then only sport weapons that reduce the risk of injury or prevent it from occurring in the first place. Competitions in martial arts are usually one-to-one, but other forms of competition are also possible.

A martial art, on the other hand, usually deals with self-defense and behavior in real, unregulated danger or conflict situations. Therefore, every martial art contains fighting techniques with the aim of defeating an opponent, often with the use of weapons. In addition, a martial art often includes other aspects, such as avoiding conflicts in advance, generally increasing flexibility, strength, speed or self-discipline . Some martial arts systems, especially from the Asian environment, see themselves as a complete system of shaping life or perfection with a corresponding philosophical or religious foundation, such as the Japanese Budo. Especially nowadays, the actual fighting techniques sometimes even take a back seat or are only understood as a way to the actual goal. Competitions in martial arts are usually not tackles.

The division between martial arts and martial arts is not sharp. There are also variants of many martial arts that allow athletic duels (e.g. karate). In other martial arts, however, individual sporting competitions are in the foreground (e.g. in modern Wushu ), while the aspect of self-defense and real combat take a backseat.

Ralf Pfeifer suggests in his book "Mechanics and Structure of Martial Arts - Handbook for Trainers in Martial Arts and Martial Arts" the following (not undisputed) differentiation criteria.

Martial arts Martial arts
The main principle: "Everything is allowed, there are no rules", successful SV techniques do not have to be adapted to any set of rules. The overriding principle: "The sport fighters must not suffer permanent damage". Sports fighting should also be fun.
The fight begins and continues until one of the opponents gives up (or is no longer able to do so) or withdraws from the fight. The fight will be decided by a third party (referee). It is more important to convince the referee of your own abilities than to defeat the opponent. Secret fouls are therefore often used as an aid to victory.
The opponent is always right if the technique he used was successful. The opponent can commit irregularities and can be subsequently disqualified despite a victory.
If one of the fighters is superior, he will use this superiority and fight on until victory. If one of the fighters gets into a superior position, the fight is interrupted in some martial arts and the fighters are allowed to take an equivalent starting position again.
The fight ends quickly, there are no second chances. The fight is artificially prolonged, everyone gets a new chance again and again. If you looked bad at the beginning, you can still win afterwards.
If the victim gives up, they will still face further attacks, especially if the attack is part of a crime. If a fighter gives up, the referee ensures the end of the fight and the safe withdrawal of the losing fighter. Looking up or kicking after the referee's intervention will be punished.
The technique program not only includes expedient SV techniques, but defense against attacks must be practiced, which are often and successfully used in sport fighting styles, since one cannot choose one's opponent. The technology program is rule-oriented. Only that which brings success in sports combat is practiced. It is not necessary to practice other techniques as the opponent and the rules are known to the fighter beforehand.
Neither the opponent nor the venue is known. It is not possible to develop an individual strategy or technique for a particular opponent. The opponent and venue of the fight is known weeks or months in advance. It is thus possible to develop individual strategies and techniques for each opponent, which are permitted within the respective set of rules.


In martial arts there are two main types of competition: duels and form competitions.


Kendo ( EM 2005)

In a sporting duel , one, in rare cases several, opponents must be defeated. Depending on the sport, very different criteria can lead to victory:

  • ko (e.g. boxing )
  • Precipitation
  • successful application of certain techniques (e.g. karate )
  • Immobilization of the opponent (e.g. in judo )
  • Throwing the opponent out of the ring (e.g. in sumo wrestling )
  • Forcing the opponent to give up, for example in judo
  • Ground contact of certain parts of the body (e.g. both shoulders when wrestling , swinging )

As a rule, certain techniques are prohibited, such as stabs to the eyes, blows to the genital area, or kicks, throws or lever techniques in general, and are not part of the training program of the sport.

The course of the duel can also be highly regulated. In certain forms of kumite in karate, for example, each of the opponents is allowed to carry out a fixed number of attacks that the other opponent must successfully fend off in order to win.

Form competitions

Demonstration of a form of Shaolin martial arts at Daxiangguo Monastery in Kaifeng , Henan , PRC

In many Far Eastern martial arts and sports, the most common and sometimes only competitions are so-called form competitions. The martial artists perform rehearsed movements (e.g. Kata in Japanese martial arts (Budō) or Taolu in Chinese martial arts (Wushu)), which are then assessed by referees. These can be pre-determined or self-made forms, with very different durations and numbers of movements, which are performed individually or in groups, synchronously or as a choreographed fight.

As with other sports, various criteria are included in the evaluation, such as: B. the difficulty of the form, the accuracy of the execution of the various movements, the expression, etc.

If there are any competitions in the martial arts, they are form competitions.

Web links

Commons : Martial Arts  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Martial arts  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Ralf Pfeifer: Mechanics and structure of martial arts - manual for trainers in martial arts and martial arts (dissertation at the German Sport University Cologne). ISBN 3-939390-03-8