The invention of martial arts

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Re: The invention of martial arts

Postby Steve James on Sat Feb 13, 2021 6:37 am

On another forum, someone happened to ask about the origin of the term "martial." Someone said it was from the Greek god of war, but was immediately corrected. I.e., Ares was the Greek god of war; Mars was the Roman name. Anyway, so what did the Greeks call martial arts? Did they even have a term that encompassed martial arts?

Then, I thought of pankration because many people like to see it as the origin of mixed martial arts. However, afaik, pankration combined no holds barred boxing and wrestling. However, though pankration was definitely a sport, it was also definitely how Spartans trained for hand to hand combat.

Boxing is mentioned in Homer's Iliad. Well, maybe most of their games and sports were related to warfare. Throwing the javelin, running, and most of the ancient Olympic sports were martially practical.
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Re: The invention of martial arts

Postby Bao on Sat Feb 13, 2021 6:47 am

Trick wrote:So I’m pondering on the phrases ‘noble art of boxing’ and ‘noble art of self defense’....
When these phrases were coined it seem “Boxing” was compared to other methods of “artfully” boxing and self defence methods...which where those methods?]


Boxing seems to have been synonumous with 'fist fighting', but with rules obviously. No grabbing, wrestling, or kicking allowed. In Europe, this form of fighting has a history of at least 2500 years. In earlier rules, going down to the floor meant a loss.

Maybe the phrases ‘noble art of boxing/self defense’ came around with the introduction of Queensberry rules ?


This is the historical mark of the modern rules where gloves became standard. Maybe boxing as "the noble art of self defense" was coined around the raise of popularity of boxing at the end of the 19th century. "The Noble Art of Boxing" was coined in the early 18th. But "noble" might have referred to not boxing as noble, but that in this time it was a sport practiced by "nobles", or gentlemen that belonged to the upper class.

However my suggested martial arts/sports here may not be valid since the year 1720 is mentioned...so in short which were the un noble arts


Before the 1700s boxing was not a popular sport. I know about records of organised fist fighting from the early 14th century, but mostly different types of wrestling was used. And boxing was in fact often regarded as type of wrestling, or an off-shot of wrestling. This might indicate that in some early types of wrestling matches things as fist punching was allowed.
Last edited by Bao on Sat Feb 13, 2021 7:09 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The invention of martial arts

Postby Trick on Sun Feb 14, 2021 12:48 am

Steve James wrote:
Boxing is mentioned in Homer's Iliad. Well, maybe most of their games and sports were related to warfare. Throwing the javelin, running, and most of the ancient Olympic sports were martially practical.

Yes as we know the original Olympic sports were/are closely linked to skills needed in ancient warfare......But what the heck did/does the discus represent combat wise, were the edge of the discus originally sharpened, a kind of an giant ninja shuriken....
The modern and in a way similar to the discus -the frisbee originated by throwing empty pie tins, so that not very martial but can be quite artfull
Last edited by Trick on Sun Feb 14, 2021 2:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The invention of martial arts

Postby yeniseri on Mon Feb 22, 2021 12:40 pm

The title is off ten fold but content is informative.
Martial arts/system of that era served a functional purpose but when guns and projectile(s) came into military functioning, what was known as martial arts fell inot disuse.

Its current close quarter battele (CQB), self defense , personal derense, etc designation comes close to current funtional and utiliity in support of weapons use and in case of being disarmed and countering to get a weapon to continue in the battlespace. The Taiwanese police and military usage come to mind in how they adapted CMA of the past and incorporate to form a bridge for safety and security.




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Re: The invention of martial arts

Postby Ian C. Kuzushi on Mon Feb 22, 2021 3:57 pm

The OP is an obviously reasonable and interesting topic. The contra reactions are pretty ridiculous and don't make much sense. It's okay if you have Bruce Lee posters in your room or are some sort of OG who predates whatever general trends swept the West.
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