How to categorize Martial Arts ?

To me, the extraordinary aspect of martial arts lies in its simplicity. The easy way is also the right way, and martial arts is nothing at all special; the closer to the true way of martial arts, the less wastage of expression there is. - Bruce Lee

We often speak about Martial Arts as a big box where you can find plenty of different styles from all over the world.

In this big box, we can find depending on the country, style, history and culture that each Martial Arts focus on a type of combat with of course some exception where you can find a discipline that explores various methods of fighting.


Today, I would like to share with you a common classification pretty much agreed by everyone.


1) Striking

This category is the most common and known one. In this category we will find all the Martial Arts where you use your body as a point of impact on your opponent.

Here, the extremity of the human body is used as a weapon to inflict physical damages on an adversary.

Something interesting to note is that in this category is that we can find different ranges of fighting depending on the Art chosen such as (close, medium and far).

The most famous Martial Arts found in the striking branch will be: Boxing, Karate, Capoeira, Muay Thai, Kung Fu...


2) Grappling

The second category also very famous is the Grappling branch. In this category we will find techniques that will be performed in a close range.

Here the idea most of the time is to project your opponent on the ground or to gain an advantage by locking a zone of the body to obtain partial or full control.

We can obviously name the following disciplines: Judo, BJJ, Aikido, Wrestling...


3) Weaponry

The final category would be around the use of weapons.

We often forget this branch as we think Martial Arts are only focused on the use of body, but the use of weapon is one the most antique form of fighting and it is seen throughout the entire history.

Generally, the use of weapon will result into the death of the opponent with some exception such as Kendo and other forms.

The most famous arts will be: Fencing, Kendo and Ninjustu.


Special Remark: While I was preparing this article, I have noticed that we can find Japanese and Chinese Martial Arts in all the 3 branches. Most probably the early Masters tried to cover each and every aspects of the art of fighting and to access the essence of Martial Arts ? Something to think about it...

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