Martial arts is a broad term, encompassing many distinct fighting styles and combat practices, many of which date back thousands of years. Though Americans often recognize martial arts as action movie fodder, the practice of martial arts is about more than just fighting. Martial arts blend spiritual, mental, and physical learning for the purposes of self-expression, creative movement, and self-defense. In modern martial arts classes, which are especially popular with children, the curriculum often consists of mixed styles drawing inspiration from around the world, representing just a small fraction of the long history of various combat traditions.
Early Origins of Specialized Fighting
Evidence of martial arts dates to 3400 BCE, and it appears that each cultural empire had their own distinguished combat styles. It is unclear if the styles of ancient Greece, India, Africa, China, and Japan were inspired or influenced by each other, or if they all emerged independently.
Rise of Asian Martial Arts
Today when people think of martial arts, they probably think of styles including karate, taekwondo, and jujitsu. Often, classes will blend these principles in a mixed martial arts style, which emphasizes these Asian influences.
Western Interest in Martial Arts
Though Asian martial arts have been in practice for centuries, it was not until the late 19th century that they gained notoriety and popularity in the Western world. This is in large part due to increased trade and cultural exchanges with the nations of China and Japan through this period, which inspired a growing interest in martial arts media.
If your child is interested in martial arts, Heart and Soul Kid’s Activity Center can help you select the right class for his or her age and skill level. Our instructors help students grow in their skills and self-confidence to encourage healthy physical activity, social skills, and self-defense. To learn more about our classes and family activities, give us a call at (520) 818-7974.