Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practices, which are practiced for a variety of reasons: as self-defense, military and law enforcement applications; as competition, physical fitness, mental and spiritual development; as well as entertainment and the preservation of a nation's intangible cultural heritage.

Although the term martial art has become associated with the fighting arts of eastern Asia, it originally referred to the combat systems of Europe as early as the 1550s.

The term is derived from Latin, and means "Arts of Mars", the Roman god of war.

By technical focus

  • Unarmed :

    Unarmed martial arts can be broadly grouped into focusing on strikes, those focusing on grappling and those that cover both fields, often described as hybrid martial arts.

  • Strikes :

    Punching: Boxing, Wing Chun

    Kicking: Capoeira, Savate, Taekwondo

    Others using strikes: Karate, Muay Thai, Sanshou

  • Grappling :

    Throwing: Hapkido, Judo, Sumo, Wrestling

    Joint lock/Chokeholds/Submission holds: Aikido, Hapkido, Jujutsu, Brazilian jiu-jitsu , Sambo

    Pinning Techniques: Judo, Wrestling

  • Weapon-based :

    Those traditional martial arts which train armed combat often encompass a wide spectrum of melee weapons, including bladed weapons and polearms. Such traditions include eskrima, silat, kalaripayat, kobudo, and historical European martial arts, especially those of the German Renaissance. Many Chinese martial arts also feature weapons as part of their curriculum.

Sometimes, training with one specific weapon will be considered a style of martial arts in its own right, which is especially the case in Japanese martial arts with disciplines such as kenjutsu and kendo (sword), bojutsu (staff), and kyudo (archery). Similarly, modern Western martial arts and sports include modern fencing, stick-fighting systems like canne de combat or singlestick, and modern competitive archery. More...