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General Martial Arts History

Since time began, every culture has developed fighting styles out of necessity. Modern martial arts history categorizes Western heroes and martial societies as practicing martial arts, which opens up an interesting can of martial arts worms.

Besides the ancient martial arts heroes of China (Shaolin), Japan (samurai) and Korea (Hwarang), the world has witnessed great fighters like the Spartans, Vikings, Mongols, Huns, Romans, Ottomans, Macedonians, Goths, Knights, Persians and Celts. Warriors like Alexander the Great, Richard the Lionheart, Hannibal, Hercules, Eric the Red, Hector, Attila, Achilles and even Siddhartha (Buddha) trained in systematic ways of fighting and lived by a code of ethics.

This leads us to ask several intriguing questions. Did martial arts originate from China, India or Greece? Or have they risen independently? How did they spread? Many arts have come and gone. Recent efforts hinged on nationalism are bringing back lost martial arts, especially in Europe. So why has Chinese martial arts consistently endured and flourished more than in any other country? New evidence suggests Brazilian capoiera came from China rather than Africa. There’s a great history book waiting to be written.

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