Martial arts generally refer to self defense fighting from the Far East, from places like China, Japan and Korea. Martial arts are a big hard to define, and many cultures have systems of unarmed combat, which is what Martial arts usually are. There are many reasons or ways to use martial arts. The most common is self defense or combat. They can also be used for physical fitness, and as a competition. Some say they can be used for mental and spiritual development, and even for entertainment purposes.
Unarmed martial arts for self defense can be divided into two main forms, or categories, which is striking and grappling. Striking can be used for defense, as well as for attacking, and includes punching and kicking in most cases. Boxing, Takdwondo, Karate and Muay Thai are just a few in this discipline. The grappling is perhaps more defensive oriented, and involves throwing a person down, putting them in a hold to get submission, and various pinning techniques. Judo, Jui-Jitsu, Wrestling and Akido are examples.
Many Asian martial arts also teach health and fitness aspects along with self defense. Going through the motions of many martial arts are good workouts, and help retain muscle memory if they are ever needed for self defense. Sometimes traditional medicine, such as herbalism, are also taught.
Another form involves the spiritual aspects, or even an art form. Some systems were taught by monks of the Hindu or Buddhist philosophy. The disciplines of the martial art can help focus the mind and spirit, and are said to aid in enlightenment. Japanese styles also have this aspect. Aikido is one example from Japan. Korean Taekwondo focuses on the value of inner peace and that is a significant part of the discipline. There is also the art of Systema, which is a Russian Orthodox form, that works toward self conscience and calmness in addition to having strong defensive techniques.
Contact Naoki Chiba at the American Aikido Martial-Art Studio to learn more about the health aspects of Aikido and martial arts.