петак, 11. август 2017.

Origin of martial arts

Martial arts are old as human kind its self. From the earliest times man was forced to fight to survive in a harsh environment which he shared with beasts and often he had to fight against other humans. On the other hand, determining the exact time when first fighting systems with defined techniques and system of training appeared is not as easy task.
Eastern martial arts trace their origin to gods and mythical heroes and their history and development is not easy to track. There is even less evidence about origin of western martial styles, especially because empty hand styles were never wildly spread in the west and cold weapons fighting styles were completely lost with introduction of fire arms.
Let’s take a look what history has to say about origin of martial arts .

Spear , as a first weapon human kind used was invented in palaeolithic  period , bow and arrow were invented at the end of this period. Although there are no evidence , it is logical to assume that there was at least some kind of systematization of techniques for these weapons. Unfortunately , we have no evidence so we can only speculate about the way these weapons were used.
 Probably the oldest evidence of martial arts, or martial sport to be accurate was found in France in the Lascaux cave. Paintings on the cave walls show wrestling match ( as well as a race ). It is estimated that paintings are 17 000 years old.
In Mongolia there is a cave painting from Neolithic period ,  dated 7000 B.C that shows two man wrestling , surrounded by spectators
In Libya were found paintings  from Neolithic period , dated 6000 B.C ,that show archery competition.In Japan were found drawings from Neolithic period that shows something that resembles today’s Sumo wrestling. We can conclude that wrestling is the oldest empty hand martial discipline.
 Discovery of metallurgy and agriculture led to formation of first states in old Mesopotamia, 4000 BC. Summer as the first civilization and Assyrian and Akkadian after were the first civilizations with complete organized government and of course professional army. With professional army first training and fighting systems were developed. Training was mostly infantry training and soldiers were practicing with dfferent kind of weapons , mostly spears , swords , axes and maces.

Traces of empty hand fighting we found around 3000 B.C. in ancient Summer. Stone carvings show people wrestling. Oldest bronze figurine that show people in wrestling position are dated 2600 B.C. in old Summer. The oldest written document about wrestling is the Myth of Gilgamesh (which is the oldest recorded myth in human history). We also find evidence of boxing matches in old Summer around 3000 B.C. Summerians organized boxing competitions that resembles modern boxing matches.

In ancient Egypt, on monuments dedicated to pharos in archaeological site Be Hassan were found evidence of sophisticated wrestling system. Specific techniques were presented and it is obvious that techniques were classified in two groups , fighting in the standing position and ground fighting. At the same place we find evidence of boxing matcher similar to those from Summer.

History of ancient Greece started with Minoan civilization 2600.BC. Greece is not only a cradle of European civilization but also an origin point of boxing and wrestling as fully developed and defined disciplines. One of the most popular sports in ancient Greece was Pankration, an art that resembles on modern MMA. The legend says Ulysses was also a master of this martial art. 


In ancient China first trace of fighting in organized groups was found in period of first Chinese dynasty , Xia , around 4000 B.C. First organized system of empty hand fighting , actually wrestling was invented , as the legend goes, by Huang Di , “Yellow Emperor” , who supposedly lived around 2800 B.C. First archeaological evidence of complete weapon figthing systems in China were found in 5th century B.C.


Weapon fighting systems and fighting in organized groups were far older than any empty hand fighting system. Unfortunately these systems were almost completely lost. New technologies that brought new way of warfare , disappearance of people and states that used these systems and finally invention of fire arms which made cold weapon absolute caused the disappearance of these fighting systems. Today we know very little about techniques and training methods of fighting systems before invention of fire arms.