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The History and Philosophy of Martial Arts

Martial arts originated in East Asia more than 2,000 years ago and have since grown to about 200 individual types practiced by about 100 million people worldwide. The Web will help you learn about the different martial arts so you can choose which one suits you best; it will assist you in finding instruction in the martial art you choose; it will provide you with forums and community Web sites so you can share your zeal with others on martial arts techniques and movies; and it can be a place to buy the equipment and apparel you need.

The History and Philosophy of Martial Arts

Martial arts are practiced all over the world, and styles vary from region to region. As such, there are thousands of styles and it can be difficult for the unacquainted to understand the diverse world of martial arts. This section includes sites that introduce you to martial arts and then sites to help you explore them through articles and video.

Dulcinea’s Insight

Since there are so many martial arts, and each was formed at a different point in time, we did not include a section in this guide on the history of martial arts in general. You can find histories of the individual martial arts in the subsection on the different types of martial arts below. For a brief overview on the history of martial arts in general, look at the martial arts “History” section of Encarta Encyclopedia. The phrases Kung Fu and Wushu have both come to indicate Chinese “martial arts.” But technically, Kung Fu refers to accomplishing a skill, while Wushu refers to warlike techniques, or martial arts in general. Do and Jutso are two common Japanese suffixes for martial arts. Do literally means “the way of,” while Jutsu translates to “martial method.” At first, all martial arts were considered Jutsu in Japan, because they were used against an enemy. But by the end of the 19th century spirituality had become more important, and now the names of martial arts that focus more on meditation finish in Do. When you read through these Web sites you will frequently encounter the acronym MMA. This stands for mixed martial arts, which is a combination of various forms of martial arts and street fighting. If you want more in-depth information on mixed martial arts, take a look at the findingDulcinea Mixed Martial Arts Web Guide.

Dulcinea’s Picks

For an overview of martial arts … provides concise descriptions of the different types of martial arts on one page in alphabetical order. The graphic design is bland but the quality information provides a good introduction. has information on the history and founders of different styles. Many styles include video and links, as well as books, DVDs, and VHS tapes for sale. It can be difficult finding the information you want, as there is a lot of MMA content and even more ads; just be sure to scroll past the ads that appear near the top of the page to get to the real content. has a list of some prominent forms of martial arts, with a brief description for each one. Learn the translation, the country of origin, a brief history, and more. There is little else on the site, save for the U.K.-focused “Find a Club” directory; the “Discussion Forum” does not work and neither does the homepage. For more in-depth information and commentary … Black Belt magazine has been covering the world of martial arts since 1961. Many of the magazine’s articles are available online, found under the “Archives” tab. You’ll also find a lot of great videos here, including a short clip of each of the martial art styles. is full of information about martial arts, though it is a bit disorganized and continually loading. The easiest way to search the large amount of content is using the menu on the left side. The “Learning Center” teaches you about different styles of martial arts and shows you how to practice them. The “Media Center” includes information on the modern world of martial arts with articles, magazines, and videos. allows martial artists to share their knowledge by posting videos for everyone in this online community to view. The videos demonstrate techniques for various types of martial arts; browse the different styles on the left to improve your skills and learn some new moves. is a novel site created and run by a couple who has been teaching martial arts for years. This site primarily posts questions that people may have, and then provides thorough answers. It has a section for kids teaching how to tie a belt and how to make a “Gi roll,” and even offers some online martial arts courses. Bad Martial Arts puts a critical lens to many martial arts myths, including Dim Mok (the Touch of Death), meditation, and defying gravity, among others. Two brothers who have been involved with martial arts for more than a decade author the site, and they present arguments that are intelligently written and quite interesting to read.

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