Martial arts are systems and forms of hand to hand (and to a lesser extent melee) combat, such as karate or kung fu. While the more popular martial arts originate in Asia, martial arts have been developed and practiced on every inhabited continent in the world.
Martial arts are an excellent form of exercise and self-defense from other humans. However, despite what film and television would have one believe, it is bordering on impossible to incapacitate a single zombie with the human fist or foot, and extremely foolish to grab one, since zombies bite. Do not try to kill a zombie with your bare hands. Some martial arts (like the Indonesian martial art silat) trains its practitioners to withstand and deliver lots of blows; avoid this kind of martial art. If one must fight a zombie, the shoves or strikes in the following styles may be used to topple a zombie, or create distance.
Types of Martial ArtsEdit
Hand to HandEdit
Boxing is one of the most popular martial arts in North America. Boxing emphasizes punching power, footwork, blocking and dodging. However, there is no emphasis on kicking or grappling. In fact, grappling clinches are not allowed, neither are strikes below the belt. Many boxing gyms are open and could be in your immediate area. Boxing is an Olympic sport.
Wrestling is the oldest known martial art in the world - dating back to ancient Egypt around 2300 BC, but realistically, most grappling is a rudimentary, unpracticed form of wrestling. Wrestling focuses on strength, balance, bodily awareness, and endurance. Once greatly undervalued, the rise of mixed martial arts (the combination of basically every martial art) has proven that wrestling is an extremely powerful and practical form against a single opponent (but severely lacking in fighting multiple opponents). Sumo and sanbo are eastern variations of wrestling.
Kickboxing is any form of fighting that involves the punching and defensive posture of boxing, but also adds kicking. Muay Thai Boxing is arguably the genesis of kickboxing, tracing it's roots to Thailand roughly 500 years ago. Muay Thai practioners can strike well with their feet, shins, knees, elbows and fists. As with wrestling, Muay Thai has seen a revitalization in the modern era, thanks to its effectiveness in mixed martial arts.
American kickboxing is a competitive sport where shin and knee kicks are de-emphasized (and prohibted, depending on the sanctioning body). Savate is a similar French style, though it is considered more focused on artistry and agility than its American counterpart.
Created in Okinawa and popularized in Japan, karate is formalized style of punches, blocks and kicks. A particularly offensive minded style, most of its strikes are direct thrusts, and not looping swings.
Korea's national fighting style, Taekwondo is a striking style that greatly emphasizes kicking. In fact, kicking is 80%-90% percent of its techniques. While excellent for fitness, it has lost much of its popularity due to it's transformation from martial art to sport, resulting in a lack of practicality and effectiveness in mixed martial arts. Practitioners of Traditional Taekwondo, on the other hand, can kick better than anyone. It is one of the few martial arts that is an Olympic sport.
- Kung Fu
A colloquial term used to describe Chinese martial arts, Kung Fu was contrived in China around 2000 BC, and codified by Bhuddist monks in Henan province around 500 AD. Kung Fu embodies dozens of elaborate styles such as tiger, crane, big flood fist, and seven harmonies fist - but it's masters see value in knowing all forms of striking, including boxing.
Wu-Shu is a modernization of Kung Fu which removes the Kung Fu's spirituality and complexity, and replaces it with acrobatics and quickness. Wu-Shu is extremely popular in China. Jackie Chan and Jet Li are well known Wh-Shu artists.
Jiujitsu is a Japanese martial art concentrating on incapacitating an opponent through grappling and joint locks (grappling a limb and applying force to cause pain, and perhaps even serious injury).
An offshoot of jiujitsu, judo removes the joint lock and (few) strikes and deals entirely in grappling to take an opponent off his feet. A strictly defensive style (as well as an Olympic sport), judo concentrates on stand up grappling as well as parrying strikes, and using an adversaries momentum against him.
Very similar to judo, aikido emphasizes using attacker momentum to defend one's self above all other techniques. It is also extremely spiritual.
- Brazilian Jiujitsu
A more practical and grounded style, Brazilian jiujitsu blends Japanese jiujitsu with wrestling, and ground striking. While only a few generations old, it has become extremely popular due to its vital role in founding mixed martial arts. The majority of the techniques pertain to fights where both artists are lying prone.
Lua is an ancient Hawaiian martial art based on bone breaking, joint locks, throws, pressure point manipulation, and strikes. While an old and original style, it is rather localized, and unpopular.
- Krav Maga
Krav Maga is a fighting system that combines most other martial arts, and focuses on the most damaging and practical techniques. Developed by the Israelis for modern battlefield close combat, it is devoid of artistry or spirituality. It is quite popular among survivalists, soldiers, and law enforcement officers.
- Tae Chi Chuan
A style of Kung Fu, tae chi chuan blends spirituality, meditation, and the development of muscle memory through repetition and concentration. Known more as a meditative style than a fighting style, it does, however, have a contingency that speed up its slow methodical movements into a striking system.
Flashy, acrobatic, and musical, capoeira was developed by Afro-Brazilian slaves as a way to teach one another to fight, while appearing to dance (as not to be detected by slave owners). Capoeira requires considerable agility, as leaping, somersaulting, and other flipping maneuvers are used often. Like Taekwondo, the majority of techniques are kicks. Though many people believe capoeira to be an impractical martial art, it is actually a versatile fighting system, it just takes an unusually long time and effort to master compared to other martial arts.
- Jeet Kune Do
Founded by famous actor and martial artist Bruce Lee, Jeet Kune Do was created to uncodify Kung Fu, and add elements of boxing and other striking styles. Literally translating to "way of the intercepting fist", JKD focuses on utilizing simple, straightforward movements. Unlike many martial arts, JKD is not patterned or fixed, as Bruce believed that traditional styles are too rigid and unrealistic. He believed that combat is spontaneous, and that a martial artist cannot predict it, only react to it.
Kempo is a stand-up striking style, consisting primarily of counter-strikes. Defense oriented, Kempo practitioners seek to end the fight quickly and efficiently.
- Mixed Martial Arts
Probably the world's most popular combat sport, mixed martial arts revolutionized the way society considers hand-to-hand combat. Early on it was used as a vehicle for Brazilian jiujitsu to gain renown. Today, MMA fighting incorporates techniques from wrestling, kickboxing and Brazilian jiujitsu.