Martial arts are ancient, as old as mankind itself. Over time as conflict ensued and martial arts developed around the world, certain skills and techniques were deemed more effective than others and preferred methods of training and self-defense became dominant in areas that saw a lot of conflict.
Different locations around the world with different influences and circumstances like climate, landscape, culture and natural resources, led to innovation and the development of hundreds of different techniques. This development continued for many hundreds of years. After a great while, the characterization of the preferred techniques of different groups in disparate locations became referred to as “styles” of Martial Arts.
There are still many dozen, if not hundreds of styles of martial arts actively practiced today. There are many different ways to delineate and differentiate styles of martial arts from one another. As a starting frame of reference most martial art scholars and practitioners refer to or classify a style based on the source of origin. For example, Chinese, Japanese, Okinawan, and Filipino are all common origins of many different styles and there are styles which originated in Europe, Africa, and the Americas.
Martial arts are also classified by the type of weapons they employ, or they may be classified as empty hand styles as many dozens of famous Karate and Kung Fu styles are. The term “karate” is actually a Japanese/Okinawan term that translates as “empty hand” or “open hand”. The term Kung Fu is a Chinese term that is often translated as “a skill developed over time”. Even today’s hugely popular mixed modern arts (MMA) Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) and military style modern combatives all have roots in traditional martial arts (TMA).