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The Revolution of Martial Arts
The basic outline of these articles are one about the styles created in the years in question, then ones about great "leaders" of the revolution during that period as well as possible "traitors" and "enemies" of the revolution and finally, one about mma bouts during those periods. These are early drafts and really sucky. Extreme criticism is accepted.
Martial Arts have been a part of human history since the dawn of man. In Mesopotamia, there are accounts of wrestling from five thousand years ago and accounts in China of Shuai Jiao grappling happening four thousand years ago. Ancient texts such as Gilgamesh and the Bible contain stories of men wrestling to prove their might.
During the Ancient Greek Olympics there was an event known as Pankration. This event was marked by having two rules: no biting and no eye gouging. This was a true fighting event. Men proved themselves with punches (albeit primitive punching that we wouldnít recognize today), low kicks, wrestling and primitive submissions. This was considered the King of Olympic events, it was a masterful event.
Then, Greece fell and Rome stopped unarmed combat of the no rules variety (preferring armed combat). Europe fell into a dark age were men mainly wrestled with localized fighting methods. It seemed to be the end of great unarmed fighting methods.
Yet, fighting with all limbs continued on. How had this happened? One theory heralds back to Alexander the Greats massive land grab that ended at the Indus River. All of Alexanderís men had been trained in Pankration and intermingled with the Indian peoples. Then, the styles of Indian fighting and Pankration mixed together to create what would become later known as Shuai Jiao or the original Gong Fu (I will be using Pinyin Romanization). From here all styles of Gong Fu originate and influence other Oriental fighting arts. (Arvanitis 98)
While this is only a theory about how arts expanded, there are a few facts that are understood to exist. First, European fighting was pathetic and disorganized. Second, forms and kata were created because practitioners had no other safe methods of practice (such as protected sparring) (Nagao 03). Third, there was very little people could do to fight other styles due to weak infrastructure (with an exception in China being rare Lei Tai matches that happened when masters went to other towns and practice within large cities). This created a sort of Dark Age of fighting, when styles stayed separate and there was little method of proving the best.
Then, in a beautiful uprising, Europe entered into a period of modernization that lasted from about 1500 to 1920. Roads were constructed, transportation became easier, books about anything, including fighting, could be mass produced and people could interact with the world.
Nations that had isolated themselves (such as Japan) were forced to be apart of the international community. This allowed for styles to fight one another and for fighters to prove themselves as being the best. This allowed for a Revolution of the Martial Arts.
Like any revolution, this revolution had very slow beginnings. Starting in the early 1700ís the revolution didnít get into full swing until the 1880ís when science in fighting became huge and style vs. style match-ups began to happen.
Like any revolution, this revolution had its advances and setbacks, both major and minor, and it had its glorious leaders of innovation and its brand new styles of unarmed combat.
This is the story of the Revolution of the Martial Arts.
Next: Part 1- Pre 1880
Edited for clarification
Last edited by couch13; 7/06/2008 7:07pm at .