Where and when in the history of mankind did the martial arts begin?
Most people believe that the martial arts originated from Asia (China, Japan, Korea, and the Philippines etc.) But is this really the case? Didn’t the Europeans also have fighting skills, knights and men at arms?
Many Kung Fu and Karate films have led us to forget our European martial arts. These arts were in no way inferior to those of the Eastern countries. Our European fighters by no means relied solely on brute physical force. Their fighting methods were both skilful and effective.
As late as the 19th century, Europeans practised techniques which bear a striking resemblance to Aikido, Ju Jitsu, Judo and Karate. They used weapons which are nowadays called Sai, Nunchaku, Bo, Long Pole etc.
But let’s start at the beginning. The cradle of the world’s martial arts stood in EGYPT. Many of the oldest records of unarmed combat skills are to be found in the hieroglyphics of the Egyptian pyramids. In these records Egyptian warriors can be seen using techniques similar to modern wrestling and boxing as long as 6,000 years ago.
Many believe that these methods were introduced to Greece via Crete. These fights were often brutal and often ended with the death of one of the combatants. Hardly anything was forbidden in Greek Pankration (total combat which involved wrestling, kicking and gouging)
Whereas the Greeks gradually came to regard the Pankration as too cruel, their heirs, the Romans revived it in contests between gladiators. Pankration and armed single combat later became the predecessors of our European martial arts. It is possible that Europe had highly developed martial arts before the Asians.
But what is left of our European martial arts if one does not count fencing, boxing, wrestling and the French Savate? Unfortunately, very little has survived. Pankration has died out even in Greece. However, there is no doubt that Wing Tzun bears great similarities to the Greek Pankration (both martial arts include kicks, punches, knees, elbows, gouging, grappling and anti grappling)
So why is it that the European martial arts have died out almost completely, while the Asian martial arts have survived to this present day? The introduction of firearms sounded the death knell for the martial arts as a means of waging war.
The Wing Tzun martial art taught at the Harrogate Academy is renowned for its practicality and effectiveness. It is suited to both men and women of all ages and fitness levels.
The first 2 lessons are FREE so book your place today and begin your martial arts journey.