Top 10 Martial Arts and Their Origins

Added by Edan Barak on Apr 26, 2021

Muay Thai

Known as the "art of eight weapons", referring to the feet, fists, elbows and knees, Muay Thai was developed in Thailand as a full-contact, unarmed martial art that was meant to give Thai fighters skills in dealing with armed and armored opponents. The style incorporates punches, kicks, knee and elbow strikes, and is reknowned for its deadly striking ability. Today, Muay Thai is popular mainly as a competitive sport as the style lends itself to beautiful body motions, almost like a dance.

According to Thai folklore a number of Thai kickboxers where taken prisoner to Burma when the Siam capital of Ayutthaya was invaded by Burmese troops. The Burmese King, curious to see how the martial art would fare against the Burmese boxing style of Lethwei, selected one of the Thai fighters to fight against the Burmese champion, each in his own style. The Thai fighter ended up not only beating the Burmese champ, but also 9 other fighters who were sent at him one after the other, with no rest in between. The Burmese King was said to be so impressed that he declared, "Every part of the Thai is blessed with venom. Even with his bare hands, he can fell nine or ten opponents. But his Lord was incompetent and lost the country to the enemy. If he had been any good, there was no way the City of Ayutthaya would ever have fallen."


Jiu Jitsu

Founded by Takenouchi Hisamori, a Japanese military strategist, Jiu Jitsu was formed primarily as a form of combat for battlefield warfare in situations where weapons were ineffective, mainly against well-armored opponents. The word "Ju" can be translated to mean gentle, flexible, or yielding, and "Jutsu" means art or technique; the name represents a fighting style that seeks to manipulate an opponents force against himself as opposed to applying force from without.

Since this fighting style was developed in the days of the samurai, whose body armor protected against most striking techniques as well as weapons, Jui Jitsu typically places more emphasis on immobilizing the opponent, pinning, locking, and choking. The style also makes use of very practical knife and gun defense skills, as well as using the opponent's own body against him. A glaring disadvantage of this fighting style is when faced with multiple opponents, as it's more of a close-combat, one-on-one style of fighting.

Jiu Jitsu is used as the base for many other martial arts such as Hapkido, Judo, Jeet-Kune-Do, Ninjutsu, and Aikido to name a few.

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