By martial art we mean the set of physical, mental and psychological practices related to combat. Originally used to increase the warrior's chances of victory in battle, today they are a form of individual improvement and complete physical activity as well as for personal defense.
The term came into common use in the early sixties, when oriental martial arts were introduced to the West. In reality, combat systems in Europe were defined in this way as early as 1500; one English fencing manual from 1639 in particular used it when referring specifically to the "science and art" of sword fighting, deriving it from Latin since "martial art" literally means "art of Mars", the Roman god of war.
Today, martial arts are studied for various reasons: to obtain fighting skills, self-defense, sports, physical health and form of gymnastics, self-control, meditation, empowerment in the use of strength, gaining confidence in one's body, confidence in one's abilities and awareness of its own limits. Some martial arts are considered "traditional" and are linked to an ethnic, religious or cultural background, while others are modern systems developed by a founder or association.
The history of martial arts is double-sided, a military one and a sporting one, in turn deriving from the most primordial needs of human settlements, namely the hunting and defense of the territory.
The history of martial arts around the world is complex. Many groups of people have needed to defend themselves at some point and have therefore developed fighting techniques. Although these fighting techniques have proven obsolete over time, especially with the advent of firearms, martial arts have survived.