Any of several Asian arts of combat or self-defense, such as aikido, karate, judo, or tae kwon do, usually practiced as sport. Often used in the plural.
Martial arts is the art of fighting or combat. Martial Arts uses science and theory to systematize hand to hand mortal combat. Martial arts really became systemized in China. The Shaolin Temple and the Shaolin monks created styles and systems based on animals and insects to reflect the martial arts. They include Monkey, Tiger, Crane, Praying Mantis, and Dragon. The more popular arts of Asia include: Tae Kwon Do, Hapkido, Hwa Rang Do, Tang Soo Do, Jui-Jitsu, Judo, Aikido, Wing Chun Kung Fu, Choy Lay Foot, Wushu, Tai Chi, the varied Shaolin Animal Styles and Filipino Kali.
Today, Tae Kwon Do has become an Olympic Event, making Martial Arts more popular than ever. The advent of Mixed Martial Arts fighting and the UFC has seen martial arts build up more fan base. The mixed martial arts community stresses pure combat skills and street fighting techniques based on what works. In traditional martial arts, the arts was emphasized as strongly as the fighting aspect of the art.
The ultimate endeavor of any martial artist is the development of the mind and the body, to work harmoniously together. Through this discipline, physical, mental and spiritual growth is sought.