Kampsport are codified systems and traditions of combat practiced for a variety of reasons: self-defense; military and law enforcement applications; competition; physical, mental, and spiritual development; entertainment; and preservation of a nation’s intangible cultural heritage. They involve training in techniques, forms and drills to develop strength, speed, flexibility, power, endurance and coordination. Each martial art has its own philosophies, traditions, and histories. The most recognizable of these are karate, kung fu, boxing, kickboxing, jiu-jitsu, and brazilian jiu-jitsu.
A common belief is that the martial arts are rooted in a spirituality, and that they help people find peace of mind. This is largely true, but martial artists also learn to overcome their fear and gain confidence through the practice of physical self-defense. In addition to improving the body, practicing the martial arts provides an opportunity to learn leadership and communication skills, as well as to build friendships with other practitioners of the same discipline.
Newcomers to the martial arts often notice the many expressions of respect, including bowing, that occur at the beginning and end of class sessions. This is an important part of the culture from which each style originated, and reflects the importance of showing gratitude and respect for others. It is also a way to show honor to the martial art’s founders, who pass on their knowledge and experience through a lineage of masters.
There are different kinds of martial arts, categorized by the way they’re used: external martial arts, which are mostly striking arts, and internal martial arts, which focus on developing balance and coordination to avoid injury. In some cases, both are combined to create hybrid martial arts styles. For example, Krav Maga, developed by Israeli defense expert Imi Lichtenfeld, is a combination of practical fighting techniques from boxing, wrestling, judo, aikido and karate.
All martial arts involve learning to use physical force against an opponent, but the best-trained martial artist can usually defuse a confrontation without inflicting serious harm. This is achieved by blocking or evading an attack, or checking it before it can reach full speed. In addition to avoiding injury, these techniques can teach students how to deal with conflict calmly and effectively.
Most of the training in martial arts involves intense physical workouts, which can get your heart beating and sweat pouring. This is a good way to release nervous energy and anger. Some martial arts also include a ritual shout, called a kiai in Japanese styles or a kihap in Korean styles, made at the moment of delivering a technique. This not only improves focus and breathing but can also frighten or startle an opponent to deter them from attacking further. It also allows students to express their pride in the martial art they are practicing. This translates into greater integrity and humility in life and can lead to improved social interaction capacities. These values can also help to make martial artists more effective in the workplace by fostering strong work ethic and dedication.