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According to Wikipedia's Martial Arts Timeline the oldest martial art identified is Ancient Egyptian. There are murals in the Beni Hasan tomb depicting wrestling that date back to 20th Century BCE. If you want the very first martial art, that's probably going to be "pointy stick". That Wikipedia link is pretty good. It shows approximate dates of ...


4

Heracles is a good start. He was the patron of Palaestra (παλαίστρα) which had rules, competitions, and training schools. I guess we are talking about a few hundred years BC -- I could not find an example of earliest primary sources. If you are going with the legends, 776BC were the first Olympic games. From the IEP: The very name palaestra derives ...


3

The confusion here stems from the fact that the traditional Chinese way of thinking does not make as clear a distinction between the spirit and the physical body. "Chi" is a combination of concentration and body mechanics. In Western terms, it can be described as performing a movement in the correct way, without unnecessary movements, and applying proper ...


1

In Hiroshima and northern Japan where Maeda was from there are native Ryu of ground fighting and wrestling. The confusion is that everyone finds it shocking that there are these waza apart from BJJ. Some BJJ people think it is new. in Judo the sport had ability to take a knee and initiate newaza to avoid an opponents throw until the 60s. Perhaps for a draw ...


1

The Wikipedia page on the Southern Shaolin Monastery puts it beautifully: "The Southern Shaolin Monastery is the name of a Buddhist monastery whose existence and location are both disputed. By tradition it is considered the source of all southern Chinese martial arts. ... The following account is based on legend or folklore, with little, if any, documentary ...



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