The Meaning of the word martial traditionally related to War.
Art being the refinement of skill, or even the imaginative application of a persons skill.
We see the imagination at play in a traditional style, when the creator or creators of a style build scenario based patterns of movement for the application of their techniques.
They try to answer as many of the following questions as possible…If someone attacks like this, what can I do to negate the attack and be in a position to counter attack or end the fight?
Most of the original traditional martial arts, being primarily skill sets for war, were based around weapon mastery as well as empty handed fighting.
Therefore a traditional martial arts style would encompass a particular philosophy, skill set and structure that lends itself to building movement capabilities and techniques for a wide range of weapons and empty hand fighting. This means that the footwork, and movement you learn should be familiar and repeatable for any weapon and empty hand fighting. So that once you learn the particular “recipe for a style” its philosophy should be able to applied in any situation.
Traditional arts on the most part being formulated for War were not constrained by the rules of sport or competitive fighting. In a life or death fight the technique that disables or finishes the fight as quickly as possible should be employed. This is again different to self defence in the Modern world where the “severity” of a situation needs to weighed before using, deadly or severely damaging techniques…Such as strikes to the eyes or throat.
In most cases commitment to learning a traditional art is a long term process where the goal is not only learning how to defend yourself, but also learn the ART and refinement of skill and the Philosophy behind the particular style you choose.
In the case of Traditional Chinese martial arts this may include everything from Qigong or energy work, to traditional Chinese medicine theory, meditation, body conditioning, tendon conditioning as well as the fighting and theory of the Art. If you would like to know about modern martial arts definition please check out the video we have filmed on that.