February 15, 2016

Martial Arts vs Martial Sport

Have you wondered if the fighting techniques your learning is effective in a street fight? Are you practicing martial arts or martial sports? In today’s article we will clarify the difference between the two and how to spot the difference in your training.

What is Martial Arts?

Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practices, which are practiced for a variety of reasons: as self-defense, military and law enforcement applications; as competition, physical fitness, mental and spiritual development; as well as entertainment and the preservation of a nation’s Intangible cultural heritage.

The term of martial art originally referred to the combat systems of Europe

Although the term martial art has become associated with the fighting arts of eastern Asia, it originally referred to the combat systems of Europe as early as the 1550s. The term is derived from Latin, and means “arts of Mars”, the Roman god of war. Some authors have argued that fighting arts or fighting systems would be more appropriate on the basis that many martial arts were never “martial” in the sense of being used or created by professional warriors.

Martial arts training aims to strike the opponents at any vital areas

For martial arts training, there are techniques which aim to strike the opponents at any vital areas of the body (head, eyes, neck, solar plex, groin, spine, hand and feet joints, etc…)which could cost serious injury, or death.  The shorter the time to bring the opponent down, the better.  Martial arts training involve a lot of conditioning to strength up the hands and feet, make the bone strong and hard so that it can be use for striking to the opponent at the vital areas.

What is Martial Sports?

Martial sports is gear toward striking non vital areas such as stomach, legs, arm, etc…  Often, martial sports training would not involve conditioning.  Martial sports often focus into hand forms, or weapon forms.  Training without live blade for swords.  Wear all protective gears when sparring.  Training mostly toward how to gain point(s) for competition.  Work in a lot of cardio and stamina, so they can last long for competition.

Can Martial Sports Techniques Be Effective In A Street Fight?

In some odd cases only, but not 100%.  For example, in a street fight, there are no rules, anything goes.  The purpose is to take down each other as soon as possible.  People often grab any object (knife, gun, chair, stick, etc…) and use it to hit the opponent or throw at the opponent(s).

If one only focus in martial sports techniques for their training, they often used to striking the non vital areas of the opponent to gain their points for the match or game, then they would have higher chance to get hurt in a street fight.  Whereas if one mainly focus into martial arts training, he/she will get used to strike the vital areas to bring the opponent down as quick as possible.  They often will have a higher chance to survive in a street fight.


The individual should question themselves, do they want to train martial arts or martial sports.  Both paths are good.  At the end, it boils down to are you living in a rough city or a very peaceful city.  For rough city with big population, you will have a higher chance defense for your life and protect your family.  For peaceful city, will have less chance to use martial arts.

In my opinion, no one would know what or when things could happen.  So practice martial arts techniques as your major, and practice martial sports techniques as your substitution or minor would be better.  Stay healthy and look great is important, but being able to protect your life, and your loves one should be more priority on top of anything else.



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