Man has been a part of fighting and battles since the beginning of man. His movements are natural- atavistic reactions similar to those of animals with the primal goal to survive and self- preserve. This is why we can conclude with certainty that fighting is as old as the human race. Fighting and battles will follow a man throughout his life and in all stages of life no matter what he does. During childhood, fighting begins as a sort of a game and is used in playful fun, later on, it continues as an existential, cultural, religious or political struggle. Human life itself is about man’s desire to become affirmed and recognized as well as to gain social prestige and value. Since man’s origin, the fight between two people has been viewed as a sort of a psycho-social phenomenon. No matter what type of physical conflict we are talking about, the man- individual is always in its center. So, in the earliest periods, the first battles for hunting grounds, power or group domination begin. This was also true in cases where two tribes clashed and each wanted to dominate the other because of their differences in cultural- religion- philosophy or the characteristics of their environment.
The struggle to survive has forced man to develop his physical abilities since the very beginning of man. This crude and merciless fight forced our ancestors to defend themselves and attack. This is why people trained in various martial arts and strove to show their skills and capacity in competitions, gatherings and ceremonies. It was almost always the case why different cities or rural areas wanted to resolve rivalries by challenging each other in some kind of a sports match or game. Sports, sports training and games evolved in this way.
According to their origin, all sports and sports games have actually developed on the basis of martial or war- like games whose goal was to compare and judge physical attributes, and defense skills, but also to assert personal bravery. In addition, the invention of various tools and weapons forced people to practice systematically in order to use them purposefully when collecting food, as well as for personal protection or when an enemy attacked. Since the advantage of a person with knowledge of martial arts is obvious, training has become a part of the preparation for a life- long struggle and the military must have training where these skills are being learned and maintained.
Martial arts were once called – athletics. For example, in Ancient Greece, the term gymnastics covered physical exercies which, primarily, had a military character and, later on, a scientific one. The Old Greek called their martial (militaristic) disciplines athletics (in Greek athlos- fight). In 1880 the term changed so, besides the javelin throw, other non- martial disciplines were included. Martial sports have gradually been classified according to different martial techniques and the styles of fighting they included. We are witnesses to a huge number of different martial sports that are practiced around the world.
It is certain that martial sports owe their roots in the most elementary styles of fighting. It is obvious that the game meets certain primal desires and the need to fight. The question is whether the inherited tendency to play is simply a way of adapting to a certain life- long fight to survive. The meaning of a sports fight or conflict is the desire to feel the primordial joy of victory over one’s opponent. Once these games were extremely crude and caused numerous injuries. Thanks to the evolution and development of civilizations, games become much more humane and the protection equipment was of better quality. The rules changed often, becoming safer, and the medical supervision got better as well.
The first contemporary features were visible in English sport. Certain types of physical exercise were mixed with favorite games of the English court. At this time people took more notice of sports and greater recognition was given sportsmen. Sportsman gradually began to stick to a certain regime because, in order to show high- quality performance, one needed to submit oneself to a systematic training that was the same for everyone. To achieve excellence in competition depended partially on the sportsman’s physical condition and level of talent and, on the other hand, it depended his social millieu and sports status, his training style and the system he was training in, as well as the sports regime and the type of competition.
Today, martial arts competition represents a legal and humane style of fighting which, with certain boundaries, replaces physical destruction with points, i.e. scoring. By using points, human aggression is controlled and this allows a sports match with rules which is still filled with excitement and suspense. The rules and the judges ostensibly reduce the fear of death normal in conflicts between men, and competition replaces that fear with a so- called fear of injury. This is why it can be concluded that martial sports are the most suitable way of preserving and improving the human experience when it comes to the need to prepare to fight.
The expansion of the popularity of various martial sports across the world is a phenomenon which is difficult to explain even for psychologists and sociologists. It is certain that film, TV series, and other competitions, helped expand the popularity of martial sports. They are the reason why thousands of young people of different character features submit themselves to long- lasting and exhausting training which carry the potential danger of injury.
The basic motives which attract an individual to a sports activity, and which could be explained as a need to fight, move, gain personal satisfaction or the company of other people, are not the crucial factor that guide young people to a marital sport. Other sports are able to satisfy those needs. The real reason why people take up martial sports is to fulfill the strong desire to satisfy one’s aggressive impulses (which are strongly controlled by society) and to relieve anxiety.
Sportsmen who practice martial sports must not be anxious or have uncontrolled aggression. They must be able to control their emotions. Being aggressive and anxious are often reasons why certain people take up these kinds of sports, and since aggressiveness and anxiety are often main factors in antisocial behavior, it is possible to guide an individual’s aggression and reduce his anxiety through organized sports along with professional help. Many martial skills have, therefore, a positive socializing and therapeutic function.
Unfortunately, because of his primordial need to fight, man use martial skills for militaristic purposes, taking control of others, even thought the real and original purpose was not to attack, but to defend. All martial skills were, at some point, used for negative purposes and used on the battlefield. Later on, because of the desire to preserve one’s fighting condition, these skills were turned into so- called military sports as well as various martial sports. One of the most famous is the modern military pentathlon which existed since 1948. It was later abolished by sportsmen who were involved in existing sports. Various martial skills are a main part of today’s training for soldiers. Among them, skills such as shooting, fighting with weapons or weapon throwing skills etc. are useful in close combat.
The military, i.e. fighting, have a connection to modern sports because the majority of today’s sports games uses certain military terminology. Examples of this include names of roles and positions of certain players in a gaming system- attacker, defender, offense, counter- offense, defense, player blockade, body–check, goalkeeper, offensive defense, zone defense, man on man strategies and so on. Because of its positive influence on the growth and development of youth as well as its tremendous importance for general national defense, martial arts and martial sports take on an important role in society and in today’s progress of Physical Education.
People are starting to take part in the development of different martial arts clubs. These people feel the need for sport, sports recreation, for self-defense and self-protection; they want to gain new knowledge and skills and protect themselves from the attacker or in any kind of unfavorable situations. They also want to be protected from injury. This is why the variety of martial arts makes it possible for an individual to find a sport or a skill which satisfies his desires and needs.
In the past, martial arts have accentuated the development of a complete personality which required the athlete to know the martial arts techniques, to be acquainted with practical philosophy, as well as alchemy, fighting with weapons, and traditional medicine. Many customs and rules of behavior have been retained in the arts today and some martial arts schools, as well as some sports, require their athletes to respect those customs and rules of behavior.
By analyzing the development of certain martial arts styles and sports, it is clear that today’s styles strive to use techniques that allow more physical contact. Of course, that style of fighting often leads to more serious injuries which includes a humane as well as a sports aspect. This is why, in order to keep the fighters from harm, the use of protective equipment is tolerated, although it does not always protect the fighter from a truly forceful blow.
The popularity of martial arts is rapidly expanding. Sports such as boxing, wrestling, judo, karate, kung- fu, kick boxing, savate, tae kwon do, and many other martial sports such as MMA fighting are becoming more and more popular among young people. Saying that a certain martial sport is better than the other because of its popularity is incorrect and unfair. Every martial style, i.e. martial sport has its strengths and weaknesses. Every martial art or sport makes a gives great training if it is professionally taught and led. Such sports activities allows for great physical activity among youth which is, of course, good for one’s health. Training martial arts and self-defense also fits into the concept of general national defense, which is not to be neglected in today’s world.
The success in mastering a self-defense technique, as well as succeeding in a martial sport, lies entirely in day- to- day painstaking practice. Training on a daily basis is the only way that leads to the perfection of a technique, it affects one’s psychosomatic abilities and health, it has an effect on the mind and personality and it develops a consistent and socially- adaptable character. A lot of practice is needed in order to become a skillful fighter. Training martial arts certainly gives knowledge to a man who wants to gain power and skills. Defensive skills will develop only as a result of long- lasting, hard training and knowledge learned. Training in martial skills and competing in martial sports will help us use what we have acquired as well as prepare ourselves for situations that may require usto use those skills for self preservation.
The knowledge of different punching techniques with the hand or foot, different throws, grips, locks and choking, various grips and take downs, using different tools and weapons which are taught at martial arts schools will help an individual to defend himself from an attacker. The knowledge in martial arts and its practice can have a crucial role in the concept of general national defense and social self-defense as well as a special style of guerrilla warfare or close combat. However, it must always keep its defensive character.
Martial arts have always been of great importance for a versatile development for the members of the military and the police force. Thanks to the regular and systematic practice of various martial sports, soldiers and policemen are, physically and psychologically speaking, more prepared for carrying out their tiresome and demanding duties. Many soldiers and policemen are involved in different sports competitions of certain martial sports and are also active participants in the, for example, World Police and Fire Games and Military World Games.
The whole defensive security system of every country depends on the extraordinary capabilities and physical abilities of the members of the military and the police. It depends on their professional training and fitness, the amount of their varied knowledge and skills, as well as their knowledge in martial arts.
Knowledge of the martial arts is fundamental and must be mandatory training for all members of the police and military, no matter their role or the position they keep at any given moment. The tasks they are given are also of a crucial importance and are given with confidence and trust.
We know that the military must have martial training, but martial arts training and sport is also good for every civilian, so go out, train and compete.