10 Western martial arts that you should know about

Finn Mitoma
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western fencing martial arts

When it comes to self-defense and combat training, there have been numerous martial arts developed all around the world. From Europe to Asia and beyond, different cultures have developed diverse fighting systems and traditions. This blog post will take a closer look at the various martial arts developed in the West.

We will comprehensively list Western martial arts and explore their histories, practitioners, and main characteristics. We will also examine some of the core principles and values of the art forms and discuss the differences between Western and Eastern martial arts. Whether you are a martial arts enthusiast or simply curious about the topic, this blog post will provide valuable insight into Western martial arts.

1. Fencing

Fencing is a centuries-old form of Combat with deep roots in European history. It is a sport where two opponents face off, armed with swords and protective gear, and try to score points by making contact with their opponent’s weapon or body. Fencing is an elegant, sophisticated, and demanding sport requiring physical and mental skills. It is a sport that rewards technique, agility, and control and can be enjoyed by athletes of all ages. Fencing is an Olympic sport and is featured in many international competitions. It is an exciting and challenging martial art for developing coordination, speed, and accuracy.

2. Kendo

Kendo is a Japanese martial art of fencing that originated in the late 19th century. It is based on traditional samurai swordsmanship and is a form of sword fighting that focuses on strikes delivered with a wooden or bamboo sword. Practitioners of kendo wear protective gear, such as a helmet and chest protector, to protect themselves from sword strikes. It is a popular sport in Japan and other Asian countries and is growing in popularity in the western world. It is an effective form of exercise and encourages self-discipline and focus.

3. Jogo do Pau

Jogo do Pau, or Portuguese stick fencing, is a Portuguese martial art focusing on stick or baton combat. The art is one of the oldest in Europe, with a history that dates back to the 14th century. The techniques emphasize using body mechanics to generate power and use the stick as a defensive weapon. The art also includes techniques for unarmed Combat and grappling. The government recognized it as an important cultural artifact in Portugal as an intangible cultural heritage.

4. Mounted Combat

Mounted Combat is a unique form of Western martial arts where practitioners fight while mounted on horseback. It is a form of martial arts that has been practiced for centuries and has been popular among warriors, knights, and other members of the nobility for centuries. It requires a combination of skill, strength, agility, and the ability to ride a horse. The weapons used in mounted Combat often include swords, lances, and even bows and arrows. Mounted Combat is a popular sport today, and competitions are held worldwide.

5. Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA)

Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) is a blanket term covering many martial arts from the Medieval and Renaissance periods. It includes German longsword fencing, Italian sword, buckler fencing, Spanish rapier fencing, and more. Each martial art is based on the teachings and principles of a European historical master. HEMA is designed to teach students the physical and mental skills of fencing and the ability to interpret and analyze historical fencing texts. HEMA is gaining popularity as a form of fitness, self-defense, and sports fencing.

6. Stick Fighting

Stick fighting is a form of martial arts that involves using short, lightweight sticks or batons as weapons. It is common to see this form of martial arts being used in self-defense and martial arts competitions. Stick fighting is an effective and versatile form of martial arts, as it allows practitioners to use different striking and blocking techniques. Some popular forms of stick fighting include escrima, kali, arnis, and Kobudo. Stick battle requires practitioners to be agile and have good footwork, as well as knowledge of attacking and defending using the stick. To stay safe during a fight, practitioners of stick fighting must also be prepared to respond to an opponent’s strikes and blocks.

7. Cowboy Action Shooting

Cowboy Action Shooting is a popular sport in which contestants dress up in Old West-style costumes and compete in various shooting challenges. The goal is to fire single-action revolvers, lever-action rifles, and pump-action shotguns as quickly and accurately as possible. This sport is often held in Old West-themed towns, and its events feature music, dance, and other activities from the era. Cowboy Action Shooting is a great way to have fun and learn about the history of the Wild West.

8. Canne de Combat

Canne de Combat – Canne de Combat is a French martial art that consists of sword fighting with a walking stick. It was developed in the late 19th century and used fencing, boxing, and savate techniques. Training typically consists of practicing defensive and offensive techniques, footwork, and agility drills. This martial art is a form of self-defense and a competitive sport with its own set of rules. Some of the most popular Canne de Combat tournaments are held in Paris, France.

9. Bo-jutsu

Bo-jutsu is a Japanese martial art that utilizes a 6-foot-long staff and is one of the oldest martial arts in the world. It involves various techniques and strategies that involve striking, blocking, and deflecting with the bo staff. The practice is excellent for building strength, coordination, and agility. Bo-jutsu training also has a strong focus on mental and spiritual development. Students learn to empty their minds of distractions, allowing them to react to any situation quickly and accurately. All in all, Bo-jutsu is an effective and advantageous martial art.

10. Bartitsu

Bartitsu – Bartitsu is a mixed martial art developed in London by Edward William Barton-Wright in 1898. It combines boxing, Savate (French kickboxing), jujitsu, and Vigny Stick fighting. Bartitsu was originally intended to be a gentleman’s self-defense system, allowing a man to defend himself in a street fight while maintaining the “honor” of a gentleman. It was popular among the upper class in Victorian England. In recent years, Bartitsu has seen a resurgence in popularity, and many martial arts schools now offer classes in style.

In conclusion, western martial arts have a long and fascinating history, stretching back to ancient times. While some of these martial arts are no longer practiced today, they have left a lasting impact on the martial arts world. Whether you are interested in learning a traditional martial art or want to understand the history of martial arts, exploring these western martial arts can be a great way to gain insight into the past.

Finn Mitoma

Founder @ The Combative

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