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Martial arts have been around for many centuries. Over time, different styles developed in different countries, and every style was influenced by the culture and the different challenges that the country faced. Some styles were considered as a more striking based technique, while others tried to invalidate striking by training ground submissions and grappling techniques. Although the popularity of mixed martial arts has decreased the prominence of other styles, individual types of martial arts do still exist.
Muay Thai is a striking style of martial art that started in Thailand in the early 1200s. There’s no absolute written history of the Muay Thai fighting style before the twentieth century because the techniques were usually passed down orally. When the country was being invaded, compatriots had to protect themselves from the aggressors and the people had to defend their country because there were no functioning armed forces. The most common piece of weaponry at that time period were short-range shooting weapons such as knives and spears, so Muay Thai was intended to defend against these weapons as well as to utilize the natural limbs of the body, particularly the shins, knees, elbows and fists. Which is where the art of 8 limbs originated from. Muay Thai experts are very adept at close range fighting, and one preferred technique involves trapping the opponent’s head in a clinch or plum and bringing it down forcefully to collide with upswinging knee strikes.
Jiu-jitsu is a grappling style of martial art that possibly started from Greek wrestling as well as pancration, one of the ancient Olympic events. Some jiu-jitsu tactics were introduced to Indians during the rule of Alexander the Great, around 356 B.C. After that time, this style was introduced in China with the prevalence of Buddhism, and then teachers traveled from China to Japan. Jiu-jitsu was then introduced in Brazil by a visitor from Japan, and the Gracie family became renowned for spreading the art form all over the United States and Brazil. This type of martial art is a grappling based technique that is intended for a smaller person in order to disable a stronger and larger attacker. It’s almost like jiu-jitsu uses principles from both physics and engineering to make it more efficient and applicable. A person practicing jiu-jitsu will usually trip or grapple an opponent to the ground, referred to as a takedown, before he can utilize the combined strength of his legs and arms to either control the opponent or neutralize the enemy’s neck, arm or leg by either choking them into unconsciousness or breaking a limb.
Capoeira is one of the types of martial arts that started in Africa more than 400 years ago when native people devised a self-defense technique to protect themselves and their territories against overlords and traders. Because they needed to keep their capoeira training hidden from those people in power, they disguised the style as a dance, which allowed them to exercise it openly without the fear of punishment. Capoeira is an acrobatic style that uses circular strikes and fluid movements to confuse the enemy. It is still taught as both a fighting style and a dance, depending on the type of martial art school you are attending. The style received more acknowledgements in the U.S. with the increase in popularity of action films and guess who, actor Wesley Snipes who uses capoeira in many of his renowned films.
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