Martial arts is an umbrella term that refers to several different fighting techniques that are widely believed to have evolved from the ancient Asian combats. However, there is no definitive agreement when it comes to the origin of the martial artist. Although evidence of the existence of martial arts dating as far back as 2,000 BC was discovered, the Asian styles of martial arts are widely known to have arrived in China from Tibet and India. In India and Tibet, martial arts was mainly used by monks as a way of exercising and learning self-defence. Martial arts would later spread from China to other parts of Asia, including Japan, which was actually the latest Asian country to start practicing martial arts, thanks to its geographical isolation. Although Japan was the last Asian country to learn martial arts, the art thrived there.
During the Edo Period, martial arts was a preserve of warriors who served feudal lords. No peasant was allowed to learn and practice martial arts (although they practiced secretly). However, this illegality did not prevent the art from flourishing during this period. Before the WWII, Japan incorporated martial arts into is military training. Martial arts would later be legalized and incorporated into the country’s physical education.