A Timeline of the Martial Arts

A Timeline of the Martial Arts

Martial Arts have long been a part of many cultures around the world and here we look at the development of these practises across centuries.

2000-1000 BCE: Bronze Age

20th century BCE: Murals in tomb 15 at Beni Hasan depict wrestling techniques

18th century BCE: The Babylonian Gilgamesh epic includes the major hand-held weapons used prior to the gunpowder era

1000 BCE-500: Iron Age and Antiquity

8th century BCE: The start of the Greek Olympic Competition which aides in the development of boxing, wrestling, and pankration

6th century BCE: Ten styles of Śastravidyā are created in north India

264 BCE: First recorded gladiatorial combat is staged during the funeral of Junius Brutus in Rome

CE 72: The Colosseum – the world’s largest martial arts venue for the next 300 years – opens in Rome

CE 477: On the orders of Emperor Xiaowen, the Shaolin Temple is built at the base of the Songshan mountain range in China and fighting monks are authorised to train in the temple on the authority of successive Chinese emperors

500-1500: Middle Ages

700: Kuvalaymala describes students learning martial arts from the Hindu priests at gurukula – traditional educational institutions

800-900: The earliest known manual of the dhanurveda, Agni Purana, lists more than 130 weapons and details dozens of fighting stances

1156-1185: The samurai class emerges in Japan during the warring period between the Taira and Minamoto families

1477: The Onkinawan king Sho Shin bans the carrying of arms which leads to the underground development of the striking arts – popular later on betting sites – and unarmed combat techniques, such as jujutsu

1500-1800: Early Modern Period

16th-19th centuries: Much of South and Southeast Asia gradually comes under European rule and martial arts practises are discouraged, but preserved in secret

1600: Afro-Brazilian slaves begin to develop capoeira

1743: An English bare-knuckle fighter, Jack Broughton, writes the first rules of boxing

19th Century

1825-1900: Savate turns from its street-fighting roots to a modern sport

1882: Jigoro Kano modifies traditional Japanese jujutso to develop judo

1892: The first world heavyweight boxing championship is contested under the Marquess of Queensberry rules of 1867

1893-1901: After studying jujutsu in Japan, Edward William Barton-Wright upon returning to England creates Bartitsu

20th Century

1904-1906: Judo is taught at the U.S. Naval Academy by Yamashita Yoshiaki

1925: Carlos Gracie opens the first school for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

1930: Imi Lichtenfeld begins the development of Krav Maga in Czechoslovakia

1943: Judo and Karate are officially introduced in Korea

1957: Nine Korean training halls unite as one under the name of taekwondo

1959: Bruce Lee arrives in America and begins teaching the practises of Wing chun

1964: Judo becomes an official Olympic sport

1973: The World Taekwondo Federation is formed

1985: Shooto is formed by Satoru Sayama which would later go on to become the first mixed martial arts organisation in the world

1993: The first Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is held

21st Century

2001: Formalisation of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP)

2009: Modern Arnis is declared the national sport of the Philippines