You may be quite an authority on martial arts, but there are some pretty fascinating facts about the history and traditions of these combat systems that you may not know. Here are some knock out facts and  specifics that might floor martial arts studio owners and karate adults (in addition to “Karate Kids,” Tai Kwon Do pros and the most avid Bruce Lee, Van Damme or Jackie Chan fan). For example, did you know:

Black is just Mish-Mash of All the Colors: There are a wide range of colors in the belt system of karate: white, brown, yellow, etc. But rather than some dark secret that can now be revealed about the history of the black belt, it was really due to the fact that they kept dying the same belt over and over again as students kept progressing, until the color for the most accomplished masters was black.

Martial Arts are Older than King Tut’s Mummy (and Granddaddy): King Tut dates back a ways — not that he dated when he was king because he was just a kid and his mummy wouldn’t let him (sorry about that) — but his sarcophagus was first discovered in 1324 B.C., which makes him ancient. But martial arts goes back a lot further than that. According to Black Belt Magazine Online, China became the center of the martial arts universe in 2600 B.C. , (a ton of time before Tut),  and Japan didn’t get into the swing of it until 770 B.C. and Korea long after that.

Western Karate is  a Kid Compared to the Eastern World: Martial arts mastery in the western hemisphere came thousands of years after its introduction in China.  The first western champion was reportedly an Englishman named James Figg who knocked out opponents and fans with his bare knuckles.

Muay Thai Artists May Qualify as “Crazy-Tough”: As reported in the BroBible, some might say that Muay Thai fighters “are in physical condition that may surpass any one other competitor. Why? Because they, like our pal Wolverine,  have a super strong skeleton.” It is a practice in Muay Thai to break one’s own limbs for the purpose of letting the “hairline fractures heal into even stronger bones”!

“Full Contact Competitions Let Fists Fly. (Teeth say “Bye Bye”):  In light- and medium-contact martial arts events and tournaments, the amount of force that may be used against an opponent is restricted. Not so in full-contact sparring or competition. Spikes are thrown with full-force and the goal of the bout is either to knock the opponent out or to force your opponent into submission –a.k.a., “I give” a.k.a, “Uncle,” a.k.a. “No mas.”

So which Mixed Martial Arts pull out the stops? Wikipedia points to the fact that almost all MMA organizations use full-contact rules, including  Pancrase, UFC, Shooto, plus pro-boxing  organizations. Advanced participants who engage in K-1, Kyokushin and karate use bare-knuckled, full-contact sparring while wearing a questionably fashionable karate gi and groin protector (TMVI–too much visual information). Punching to the face is not allowed, but you can try to arrange a new look for someone with kicks, and your knees.

It’s different in Brazil where Jiu-Jitsu and Judo matches do not permit striking, but full contact is permitted in submission and grappling techniques. If you take part in the a championship held by the World Taekwondo Federation , you will have to use headgear and padded vest, but your opponent will still be out to knock you flat with strikes to your head and body. So get that insurance policy out.

Speaking of insurance, if you own a martial arts studio, provide judo classes, sponsor kickboxing, or are seriously involved in providing MMA instruction, you don’t want to receive a blow to your corporate body due to liability for a participant or spectator injury. Call us and we’ll be more than happy to talk about insurance for your professional and amateur events at belt-tightening prices.



Black Belt Magazine Online

The BroBible‘s Ten Teeth Shattering Things You Didn’t Know About Martial Arts