What Is a Martial

Broadly, a "martial art" is any system of physical, mental, and sometimes philosophical and spiritual training intended as preparation for combat or a combative sport, or a related form of self-improvement. The details vary widely. All such systems are "martial" in that their core physical training is at least modeled on man-to-man combat. Some go further, focusing on actual combat skills to the exclusion of sport, religion, and aesthetics. Others emphasize the "art," perhaps going so far as to be strictly noncompetitive and noncombative.

Martial Arts defines a "martial art" as any systematically taught fighting style used for any purpose - combative or otherwise. Geography and ethnicity don't enter into it. Boxers, knights, samurai, African stickfighters . . . they're all martial artists. This book covers all kinds of martial arts, but emphasizes combat styles over sportive ones and sports over artistic systems. This isn't because combat styles are "real" martial arts and others aren't, but because the heroes in RPGs are more likely to be steely eyed warriors than pacifistic monks!

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