Martial arts (literally meaning arts of war but usually referred as fighting arts) are extensive systems of codified practices and traditions of combat. Martial arts all have similar objectives: to physically defeat other persons or defend oneself or others from physical threat.
While martial arts evidently have roots in prehistory, the earliest evidence of systematic training in specific martial arts traditions emerges in antiquity (late 1st millennium BC) in both Asia and Europe. The foundation of modern Asian martial arts is likely a blend of early Chinese and Indian martial arts. In Europe, the earliest sources of martial arts traditions date to Classical Antiquity.
The mid to late 19th century marks the beginning of the history of martial arts as modern sports developed out of earlier traditional fighting systems. In Europe, this concerns the developments of boxing and fencing as sports. In Japan, the same period marks the formation of the modern forms of judo, jujitsu, karate, and kendo (among others) based on revivals of old schools of Edo period martial arts which had been suppressed during the Meiji Restoration. Modern Muay Thai rules date to the 1920s. In China, the modern history of martial arts begins in the Nanjing decade (1930s) following the foundation of the Central Guoshu Institute in 1928 under the Kuomintang government.
Following doomsday, martial arts flourished notably in the countries of Macau, East Tennessee, Auvergne, Israel, and Japan. This was sparked by a growing demand and necessity for civilians to protect themselves.
In 1987, Loi Mow Siu, Cantonese practitioner of Choy Lay Fat martial arts, and member of the Hoi clan, began instructing a few students in martial arts. Before him, most of the fighting in Gwongjau had been done with guns, clubs, and knives. His style of martial arts provided methods for defence against all three, as well as a practical method for hand-to-hand combat. He combined highly successful Choi Lay Fut with street defence on which he had been meditating, calling his style Loi Gar.
The Hoi clan, in which Loi Gar originated, was known to be the only clan which bordered both the Eastern Ng and the Western Ng clans. Loi Gar first became prominent during a street fight in March 1985. Accounts vary, but most agree that six of Loi Mow Siu's students were surrounded by a large mob of Eastern Ngs, who were armed with guns and knives. By the end of the fight, about one-fourth the Eastern Ngs were dead or seriously injured, while the six Loi Gar students sustained only moderate injuries. Nearby clans decided to seek help in order to avoid the same fate as those who were annexed by the Eastern Ng, Western Ng, and Ip clan. The style gained popularity throughout Gwongjau by word of mouth, and several clans sent students to the Hoi clan to study martial arts, giving rise to an institution that would have rivaled any one in Tokyo. In exchange for food and for the honour of learning Loi Gar, the practitioners were forced to perform manual labour throughout the clan's line of control.
Despite measures to prevent its spread into enemy territory, Loi Gar eventually spread to the Western Ng and Eastern Ng clans. Younger members of each clan were forced to master the style before they came of age, and the techniques became widely used to take over nearby areas. However, the Ip clan fell in 1994 to the Western Ng, and many attribute this to its refusal to adopt Loi Gar.
When Macau gained control of southern Gwongjau, the government was surprised to find that the people there, for the most part, had intricate knowledge of the art of self-defence. Loi Mow Siu was invited to Aomuhn to demonstrate Loi Gar. The president of Macau was so impressed that he immediately asked Loi to send twenty of his most skilled practitioners to different parts of Macau to instruct the populace. He also set forth a plan to incorporate Loi Gar into the Macanese education system, to be fully implemented by 2015.
Following Macanese adoption of Loi Gar, the style continued to spread throughout China, both on a grassroots level and on the government level. Macau began negotiations for making Loi Gar a standard throughout China due to its effectiveness as a sport as well as its value to enhance discipline. Today it is officially recognized by the governments of Hainan, Taiwan, Jiangsu, the Philippines, and Peru, to which it was brought by Chinese immigrants. However, it fell short of Loi's wishes because in the north of China, use of guns had become much more predominant.
Israel is famous for its self-defence style known as Krav Maga. Krav Maga originated in Bratislava, created by Imi Lichtenfeld to help fellow Jews defend against Nazi and fascist groups operating in the area. It later became the official style in Israel, taught to police officers, members of the military, and civilians. After Doomsday, it surged in popularity past its borders.
During the Arab-Israeli conflict, both Arabs and Israelis picked up Krav Maga. The situation escalated as more and more israelis learned the art. Israel made Krav Maga a part of public schooling. It was believed that those who were not exposed to Krav Maga were at a disadvantage both physically and in discipline. Through word-of-mouth, Krav Maga became popular throughout the Middle East to deal with violence. It gave many poorer civilians hope in gun, stick, and knife defence. In 1999, the first Middle Eastern Krav Maga tournament took place in Cairo. The tournament was a major step in Arab-Israeli relations, although conflicts persisted.
Although not nearly to the extent of Israel, China, and the United States, martial arts experienced a revival in France as well. The style known as savate or boxe française, gained popularity in the survivor state of Auvergne. Although it was past its zenith, it became an important part of daily life in many communities throughout France, especially around Auvergne. It became very useful for defending against the chaos that resulted from destruction of many of France's major cities. It gave people a sense of security, and helped the French learn discipline during difficult times. Many practitioners of savate found interest in reconstructed historical savate, based on manuscripts from the late 19th to early 20th century.
The Fédération Française de Savate Boxe Française (headquartered in Auvergne) set up its first tournament since doomsday in Moulins in 1996, although the only participants came from Auvergne and the nearby countryside. Many French countries have since joined the tournament. Savate has since been recognized by many governments, and has become a point of unity in France. Its popularity increased to the point that it was no longer contained within France, as several instructors traveled throughout Europe. Many new branches formed, as different countries combined savate with regional forms of martial arts. Unlike many martial arts after doomsday, however, savate has retained an emphasis on technique and sparring rather than actual self-defence and combat.
Following Doomsday, martial arts sprang up in East Tennessee, and soon spread throughout the United States.
Doomsday installed xenophobia into the minds of many Americans, who refused to trust any outsiders. Many honed their skills in fighting techniques in order to defend themselves, but for the most part, criminals were successful in injuring their victims due to their use of knives and guns as weapons. As a solution to this problem, Cecil T. Patterson, founder and president of the United States Eastern Wadō-ryū Federation, called a meeting of martial arts masters from around the Knoxville area, including Isshin-ryū instructors Harold G. Long and Pete Mills, and nine others, from backgrounds in taekwondo, karate, kung fu, and muay Thai. The twelve spent three months intensively discussing the mix of karate and jujitsu, which would be called Matsukō-kai (末後會) or alternately Mut Hau Wuy in Cantonese, and Malhohoi in Korean, translating roughly to "Post-Doomsday Association." This is because it was believed that the style would become the standard after doomsday, and that traditional styles such as karate could not survive so long without connections to their home countries. Cecil Patterson was appointed as president, with Harold G. Long as vice president.
Teaching began in early 1985, with the twelve instructors dispersing throughout East Tennessee. A large percentage of dojos and studios in East Tennessee decided to adopt the new style. Tournaments were organized, although the ranking system was not standardized until much later. Street fighting skills were also taught to help civilians protect against unrest caused by the political situation and by criminal acts. It became very popular, and some schools incorporated it into their physical education systems. It was a key factor in the various battles throughout the city during its early years, and was a major factor in the rebellion that overthrew the rogue government and established the State of Tennessee.
In 1992, Matsukō-kai was recognized as the state's official martial arts style, and it became a part of military training. However, this was met with a large amount of criticism. Matsukō-kai had many practices which were borrowed from eastern religion, such as bowing to show respect. Many of the conservative Christian community of East Tennessee disapproved, stating that Matsukō-kai was indoctrinating foreign ideas into the military. Former mayor Kyle Testerman led a series of protests against the government to remove Mastukō-kai from the public sector. In a famous court case against the government, the trial was postponed indefinitely until peace returned to East Tennessee. However, a verdict was never reached.
With the death of Cecil T. Patterson in 2002, his son John V. Patterson took his position. John Patterson showed interest in expanding Matsukō-kai throughout the United States. He negotiated with nearby governments to talk about the benefits of state martial arts. He also helped set up dojos in other countries, as far as Assiniboia. In 2010, he made a journey to Thailand, China, Korea, and Japan to discuss the future of martial arts after Doomsday.
In addition to Matsukō-kai, various dojos survive throughout the United States, teaching a wide variety of styles.
Traditional Japanese sports, in particular sumo wrestling and various forms of martial arts, have enjoyed a renaissance since Doomsday. The sports were pushed by the government as national sports and disciplines, and are extremely popular. In order to manifest a return to the days of the Tokugawa period, the Japanese government made jujitsu and karate required subjects in all schools. The Japanese government nationalized the Japan Karatedō Federation and various jujitsu schools, but allowed individual schools to maintain their own techniques.
A martial arts renaissance occurred from around 1986 - 2005. Hundreds of Japanese practitioners formed new styles of karate, leading to the intermixing of jujitsu and karate. Gun, stick, and knife defence became a key part of martial arts. Also, many boarding schools became dedicated to the practice of martial arts, because it was believed that one who had learned the discipline of Japanese martial arts would outdo one who focuses on academics.
Japan's different styles have largely intermixed since the nationalization of the sport, and despite various opposition, most styles participate in joint tournaments with other styles of martial arts.
Even after Doomsday, martial arts tournaments continued to persist, although international tournaments experienced a period of non-existence. Many organizations claimed to be successors of such organizations of the International Karate Federation. They sponsored tournaments that were limited to smaller regions. Even though Doomsday halted most tournaments, many that existed before doomsday continued unbroken. Several tournaments worldwide occurred on the day of Doomsday.
The first karate tournament that could be called international was a tournament that took place in Puerto Alfredo Stroessner, Paraguay in November 2006. Competitors came from all six of the inhabited continents, and from as far as Taiwan. The tournament came to be called the International Promoters of Post-Doomsday Martial Arts Tournament (IPPMAT), and has occurred annually since then. The next tournament is scheduled for November 2011 in Penang, Malaysia.