Martial arts originated in East Asia more than 2,000 years ago and have since grown to about 200 individual types practiced by about 100 million people worldwide. The Web will help you learn about the different martial arts so you can choose which one suits you best; it will assist you in finding instruction in the martial art you choose; it will provide you with forums and community Web sites so you can share your zeal with others on martial arts techniques and movies; and it can be a place to buy the equipment and apparel you need.
Martial arts are practiced all over the world, and styles vary from region to region. As such, there are thousands of styles and it can be difficult for the unacquainted to understand the diverse world of martial arts. This section includes sites that introduce you to martial arts and then sites to help you explore them through articles and video.
- Since there are so many martial arts, and each was formed at a different point in time, we did not include a section in this guide on the history of martial arts in general. You can find histories of the individual martial arts in the subsection on the different types of martial arts below. For a brief overview on the history of martial arts in general, look at the martial arts “History” section of Encarta Encyclopedia.
- The phrases Kung Fu and Wushu have both come to indicate Chinese “martial arts.” But technically, Kung Fu refers to accomplishing a skill, while Wushu refers to warlike techniques, or martial arts in general.
- Do and Jutso are two common Japanese suffixes for martial arts. Do literally means “the way of,” while Jutsu translates to “martial method.” At first, all martial arts were considered Jutsu in Japan, because they were used against an enemy. But by the end of the 19th century spirituality had become more important, and now the names of martial arts that focus more on meditation finish in Do.
- When you read through these Web sites you will frequently encounter the acronym MMA. This stands for mixed martial arts, which is a combination of various forms of martial arts and street fighting. If you want more in-depth information on mixed martial arts, take a look at the findingDulcinea Mixed Martial Arts Web Guide.
For an overview of martial arts …
provides concise descriptions of the different types of martial arts on one page in alphabetical order. The graphic design is bland but the quality information provides a good introduction.
has information on the history and founders of different styles. Many styles include video and links, as well as books, DVDs, and VHS tapes for sale. It can be difficult finding the information you want, as there is a lot of MMA content and even more ads; just be sure to scroll past the ads that appear near the top of the page to get to the real content.
has a list of some prominent forms of martial arts, with a brief description for each one. Learn the translation, the country of origin, a brief history, and more. There is little else on the site, save for the U.K.-focused “Find a Club” directory; the “Discussion Forum” does not work and neither does the homepage.
For more in-depth information and commentary …
magazine has been covering the world of martial arts since 1961. Many of the magazine’s articles are available online, found under the “Archives” tab. You’ll also find a lot of great videos here, including a short clip of each of the martial art styles.
is a place for newcomers to learn as well as a forum for experts to come together. It provides some interesting articles and opinion pieces on martial arts around the world, tips for training, and a “History, Philosophy, & Religion” section (scroll down the left sidebar to find it). There are also book reviews and forums for the various martial arts.
is full of information about martial arts, though it is a bit disorganized and continually loading. The easiest way to search the large amount of content is using the menu on the left side. The “Learning Center” teaches you about different styles of martial arts and shows you how to practice them. The “Media Center” includes information on the modern world of martial arts with articles, magazines, and videos.
allows martial artists to share their knowledge by posting videos for everyone in this online community to view. The videos demonstrate techniques for various types of martial arts; browse the different styles on the left to improve your skills and learn some new moves.
is a novel site created and run by a couple who has been teaching martial arts for years. This site primarily posts questions that people may have, and then provides thorough answers. It has a section for kids teaching how to tie a belt and how to make a “Gi roll,” and even offers some online martial arts courses.
Bad Martial Arts
puts a critical lens to many martial arts myths, including Dim Mok (the Touch of Death), meditation, and defying gravity, among others. Two brothers who have been involved with martial arts for more than a decade author the site, and they present arguments that are intelligently written and quite interesting to read.
Martial arts have become a popular activity for children and adults, and there are martial arts schools or instructors in neighborhoods all over the country. The sites below should aid you in choosing a martial art to practice and finding a class in your area.
- Many of these directories have similar functions. There are some overlaps among them but there are also definitely some different classes for each, so we’ve included them all to provide you with more options.
- Keep in mind that there are many martial arts classes—especially smaller classes and single instructors—not listed in any of these directories. Sometimes the best way to find instruction in your area is to consult a general directory like YellowPages.com.
For help choosing a martial art …
Experience Martial Arts
acquaints you with the world of martial arts and helps you get started. The “Learn” section introduces the benefits of practicing martial arts, what you can expect, and how you should choose a style and school. The “Choose” section goes into greater detail on individual styles, with demonstrative video clips and links to other sites. The “Find” section has a very small directory of schools.
provides a useful Web page on choosing a martial art to practice. Because anyone can contribute to the page, you should be critical of some of the information presented here. However, the page can still be a great resource with a list of 11 steps to keep in mind when considering martial arts, and some tips and warnings.
provides a great introduction to martial arts in general, as well as a section on “How To Choose A Martial Art.” The article presents five questions to ask yourself along with links to more information. The “Training” and “Equipment” sections are helpful, too.
For help finding a school …
magazine features the “Dojo Directory,” an interactive map of the United States that makes searching easy. Below the map you can see how many listings there are for each state right away, and there are links for Canada and other international locations.
has listings for schools, organizations, and events. Use the “Search Center” in the left sidebar to browse schools and organizations; schools are sorted by state, but organizations are listed alphabetically by name. For events, seminars, and tournaments, take a look at the “Events Center,” also on the left menu.
is a comprehensive resource for anyone seeking a place to study martial arts. Simply type in your zip code, your age, and how many miles you are willing to travel, and the site provides a list of schools. Look for information on martial arts tournaments, and the different styles of martial arts and self defense.
is a directory to martial arts schools throughout the world and includes links to the Web site of each class or school. It is broken down by type of martial art but does not allow searching by location. Despite that inconvenience, this is still a very helpful site with a substantial number of links.
Martial Arts Clubs
features a directory for schools in the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland. It is organized by region, and includes basic contact information and occasionally an organization’s official site.
Although there is a long list of specialized organizations for each type of martial art, there are some umbrella organizations that attempt to bring all martial arts together under one roof. These associations can give you information about local organizations, tournaments, and news about what is happening in the general world of martial arts.
- There are many important martial arts organizations in the world, and we included the most prominent ones below. For a more extensive list of general organizations and associations, visit CompleteMartialArts.com.
- Most instructors are aware of upcoming local tournaments. If the sites in this section don’t provide all the information you need about a particular tournament, ask your instructor or consult your local school.
For organizations …
The National Association of Professional Martial Artists
is the largest organization for professional martial artists in the world. With members in more than 20 countries, the organization seeks to maintain a network of these instructors and further the development of martial arts teaching throughout the world. The site includes an archive of martial arts news and content from NAPMA’s Martial Arts Professional
magazine. There’s also information on how NAPMA aids the development of schools and allows for schools to become members online.
The Martial Arts Industry Association
is geared toward the community of martial arts teachers, featuring advice on how to promote, improve, and manage their schools. The site has information on becoming a member, a schedule of program seminars, and a store with a large number of books and videos.
The International Martial Arts Council of America
(IMAC) considers itself an “open martial arts organization” and aims to advance the appreciation of martial arts worldwide. The site features information on who can join, and includes an online membership application. It also has a quarterly e-magazine and information on its national training camp.
The Martial Arts International Federation
is a nonprofit umbrella group that seeks to provide a “global network” of martial arts organizations. The site has a directory of member organizations, a calendar of upcoming events, and a section on martial arts news. The organization is also responsible for creating martial arts standards, and furthering the development of the arts worldwide.
The Sidekick Foundation
is a nonprofit organization that helps at-risk children, the disabled, and the elderly participate in martial arts training. The organization has more than 100 chapters throughout the United States; unfortunately, its list of partners isn’t searchable and you’ll have to scroll through the list. If you don’t find a chapter near you, contact the foundation for more information.
To find tournaments …
was started to bring more attention to the talented athletes who compete in open martial arts tournaments. Use the search feature to find information on open martial arts tournaments or look on the right of the page for “Premiere Events” recommended by the site. You’ll also find loads of news, videos, and photos of the events.
If you have a passion for martial arts, whether as a martial arts student, instructor, or fan, there is a place on the Internet to share your thoughts and hear from other enthusiasts. Dispense advice, learn new techniques, find out about popular tournaments, and review the latest equipment in the martial arts forum and blogging community.
- Most of the forums ask that you register before participating, though registration is usually free.
- The sites below are designed solely as places to chat and exchange information, but many of the sites in the section on “Where can I learn about the history and philosophy of martial arts?” also have forums of their own.
Martial Arts Planet
is primarily a forum where more than 30,000 registered users discuss many different martial arts topics. Register to participate and then submit pictures, read articles, join clubs, and more.
World Black Belt
is a community for martial artists founded by 50 martial arts masters, including Chuck Norris. Most of the information on this site requires a $30 annual membership fee but includes a number of perks, such as tournament and seminar discounts. Without signing up, you can view profiles of some of the martial arts world’s “Living Legends” (Wesley Snipes is one example), read short descriptions of the various martial arts, look through the dictionary of martial arts terms, and find events throughout the world.
connects martial arts enthusiasts (currently about 10,000 registered users), and isn’t limited to karate. This well-organized site has forum categories like “Styles and Arts,” “General Martial Arts Issues,” and “General Discussion” (which includes jokes and game threads).
BudoSeek! Martial Arts Community
is easy to navigate and has more than 6,500 members. Join a thread for Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and other types of martial arts, or access a thread for a type of martial art within one of those categories. There are also other resources, such as link and supply directories.
For blogs …
addresses the philosophy of martial arts and how it can be applied in everyday life. The author encourages his readers to share their comments and stories, making the site a great place for discussion and interaction.
is an insightful blog written by a New Yorker with a background in karate and an interest in martial arts in general. He recounts his personal experiences, but also covers many philosophical and historical aspects of martial arts. The “Featured articles” on the right-hand side showcase his best work.
The fact that there are so many different martial arts from an array of countries and cultures means you need unique equipment and apparel. Judo asks for Judo Gis; Kendo necessitates a Bokken, and Jeet Kun Do might even require boxing gloves. Or perhaps you have always desired that sword from Lord of the Rings. Whether practical or collectible, the Internet can help you uncover the martial arts items of your choice.
- If you’re in a class, be sure to ask your instructor what you need before you buy any equipment or apparel online. The school or instructor may even supply the necessary uniforms and other products for you.
- Because there aren’t many sites that deal specifically with martial arts memorabilia, popular auction sites like eBay may be a good option to consider.
- The online versions of your favorite stores often stock a significantly larger selection of goods than their physical counterparts. Since many offer options for free shipping, shopping for sports equipment on the Web can be both time- and cost-efficient.
- For information on general sporting goods stores that sell equipment and apparel for multiple sports, and for guidelines on buying memorabilia online, look to our findingDulcinea Sports Web Guide.
For equipment and apparel …
was voted BizRate's top martial arts retailer. Find uniforms, sparring and training gear, weapons, and more for various types of martial arts. Visit the “Gift Ideas” section if you’re not quite sure what your martial arts–loving friend would want. Ground shipping costs $2.95 for all orders.
Century Martial Arts
offers a large supply of martial arts equipment and apparel. Its vast selection can be searched by product type, brand, style, or best sellers, and there is a good-sized clearance section. Visit Century Custom to customize uniforms, patches, and other equipment with your school’s name or logo.
is headquartered in California but ships throughout the world. The site is fairly easy to navigate with products arranged by type of martial art and more generally by activity (“Sparring,” for example). e-bogu.com sponsors a number of martial arts tournaments and features photos from recent tournaments on its “About Us” page.
Bu Jin Design
offers equipment and apparel for aikido, kendo, iaido, karate, and kung fu on this simple, easy-to-use Web site. Bu Jin is known for its high-quality hakama, which can be customized to suit your tastes and body type.
Asian World of Martial Arts, Inc.
(AWMA) offers a wide selection of equipment and apparel for many kinds of martial arts. Use the tabs at the top of the page to browse the selection, and the left-hand menu to learn more about martial arts and the Philadelphia-based company.
has a large supply of inexpensive martial arts gear. In addition to the standard products, there are some more unusual items to choose from on this site, such as a collection of Chinese-crafted lion and dragon heads.
For books and DVDs …
is a publishing company that sells countless martial arts–related books and DVDs. As an added bonus, the site offers a taste of their products: take a look at the “Training Tips” page for excerpts from their books and DVDs with links to purchase.
The Martial Arts Library
contains books, DVDs, and more about martial arts. Search by “DVDs,” “Martial Arts,” or “Martial Arts (kids)” using the left sidebar.
For memorabilia and collectibles …
PearTree Martial Arts Supply
provides martial arts memorabilia, such as replica movie knives and swords. Take a look at the currently “Most popular” section for pieces like the Serenity Operative Assassin Sword from the series “Firefly” and the film “Serenity.”
devotes a section of its hard-to-navigate site to martial arts collectibles. Look for general martial arts merchandise and equipment, samurai swords, novelties, and more.
The Martial Mall
is a specialized shopping portal that connects you to various sites that sell martial arts memorabilia and collectibles. Look for everything from ninja swords to martial arts greeting cards and calendars.
Martial arts movies are a genre unto themselves, popularizing such icons as Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Jackie Chan, and Jet Li. They have a tendency to elicit awe and hilarity at the same time, often combining low production budgets and slipshod editing with more vivid and impressive fighting scenes than any mainstream Hollywood spectacle. Perhaps that is why these movies have such a cult following, and why sites throughout the Web are enamored with them.
- Martial arts movies are often referred to casually as kung fu movies, but of course different movies feature different martial arts. If you’re looking for a particular subgenre of martial arts movies (for example, kung fu, ninja, samurai, karate, wuxia, or Hong Kong cinema), first try entering the specific genre into a search engine. If you don’t get the results you’re looking for, you might do better using “kung fu movies” as your search term regardless of the particular martial art you seek.
Kung Fu Cinema
features news and reviews regarding martial arts movies past and present. Picked among the "100 Best Websites for Guys" by Men’s Journal
in 2004, the site is a valuable trove for anyone who has a hankering for martial arts movies.
Bruce Lee: The Divine Wind
is a Web site devoted to the legend, and this site certainly does him justice. Although the site’s design is nothing to brag about, it offers all the facts you could want, essays written by Bruce Lee, articles about Bruce Lee, and more. The most impressive feature of this site is its 4,660 Bruce Lee images within 33 “Galleries,” located down the left sidebar.
offers a wide selection of martial arts movies and clips for viewing with Real Player or Windows Media Player. There are currently no martial arts films available free of charge, so you’ll have to sign up for the $9.95 per month membership if you want access to the site’s complete library of films. Enjoy such martial arts films as “Bruce Li in New Guinea” or “Duel of the Dragon” with Jackie Chan.
Ninja Movie Database
compiles the low-budget martial arts movies that you crave. The site provides general information for each movie, such as director and cast, and also includes a link to a review. You’ll mainly find East Asian–produced ninja movies here, as opposed to higher-budget Hollywood films.
Asian Film Fandom
provides this outlet for fans of martial arts movies to air their opinions. Join in discussions about the “Classic Kung Fu Film 1960-1985.” Or perhaps “Shaw Brothers Films” are more your cup of tea.
presents this list of “The 100 Worst Martial Arts Movie Names,” including such great titles as, “Little Mad Guy,” and “Swordsman with an Umbrella.” Each title has a brief description of why it was chosen, in case it isn’t obvious enough.
Chuck Norris Facts
is the first site that comes up when you type Chuck Norris into Google, and for good reason. What Chuck Norris fan wouldn’t want to know, for example, that “The chief export of Chuck Norris is Pain”? Some of the facts on this site were recently featured in a humorous campaign ad for Mike Huckabee’s 2008 presidential run.
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