Each year in the United States, about 3.6 million people participate in martial arts classes. In fact, there are more martial arts schools in the U.S. than in any other country in the world.
Interest in the martial arts shows no signs of slowing. This is no surprise given the many benefits of the martial arts, both physically and mentally.
Despite the popularity of the martial arts, including kung fu, there are still some interesting facts about the martial arts that many people do not know. What follows are just some of those facts:
- Teddy Roosevelt was the first American to receive a brown belt in Judo and lined the White House basement with training mats.
- Mixed Marital Arts (MMA) was an event in the ancient Olympics. It was called Pankration.
- The lowest rank of sumo wrestlers were required to wear wooden sandals in public so the sound those sandals made would remind them to practice and improve their skills.
- Japan was a poor country during World War II so it was cheaper to dye belts than to purchase new ones. This is why the color of the belts go from light to dark as a student moves up the ranks.
- Filipino Martial Arts are considered by many to be the most advanced practical modern blade system in the world. They are used by the U.S. army and other militaries around the world.
- Karate master Mas Oyama, or “Godhand,” fought live bulls with his hands. He was known to have killed some of those bulls with a single blow.
- Karate is a combination of two words. Kara, meaning empty, and te, meaning hand. That is why the definition of karate is self-defense fighting without weapons. Judo means gentle way.
- Bruce Lee is considered one of the most influential martial artists in history due to the fact that he introduced the Chinese martial arts to people all over the world.
- Martial arts helps children with ADHD focus and expend excess energy.
- Eighty-five percent of martial artists in the United States are younger than 13.
- Anglican clergy in Britain are given the opportunity to learn the martial arts.
- Elvis Presley had a black belt in karate.
- Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is part of the required curriculum in schools in the United Arab Emirate.
- More than 70 million people in 188 countries practice taekwondo.
- A training hall for the Chinese martial arts is called a kwoon.