Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practices, which are practiced for a variety of reasons: self-defense, competition, physical health and fitness, entertainment, as well as mental, physical, and spiritual development.

Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practices, which are practiced for a variety of reasons: self-defense, competition, physical health and fitness, entertainment, as well as mental, physical, and spiritual development.

Although the term martial art has become associated with the fighting arts of eastern Asia, it originally referred to the combat systems of Europe as early as the 1550s. The term is derived from Latin, and means "arts of Mars", the Roman god of war. Some authors have argued that fighting arts or fighting systems would be more appropriate on the basis that many martial arts were never "martial" in the sense of being used or created by professional warriors.