What are some Unique Martial Arts Still Practiced Today?

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Martial arts are an important aspect of human history, society, and evolution. Originally, they were created as methods for survival. When caught weaponless, striking or grappling enemies was the best way to protect yourself. However, over time, as societies became safer, martial arts grew to become entertainment and sport.

Nowadays, we are all familiar with boxing, wrestling or karate. People watch, practice and bet on mixed martial arts tournaments, boxing matches, and judo tournaments. In fact, despite being over 5000 years old, boxing is still the most popular sport when it comes to betting. Sportsbooks cover boxing tournaments extensively, and the same is true for mixed martial arts. Best of all, these websites double as gambling sites. For example, the Novibet casino online comes with all the best games from slots to poker, and much more. An excellent treat for sports fans who occasionally enjoy rolling the dice.

But today, we'd like to look at the sports that fly under the radar. The martial arts that are still practiced today, but don't have a massive following. So, let's take a look at some unique martial arts, that still exist today.

 

Glima

The Norwegian exiles settled Iceland around the ninth century. With them, they brought wrestling. Throughout the years, the isolated island developed its own form of wrestling, named Glima. The sport involves grappling one's opponent's trousers, lifting them and throwing them to the ground. Though, that is only one variant. Indeed, there are a lot more aggressive versions of Glima practiced today.

The sport is played professionally in Iceland to this day. The first modern iteration of Glima took place in the 1880s, and has been held annually ever since. New rules were introduced through the centuries, but the basics of the sport remain unchanged.

 

Bokator

Developed by the Angkor army approximately 1500-1700 years ago, Bokator covers striking techniques, ground fighting, and even places an emphasis on blunt and sharp weapons. The basics behind Cambodia's oldest martial art revolve around knee and shin strikes, and submission holds, as well as the incorporation of bamboo staves, short sticks, and sometimes even swords and daggers. The name of this martial art is derived from the Cambodian phrase “to beat a lion” and comes from an ancient legend, in which a Bokator practitioner slayed the beast with a single, well-placed kick. 

 

Nguni Stick-fighting

Commonly called donga, the traditional martial art of the Nguni people involves wielding two long sticks in each hand. One is used for offense and the other is a defensive tool. Donga was originally developed as a system for waging war. Today, however, it is primarily a form of entertainment for Nguni teenagers and herders, who want to blow off steam, or get a good exercise. Nguni stick-fighting was primarily popularized by South African president and activist, Nelson Mandela who practiced the martial art in his youth.

The Nguni tribe donga is a unique variation on the popular stick-fighting martial arts that exist throughout South Africa. Other common variations involve using two sticks of varying lengths, a stick and a shield, or even just one stick to attack and defend with. The Bantu and Zulu tribes have their own versions, which involve using two sticks and a shield.

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