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World Martial Arts: Towards a global overview

World Martial Arts: Towards a global overview

Publication type

Background and Situation Reports


International Centre of Martial Arts



ICM has published a document which details the initial outcome of ICM’s attempt to draw an overview of martial arts around the world.

The report, titled World Martial Arts: Towards a global overview, provides information of around 300 martial arts of the world and comprehensive understanding of their current status.

This publication is part of ICM’s World Martial Arts Research Project which has been on-going since its establishment in 2017, as ICM has been mandated by UNESCO to fulfill its role to collect, preserve and disseminate records and materials on martial arts from all countries in order to support educational and academic activities in the field. Research last year focused more on a macro perspective of diverse martial arts, and its modern understanding.

Martial arts have grown in importance and recognition over the years, as they have been recognized by international sport organizations like the Olympics. Further, increasing martial arts championships and the growing members of the World Martial Arts Union (WoMAU) have also solidified the status of martial arts around the world. The publication details the origins of martial arts and its history, and traces these recent developments as well, referencing other research and studies on martial arts.

The report also notes general information about the sport, its transmission across the world and its increasing sportification. Gathered data has been sorted based on different martial arts of the world, by continent, and has been reviewed by researchers and experts in the field of martial arts, sports, anthropology, and history.

The publication discusses various contemporary issues around martial arts, situated at the intersection of martial arts various socio-cultural aspects, including martial arts and music, martial arts and change, women in martial arts, and martial arts as it relates to colonialism, oppression and nationalism.

  • Read the full report on ICM’s website here.





Wednesday, August 25, 2021 - 07:47


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