Martial Arts Date Back More Than 4,000 Years

And We Want To Ensure It Endures The Digital Age, Too.


What’s It All About?

Discoveries of murals in tomb 15 at Beni Hasan depict what look to be early wrestling techniques. In the 18th century BCE the Babylonian Gilgamesh epic includes reference to the major hand-held weapons. More recently that this in the 8th Century BCE the first Olympic games featured wrestling and Boxing. In the century 477 the Shaolin Monastery was formed, which led to Kung Fu.

From as early as human civilisations can recall, we have fought. Survival – sport, leisure or necessity – from the early gladiators through to Shaolin Monks and Ninjas, martial arts has been in existence for thousands of years and has shaped generations upon generations of people.

If like a greater majority of the UK public this is news to you, it’s nothing to be ashamed about. Through a combination of different pressures and circumstances the history of our arts are being diluted, lost and squabbled over. If we don’t act now future generations may never be able to explore the rich history that transcends wars, civilizations and millenias. It’s also possible much of the great work being done here in the UK and overseas to continue the development of martial arts won’t be properly documented or understood by future generations too, and their good causes lost to time.

Perhaps just as concerningly, in the 21st century and the digital age the number of accessible digital records to this end are all but non-existent. There’s next to no collaboration on journals and academic research, nor is there any credible record of UK martial arts instructors and black belts either.


What’s The Plan?

As a leading organisation we’re hoping to stand the test of time, and so far we’re on track to do so. Our legacy is already fast emerging and we’re continuing to influence thousands of martial artists on a day to day basis.

We’re keen to;

  1. Preserve the historical importance of martial arts since earliest records began
  2. Continue to document the development and equally important progression of martial arts in the UK today
  3. To build a recognised database of black belt records and martial arts professionals to help better regulate the UK industry
  4. To research the impact martial arts has on people and communities, and research how it’s practiced at the moment


How Many People In The UK
Practice Martial Arts?

Good question, and just one of the many things nobody can really answer.

That might sound odd, given the amount of regulation, research and investment taking place in sports right now, but it’s sadly just one of many things nobody really knows about martial arts and participation in the UK.


There’s lots of reasons. To start with there are more than 180 different disciplines and styles, and with no singular regulatory body, nor 180 recognised governing bodies to monitor and record participation, we’re never really going to know.

Estimates range massively, but it’s perhaps reasonable to estimate around 1% of UK households practice martial arts or some form of combat. That generally points to a minimum of circa 180,000 people. To us this sort of guessing and estimating seems silly. We’re working hard to research participation and the impact of that participation in UK martial arts, to help build a better understanding of who gets involved, how it can help and the facts surrounding it.

Explore Our Research



How Can You Get Involved?


We’re building the infrastructure to handle these complex and important records, but we need your help conducting researching and creating records. You can get involved by joining our free online community if you’re a student, or by joining our association for free as an instructor.