The oldest European Martial Art originated in Greece called Pankration. Greek for All Force, All Powers. In Latin it’s called Pancratium. The Greeks nicknamed this art as the game of the Gods. It’s a Martial Art that has strikes, kicks and grappling techniques. Pankration is not only a sport which was introduced into the Greek Olympic games in c.648BCE it was battlefield tested by the legendary Spartan warriors while they fought the King Xerxes’ vast Persian Army at the battle of Thermopalye in the 400’s BCE.
In Greek myth Haracles (Hercules by the Romans) was the founder of Pankration where he fought a Lion in one of his 12 labours. There’s also Theseus he used Pankration to slay the Minotaur in the Labyrinth. Pankration was a popular sporting event right through the time of the Roman Empire of their violent gladiatorial bouts in the Coliseum up until the collapse of the Roman Empire ushering in the dark ages, where the art was extinct. It’s not until the 1970’s that Jim Arvanitis revived the ancient Greek Martial Art back. Jim is still alive and teaches students Pankration. Pankration is a derivative of the Kushite art of Pan Kau Ra Shen – fighting in the honour of Ra.
Ra is one of Kemet’s Gods. So spirituality and philosophy have always played a part in the Martial Arts in all civilizations not just in Asia. Martial Art means Roman God of War Mars, he wasn’t worshipped anywhere in India, but in Ancient Rome. In Kemet the ancients called it the Montu Art Form. Montu was Kemet’s God of War. The Greeks who were mentored by the African people in all aspects of education took the name Montu and have their own family tree of Gods, and we have Ares the Greek god of War. Then the Roman Empire came into being and overthrew the Macedonian/Greek Empire and adopted Greek’s Pantheon of Gods and changed most of the names, calling their War god Mars, thus you have the current name Martial Art. You cannot deny that Martial Arts is based on war, and it then evolved into a sport, and civilian self-defense system. It encompasses everything.