Which country do you most strongly associate with martial arts? If you said Asia, that's understandable. After all, Asia was the continent that gave birth to many of the most popular fighting arts in the world. Asia's list of fighting styles and hand-to-hand combat disciplines seems without end: This is where Karate, Judo, Taekwondo, Jiu Jitsu, and many other styles came from. But did you know that it is possibly Greece and not Asia that created one of the oldest martial arts in the world? This fighting style is known as Pankration. Not only did it influence many fighting styles around the world, it is still being used by fighting enthusiast to this day. You'll find that much of the world's best hand-to-hand combat and fighting styles are very similar to the Greek fighting techniques.
In fact, the Greek techniques often rival the others! Pankration uses a combination of many different techniques that are also commonly used in other fighting styles, such as boxing, wrestling, striking and kicking. It is also here where techniques such as joint locking and the use of pressure points first came into widespread use. There are many martial arts that draw focus away from-and in some cases even completely disregard-the use of strength as an effective fighting component. Many Greek fighting techniques however rely on a considerable degree of strength. Grappling and striking techniques are good examples of these. Even the name of the Greek fighting style refers to strength.
Pankration is formed from two Greek words: "Pan" refers to "all," "kratos" refers to "force" or "strength." Today, a modified versions of Pankration are being practiced. In some cases it's more like kickboxing hybrid and less like the fighting art that was used in ancient Greece. There are also fighting styles that use a mixture of martial art techniques. Actually, many of these mixed martial arts come from Greek fighting techniques from the early days of Pankration. In any case, the Greek martial art still exists at least partly through the techniques used in these newer martial arts, and efforts are being made to get it accepted into the Olympic games once again in the future.
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