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The term martial art has become heavily associated with the fighting arts of eastern Asia, but was originally used in regard to the combat systems of Europe as early as the 1550s. An English fencing manual of 1639 used the term in reference specifically to the "Science and Art" of swordplay. The term is ultimately derived from Latin, and means "Arts of Mars," where Mars is the Roman god of war Some martial arts are considered 'traditional' and are tied to an ethnic, cultural or religious background, while others are modern systems developed either by a founder or an association.

Wikipedia: Martial arts

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