This martial arts timeline is designed to help describe the history of the martial arts in a linear fashion. Many of the articles for particular styles have discussions of their history. This article is designed to help visualize the development of these arts, to help better understand the progression of the separate styles and illustrate where they interrelate.

The history of martial arts is challenging to document precisely, because of the lack of historical records, secretive nature of the teacher-student relationships and political circumstances during much of its history. It is likely that many techniques were learned, forgotten, and re-learned during human history.

Bronze Age (3000 to 1000 BCE)

Iron Age and Antiquity (1000 BCE to CE 500)

Middle Ages (500 to 1500)

Early Modern period (1500 to 1800)

19th century

20th century

21st century


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  9. ^ "Corpus of Khmer Inscriptions". SEA classics Khmer. K.239. This inscription records the construction of a sanctuary for Śrī Jagannāthakeśvara and the gift to the divinity by several persons of 10 tracts of riceland, together with slaves, cattle, and small articles. One ricefield (lines S: 34-35) is acquired by royal grant as the result of a boxing match (S: 39 to N: 1-3), while another field (N: 3-5) is conveyed to the divinity by a royal directive. The text is of routine grammatical interest.
  10. ^ "Corpus of Khmer Inscriptions". SEA classics Khmer (in French). K.257N. 'Mratāñ Khloñ Çrī Narapativarman chargea . . . . neveu de Mratāñ Khloñ, d'amener à la Cour Vāp Dan, boxeur . . . Vāp In, khloñ jnvāl des boxeurs, Vāp Go mūla, Vāp Gāp mūla, Vāp Dan mūla, Vāp [Ayak] mūla des boxeurs du pays de Gamryāṅ'. [...]Il exposa que Vāp Vit, khloñ jnvāl des boxeurs, avait emprunté à intérêt un jyaṅ d'argent, un vodi pesant six jyaṅ, et dix yo de vêtements à Mratāñ Khloñ Çrī Narapativīravarman pour acheter . . . mandira
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  30. ^ Chalk Farm Tavern and Tea Gardens, Morning Advertiser. 1 April 1844, p1.
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  35. ^ Wrestling, The Japan Weekly Mail, 30 March 1872, p162.
  36. ^ Gov. Roosevelt, a Wrestler, New York Times, 1 December 1899
  37. ^ Wrestler has apparently defied all traditions of athletics and is throwing all comers, The Minneapolis Journal, 21 January 1906
  38. ^ With the wrestlers, the Cornish style will attract much attention, Waterbury Democrat, 14 February 1902, p7.
  39. ^ New York Sun, 17 April 1904.
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