Uncommon European Martial Arts Styles

Andy Britnell
Feb 25 · 2 min read

As with all things in this universe, the world of martial arts has continually evolved as fighters bring innovation to the way they eat, train, and execute techniques. As different fighting styles and disciplines slowly transform striking and moving methods; new forms emerge while others are phased out.

What may have been a dominant form merely a year ago has been molded and reconstructed into many different versions. The styles and forms of martial arts being practiced are heavily dependent on the environment. While the methods and techniques may soon evolve, here is a look at leading styles and disciplines across the globe today.

  • Also known as La Canne, or French stick fighting, Canne de Combat is a French style of martial arts that involves using a cane. It began as a fighting technique taught for self-defense before it evolved into a sport.
  • Similar to fencing, opponents wear masks for protection, stand facing one another, and make strikes to win the match; thrusting and stabbing are not permitted. However, only downward or horizontal strikes to the calves, the torso, and the head scores points. The opponent with the most points wins the match.
  • Although variations can be found throughout the world, the sport is seeing a decline in recent years as defensive cane techniques have begun slowly disappearing.
  • Also developed as a self-defense technique during the 1800s specifically for those engaged in the more uncivilized side of society. Today, Savate has evolved into a mixture of kicking styles out of Marseilles and street fighting techniques from Paris developed by those in the martial arts communities who wanted to protect themselves while gambling and drinking in the red light districts of France.
  • This dynamic kicking style of martial arts is often compared to ballet for its similar suits, shoes, and high kicks.
  • The history of this discipline is closely linked to the development of Canne de Combat. Savate fighters mastered the cane as a way of fighting from a distance, leading to the surface of Canne de Combat as its own discipline.
  • Hailing from the British Isles, Scottish Backhold is one of the more traditional styles of wrestling in which the opponents clasp their hands behind each other’s back and then attempt to throw or trip their opponent while maintaining their hold. The first one to drop their hold or have a part of the body outside of the feet touch the floor loses.
  • Competitions are open to all, as male and female opponents alike compete on the grass field. This sport requires no specific uniform other than the kilt required during championship titles.

Originally published at andybritnell.org.

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