All across the world one finds both traditional and modern forms of martial arts, and pretty much every where there’s also local and imported martial arts. Martial arts has always come from the battlefield (though sometimes in a more theoretical manner) and into the general public. There’s almost nowhere in the world that doesn’t have some martial arts history and for me, these are the top three places to go on a martial arts holiday:
China. This first one is an obvious choice, but one that will always be on my top three list. And it’s sort of cheating to put it on a list because China is one of the most ancient places in the world, going by how long people have lived there continuously. It’s also massive and has hundreds of regions each with their own unique food and cultures and dialects, so it really includes a lot of martial arts traditions in both space and in time. Visiting a Shaolin monastery will always be the Mecca of many a martial arts fan.
Brazil. While it certainly doesn’t have the antiquity of China—few places do—Brazil has its own traditions and methods of martial arts going from the traditional fighting and hunting techniques of Amazonian tribes, for example, all the way through to the well-trained special police forces of the countries largest cities. And beyond the martial arts, the timeless and the modern, who wouldn’t enjoy being a tropical countryside with beautiful weather and fresh fruit.
India. Rather like China, putting either country on a list is to think of a massive region as a singularity; we probably wouldn’t call Europe a single culture and calling China or India a single culture is just about as sloppy. India has hundreds of martial arts traditions and many of them tie into yoga in one way or another making it a way to broaden one’s horizons a bit more.
While there are scores more destinations that I would want to visit and to explore their culture and martial arts history, if I could only chose three these are those. Of course, with three big countries like these a lifetime to get familiar with all is already an ambitious goal.