Although the term “martial art” was originally used to describe the combat systems of Europe as early as the 1550s, it became heavily associated with the fighting arts of eastern Asia, and now ultimately encompasses all known codified fighting systems.
However, Korean karate master Masutatsu Oyama wrote about the origins of codified fighting systems in his book “Advanced Karate,” published by Japan Publications in 1969. Oyama asserted, “The oldest records we have concerns unarmed combat on hieroglyphics from the Egyptian pyramids.”
Oyama was inaccurate in saying the evidence was found on pyramids, but it was found on other Egyptian tombs dating as far back as 4000 B.C., where military training fights similar to boxing and wrestling were depicted.
In his book “The Saga of The Fist,” author John Grombach states that Herodotus, the father of Greek history, claims that long before Rameses II ruled both Egypt and Ethiopia, perhaps as far back as 8000 B.C., boxing and wrestling were introduced to Egypt from Ethiopia.