Techniques, skills and abilities that are martial in nature but do not benefit the practitioner and their community are generally not considered martial arts. Mutual benefit must be a component. Martial arts utilize a variety of combat methods. Some fighting styles emphasize weaponless techniques while others teach the use of weapons. Some styles focus on grappling while others put their emphasis on striking. Weaponless systems use hand, arm, foot, shin, and knee striking and blocking techniques. Some weapons that may be used are the staff, sword, knife, dagger and nunchaku.
Not all forms of self-defense are actually considered to be martial arts. Some argue that unless warriors were using a fighting system in actual combat, it was not truly a martial art. Additionally, there is a difference between martial art and martial sport; the sport application of a combat system is not a martial art. Not all activities designated as martial arts are martial or artistic.
While some developed from warrior combat, other martial arts developed as a means for spiritual and physical development. Strictly defined, martial arts are combat arts, methods for killing an opponent in battle. Martial ways, or, those arts that have a spiritual component, go beyond combat effectiveness.
Today, the martial arts are practiced for health and fitness, sport, law enforcement, spiritual benefits as well as for self-defense.