Martial arts already exist as sports within the Olympic framework. This relationship to martial arts developed over many years. Such sports as Wrestling and Fencing gained inclusion during the first Olympic Games in Athens 1896. Archery entered as the third sport since Paris 1900. Pentathlon became the fourth sport related to martial activity in 1912. Boxing became the fifth sport to enter the games on a permanent basis in Antwerp 1920. Judo became the sixth sport and entered Tokyo in 1964. Taekwondo became the seventh sport during Sydney in 2000. These dates are those in which each sport became a permanent part of the Olympic Games.
Other martial arts are recognized by the IOC, but have yet to be included in the games. Such sports are Karate and Wushu are recognized and subject to standards of the IOC. These other martial arts have yet to be included in the Olympics, though many advocate for their inclusion. As time passes, these sports may gain an honored and rightful place in the Olympic Games.
There are many pros and cons as Caroline Chen-Wately points out in her article ï¿½Should Martial Arts be in the Olympics?ï¿½ Martial arts exist across multiple human dimensions; such as physical, psychological, spiritual, social, combative, and sport. The inclusion of these arts in the Olympic framework does not diminish their existence in these other areas. Many individuals attempt to define martial arts as either ï¿½thisï¿½ or ï¿½that.ï¿½ When in reality they are more than the sum of their parts. Martial arts developed to fulfill a number of human needs. At least one of the Olympic Games and the martial arts stated goals run parallel to each other.
The Olympic Charter states one reason for the Olympic Games on page eleven; ï¿½The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of man, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.ï¿½ Such a statement sounds similar to the Confucian idea of the ï¿½Superior Man.ï¿½ If we practice and train in the martial arts, we already attempt to develop our own self as well as interact in a peaceful manner. According to The Doctrine of the Mean, ï¿½In Archery we have something resembling the Way of the superior man. When the archer misses the center of the target, he turns around and seeks for the cause of failure within himself.ï¿½(Koller and Koller, 435) Including more martial arts in the Olympics would only bolster the IOCï¿½s stated goals and allow martial practitioners to continue on their own path to self improvement as well.
Koller and Koller, Doctrine of the Mean, Number 14 in ï¿½A Sourcebook in Asian Philosophy, (Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall Inc., 1991), 435)