Since there are at times a necessity to differentiate between those arts generally considered eastern (karate, wing chun, muay thai, etc.) and those generally considered western (fencing, boxing, wrestling, etc.), I propose the development and propagation of tags for eastern-martial-arts and western-martial-arts, specifically so-written so as not to detract from potential future tags dealing with eastern-philosophy or similar should they arise.

I'd further argue that this would be a necessary differentiation (as opposed to the unnecessary tagging of martial-arts) in cases where we might be referring to the broader inquiries of subjects such as the oldest extant eastern martial art.

Does this seem appropriate?

4 Answers 4


I'd have to agree Simon's response. "East" to me means "East Asian" and "Western" to me means "everything else" that isn't East Asian. In general, when I talk about martial arts, I usually refer to East Asian varieties, and the other "Western" ones I spell explicitly by stating the style (or at least geographically, e.g. Brazilian, European).

I don't have a clear cut definition of what Eastern or Western. It's kind of fuzzy, and I also have this problem as highlighted by xkcd:

xkcd terminology of east and west

In the context of your question, might be more appropriate along with that you've given it. The tag has been blacklisted because every question should implicitly be about martial arts anyway.

  • +1 for the map. That is great even if the Americans should learn that 100 years is not history. And we Europeans should learn that 100 miles is not far away... Commented Feb 5, 2012 at 17:00
  • I'm good with east-asian. My proposal is simply a manner of identifying some distinction, not specifically that one. I myself live in California and have been called a "Stupid Westerner" specifically by a Japanese person. I find there's way too much emotion being poured into the answers to this question as to where you uniquely are relative to everyone else.
    – stslavik
    Commented Feb 6, 2012 at 19:24

Not keen on this. It seems like a forced division.

Take wrestling for example, there are wrestling styles from all over the world, from Brazil, to England, to Germany, to Russia to China and then on to Japan. Would that be Eastern or Western?

  • Differentiation: Shuai Jiao is Chinese (considered Eastern or Oriental) Jacket Wrestling, versus Greco-Roman Wrestling.Eastern and Western here are used as differentiations between Oriental and Occidental respectively (with regard to the seemingly asinine political correctness that is demanded with the use of such terms as Oriental).
    – stslavik
    Commented Feb 4, 2012 at 4:59
  • @stslavik - Your point is good, but I think that Matt Chan nailed it with the xkcd cartoon. What is east and what is west? Being from England, my natural inclination is that east and west are relative to a line running through the Greenwich observatory just outside London. But that's entirely cultural and arbitrary. I agree that some kind of way to describe the division between arts from different world regions would be useful, but east/west just isn't working for me. Commented Feb 4, 2012 at 7:54
  • Then edit it! Make a counter proposal. This is a discussion, cued by the very first tag. We could use flimflam and wizzbang so long as its understood (it wouldn't be, but I exaggerate for effect).
    – stslavik
    Commented Feb 6, 2012 at 19:27

Don't forget Middle-Eastern arts.

I agree that this is too much of a forced division.


Why not stick with european, asian, african, et cetera? We can then have more refined distinctions such as japanese, chinese, filipino, english, thai...

I agree that it's good to group martial arts by region, but eastern and western are not ideal splitters.

  • Makes sense. If any questions come up, we can always revisit later.
    – user15
    Commented Apr 5, 2012 at 19:07

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