Are there martial art styles that represent natural systems?


  • Joachim T. Haug Department of Biology II and GeoBio-Center. Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich
  • Carolin Haug Department of Biology II and GeoBio-Center. Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich



Messerfechten, serrada-escrima styles, medieval sword fighting, Daumenhaltung, Filipino martial arts, Medieval martial arts.


For didactics, systematically structured teaching contents are desirable, and natural systems would be most comprehensible. We tested whether serrada-escrima styles (SES), a type of Filipino martial arts, represent a natural system. Natural systems are considered to have an inner coherence. This means that based on some elements of the system the other elements can be predicted, based on knowledge of the characteristics of the elements of the system. SES is a good candidate to test this hypothesis, as it embraces only a relatively small set of techniques. It appears that SES indeed represents a natural, coherent system with 12 elements that can be grouped into three also coherent sets, each with four techniques. One basic pre-assumption is necessary to make SES a natural system; this pre-assumption is derived from knowledge of medieval European sword fighting, more precisely Messerfechten. We furthermore discuss indications for the historic background of SES.


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How to Cite

Haug, J. T., & Haug, C. (2015). Are there martial art styles that represent natural systems?. Revista de Artes Marciales Asiáticas, 10(2), 88–104.