The Martial Arts have been used for many centuries with different forms. Bruce Lee invented the style of Jeet Kune Do, which involves very fast strikes with amazing counter defenses. Once people began to see just how fast Bruce Lee could move, they began to look into Martial Arts and see just how it could benefit them.
Martial Arts are broken down into specific styles. The style all depends on where and what you study. A lot of cultures and countries offer their own forms of Martial Arts that they originated, developed, and perfected. Brazil offers Brazilian Jui-Jitsu, Japan has Karate, Thailand has Muay Thai, France has Savate, and China has Shaolin. Keep in mind that each style will vary in techniques and what it has to offer you.
Although many people think of Martial Arts as being just for self defense purposes, this isn't always the case. Martial Arts are used in tournaments and competitions as well, which can include Sparring, floor routines, and even block and brick breaking demonstrations. All across the world, there are competitions and venues for fighters to prove themselves and their knowledge.