The first recorded Martial Art is arguably Boxing. In 1927 Dr. E. A. Speiser, an archaeologist, discovered a Mesopotamian stone tablet in Baghdad, Iraq depicting two men getting ready for a prize fight. The tablet is believed to be 7,000 years old.
Sumerian relief carvings from the 3rd millennium BC demonstrate Boxing, while an ancient Egyptian relief from the 2nd millennium BC depicts both fist-fighters and spectators. Both depictions show bare-fisted contests. The earliest evidence for fist fighting with any kind of gloves can be found on Minoan Crete (c. 1500–900 BC). Boxing was first accepted as an Olympic sport in 688 BC, being called Pygme or Pygmachia.
Wrestling is likely the second oldest Martial Art as the earliest depictions of wrestling are found in the Beni Hasan Temple in Egypt. The sport of oil wrestling dates back to 2650 BC in Egypt and Assyria. Greek wrestling, also known as Ancient Greek wrestling and Pále, was the most popular organized sport in Ancient Greece. Wrestling was the first competition to be added to the Olympic Games that was not a footrace and was added in 708 B.C.
The earliest Chinese term for wrestling, "jǐao dǐ" (horn butting), refers to an ancient sport in which contestants wore horned headgear with which they attempted to butt their opponents. Legend states that "jiao di" was used in 2697 BC by the Yellow Emperor's army to gore the soldiers of a rebel army led by Chi You.
"Jiao li" was a grappling martial art that was developed in the Zhou Dynasty (between the twelfth and third century BC). Jiao li is generally considered to be the oldest existing Chinese martial art and is among the oldest systematic martial arts in the world.
In contrast, Phillip Zarrilli, a professor at the University of Exeter and one of the few Western authorities on kalaripayattu, estimates that kalaripayattu dates back to at least the 12th century. The historian Elamkulam Kunjan Pillai attributes the birth of kalarippayattu to an extended period of warfare between the Cheras and the Cholas in the 11th century. Ancient records indicate the Martial Art may be much older.
Legend traces the 3000-year-old art form to Parasurama - "the master of all martial art forms" who legend holds re-claimed Kerala in ancient South India from the Arabian Sea in 825 AD. Kung- fu, popularized by the monks of the Shoaling Temple supposedly traces its ancestry to Bodhi Dharma - an Indian Buddhist monk and Kalaripayattu master. However, this contradicts other accounts; one early account claims that Bodhi Dharma arrived during the Liú Sòng Dynasty (420–479) and later accounts date his arrival during the Liáng Dynasty (502–557). Most accounts indicate Bodhi Dharma was primarily active in the lands of the Northern Wèi Dynasty (386–534), while modern scholarship dates him to about the early 5th century.
Much like modern Pankration techniques, Kwa Asilia Avita Sanaa is a reorganization of an ancient Martial Art. This ancient Kemetic Martial Art depicted on the tomb of Ramessu III in Kemet (Ancient Egypt)1080 B.C. Kwa Asilia Avita Sanaa or "Ya Asilia Avita Sanaa" (The Original Martial Art) is a re-organization of what historians have referred to as the origins of the martial arts. This is a true mixed Martial Art that includes grappling, kicking, Boxing, Self-defense, Weapons and Basic Healing or Internal arts all in one.
Pankration was introduced into the Greek Olympic Games in 648 BC and founded as a blend of boxing and wrestling. Thus, while Pankration may be considered by some to be the first "mixed" Martial Art it was likely not the first Martial Art and the art of Pankration as known in ancient times is lost to us even though an approximation of the Martial Art was reconstituted in recent times based on reliefs and carvings. Some consider it as the first all-encompassing fighting system in human history although Kwa Asilia Avita Sanaa predates Pankration.