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Shang-Chi is a Marvel Comics character, often called the "Master of Kung Fu". He was created by writer Steve Englehart and artist Jim Starlin. He has no special superpowers, but he exhibits extraordinary skills in the martial arts and is a master of Wushu (a general name for the various Chinese styles) both empty handed and with weapons, including the staff, nunchaku and double-edged sword.
Iron Fist, along with the previously created Shang Chi, Master of Kung Fu, came from Marvel Comics during a pop culture trend in the early 1970s for martial arts heroes. Debuting in a story by writer Roy Thomas and penciler Gil Kane in the umbrella title Marvel Premiere #15–25 (May 1974 - Oct. 1975), he was then written successively by Len Wein, Doug Moench, Tony Isabella, and Chris Claremont, with art by successive pencillers Larry Hama, Arvell Jones, Pat Broderick, and, in some of his earliest professional work, future industry star John Byrne. Following this run, Iron Fist was immediately spun off into the solo series Iron Fist, running 15 issues (Nov. 1975 - Sept. 1977). A storyline involving the Steel Serpent was wrapped up in two issues of Marvel Team-Up.
Martial arts are systems of codified practices and traditions of training for combat. While they maybe studied for various reasons, martial arts share a single objective: to defeat a person physically or to defend oneself from physical threat. Many arts are practiced competitively most commonly as combat sports, but may also be in the form of dance.
In popular culture, the term "Martial Arts" often specifically refers to the combat systems that originated in East Asian cultures. However, the term actually refers to any sort of codified combat systems, regardless of origin. Europe is home to many extensive systems of martial arts, both living traditions (e.g. stick and sword fencing and Savate, a French kicking style developed by sailors and street fighters) and older systems collectively referred to as Historical European martial arts that existed until modern times and are now being reconstructed by several organizations. In the Americas, Native Americans have a tradition of open-handed martial arts, which includes wrestling, and Hawaiians have historically practiced arts featuring small and large joint manipulation. A mix of origins occur in the athletic movements of Capoeira, a practice that was created in Brazil by slaves and was based on skills brought with them from Africa.
While each style has unique facets that make it different from other martial arts, a common characteristic is the systemization of fighting techniques. Methods of training vary and may include sparring or forms (kata), which are sets or routines of techniques that are performed alone, or sometimes with a partner, and which are especially common in the Asian and Asian-derived martial arts.
The word 'martial' derives from the name of Mars, the Roman god of war. The term 'Martial Arts' literally means arts of war. This term comes from 15th century Europeans who were referring to their own fighting arts that are today known as Historical European martial arts. A practitioner of martial arts is referred to as a martial artist.