Although presently associated with Asian fighting arts, originally it referred to European armies’ fighting methods. The word “martial” means “of Mars”, the Roman god of war.
Bonus fact 1: The month of Mars was named after the God at issue since it was the first month of the year that the weather was good enough for armies to march and wage war, and yes the word march also derives from Mars, the God.
Bonus Fact 2: In Ancient Rome all spears were kept at the temple of Mars since according to Roman tradition they belonged to him. When war broke out, the consul would count these spears, and exclaim, “Oh Mars, please wake up from your sleep”
Bonus fact 3: If you look up and gaze at the stars you’ll notice a somewhat reddish star – that would be Mars, chosen after the bloody nature and color of war.
And if you are into other words and idioms origins be sure to check our Words & Idiom Category.