Although practically all ways of fighting are grouped under the term "martial arts," they are actually two major types of skills involved and thus, two separate entities: combat skills and martial art skills. Combat skills are skills that are used almost exclusively for real fighting, self-defense situations. Combat skills have been practiced for thousands of years. The first biblical account of combat training is recorded in Genesis 14:14. "When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan."
Combat skills may be learned rather quickly and do not require much physical ability. They do not require much mental training other than the thought processes needed to be able to execute ruthless, deadly techniques upon another human being. Military personnel and law enforcement personnel learn hand-to-hand combat skills in a few short weeks in boot camp, and most never train in the techniques again even though they are may use them regularly in the field.
Martial arts are effective in, and may be used in, real fighting situations, but they involve much more than just fighting. Sometimes extraordinary physical abilities are required and intense mental control is always required. Martial artists learn core fighting skills and become proficient in them, but they go far beyond mere proficiency and strive for perfection of advanced martial art techniques. This is what separates the martial arts from the purely combative arts. Martial artists train in physical and mental fighting skills, but they also strive for perfection of human character.