Karate is an amazing martial arts style that appeared on the island of Okinawa as a mixture of native forms of combat from Okinawa and China. The term karateka refers to him who practiceskarate.
The history of Karate goes back to the ancient times where the locals in the Ryukyu Islands developed a combat system simply called «te». The largest island in the Ryukyu region is Okinawa, which is generally considered the birthplace of karate.
In 1372, trade relations were established between the Ryukyu Islands and the Fujian province of China, and this eventually led many Chinese families to move to Okinawa. These Chinese families began to share the Chinese Kenpo with the natives of Okinawa, which was a mixture of Chinese and Indian fighting techniques. In this way the traditional fighting techniques of Okinawa began to change, even though many families simply were developing their own martial arts techniques. Still, there were three general forms that emerged and took their names from the areas which were developed-Shuri-te, Naha-te, and Tomari-te. The differences between these three forms were small and of the cities of Shuri, Tomar, Naha and were all very close to each other.
A student of Matsumura Sokon called Anko Itosu (1831-1915) often called “the grandfather of Karate.” The Itosu is known for the creation of simplified techniques for beginners and students who also contributed on the wider acceptance of karate. Along with this, he brought the teachings of karate schools in Okinawa and the styles he developed are widely used even today.
Karate is primarily a striking art that teaches the method of fighting with fists, kicks, knees, elbows, and blows with hand to disable the opponent. Beyond that, karate also teaches the defense in strikes and correct breathing pattern.
Modern Judo has its roots in jujitsu, a form of martial art that dates back to Japanese history over a thousand years ago. Judo, however, is a relatively recent discovery and owes its existence to the genius of one man: the Dr Jigoro Kano.
Jigoro Kano was born in the seaside town of Mikage in 1860. He and his family moved to Tokyo in 1871. Mr. Kano studied political science and literature at the Imperial University of Tokyo. He became an instructor of Gakushuin in 1882 and eleven years later was an appointed director of the Koto Sheehan, a school teacher training. “In 1909, Professor Kano became the first Japanese member of the International Olympic Committee and two years later, he founded the Japanese Athletic Association and became its first president. Because of the many contributions to the sport, Professor Kano is called “Father of Physical Education and Sport” in Japan.
One of the principles of judo is that a stronger opponent can be defeated using his force against him. Professor Kano explains: “Suppose we estimate the strength of a man in units of one. Let us say that the strength of this man is 10 units, whereas my strength, less than his, is 7 units. Then if he pushes me with all his force, I shall certainly be pushed back or thrown down, even if I use all my strength against him. This would happen from opposing strength to strength. But if instead of opposing him, I leave him unresisted, withdrawing my body just as much as he pushes, at the same time keeping my balance, he will naturally lean forward and lose his balance. In this new position, he may become weak (not in actual physical strength, but because of his awkward position) as to reduce his strength for the moment, say to 3 units only instead of 10 units. But meanwhile I, by keeping my balance, retain my full strength, as originally represented by 7 units. Here then, I am momentarily in a superior position, and I can defeat my opponent by using only half of my strength, or 3 1/2 units against his 3 units. This leaves one-half of my strength available for any other purpose. If I had greater strength than my opponent, I could of course push him back. But even if I wished to and had the power to do so, it would still be better for me first to give way, because by so doing, I should have greatly saved my energy and exhausted my opponent’s.”
Although the origin of Jujutsu is not very clear, and there is no fixed date of first appearance that can be ascertained, there is no doubt that this is a purely Japanese art. Moreover, it doesn’t originate from the ancient Chinese Martial Arts as some scholars of the martial arts claim . It is common belief of various researchers that a Chinese priest named Chin Genpin brought the art of Kempo, «kicking and hitting” in Japan around 1659. In 1659, Chin Genpin became a Japanese citizen and died in 1671.
The Jujutsu is characterized by the use of the intruder’s force against him, guiding it in a way that it suits the defender (not the attacker). The methods taught in the circles of jujitsu or jujutsu include strikes, throws, immobilization (pinning and strangling), joint locks, weapons, and wrestling. It is really best known for its effectiveness against weapons, the using of throws, and joint locks. It also teaches the use of weapons.
The objective of Jujutsu is simple.The fighterss hope to neutralize, disarm, or even kill their opponent, as appropriate, using the opponent’s attack against him.
The Founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba, was born in Japan on December 14, 1883. As a child, he often witnessed local thugs hitting his father for political reasons. He set out to make himself strong so that he can get revenge. He devoted himself to inurnment and finally the learning of martial arts, receiving Master certificates on various forms of jujitsu, fencing and spear fighting.
Despite the impressive physical and combat ability he possessed, he felt very unhappy. He began delving into religions, hoping to find a deeper meaning in life, while all the while he kept chasing studies in budo, or martial arts in general. Combining his militant education with his religious and political ideology, he created the modern martial art of Aikido. He first named it «Aikido” in 1942 (earlier he called it the martial art of “aikibudo” and “aikinomichi”).
From a technical point, Aikido is rooted in several styles of jujitsu (from which also the modern judo is derived) and martial arts using the sword and spear. However, we must also emphasize that many Aikido techniques are the result of Master Ueshiba’s innovation.
At the core of almost all philosophical interpretations of Aikido, however, we can identify at least two key elements: (1) A commitment to peaceful resolution of conflicts whenever possible. (2) A commitment to self-improvement.
The term kobudo literally translates as “ancient martial art” or “ancient martial way.” The Kobudo is a very old martial tradition, which includes training and practice with a variety of handguns, metallic and wooden weapons, knives and bladed and non-bladed weapons. The training with weapons in martial arts is vital as this method teaches the true value of life and emphasizes how thin is the line between life and death through knowledge of the delicate balance between the “weapon that gives life” and “weapon that takes life. ”
The modern form of kobudo due to Matagiosi Sinko, son of a rich family, who decided to study martial arts. Trained from the age of 10 in Okinawa, where he grew up, until he decided to travel to China and Japan. During the years of wanderings, he trained in riding, lasso, therapeutic herbs, the Shaolin boxing and the use of weapons.
The Ninjutsu actually refers to a group of martial art styles and not a specific style. It evolved and developed as a way of life for the survival of the Japanese people who contradicted the cultural class of samurai.
With a history of 1000 years old the Ninja possessed many notable skills and activities during the Japanese Civil War period of 13th – l6th century. All martial arts threw off their military importance in 1868 when peace prevailed in Japan, but the teachings of Ninjustsu continued underground and made an appearance in modern times from the 33rd Grandmaster, Toshitsugu Takamatsu.
As the legacy of the Ninja passed on the 34th Grandmaster, Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi (Dr. Hatsumi has been described as a living treasure in Japan), the Ninjutsu was made known to the Western world for the first time in 1970. Then, in the United Kingdom and Europe in 1983.
There are many things involved in the art of Ninjutsu including armed and unarmed combat forms, history, philosophy and strategy. The few schools that now teach this martial art, they usually have a very complete teaching system.
The posture and flow are the two main points that Ninjutsu focuses during the fight. Each response to an opponent’s move is designed specifically to put you in a position of power. Having this position may turn a negative and difficult fight into a positive one.
Kendo, the way of the sword is a martial art that recreates the tough duels with swords of feudal Japan. The Kendo is a living history, not only blows with sticks of bamboo. Not only provides, albeit limited, a perception upon one of the main forces that had a profound influence on Japanese culture to date. It also provides a means by which we can learn more about ourselves, learn to control and discipline, the body and emotions.
The Modern Kendo armor consists of a “counterweight”, a protected form of hip apron. The “do” that is made of bamboo or fiberglass strips and protects the torso and chest. The hands and elbows are protected by thick fabric gloves called “kote”. Finally the head and neck are protected by the «men», a thick fabric that protects the head with a metal mesh on the front side.
Between 1546 to 1621, a man named Hayashizaki Jinsuke Minamoto Shigenobu lived in what today is considered as the Kanagawa prefecture of Japan. The Shigenobu shaped and defined the art of fighting with swords that is today known as Iaido.
Generally, the forms of Iaido are practiced by one person, although some schools teach forms and styles of two persons. Some students may initially learn with a wooden sword and / or a non-edged sword (Iaito). Students who are at a higher level, often use sharpened metal sword in practice.
Iaido teaches the practitioner to stay focused on present and react instantly to the criticality of the moment. Apart from this, they learn how to pull the sword from various positions and attacking with it quickly and efficiently.
Naginata, a long pole with a curved sharp sword blade at one end, is one of Japan’s ancient weapons and it was being used by the warriors priests during the Nara period, about 750 AD.
The use of the Naginata was an extremely effective weapon, but since 1500, the appearance of muskets and mass battles forced the Naginata to become a weapon for special occasions, that was being used by warrior priests and women .
Because of the influence of westernization after the Restoration of Meiji, the perception of the values of martial arts, including the Naginata, changed significantly. From this moment, the focus of education was given to strengthening the will and the forging of the mind and body. During the Showa period, the Naginata was part of the public school system.
Once prohibition of martial arts was lifted after the Second World War, a new modern martial art sport was developed, named, «Atarashii Naginata» with features from the long history and traditions of the Naginata.
In 1990 the International Federation Naginata was founded. Today, the 10 following countries are members, USA, France, Holland, Belgium, Sweden, Brazil, New Zealand, Czech Republic, Australia and Japan. The training in Naginata also develops honesty, integrity and a sense of what is right.
The Kyudo is a Japanese martial art that focuses on archery. The bow, named Yumi, is an asymmetrical bow, with its upper part being much larger than the bottom one and has a height of about 180 cm. A traditional Yumi is made of bamboo, wood and leather and the techniques have not changed for a long time.
Like other martial arts too, kyudo sees the individual as a whole consisted of – mind, body and spirit. In this way it teaches the esoteric peace and how to focus with a clear mind to the ultimate goal.
In the practice of kyudo, a major role plays not only where the arrow will reach to, but also how the techniques will be executed. The trainers must reach a meditative state, even before getting into their hands to Yumi. They should focus and clean their minds. After this point the movements are smooth and fluid like a dance. As his eyes are focused on the target, the archer is possessed by a sense of peace and as a result a successful shot is possible.
Sumo is a competitive contact sport where a wrestler (rikishi) attempts to push another wrestler out of a circular ring (dohyo) or force him touch the ground with anything other than the soles of his feet. The sport started in Japan, the only country where it is being practiced professionally.
The Sumo tradition is very old, and still includes many ritual elements, such as the use of salt for purification. The life of a rikishi is highly disciplined, with rules established by the Association of Sumo.
The Sumo matches take place in a ring with a diameter of 4.55 meters and 16.26 square meters, over a platform of clay mixed with sand. In the center there are two white lines, the Shikiri-sen, behind which the wrestlers position themselves at the start of the race.