Martial arts in the world
We all most certainly know what martial art's are, but in the last century, people have started seeing them in a much more different way, and not necessarily a better one. I wish to address some of the things that have changed:
Traditional vs. Sport. At their very beginning, martial arts weren't mere techniques and physical exercises, but they had a lot of ideology and beliefs imprinted in them. The main wish of someone who practiced was to become much more efficient in his techniques and to be able to master the art. Nowadays, many martial arts have been transformed in sports, losing all the teachings they had and making a lot of people practicing it only in order to win medals or, even worse, for physical exercise. It happens much to often that I am asked what "sport" I practice even after I say several times that I practice martial arts, not a sport. I consider it a very great offense, because martial arts are, in their essence, a way of life, and not a sport.
Efficiency. Movies have managed to deeply change the concept of a martial art. Again, I must quote from my own experience of a martial art's practitioner (which is, indeed, much too short), but I have met many people that consider a martial art is something that could be mastered in a few months, and become frustrated and quit if they are unable to "break somebody's neck" after their short time practicing. Others, on the other hand, consider martial arts to be nothing more than a hoax, and that all the moves are fake and only muscle matters. Those people, I invite on the tatami to test their theory. Trainings and real-life fights are very different! When you train, you should try your best not to break your nakama's (colleague) arm or his ribs, and making a throw, for example, on concrete will hurt much more than doing it on the tatami (special mattress). Also, contrary to beliefs, but martial arts do not teach you to be violent, but to try and solve a conflict without your fists.
Types of martial arts
If taking into consideration technique forms, martial arts can be mainly separated into two different categories, soft and hard martial arts. Martial arts that focus on weapons should be treated, perhaps, as a third category, and there are also mixed martial arts (that use both soft and hard techniques).
Soft techniques. In a soft techniques, the receiver uses the opponent's force and momentum to get in an advantaged position, from where he effects an appropriate martial art technique. It is less physically conditioned than it's "hard" counterpart, but "ma ai" (the perfect distance) and timing are of the essence. Unbalancing your opponent is also vital, and "atemi" (strikes) can also be applied to further hurt the opponent. Attacks are not blocked, but evaded and redirected. Kano Jigoro, the founder of judo, called the "ease" of applying these techniques "maximum efficiency".
Hard techniques. In contrast to it's "softer" counterpart, hard techniques put much more accent on force, and usually uses blocks instead of evading. Strikes are usually aimed towards certain parts of the human body, usually either "vital points" or "pressure points" (although the latter is usually used only to prepare a more devastating attack).
Soft martial arts (focused on grappling)
Founded by Morihei Ueshiba (Japan). It means "the Way of harmonious spirit". Techniques are based on using the opponents momentum and joint manipulation, being usually completed with a various throws or joint locks. "Be grateful even for hardship, setbacks, and bad people. Dealing with such obstacles is an essential part of training in the Art of Peace." Morihei Ueshiba
Founded by Kano Jigoro (Japan). It means "gentle way". Predominantly uses grappling maneuvers in order to throw their opponent to the ground, where you force your opponent to submit by using joint locks or by executing a choke. "Judo is the way to the most effective use of both physical and spiritual strength. By training you in attacks and defenses it refines your body and your soul and helps you make the spiritual essence of Judo a part of your very being. In this way you are able to perfect yourself and contribute something of value to the world. This is the final goal of Judo discipline." Kano Jigoro
Founder unknown. Created in Japan. It means "art of softness" or "way of yielding". It utilizes a great variety of techniques, from throwing and trapping to joint locks, holds, disengagements and striking. Some schools also teach the use of weapons. It is said to be created in order to be able to fight armed and unarmed samurai, once armor was invented (because strikes had mostly no effect on them).
Founded by Viktor Spiridonov, Vasili Oshchepkov, Anatoly Kharlampiev (URSS). "Sambo" is an acronym and means "self-defense without weapons", which has now developed into 5 styles (sport sambo, self-defense sambo, combat sambo, special sambo, freestyle sambo). It is similar to wrestling, although it also contains grapples and striking.
Founder unknown. Created in Japan. It was used as a Shinto ritual in the past. The aim of the sport is to either push your opponent out of the ring or to make them touch the ground with anything other than the soles of their feet. Professional sumo wrestlers undergo a very strict regiment.
Hard martial arts (focused on striking)
Multiple founders (Japan). It means "Way of the empty hand". It emphasizes strikes and blocks, which can be made with different parts of the body. The advanced karateka will also employ locks, strangles and throws.
Tae Kwon Do
Founder unknown. Created in Korea. Literally means "the way of the foot and fist". It is a fighting system that uses the hands and feet to deliver high-energy impact techniques for survival in confrontational situations. These techniques take the form of punches, strikes, kicks and blocks..
Founder unknown. Created in Brazil. It focuses on ritual movements, acrobatics and kicking. Participants form a circle (roda) and take turns either playing the "berimbau", singing or participating in the ritual sparring in pairs. There are many debates whether Capoeira is an actual martial art or a simple Brazilian folk dance.
Founded by Ng Mui (China). Literally means "Spring Chant". It is a fighting system based on kicks and strikes, and on the principles of practicality, efficiency and economy of movement. Close range is considered very important and a goal in a fight (to get in close range with your adversary so that you can deliver a devastating blow).
Founder unknown. Created in Thailand. Literally means "Thai boxing", but it is also referred to as "The Science of Eight Limbs". In it's original formed it used as striking weapons the head, the arms, knees, elbows and feet - a total of nine (although head-butting an opponent is no longer permitted).
Mixed martial arts
No single creator (Japan). It means "ninja arts". It is separated into 18 distinct disciplines, including tactics, espionage, fighting with different weapons, without weapons, studies on geography and meteorology.
Designed by Imi Lichtenfeld (Israel) as an anti-natzi self-defense form. It means "hand-to-hand" combat in hebrew. It emphasizes on not getting hurt and neutralizing your opponent as fast as possible, and it includes elements taken from boxing, Aikido, Muay Thai, Judo and Jujutsu.
Created in Indonesia. It is the official name for more than 800 martial arts schools, and there is no standard; the styles differ so much that trying to classify it would be useless.
Creator is Oopali (Myanmar). It meant "self-discipline" and "self-improvement" at first, but now it means "self-protection". It includes empty-handed techniques methods and animal forms (eagle, bull, cobra, panther, monkey and boar).
Do you practice any martial arts?
I practiced in the past
Total Votes: 24
Way of the warrior
If you practice any martial arts, tell us what and how you feel about it...
I have practiced Kyokushin for 4 years.I like this sport mainly because it is a contact sport.I also like fighting because of the adrenaline and the sensations you get.Another reason i like Kyokushin is that it teaches you discipline and respect.You can practice this sport only if you like it and you are pasionate about it other wise you won't manage to keep the pase and you will give up.
Apr. 23, 2009
I practiced Jujutsu and i can say it was pretty interesting. It's all about unarmed combat. It relies on grappling and throwing people. Like most martial arts it teaches you discipline and respect for others, but also gives you self-confidence.
Apr. 23, 2009
I practice Aikido, and I can actually say that i love it.
Apr. 21, 2009