When people mention martial arts most people think of the late Bruce Lee. Bruce Lee lived from 1940 to 1973. Bruce introduced karate and other martial arts to Europeans and North Americans. I have been studying the martial arts for several years now. The art that I am most familiar with is tae-kwan-do which means technique of kicking and punching. Tae-kwan-do started in Korea during the 1st century BC and it is similar to karate. It changed a lot after World War II as it became part of military training in the USA. As I studied the arts I have learned self-discipline, respect, sportsmanship, and I have gained self-confidence.
Martial arts started in India among Buddhist monks about 5th century BC. There are many different types of martial arts some are karate, kung-fu, ninjutsu (ninja), tae-kwan-do, hwarang-do, aikido, judo, jujitsu, kiaijutsu, and Thai kick boxing. Karate means the art of empty hands. In Japan its called karate-do. Karate started in Okinawa, where it was based on techniques imported from China. Kung-fu means skill. Kung-fu originated in China twenty-five centuries ago. Some forms of kung-fu use weapons. Ninjutsu means fighting methods of the ninja. The original ninja were formed in Japan in the 1500's. One weapon that the ninja use is called a hira shuriken and it is a throwing star.
Many kids like the Power Rangers and they show different fighting styles on TV. From a kids point of view, after the show is over, all they want to be is a Power Ranger. They want to fight and beat the bad guys. In real life, martial arts are used for self-defense. Anybody can do it: young; old; physically or mentally challenged. When you are a student of karate you have some simple rules to follow :
Training is done according to your belt level. A colored belt is worn by the student to signify his standing. The white belt is for beginners and the black is for highest ranked. Training involves physical exercise, practice of forms, sparring, stretching, and meditation.
Martial arts has taught me many things. I have learned not to give-up when I am faced with a difficult challenge. Whatever goal I want to strive for I know that I must keep on trying. Martial arts may not be for you, but whatever you strive for, do your best and don't give-up.