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Japanese Martial Arts

flag-japan-XLJapanese martial arts are more straight line fighting styles, than the circular techniques of their Chinese cousins. Commonly call karate by those of us in the West, Japanese arts range from empty hand martial systems to joint locking and throwing systems to styles devoted entirely to weapons’ practice.

The art of karate (kara-te), which means empty hand, is commonly believed to have come to Japan from the island of Okinawa, where fighting with weapons was banned for many years. Ancient Okinawan traders visited China’s Fukien Province and brought back the martial techniques of China’s southern Shaolin temple. The Okinawans developed such an effective self-defense system that many Japanese masters wanted it as their own. It was brought to the Japanese mainland in 1922 and eventually became the best known Japanese martial art. The karate arts of the All-Japan Karate Association – Go-ju, wado and Shito ryus – are among the best known karate systems

Before karate became well known in Japan, the most popular Japanese martial arts were ken-jitsu and ju jitsu. Kendo means the way of the sword, with origins in Japan’s samurai culture and swordsmanship. It covers not only kendo, where heavily protected fighters spar offensively with wooden swords, but also ia-do, defensive sword drawing and cutting from scabbard to the first cut. Japan is famous among Asian martial arts for the skill of its ancient wordsmiths, who forged the finest blades in the Orient.

Ju jitsu is a martial art based on joint locks and throwing techniques that disarm and control an attacker. From the martial art of ju jitsu came the martial sport judo. Judo was first developed in the early 1900s as the competition form of ju jitsu. Judo is mainly a throwing art, similar to swai zhou (Chinese wrestling). An even more recent offshoot of ju jitsu is aikido, a martial art that uses the opponents’ own movements and energy as weapons against them.

One of the most mysterious arts of feudal Japan was ninjutsu, Japan’s early day espionage system. Cloaked in secrecy, the original ninjitsu practitioners were the terrorists of their era. They were families of spies and assassins hired by Japanese warlords to infiltrate and terrorize enemies. Today, ninjutsu is practiced in a far more harmless fashion, minus the deadly overtones that characterized the original ninja warriors.

There are Japanese martial arts that teach archery and special long weapons, such as the naginata, a long handled knife made famous as a women warriors’ weapon. All Japanese martial arts have their roots in the principles of bushido, the way of the warrior.

Japanese martial arts are seeped in tradition and discipline to one’s teacher and to the art itself. Along the same lines, an instructor is obligated to also have a responsibility to the student. The result is an close family-like association between instructor, student and martial art – bushido.



The Making of a Butterfly by Phillip Starr

It’s not very often you get a martial arts book that is a good read. Most waffle on about technique after technique with poor quality photos to accompany. This is actual well written and funny throughout. You won’t be able to geek out on techniques with this, but gain and understanding into teachings and training Read more

Shootfighting, the development in America

Shootfighting does not have a long history, even if the catch wrestling style that it was born from does. In the 1970’s, a catch wrestler by the name of Karl Gotch taught several Japanese professional wrestlers catch wrestling. This style of fighting was often termed “hooking” or “shooting”. Later, a rather famous professional wrestler by Read more

Bojutsu Techniques and History

The Japanese martial art of wielding the bo is bojutsu. The basis of bojutsu techniques is te, or hand, techniques derived from Quanfa and other martial arts that reached Okinawa via trade and Chinese monks. Thrusting, swinging, and striking bouts techniques often resemble empty-hand movements, following the philosophy that the bo is merely an “extension Read more

Wado Ryu Karate Do

The “Wado” story officially began in May 1934 when Hironori Ohtsuka registered his own style of Karate, which he called “Wado Ryu” and was recognized as an independent style. However, its origins were developed by Ohtsuka’s continuous study of all martial arts, formulating the “Wado” techniques by combining his own innovations and natural movements found Read more

Shotokan Karate do

Shotokan was founded by Gichin Funakoshi (1868-1957) in Tokyo in 1938. Funakoshi is considered to be the founder of modern karate. Born in Okinawa, he began to study karate with Yasutsune Azato, one of Okinawa’s greatest experts in the art. In 1921 Funakoshi first introduced Karate to Tokyo. In 1936, at nearly 70 years of Read more

Shorin Ryu Karate do

While Matsubayashi-Ryu karate did not exist before Nagamine Sensei founded it, it’s beginnings had existed for hundreds of years before. According to Patrick McCarthy of the International Ryukyu Karate Research Society, Matsubayashi-Ryu karate can trace it’s lineage from Chinese Gung-Fu to the original Okinawan karate; Koryu Uchinadi-Ryu karate & Yamaneryu Kobudo. This “original” Okinawan karate Read more

Shito Ryu Karate do

Karate has been taught outside of Japan for almost 40 years, and was exported to the rest of the world along both stylistic and organizational lines. By now, the namesof most karate styles have become familiar to martial artists everywhere. Of all the traditional karate systems Shotokan, Goju-ryu, Wado-ryu, Shorin-ryu, Kyokushin, Isshin-ryu, and Shito-ryu among Read more

Kyokushin Karate

Sosai Masutatsu Oyama was born on July 27th, 1923, in a village in Southern Korea. At the age of 9 whilst staying on his sister’s farm in Manchuria, he first learnt the Martial Arts, studying the southern Chinese Kempo form known as “Eighteen Hands.” In 1938 Mas Oyama traveled to Japan with the desire to Read more

Isshin Ryu Karate

Isshin-ryu was founded by one of the great karate masters, Tatsuo Shimabuku, and is derived from several of the other, older classical styles. Master Tatsuo Shimabuku, began learning karate at the age of 14 and devoted the rest of his life to its study and teaching. For 26 years he studied the other styles, Shuri-te, Read more

Goju Ryu Karate

At the end of the 19th century Shuri-te and Tomari-te were subsumed under the name Shorin ryu, which developed into several slightly different styles. Naha-te was later renamed Goju ryu (the hard and soft style). Grandmaster Kanryo Higaonna was born on March 10, 1853, in Naha, the capital city of Okinawa. His father, Kanryo, worked Read more

Kodenkan Ju Jitsu

  Professor Henry Seishiro Okazaki, founder and Master of the Kodenkan Danzan Ryu Jujitsu System and the American Jujitsu Institute of Hawaii, was born in the town of Kakeda, Fukushima Prefecture, on the island of Honshu, Japan, January 28, 1890. At the age of 16 he moved with his family to the island of Hawaii, Read more

Taiho Ju Jitsu

In Japan, the MUROMACHI period (1333-1600) was a time of unrest and civil war, as a new line of SHOGUNS fought for control. AKECHI Mitsuhide succeeded ODA Nobunaga, but only a year later TOYOTOMI Hideyoshi displayed Mitsuhide’s severed head in public, as a grisly warning, that he was the one in power. During his reign Read more

Budoshin Ju Jitsu

Budoshin Ju-Jitsu is the gentle art of self-defense. It incorporates Judo [throws, pins & matwork], Aikido [leverage, momentum, pressure points & joint locks] and Karate [hits & kicks] into an extremely effective self-defense system. Budoshin Ju-Jitsu will allow you to have absolute control over your attacker[s] in a wide variety of situations. All techniques are Read more

Daito Ryu Ju Jitsu

The Daito-ryu scrolls issued by Takeda Sokaku (beginning just before the turn of the century) include a lineage that traces the art back to the Emperor Seiwa, who, legend has it, won his throne when his sumo champion defeated his elder brother’s champion. The actual founder of the art is said to have been Seiwa’s Read more

Nihon Ju Jitsu

In our modern society, however, Nihon Tai-Jitsu has also become a Budo, integrating personality development as part of our goal, a deep respect for human life and a principle of proportionality of the defense toward the attack. Nihon Tai-Jitsu is a pure art of self defense: a research of the highest effectiveness with minimum efforts Read more

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