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Aikido

Aikido (Aikidō, also in an older style of kanji), literally meaning 'joining energy way', is a gendai budo - a modern Japanese martial art. Practitioners of Aikido are known as aikidoka, although the term technically denotes only those who make their living from teaching. It was developed by Morihei Ueshiba over the period of the 1930s to the 1960s. Morihei Ueshiba is also known by Aikidoka as o-sensei with the "o" prefix meaning "honorable", therefore signifying in this case, Honorable Teacher. Technically, the major parts of Aikido are derived from Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu , a form of Jujutsu with many joint techniques, and kenjutsu , or Japanese sword technique (some believe the tactics in Aikido are especially influenced by Yagyū Shinkage-ryū). Aikido is also considered to contain a significant spiritual component.

History

The name aikido is formed of three Japanese characters, 合気道, usually romanised as ai, ki and do. These are often translated as meaning union, universal energy and way, so aikido can be translated as 'the way to union with universal energy'. Another common interpretation of the characters is harmony, spirit and way, so Aikido can also mean 'the way of spiritual harmony'. Both interpretations draw attention to the fact that aikido's techniques are designed to control an attacker by controlling and redirecting their energy instead of blocking it. An analogy is often made of the way a flexible willow bends with the storm, whereas the stout oak will break if the wind blows too hard. (The Korean martial art commonly known as hapkido uses the same three characters: some suggest a historical link through Daito-ryu, the main origin of aikido).

Morihei Ueshiba developed aikido mainly from Daito-ryu aikijutsu, incorporating training movements such as those for the yari (spear), jo (a short quarterstaff), and perhaps also juken (bayonet). But arguably the strongest influence is that of the katana (sword) and in many ways, an aikido practitioner moves as an empty handed swordsman. The aikido strikes shomenuchi and yokomenuchi originated from weapon attacks, and resultant techniques likewise from weapon disarms. Some schools of aikido do no weapons training at all; others, such as Iwama Ryu usually spend substantial time with bokken/bokuto (wooden sword), jo, and tanto (knife). In some lines of aikido, all techniques can be performed with a sword as well as unarmed.

Aikido was first brought to the West in 1951 by Minoru Mochizuki with a visit to France where he introduced Aikido techniques to Judoka. He was followed by Tadashi Abe in 1952 who came as the official Aikikai Honbu representative, remaining in France for seven years. Kenji Tomiki toured with a delegation of various martial arts through fifteen continental states of the United States in 1953. Subsequently, in the same year, Koichi Tohei was sent by Aikikai Honbu for a full year to Hawaii setting up several dojo. This was backed up by several further visits and is thus considered the formal introduction of Aikido to the United States. The United Kingdom followed in 1955, Germany and Australia in 1965. Today there are many aikido dojos available to train at throughout the world.

Jeet Kune Do

(Chinese: 截拳道; Hanyu Pinyin: Jié Quán Dào; Jyutping: zit3 kyun4 dou6; literally "Way of the Intercepting Fist"), also Jeet Kun Do or JKD, is the martial arts "combat system" developed by Bruce Lee. Recently, the name used has been changed by some of its adherents to Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do -- "Jun Fan" being Lee's Chinese given name, therefore the literal translation is "Bruce Lee's Way of the Intercepting Fist."

Jeet Kune Do is Bruce Lee's combat philosophy which he created after his research into fighting styles which had originally lead to the creation of Jun Fan Gung Fu. Lee emphasised that Jeet Kune Do was to be understood as a process, not a product (another way of stating the claim that Lee's interpretation was different from others' interpretation of the term "martial art").

The System

Jeet Kune Do advocates may utilize techniques from any martial art; the trapping and short-range punches of Wing Chun, the kicks of northern Chinese styles as well as Savate, the footwork found in Western fencing and the techniques of Western boxing, to list but a few. Bruce Lee stated that his concept is not an "adding to" of more and more things on top of each other to form a system, but rather, a winnowing out. The metaphor Lee borrowed from Chan Buddhism was of constantly filling a cup with water, and then emptying it, used for describing Lee's philosophy of "casting off what is useless". He also used the sculptors's mentality of beginning with a lump of clay and hacking away at the "Unessentials". The end result being what he considered to be the bare combat essentials or Jeet Kune Do (JKD).

Jeet Kune Do as it survives today - if one wants to view it "refined" as a product, not a process - is what was left at the time of Bruce Lee's death. It is the result of the life-long martial arts development process Lee went through. JKD in its later phases was heavily influenced by Western boxing and fencing (whereas the backbone concepts such as centerline, four gates, vertical punching, straight blast, "entering", and forward pressure come from Wing Chun). The result was that Lee stopped using some of the Wing Chun stances he had learned, in favor of what he claimed were more fluid, flexible Western fencing and boxing stances. The claim is that allowed him to "flow", not to be stuck in stances, a positioning that Lee believed was a feature of some of traditional Wing Chun that he dismissed as the "classic mess". For instance, instead of using footwork to position the body for maximum fighting position vis-a-vis the opponent, JKD uses flowing boxing "entries" that do not require "bridges" from Wing Chun.

Dan Inosanto, who was to be Bruce Lee's student in Jeet Kune Do, once said that originally, Bruce Lee wanted to create the "ultimate fighting form", but later in the development of Jeet Kune Do, he wanted to use the art for personal development as well, not just to become a better fighter.

Jeet Kune Do not only advocates the combination of aspects of different styles, it also has to change many of those aspects that it adopts to suit the abilities of the practitioner. Additionally, Jeet Kune Do advocates that any practitioner be allowed to interpret techniques for themselves, and change them for their own purposes. For example, Lee almost always chose to put his power hand in the "lead," with his weaker hand back, therefore he almost always used the right hand stance of Western Fencing. He labeled this stance the "On Guard" position. Lee incorporated this stance into his JKD as he felt it provided the best overall mobility. Lee felt that the dominant or strongest hand should be in the lead because it would perform a greater percentage of the work. Lee discarded both the left hand and center stance, whereas most traditional martial arts train their practitioners to be ambidexterous. Lee believed that these decisions should be done within the context of "real combat" and/or "all out sparring". He believed that it was only in this environment that a person could actually deem a technique worthy of adoption.

Jujutsu

Jujutsu (also jujitsu, ju jutsu, ju jitsu, or jiu jitsu; from the Japanese 柔術 jūjutsu "flexible/gentle/yielding/compliant Art") is a Japanese martial art that is principally based on grappling and joint lock techniques, though it also includes basic strikes and sweeps as well as varying degrees of ground fighting.

This form of martial arts can trace its roots back to the early unarmed styles that were popular among the samurai. Early martial arts were often categorized narrowly; kenjutsu for sword-fencing, naginata-jutsu for the glaive, and JuJitsu for unarmed. There were many styles of jujitsu with different areas of emphasis such as purely empty-hand fighting in others it was a system of unarmed methods of dealing with an enemy who was armed. JuJitsu much like Karate and Kung-Fu is a very general term and is not limited to only one fixed set of techniques.

The beginning

Fighting forms have existed in Japan for centuries. The first references to such unarmed combat arts or systems can be found in the earliest purported historical records of Japan, the Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters) and the Nihon Shoki (Chronicles of Japan), which relate the mythological creation of the country and the establishment of the Imperial family. Other glimpses can be found in the older records and pictures depicting sumai (or sumo) no sechie, a rite of the Imperial Court in Nara and Kyoto performed for purposes of divination and to help ensure a bountiful harvest.

There is a famous story of a warrior Nomi no Sekuni of Izumo who defeated and killed Tajima no Kehaya in Shimane prefecture while in the presence of Emperor Suinin. Descriptions of the techniques used during this encounter included striking, throwing, restraining and weaponry. These systems of unarmed combat began to be known as Nihon koryu jujutsu (japanese old-style jujutsu), among other related terms, during the Muromachi period (1333-1573), according to densho (transmission scrolls) of the various ryuha (martial traditions) and historical records.

Most of these were battlefield-based systems to be practiced as companion arts to the more common and vital weapon systems. These fighting arts actually used many different names. Kogusoku, yawara, kumiuchi, and hakuda are just a few, but all of these systems fall under the general description of Sengoku jujutsu. In reality, these grappling systems should be understood as one component of the Samurai's training, whereby an unarmed or lightly armed warrior could hope to defend himself against a heavily armed and armored enemy on the battlefield. Ideally, the samurai would be armed and would not need to rely on such techniques.

In later times, other koryu developed into systems more familiar to the practitioners of Nihon jujutsu commonly seen today. These are correctly classified as Edo jujutsu (founded during the edo period): systems generally designed to deal with opponents neither wearing armor nor in a battlefield environment. For this reason, most systems of Edo jujutsu include extensive use of atemi waza (vital-striking technique). These tactics would be of little use against an armored opponent on a battlefield. They would, however, be quite valuable to anyone confronting an enemy or opponent during peacetime dressed in normal street attire. Occasionally, inconspicuous weapons such as tanto (daggers) or tessen (iron fans) were included in the curriculum of Edo jujutsu.

Another seldom seen but interesting historical aside is a series of techniques originally included in both Sengoku and Edo jujutsu systems. Referred to as hojo waza ( hojojutsu, nawa jutsu, hayanawa and others), it involves the use of a hojo cord, (sometimes the sageo or tasuke) to restrain or strangle an attacker. These techniques have for the most part faded from use in modern times, but Tokyo police units still train in their use today and continue to carry a hojo cord in addition to handcuffs. The very old Takenouchi Ryu and Katabami Ryu is one of the better-recognized systems that continue extensive training in hojo waza.

Many other legitimate Nihon jujutsu ryu exist but are not considered koryu (ancient traditions). These are called either Gendai jujutsu or modern jujutsu. Modern jujutsu traditions are founded after or towards the end of the Tokugawa period (1603-1868). Various traditional ryu and ryuha that are commonly thought of as koryu jujutsu are actually gendai jujutsu. These include Hakko Ryu, Daito Ryu, and many others. Although modern in formation, gendai jujutsu systems have direct historical links to ancient traditions and are correctly referred to as traditional martial systems or ryu. Their curriculum reflects an obvious bias towards Edo jujutsu systems as opposed to the Sengoku jujutsu systems. The improbability of confronting an armor-clad attacker is the obvious reason for this bias.
Jujutsu training at an agricultural school in Japan around 1920
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Jujutsu training at an agricultural school in Japan around 1920

Over time, Gendai jujutsu has been embraced by law enforcement officials worldwide and continues to be the foundation for many specialized systems used by police. Perhaps the most famous of these specialized police systems is the Keisatsujutsu (police art) Taiho jutsu (arresting art) system formulated and employed by the Tokyo Police Department.

If a Japanese based martial system is formulated in modern times (post Tokugawa) but is only partially influenced by traditional Nihon jujutsu, it may be correctly referred to as goshin (self defense) jujutsu. Goshin jujutsu is usually formulated outside Japan and may include influences from other martial traditions. The Brazilian Gracie jujutsu system, and all Brazilian jujutsu in general, although derived originally from Judo have evolved independently for many years, and could be considered examples of Goshin Jujutsu.

The word jujutsu itself means approximately "gentle skill," and in Japan is a broad term that also includes Judo, Aikido, and perhaps a few other martial arts.

Judo

Judo (Japanese:, jūdō; "gentle way") is a martial art, sport, and philosophy originated in Japan. Judo was developed from Jujutsu, and was founded by Dr. Jigoro Kano in 1882. The sport became the model of the modern Japanese martial arts, gendai budo, developed from old koryu schools. Practitioners of Judo are called judoka.

The early history of Judo and that of its founder, Japanese polymath and educator Kano Jigoro (surname first in Japanese) (1860-1938), are inseparable. Kano was born into a well-to-do Japanese family. His grandfather was a self-made man, a sake brewer from Shiga prefecture in central Japan; however, Kano's father was not the eldest son and did not inherit the business, but instead became a Shinto priest and government official, with enough influence for his son to enter the second incoming class of Tokyo Imperial University.

Kano was a small, frail boy, who, even in his twenties, did not weigh more than a hundred pounds, was often picked on by bullies. He first started pursuing jujitsu, at that time a flourishing art, at the age of 17, but met with little success---in part due to difficulties finding a teacher who would take him on as a serious student. When he went off to the University to study literature at the age of 18, he continued his martial efforts, eventually gaining a referral to Hachinosuke Fukuda, a master of the Tenjin Shinyo Ryu and ancestor of noted Japanese/American judoka Keiko Fukuda, who is one of Kano's oldest surviving students. Fukuda is said to have emphasized technique over formal exercise, sowing the seeds of Kano's emphasis of randori, or free practice, in Judo.

Karate

Karate or karate-dō is a martial art of Okinawan origin. Karate is a synthesis of indigenous Okinawan fighting methods and southern Chinese martial arts, possibly a version of Shaolinquan. Karate means open hand in Japanese. It is primarily a striking art, featuring punching, kicking, knee/elbow strikes and open hand techniques; however, grappling, joint manipulations, locks, restraints, throws, and vital point striking are inherent in the finer points of the art. Karate is characterized by the use of the hips and stances to generate striking power, by the distinctive use of breathing (sharp, explosive exhalations) to focus power, and by the practice of prearranged forms (called kata). One who practices karate is sometimes referred to as a karate-ka (Japanese, "karate practitioner").

Karate is a multi-cultural development, absorbing the contributions of many gifted practitioners over time and crossing many borders. Compiling a reasonably accurate history of Karate is challenging.

The development of Karate occurred chiefly in Okinawa and China in the 19th century, and Japan in the early 20th century. This was an especially turbulent period in history for that area of the world, including Japan's official annexation of the Okinawan island group in 1874, the First Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895), the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), and the rise of Japanese expansionism (1905-1945). The wars caused disruptions and upheaval, and incentives for concealment. The Karate styles within Japan have fairly clean lineages; but any assessment of how Karate crossed borders in this period is complicated by issues of nationalism, the historic Japanese racism faced by non-Japanese Asians, and the typical resentment of occupied peoples toward a conqueror. Many recognizeable offshoots of Karate, particularly in Korea, deny the name because of nationalistic ideals and the word's association with Japan; likewise, some obvious offshoots of Karate are disowned by Japanese practitioners, perhaps because of a Japanese preoccupation with primacy or purity.

Kendo

Kendo (Kendō) , which is the modern martial art of Japanese fencing, developed from traditional techniques of Japanese swordsmanship known as kenjutsu. Since 1975 the goal of Kendo has been stated by the All Japan Kendo Federation as "to discipline the human character through the application of the principles of the katana (the Japanese standard two handed sword)". However, Kendo combines martial arts values with sport elements, with some practitioners stressing the former and others the latter.

Taught using "swords" made of split bamboo (shinai) and extensive protective armour (Bogu), practitioners are called kendoka or "kenshi". Kendoka merely means one who practices kendo. Kenshi means swordsman. Both terms are used, though many clubs have a preference for one term. Kendoka also use bokuto (wooden katana) to practice set forms known as kata. On formal occasions, real swords or metal swords with a blunt edge, called habiki, can be used. There are 8 basic Scoring Regions.

Kendo, "The Way of The Sword", embodies the essence of the Japanese fighting arts. Since the earliest samurai government in Japan, during the Kamakura period (1185-1233), sword fencing, together with horse riding and archery, were the main martial pursuits of the military clans. In this period Kendo developed under the strong influence of Zen Buddhism. The samurai could equate the disregard for his own life in the heat of battle, which was considered necessary for victory in individual combat, to the Buddhist concept of the illusory nature of the distinction between life and death.

Kickboxing

Kickboxing is a generic term for a sporting martial art that, while similar to boxing, uses the feet as well as the hands for striking. Kickboxing can be praciced for general fitness, or as a full-contact combat sport.

Kickboxing, as a derivative of Boxing, Karate,Taekwondo as well as other styles, was created to compete effectively against these martial arts. The initial development of the styles (as well as the name) was in Japan. However there were also similar influences taking hold in the United States in 1974 (Wako), and martial artists from many disciplines toured both areas allowing the development of a common kickboxing standard.

Kung Fu

Kung fu and wushu are two popular Chinese terms that are commonly used as a synonym for Chinese martial arts. They appear by this use in many languages, including English and Chinese. For more information about their original meaning and other uses, see kung fu (term) and wushu (term).

In legend, the Chinese martial arts trace their origin thousands of years into antiquity. As the Chinese writing system traces back to the Shang dynasty (1766 BC - 1122 BC), claims of entire books regarding the martial arts being written at earlier times are suspect. The Art of War, written during the 6th century BC by Sun Tzu, deals directly with military warfare. There are passages in the Zhuang Zi that pertain to the psychology and practice of martial arts[citation needed]. Zhuang Zi, the author of the same name, is believed to have lived in the 4th century BC. The Dao De Jing, often credited to Lao Zi, contains principles that are applicable to martial arts[citation needed], but the dating of this work is controversial. Archery and charioting were a part of the "six arts" (liu yi, also including rites, music, calligraphy and mathematics) of the Zhou Dynasty (1122 BC - 256 BC), according to the text Zhou Li.

According to legend, the reign of the Yellow Emperor (traditional date of ascension to the throne, 2698 BC) introduced the earliest forms of martial arts in China. The Yellow Emperor is described as a famous military general, who, before becoming China's leader, wrote a lengthy treatise about martial arts. He allegedly developed the practice of Jiao di or horn-butting and utilized it in war.[1] Jiao di is believed to have evolved during the Zhou Dynasty into a combat wrestling system called Jiao li which is considered by some to be the first Chinese fighting system, including techniques such as strikes, throws, joint manipulation, and pressure point attacks.[2] Jiao li reportedly became a sport during the Qin Dynasty (221 BC - 207 BC).[3] There exists written references to Jiao li in the Han dynasty (140 BC to 88 BC).[citation needed] Currently, Jiao li is known as Shuai jiao, its modern form.

Tae Kwon Do

Taekwondo (also spelled Tae Kwon Do, Taekwon-Do, or Taegwondo) is the most popular of the Korean martial arts and is the Korean national sport. It is also one of the world's most commonly practiced martial arts and an Olympic sport.
In Korean, derived from hanja, Tae means "to kick or destroy with the foot"; Kwon means "to punch with the fist"; and Do means "way" or "art". Hence, Taekwondo is loosely translated as "the art of kicking and punching" or "the way of the foot and the fist." Taekwondo's popularity has resulted in the divergent evolution of the art. As with many other martial arts, Taekwondo is a combination of combat technique, self-defense, sport, exercise, entertainment, and philosophy.

While the practice of martial arts has ancient roots in Korea, the naming and systemization of Taekwondo occurred relatively recently, and the Olympic sparring rules are being revised even today. See Korean martial arts.

As far back as the Silla Dynasty (668 AD - 935 AD), Chinese Chuan Fa techniques were used to train Korean warriors. These techniques evolved to become the empty-hand art of Subak, which was standardized during the Koryo Dynasty (935 AD - 1392 AD). During the early Chosun Dynasty (1393 - 1910), Subak was divided into Taekyon (a striking art) and Yusul (a grappling art). Through the years, however, Yusul was practiced with decreasing frequency and, eventually, only the Taekyon aspect of Subak remained, facing extinction.

In the late 18th century, King Chongjo ordered the compilation of the Muye Dobo Tongji, an official martial arts text which identified many disciplines, including the empty-hand Kwonbup (transliteration of Chinese Chuan Fa, from which Subak was derived). Taekyon survived during the last part of the Chosun Dynasty via the secret practice of certain Korean families and street gangs.

Tae-Bo

Tae Bo is an aerobic exercise routine developed by Tae Kwon Do practitioner Billy Blanks, and one of the first cardio-boxing programs to enjoy commercial success. Such programs use the motions of martial arts at a rapid pace designed to promote fitness.

There is evidence that Billy's older brother Daryl was a co-creator of the Tae Bo, but Billy is known to avoid questions regarding this.

TAE BO is an acronym for Total Awareness Excellence Body Obedience. Blanks developed the routine in 1989 by combining music with training exercises to develop an intensive workout regimen. Many Tae Bo videos have been sold, and Tae Bo classes are taught worldwide. Tae Bo includes much of the same punches and kicks as karate does, but is not intended for fighting-it was not meant for any combat or self-defense applications. There are no throws, grappling moves, or ground fighting techniques in Tae Bo. Its only intent is to increase health through movement.

The high-intensity workout has been shown to increase cardio fitness, strength, muscular endurance and flexibility. Working all of their major muscles, participants of Tae Bo are challenged physically and mentally.

© 2006 This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia corresponding articles.