Stephen Kurtzman - firstname.lastname@example.org)
In the 1800s the royal Hawaiian family decreed that the art would be restricted to members of the royal Hawaiian family (In fact, it is still illegal to practice the art in the state of Hawaii). Since the 1980s, the veil of secrecy to non-Hawaiians has started to lift with the open teaching of the art in Southern California by Alohe Kolomona Kaihewalu.
Hawaiian form of combat which resembles Jujutsu in some of its moves. The primary emphasis of the art is joint dislocation.
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Mixed Martial Arts is both a style and not a style simultaneously. It is both a new and old way of thinking about martial arts. It bases the decisions about which techniques to use on their demonstrated effectiveness by different practitioners in open, non-style-specific sparring and/or competition that is designed to have as few rules as possible while still ensuring safety against death or severe permanent injury.
There are two main styles of MMA:
1. Sport MMA- Mixed Martial Arts designed for sporting competition, such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Pride Fighting Championship, or Vale Tudo style fighting matches. These matches usually have two unarmed persons duking it out with the core rules being: No biting, No eye-gouging (with fingers or chin) and No fish-hooking (inserting body parts such as the fingers into bodily crevices such as the mouth or nose). Groin attacks (striking or squeezing the groin) are also often illegal.
The promoters may add more rules, or simply use what are considered to be the core rules. More restrictive promotions of MMA include Old Pancrase, Shootfighting, or RINGS rules. These rulesets often ban striking on the ground, closed-fist striking, or both.
In general, boxing (kickboxing/muay thai included), wrestling (Freestyle, Greco-Roman, and to a lesser extent Judo), and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) are the three styles that comprise the core of nearly all modern MMA training.
2. Street MMA- The principles of Mixed Martial Arts as applied for non-sport situations. There seem to be fewer mixed martial artists interested in this as compared to sport MMA, though the number of practitioners is growing. In practice, many, though not all, of the persons doing this come from a Jeet Kune Do background, and sometimes call what they do Jeet Kune Do (ex. Matt Thornton, Erik Paulson)
Their work is somewhat different from the JKD mainstream in calling for large amounts of few-rules sparring, and they encourage their students to do sport MMA sparring/competition. One can argue endlessly whether what they do is or is not MMA or JKD- suffice it to say there are similarities to both, and that JKD can be MMA and MMA JKD.
Most Street MMAers believe that sport MMA merely needs some changes in strategy (less emphasis on staying on the ground, more weapons awareness) and the addition of some techniques to become highly effective for the street. By far the most common addition to street-oriented MMA is Filipino martial art (FMA) training, due to its emphasis on, and practical use of weaponry, primarily the stick and knife.
The sport developed worldwide in the current form circa 1997, with the main centers of development being Brazil, the US, and Japan. During the time of its development, there were many exchanges of knowledge between the nations that developed MMA. Techniques were taken from the martial arts and sports of Brazil, Japan, England, America, Thailand, Holland, France, and Russia, along with smaller amounts from other nations. Early MMA was internationally popularized by the broadcast of the Ultimate Fighting Championship I in November of 1993.
The first documented Mixed Martial Arts style competitions, and certainly the conceptual ancestor of todays MMA, were the Pankration events of Classical Greece. Different styles of Greek wrestling and boxing were utilized. However, unlike the early UFCs, there was little emphasis on proving which style(s) worked best. Instead, there was much more concentration on representing the city the athletes came from, and each city's native styles were considered to be closely held secrets. Other forms of MMA have existed throughout history, such as French Brancaille.
The first Ultimate Fighting Championship was the brainchild of Art Davie and Rorian Gracie. Originally to be called War of the Worlds, it ended up featuring a sumo wrestler, a boxer, a savateur, two kickboxers, a kenpo man, a shootfighter, and a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter named Royce Gracie. Gracie swept by the other contestants to win the tournament, and swept two of the next three tournaments (Gracie could not continue due to heat stroke in UFC III) By the time of UFC III, the referee was allowed to stop fights. After UFC IV, Rorian Gracie pulled out of the UFC, and after UFC 6, similar but smaller MMA events began popping up all over the country.
In the first few UFC tournaments, when the rules were limited to the core three, a large variety of stylists competed. However, few fared well. Boxers tended to dominate the striking, wrestlers (Freestyle, Greco-Roman, and to a lesser extent Judo) dominated the takedowns, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) dominated on the ground. As a result, people began focusing on these three.
(Note- much of the information on the history of MMA came from the book No Hold Barred: Evolution, by Clyde Gentry III, available at http://www.groundfighter.com)
Most Sport MMA fighters fall into one of three general categories- the groundfighter, the wrestler, or the striker.
The groundfighter is the closest to a "pure" grappler one finds in MMA nowadays. The groundfighter's strength is the ability to force a fight to the ground, where they then seek a fight-ending submission (joint locks or choke). While the ability to perform takedowns is integral to groundfighting strategy, a clean, powerful takedown is not as important to the groundfighter as it is to the wrestler.
The wrestler is a stand-up and striking on the ground oriented grappler, whose strength is usually the takedown. A common strategy of the wrestler is known as "ground and pound." This refers to the method of taking an opponent down, achieving a dominant ground position, and finishing the fight with strikes.
The striker is also commonly known as the standup fighter, due to their preference to stay on their feet and win with a knockout. The strategy of the striker is called "sprawl and brawl". This refers to their focus on nullifying takedowns (the sprawl is the highest percentage defense to one of the more common entries to a takedown in wrestling, the shoot) in order to stay upright and exchange blows.
These categories should not be taken as exclusionary of other categories - groundfighters learn at least the basics of wrestling to be able to take down people and the basics of striking to keep from getting KOed. Strikers learn enough wrestling to neutralize takedown and throw attempts and enough groundfighting to get back to their feet if they are taken down. Wrestlers learn enough groundfighting or striking to protect themselves in one of those areas and to be able to easily finish opponents with another.
On rare occasions, you will see fighters highly skilled (by MMA standards) in all three areas. These types of fighters are becoming increasingly common as the sport becomes more professional.
Training resembles boxing, wrestling, and BJJ training, but with a much smaller selection of technique (for instance, the BJJ spider guard is strongly de-emphasized in MMA, as are wrestling pins). There is also a focus on 'putting it together,' using boxing to set up a takedown, how to take someone down while maintaining position for a submission, boxing on the ground, etc.
Street MMA may add weapon drills, awareness training, and changes in strategy.
Examples of Street MMA are the Dog Brothers style of martial arts sparring (full-contact stickfighting with limited to no protective gear and real sticks), Roy Harris' school in San Diego, CA, and Frank Benn's school in Austin, TX. Reality Fighting and adrenal stress/scenario training (such as that done by Model Mugging/IMPACT, Tony Blauer, Peyton Quinn, etc. ) are also often large influences on many of these programs.
Eric S. Raymond - firstname.lastname@example.org)
Moo Do is a new style founded by Grand Master Chae T. Goh, built on Tae Kwon Do but incorporating a much wider range of techniques than most TKD schools. In 1972, Master Goh came to America after a remarkable history of success as a student, teacher, and innovator in several martial arts in Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. He began teaching in Exton, Pennsylvania and has since opened other schools ("Dragon Gyms") in Southeastern Pennsylvania.
Moo Do combines Tae Kwon Do kicking, Karate punching, and Hapkido grappling and throwing techniques. As a result, Moo Do fighting style now bears little resemblance to the stereotypical TKD style that relies primarily on kicking. Moo Do focuses on street-usable techniques and forms, as both technique practice and a way of pursuing the `do' or self-improvement aspect of the art. Sport and competition fighting are de-emphasized.
Movements and forms are basically linear, but with a lot of training in 45-degree shifts for evasion. A wide range of grappling and throwing techniques designed specifically for common self-defense situations on the street are included. Controlled breathing and chi-focus techniques are taught from beginner level onward. At higher levels, internal strength is increasingly emphasized. Fighting technique becomes subtler and more Hapkido-like.
The Moo Do syllabus includes nanchaku, sword and staff forms.
Each class begins with stretching and aerobic exercise. The classes are physically challenging, but there's a strong tradition of adapting to what the student's body can handle. Men in their seventies, many women, small children, and people with physical limitations (e.g. cerebral palsy affecting the legs) have all trained successfully in Moo Do; everyone gets a slightly different mix.
Kick-punch combinations and multiple-technique attacks are pushed hard from the beginning. Sparring begins at intermediate levels.
Master Goh is constantly experimenting with new techniques and variations on old ones and encourages instructors and students to be creative in exploring the art, but the emphasis is always on practical techniques.
Basic meditation is part of the curriculum. Students are instructed in the ethics of the Hwarang Do, including loyalty to nation and family, truthfulness, keeping one's word, loving kindness to one's spouse, and the necessity to "justify your means" when using force. Senior students are required to research and write essays on various topics in the art to pass belt tests.
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Glen Downton - firstname.lastname@example.org)
Muay Thai is usually regarded as a very hard, external style. However, especially because of its roots in heavily Buddhist Thailand, some consider it to have a spiritual aspect as well. Thai boxers typically perform some Buddhist rituals before beginning a match.
Practicing Muay Thai is a vigorous workout and produces tremendous cardiovascular endurance.
Modern Thai Boxing (Muay Thai) originated from Krabi Krabong (a Thai weapons art roughly meaning "stick and sword"). When the Thais lost their weapons or fought close quarters with weapons they used knees, elbows, feet, fists and headbutting. They became famous for their toughness on the battle field with constant wars with their Burmese rivals. King Ramkamheng (1275 - 1317) wrote the "Tamrab-Pichei-Songkram" - the Book of War Learning, about the Thai war art, the basis of which was weaponless fighting.
The biggest Thaiboxing hero of Thailand is the 'Black Prince' Nai Khanom Dtom, who was camtured by the Burmese and had to fight against 12 of the best Burmese fighters before he was released (in 1560). The Thais are still having annual Muay Thai tournaments in order to salute him.
In the old days the fights lasted until one of the fighters was dead or seriously injured. There were no rounds and the fights could have lasted for several hours. No protective gear was used and sometimes they wore rope over their knuckles and glued some broken glass on top of it...
Before the 1940's, Thai fighters fought bare-knuckled. After World War II, the Thai government became concerned due to the high number of fatalities in the ring and and forced some rules to be used: they gave up groin shots, eye pokes, started using weight classes and boxing gloves, and rounds. The Thais felt that this watered down their sport. As a result, Thais place more emphasis on kicks, particularly to the legs; knee strikes; and grappling. These skills score higher points than hand strikes in Thai matches.
Muay Thai involves boxing techniques, hard kicking, and knee and elbow strikes. Low kicks to the thighs are a very distinguishing technique used frequently in Muay Thai. Stand up grappling is also used and allowed in the ring. Muay Thai practitioners develop a very high level of physical conditioning developed by its practitioners.
The training involves rigorous physical training, similar to that practiced by Western boxers. It includes running, shadow-boxing, and heavy bag work. Much emphasis is also placed on various drills with the so-called "Thai pads". These pads weigh five to ten pounds, and cover the wearers forearms. In use, the trainer wears the pads, and may hold them to receive kicks, punchs, and knee and elbow strikes, and may also use them to punch at the trainee. This training is vaguely similar to the way boxing trainers use focus mitts. The characteristic Muay Thai round kick is delivered with the shin, therefore, the shins become conditioned by this type of kicking.
Full contact, full-power sparring is usually not done in training, due to the devastating nature of the techniques employed. Thai boxers may box, hands only, with ordinary boxing gloves. Another training drill is for two fighters to clinch, and practice a form of stand-up grappling, the goal of which is to try to land a knee strike. However, full-power kicks, knees, and elbows are typically not used in training.
Promising children will enter dedicated Muay Thai training camps as young as six or seven. There, the fighter will be put on a plan aimed at making him a national champion while still in his teens. The Thais fight frequently, and a 20 year old fighter may have had 150 fights. Typically, half the purse from each fight goes to the training camp, with the remainder being split between the fighter and his family.
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Lit. Translation: "Nin" Perseverance/Endurance "jutsu" Techniques (of). Surrounded by much controversy, today's "ninjutsu" is derived from the traditional fighting arts associated with the Iga/Koga region of Japan. These arts include both "bujutsu" ryuha (martial technique systems) and "ninjutsu" ryuha, which involve a broad base of training designed to prepare the practitioner for all possible situations.
The history of ninjutsu is clouded by the very nature of the art itself. There is little documented history, much of what is known was handed down as part of an oral tradition (much like the native american indian) and documented by later generations. This has led to a lot of debate regarding the authenticity of the lineages claimed by the arts instructors.
Historical records state that certain individuals/families from the Iga/Koga (modern Mie/Omi) region were noted for possessing specific skills and were employed (by samurai) to apply those and other skills. These records, which were kept by people both within the region and outside of the region, refer to the individuals/families as "Iga/Koga no Mono" (Men of Iga/Koga) and "Iga/Koga no Bushi" (Warriors of Iga/Koga). Due to this regions terrain, it was largely unexplored and the people living within lived a relatively isolated existence. This enabled them to develop perspectives which differed from the "mainstream" society of the time, which was under the direct influence of the upper ruling classes. When necessary, they successfully used the superstitions of the masses as a tool/weapon and became feared and slightly mythologized because of this.
In the mid/late 1500's their difference in perspective led to conflict with the upper ruling classes and the eventual invasion/destruction of the villages and communities within the Iga/Koga region. The term "ninja" was not in use at this time, but was later introduced in the dramatic literature of the Tokugawa period (1605-1867). During this period, ancestral fears became contempt and the stereotypical image ("clans of assassins and mercenaries who used stealth, assassination, disguises, and other tricks to do their work") was formed which, to this day, is still very much the majority opinion.
Over 70 different "ninjutsu ryu" have been catalogued/identified, however, the majority of them have died out. Most were developed around a series of specific skills and techniques and when the skills of a particular ryu were no longer in demand, the ryu would (usually) fade from existence. The three remaining ninjutsu ryu (Togakure ryu, Gyokushin ryu, and Kumogakure ryu) are encompassed in Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi's Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu system. These ryu, along with six other "bujutsu ryu" (Gyokko Ryu, Koto Ryu, Takagi Yoshin Ryu, Shinden Fudo Ryu, Gikan Ryu and Kukishinden Ryu), are taught as a collective body of knowledge (see Sub-Styles for other info).
During the "Ninja-boom" of the 80's, instructors of "Ninjutsu" were popping out of the woodwork - it was fashionable to wear black. Now that the boom is over there are not as many people trying cash in on the popularity of this art. However, as with all martial arts, it would be wise to be very careful about people claiming to be "masters personally taught by the Grandmaster in Japan".
How do you verify the authenticity of an instructor? In the case of a Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu instructor there a few points which one can use.
First: all recognized "instructors" of the Bujinkan Dojo will, in addition to their Dan grade (black belt), have either a Shidoshi-ho (assistant teacher - first to fourth Dan) or Shidoshi (teacher - fifth to ninth Dan) certificate/ licence from Dr Hatsumi. Only people with these certificates are considered to be qualified to teach his system (a Dan grade alone DOES NOT make one a teacher).
Second: in addition to these certificates/licences, all recognized "instructors" of the Bujinkan Dojo will possess a valid Bujinkan Hombu Dojo Shidoshi-kai (Bujinkan Headquarters Dojo Teachers Association) for the current year. These cards are issued each year from Dr Hatsumi to those recognized as "instructors".
These points will help you if you are looking at training with someone from the Bujinkan Dojo. Beyond that, it's a case of "buyer beware".
Terms like "soft/hard", "internal/external", linear/circular" have been used to describe ninjutsu by many people. Depending upon the perspective of the person, it could appear to be any one, all or even none of the above. It is important to remember that the term "ninjutsu" does not refer to a specific style, but more to a group of arts, each with a different point of view expressed by the different ryu. The physical dynamics from one ryu to another varies - one ryu may focus on redirection and avoidance while another may charge in and overwhelm.
To provide some kind of brief description, ninjutsu includes the study of both unarmed and armed combative techniques, strategy, philosophy, and history. In many Dojos the area of study is quite comprehensive. The idea being to become adept at many things, rather than specializing in only one.
The main principles in combat are posture, distance, rythm and flow. The practitioner responds to attacks in such a way that they place themselves in an advantageous position from which an effective response can be employed. They are taught to use the entire body for every movement/technique, to provide the most power and leverage. They will use the openings created by the opponents movement to implement techniques, often causing the opponent to "run in/on to" body weapons.
As was noted above, the areas of study in ninjutsu are diverse. However, the new student is not taught everything at once.
Training progresses through skills in Taihenjutsu (Body changing skills), which include falling, rolling, leaping, posture, and avoidance; Dakentaijutsu (Striking weapons body techniques) using the entire body as a striking tool/ weapon - how to apply and how to receive; and Jutaijutsu (Supple body techniques) locks, throws, chokes, holds - how to apply and how to escape.
In the early stages, weapons training is usually limited to practicing how to avoid attacks - overcoming any fear of the object and understanding the dynamics of its use from the perspective of "defending against" (while unarmed). In the mid and later stages, once a grounding in Taijutsu body dynamics is in place, practitioners begin studying from the perspective of "defending with" the various tools/weapons.
In the early stages of training, kata are provided as examples of "what can be done here" and "how to move the body to achieve this result". However, as the practitioner progresses they are encouraged to explore the openings which naturally appear in peoples movements and apply spontaneous techniques based upon the principles contained within the kata. This free flowing style is one of the most important aspects of ninjutsu training. Adaptability is one of the main lessons of all of these ryu.
Due to the combative nature of the techniques studied, there are no tournaments or competitions in Ninjutsu. As tournament fighting has set rules which compel the competitor to study the techniques allowed within that framework, this limits not only the kinds of techniques that they study, but also the way in which they will apply those techniques. The way that you train is the way that you fight. Ninjutsu requires that its practitioners be open to any situation and to be able to adapt their technique to ensure survival.
There are a number of people claiming to teach "ninjutsu".
Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi has been the recpient of numerous cultural awards in recognition of his extra-ordinary knowledge of Japanese martial culture. He is considered by many to be the only source for authentic "ninjutsu". However, as was noted above, the teachings of the three ninjutsu ryu which are part of his Bujinkan system, are not taught individually. Rather, they are taught as part of the collective body of knowledge which forms the foundation of his Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu system.
Shoto Tanemura, formerly of the Bujinkan Dojo, formed his own organization (Genbukan Dojo) and claimed to be the Grandmaster of/teaching both Iga and Koga Ryu Ninjutsu. He has since formed a number of other organizations and is becoming more widely known for his "Samurai Jujutsu" tapes (Panther Productions).
The list of names of people claiming to teach "Koga Ryu Nijutsu" is quite long. The last person to be recognized as part of the Koga Ryu lineage in Japan was Seiko Fujita. His knowledge of "ninjutsu" died with him - he left no successor.
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Imitative boxing of the Praying Mantis. The Praying Mantis is an insect with killer instinct and blinding speed. The Tanglangpai is a combat system composed of several sub-styles, that due to the richness and complexity of their techniques are considered styles by themselves. Some of these styles were created combining the praying mantis boxing with other wu-shu systems. Some writers count more than 40 Praying Mantis styles. This section will only mention below the more ancient and traditional ones.
Wang Lang (the style creator) was born in the Jimo district, in Shandong Province. He lived during the Ming Dynasty fall and as he was a patriot (some Masters say he was uncle of the last Ming Emperor), he decided to excel in the martial arts to fight against the Qing Dynasty (Manchurian rulers). He entered to the Shaolin monastery in Songshang, but being prosecuted by the Manchurians he travelled all over China, training in places places where he could find Gongfu Masters. In this way he learned 17 Chinese Boxing styles.
After this travel, Wang Lang entered to the Laoshan monastery. Once there, he was always defeated by the abbot of the temple in spite of his deep knowledge of the fighting arts. One day, while he was meditating in a forest he saw a combat between a praying mantis and a cicada. He was impressed by the aggressive attitude of the mantis and he started studying its movements. After a long learning time he combined the praying mantis hand movements with the monkey steps (to enhance the coordination between hand and feet). With this new style Wang Lang could defeat the monastery abbot. Wang Lang went on modifying his system and when he felt satisfied with his creation he accepted some disciples.
Even though Praying Mantis sub-styles are quite different, they all contain the basic structure created by Wang Lang: * 8 stances * 12 key words * 8 rigid and 12 flexible methods * 5 external and 5 internal elements * 8 non- attacking and 8 attacking points.
Northern praying mantis is a style characterized by fast hand movements. The hook hands are the "trade mark" of the style and they are found in all the northern sub-styles. Northern Tanglangquan's main weapon is the blinding speed of the hand trying to control and punch the opponent. It has a balanced combination of circular and straight movements.
Other important elements are the simultaneous block and punch, and strong chopping punches. These are practical movements for full contact street fighting. Some Chinese martial artists say that Seven Star Praying Mantis Boxing (one of the praying mantis sub-styles) is the most aggressive style created in China. Grappling, kicking, nerve-attack and weapons complete the northern branch.
Southern praying mantis is very different. It is an infighting system that resembles Wing Chun. Qigong is very important in the Southern Praying Mantis. Movements are continuous and circular, soft and hard, except in attack, where the middle knuckle (phoenix eye) of the index finger is used like a needle to pierce the internal organs. A punch with the fist produces an external muscular bruise, striking with the phoenix eye produces an internal bruise.
Seven Stars Praying Mantis (Qixing Tanglang)
Eight Steps Praying Mantis (Babu Tanglang)
Six Armonies Praying Mantis (Liuhe Tanglang)
Secret Door Praying Mantis (Bimen Tanglan)
Mysterious Track Praying Mantis (Mizong Tanglang)
Throwing Hands Praying Mantis (Shuaishou Tanglang)
Plumb Flower Praying Mantis (Meihua Tanglang)
Flying legs Praying Mantis from the Wah Lum Temple (Wah
Lum Tam Tui Tang Lang) Jade Ring Praying Mantis (Yuhuan Tanglang) Long Boxing Praying Mantis (Changquan Tanglang)
Great Ultimate Praying Mantis (Taiji Tanglang)
Eight Ultimates Praying Mantis (Baji Tanglang)
Southern Sub-Styles (Hakka shadow boxing):
Bamboo Forest Praying Mantis (Kwong Sai Jook Lum Tang Lang)
Chou Clan Praying Mantis (Chou Gar Tang Lang)
Chu Clan Praying Mantis (Chu Gar Tang Lang)
Familiar or non spread Sub-Styles:
Han Kun Family Praying Mantis (Han Gong Jia Tanglang)
Drunken Praying Mantis (Zui Tanglang)
Shiny Board Praying Mantis (Guangban Tanglang)
Connected Arms Praying Mantis (Tongbei Tanglang)
Mandarin Duck Praying Mantis (Yuanyang Tanglang)
Kirk Lawson - firstname.lastname@example.org,
Ken Pfrenger - email@example.com,
Tony Wolf - firstname.lastname@example.org,
Fraser Johnston - email@example.com,
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Bare Knuckle Boxing / Classic Pugilism is the origin of modern Boxing. It was a popular sport in Britain, Ireland, Scotland, New Zealand, Australia and Early America. The defining element of the art, as the name implies, is that this type of boxing, when applied to the ring, is practiced without the aid of protective gloves. The sport includes a number closed fist strikes and can include stand up grappling such as trips and throws.
The successor, Modern Boxing consists of a stipulated rule set and is intended to be practiced within the confines of a Boxing Ring. Modern Boxers wear special gloves and wrist wraps, the purpose of which is to protect the hands and wrists of the boxer. Amateur boxers often wear padded head gear whose intention is to protect the wearer.
Modern Boxing has become the main hand-striking style for Mixed Martial Artists, though it has had to evolve (or regress, if you like) to account for the wider variety of threats than just punches. A primary example of this is Rodney King's popular, non-attribute based, 'Crazy-Monkey' methodology; a few characteristics of which are the use of forearms as a high-guard bone-shield, and its crouching foward-facing stance. It provides a structure that both protects against a superior boxer, and is responsive to giving and receiving 'non-boxing attacks' (eg. kicks & takedowns). Its good for both the mma-athlete and the non-gifted striker who wants to have a fighting chance of succeeding with punches against the more athletic or experienced.
Britain and British holdings. Perhaps older.
Bare Knuckle Boxing dates back at least to the ancient Greeks, but perhaps as far back as Egypt circa 4000 B.C., where it was primarily a sport of taking punishment, the contestants trading blows, sometimes with loaded or lead wrapped fists. It is hard to say if the sport was brought to the Britains with the invading Romans or if it developed from existing bare hand fighting techniques, though the latter seems more likely.
The heyday of the sport began in the 18th Century in Britain. There is compelling evidence suggesting that during this time period Boxing Theory was tied closely to Fencing and general Weapons Theory and may have been taught as "fencing with the fists" thus creating an "integrated" system, intended for both sport and personal defense and covering both armed and unarmed defense.
There were few, if any, rules and pugilists were free to employ a number "dirty tricks" such as eye gouging, grabbing the hair, and striking below the waist. In 1743, a Pugilist named Broughton developed a set of rules after killing another man in the ring. Broughton's rules were simple and still allowed for a lot of "dirty tricks" which were considered to be just part of the sport. "That no person is to hit his Adversary when he is down, or seize him by the ham, the breeches, or any part below the waist: a man on his knees is reckoned down." Renowned fighters from this era included "Gentleman" John Jackson and Daniel Mendoza, who was known for being a small man in an age devoid of weight classes and for using advanced footwork and technique to avoid "trading blows."
In 1838 the London Prize Fighting Rules were instituted. This period is considered the Golden Age of Bare Knuckle Boxing and included such greats as John L. Sullivan and Paddy Ryan. Though the London Prize Fighting Rules were more exhaustive then the previous Broughton Rules, they still were scant compared to modern boxing rules: No Butting, No hitting a downed man, No hitting below the belt, No gouging or biting, No kicking or falling on an opponent knees first, No grabbing from the waist down. The final rule set led into modern boxing, the Marquis de Queensbury rules of 1867 which, among other things, effectively eliminated throws and trips from the sport.
There are two modern interests in Bare Knuckle Boxing. First is Classic Pugilism. This is a reconstruction of classic Boxing from bygone years using period manuals, rules, and training techniques. Second is Bare Fist Fights. Though still boxing bare fisted, the focus is more directly on modern bare fist competition and self defense with little regard for historic technique, historic rules, or re-creation of classic skills.
Although this practice has been ongoing for many years public interest and acceptance has recently been reinvigorated as illustrated by popular movies such as _Fight Club_ and by the growing popularity of modern bare fisted boxing styles such as Rodney King's Crazy-Monkey system. Obviously there can be significant cross over in interest between the two and practitioners of one often have a strong interest in the other. It should be noted that bare knuckle boxing competitions are often illegal or strictly regulated.
Modern Boxing rules can seem somewhat complex in comparison with its earlier iteration. However these rules are generally either to protect the boxers, ensure a "fair" match, or to otherwise adhere to the ideals of boxing as a sport in which blows with the fist are traded. For a good look at typical Modern Boxing rules, see:
Olympic Boxing Rules: http://boxing.about.com/od/amateurs/a/oly_rules.htm
Amateur Boxing Rules: http://boxing.about.com/od/amateurs/a/amateur_rules.htm
Professional Boxing Rules: http://www.wbarecords.com/manual/
Depending upon which rule set is being used, the sport can have differing descriptions. Classic Pugilistic punching is typically vertical fist, however the hand position and stance alters depending upon the rule set. Also, depending upon the rule set Judo-like throws and trips were included. Rounds were concluded when a man went down on the ground from punches or a trip or throw, or when he was down to his knees. Matches could last more than an hour and have upwards of 100 rounds. One famous match between Mendoza and Humphreys had 22 rounds in the first 40 minutes.
Modern Boxing matches are tightly controlled. Round length is specified, weight classes are applied, the weight of the gloves is spelled out, and strict rules governing legal strikes are enforced.
Classic Pugilism training is typically restricted to clubs or societies dedicated to recreating the sport and the art, often containing only a few members and frequently advertised solely by word of mouth. Usually working from numerous texts and training manuals written by Pugilists of old, these groups combine training methods from these multiple sources and network with other Pugilists from around the world using the Internet and re-creationist seminars to hone their art.
Some classic texts include recommendations to use "mufflers" or gloves during training and sparring in order to protect the sparring partners. To include the throws and trips, a soft surface to fall on is recommended.
Bare Fist Boxing styles such as Crazy-Monkey are frequently taught in Modern Boxing schools, MMA schools, and integrated self defense schools. The training closely follows that of Modern Boxing. For information on the 'Crazy Monkey' method: http://www.streetbrawl.co.za/
Training for Modern Boxing generally takes place in boxing, kickboxing, or mma gyms. Most of the training is cardio, bagwork, focus mitts, and eventually sparring, which most boxers would argue is the most important way to develop realistic application of fighting skills. There are graduated levels of sparring, which should start out very 'safe, light and easy' and become progressively more intense as one's skill develops.
However some people are concerned about health risks associated with sparring and others maybe intimidated. Thus, they choose to avoid sparring. This is common and accepted, since boxing is still an excellent way to build great fitness. Just hitting a heavy bag, and especially doing good focus-mit work, will still bring some good martial outcomes, such as hitting correctly, hitting hard, and the ability to target strikes, while blocking and slipping incoming punches.
For more information see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxing
Scott Sonnon - email@example.com)
Russian Martial Art is a system of education in human biomechanics and the study of human behavior under extreme situations. Students are guided towards introspection and exploration of their full human potential. Movement is natural and free, and acquiring skills is based on the study of Cossack and Russian folk dances, Slavic folklore, and "Natural Laws."
The ancient Slavic martial traditions dates to the nomadic steppe-warriors of approximately 5,000 BCE, passed from father to son in families for generations of pre-Soviet Russia, and then only among the elite combat specialist subdivisions (SPETSNAZ) of the former USSR. Scott Sonnon, USA Sambo Team Coach and Trainer and World Sambo Vice-Champion, was the first foreigner accepted into this heritage in the attempt to bring the world together in fraternity. Sonnon imported the art to America in 1996 to improve the quality of life of his compatriots through the Russian health system, advanced sports biomechanics, and elite combative preparation. In 2000, one of the sportive derivations of Russian Martial Art, named Sambo, will be Olympic at the Sydney Games.
Russian Martial Art derives its name ROSS from "ROSSIYA" which is the Russian spelling for the word RUSSIA. ROSS, a Russian acronym standing for "Russian Native Martial Art" was developed by Commander Alexander Retuinskih, President of the All-Russian Federation of Russian Martial Art (RFRMA), Chairman of the International Combat Sambo Commission, Chairman of the Russian Combat Sambo Committee, officer General of the Cossack Military. In 1991, the RFRMA was sanctioned by the Russian Olympic Committee as the sole representative of Russian Martial Art. ROSS is taught to trainers of Russian Spetsnaz units of the Ministries of Internal Affairs, Defense and protective services, Russian Marine troops, VDV, OMON, and Minsk's "Alpha" units in Byelorussia, special MVD units "Vityaz", frontier troops of Lithuania and many others.
In Russian Martial Art, the main goal of a person is to render the adversary harmless while minimizing losses for both self and foe: to work efficiently in any situation. Learning Russian Martial Art, students acquire great power as fighters, but more importantly as a human beings, increasing ones value for health and life, for both self and others. Both in combat and in life, students treat other creatures with awareness and compassion. When necessary, firm action is issued, but never in a callous or careless manner, and when all other option have been considered. "Your life is not your alone; it belongs to your friends, family and community" (Alexander Ivanovich Retuinskih), or as is said in the Cossack Cadet Code: "The life of your friend is always more valuable than your own. You can die yourself, but rescue your friend."
ROSS undertakes training in 8 directions:
Alex Levitas - firstname.lastname@example.org)
SAMBO is an acronym of Russian words "SAMozaschita Bez Orujiya" - "Self-Defence Without Weapon".
SAMBO was created in the 1930's. Official recognition of new art was in 1938. At first it was named "free-style wrestling", then "free wrestling," and in 1946 was renamed "SAMBO." This system is compilation of techniques from a number of martial arts including Japanese and Chinese martial arts; national martial arts of USSR area natives (Georgians, Armenians, Mongols, Russians etc.); French wrestling and other arts. At the time of the 2nd world war the system was widely "tested" by the Soviet army. "Special" techniques were added at the time, for example fighting in cells, quick-and-quiet sentry killing, and so on. Because of the number of criminals in the Soviet army at that time (during WWII each prisoner was "invited" to the front with each year at the front worth two or so years of their sentence) SAMBO experts acquired many lessons on criminal street fighting, and a number of these techniques were included in SAMBO. SAMBO continues to accept new techniques and modify old ones.
Today, SAMBO is built from 3 parts: the sportive part (Olympic sport), the self-defense part, and the special or combat part.
The sportive part is similar to Judo but with some differences in allowed techniques. SAMBO allows leg locks were Judo does not, but Judo allows choking but SAMBO does not. There are somewhat more techniques in SAMBO than in Judo.
The self-defense part of SAMBO is similar in form to Aikijujutsu
because it is intended to be entirely defensive. The founder of
SAMBO said this about the self-defense part:
"We give defensive weapons to citizens. Some people say that this kind of martial art may be learned by criminals or hooligans and used against citizens. Don't worry! This art does not include even one attacking technique! If a hooligan will learn, he will be able to apply it only against another hooligan who will attack him, but never against a citizen."
There are many specific techniques for defending specific attacks, including escaping from grips and chokes, defenses against punches and kicks, defenses against weapons (knife, stick etc.), and floor-fighting. The self-defense part of SAMBO is based on body movements and locks with a few punches and kicks. The object is to allow defense but not to injure the opponent more than necessary because this part was created for citizens. In the former Soviet Union the law was that if you injure your opponent more than needed in a self-defense situation you could receive a 5 year prison term. Some of the self-defense techniques are based on sportive SAMBO.
The third part - combat SAMBO - was created for the army and police. It is a very severe, and dangerous system. If the idea of sportive SAMBO is "Take points and win," and the idea of the self-defence part is "Don't allow to attacker injure you," the idea of combat SAMBO is "Survive, and if someone hinders you - injure or kill him." Combat SAMBO includes sportive and self-defence techniques, but uses them in different ways. For example, sportive SAMBO uses the traditional shoulder throw of Judo and Jujutsu. In combative SAMBO the throw is done with the opponents arm rotated up and locked at the elbow, and can be done to throw the opponent on his head. If the opponent attempts to counter by lowering his center of gravity and pulling backwards (as is taught in sportive SAMBO) the arm will be broken. Combative SAMBO teaches shoulder throw counters that might be able to deal with a locked arm like kicking out the opponents knee and pulling back by the hair or eye sockets.
In addition to modified sportive and self-defence techniques, combat SAMBO includes kicks, punches, "dangerous throwing" (throws that can't be include into sportive part because they cause injury), locks on the spine, things that are prohibited in sportive wrestling (biting, for example), many "sadistic dirty things," working against weapons (with or without a weapon of your own), tricks like putting your coat on your opponents head (works nicely), floor fighting (very strong), fighting in closed space (small room, pit, stairs), quick-and-quiet sentry killing, and so forth. Students also learn strategy and tactics of fighting alone or in groups against single or multiple opponents. SAMBO is less popular today in Russia because the influx of oriental martial arts in recent years. But, the development of SAMBO has continued and elements of it are incorporated into other modern combat systems.
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In Chinese, Sanshou (loose hands) refers to the free application of all the realistic hand-to-hand combat skills of Kung Fu. It is divided into three categories: Sport Sanshou (Chinese Kickboxing), Civilian Sanshou, and Military Sanshou (AKA Qinna Gedou).
After fighting directly with the superior American forces during the Korean War, the Chinese government realized that new scientific R&D is important for its military forces. Army chief Peng Dehuai directed a great military training campaign (Da Be Wu) after the war. Martial arts masters from each of China's 92 provinces were brought together with medical experts to compare and evaluate their techniques. A new hand-to-hand combat system was developed based on three criteria: simplicity, directness, and effectiveness against a larger, stronger opponent. This system of fighting was thoroughly tested in training camps throughout China, and in border conflicts with Soviet troops. The Chinese military published manuals on Sanshou in 1963 and 1972.
Besides military Sanshou, civilian Sanshou continued to be developed by underground martial arts schools and individual martial artists in communist China. Civilian Sanshou warriors sharpened their skills by street championships where they challenged each other. These kinds of challenges were very popular during the cultural revolution (1966-76) and usually ended by being broken up by the police.
In recent years, sport Sanshou has been developed and promoted by the Chinese government. In the early years (1980s), there were no formal championships for Sanshou. Only demonstrations were available on national T.V. Most of the Sanshou participants were military and police men. Therefore, sport Sanshou kept its flavour of military kickboxing and wrestling. Lately, the Chinese government have promoted Sanshou into a nation-wide sport and held formal national and international championships every year.
The Sanshou as practiced by the Chinese military is based on the Chinese Art of War, physics, anatomy, bio-mechanics, and human physiology. It is a complete system of realistic unarmed combat covering the skills of striking, grappling, wrestling, groundfighting, and weapon defenses taken from various Chinese and foreign martial arts and hand-to-hand combat styles. It focuses on applying the principles of combat rather than on techniques. The various divisions of the military and police force have slight differences in technique, but they all employ the same principles.
Because of the increase of violent crimes in China, civilian Sanshou was created by the Chinese government so that Chinese civilians can learn self defense skills. It is also a complete system of striking and grappling, but without the lethal techniques that are required in the military. Many "underground" martial artists also developed Sanshou fighting skills.
The sport of Sanshou is rising in popularity all over the world. It is a kickboxing style that is fought on a platform called a "Lei Tai". Fighters wear boxing gloves, headgear, and body protectors. It is full contact kicking and punching with throws and sweeps allowed. Knees, elbows, headbutts, joint manipulation and chokes are not allowed, but fighters can be thrown off the platform.
Military and civilian Sanshou training involves many punching, kicking, grappling, wrestling, groundfighting, and weapon defense drills with a partner. Contact sparring with protective gear is also emphasized. This is where the different skills are blended together into one fluid art. There are no forms or formal stances, and no Qigong exercises.
Sport Sanshou training is similar to kickboxing training, except that throws and sweeps are also drilled extensively. Physical conditioning is also important in sport full-contact fighting.
In Toronto Canada, Sanshou instruction is available through Chinese Self-Defense Studies, the first and only organization outside of China that teaches Military Sanshou. Information on Chinese Self-Defense Studies can be found at the following http://www.globalserve.net/~nelumbo/sanshou.htm.
Military Sanshou (AKA Chin Na Ge Dou)
Sport Sanshou (Chinese Kickboxing)
Tobias Ratschiller - Ratschiller@pass.dnet.it)
It was developed in the last century, and its origins and relationships, if any, to other Martial Arts are unclear. There are stories about French sailors picking up techniques in Eastern ports, bringing them home and integrating them with local foot fighting and fencing techniques.
"French Boxing-Savate" was founded in 1970 in France. It consists mainly of precise striking with the hands and low foot-striking and appropriate defense-techniques. The hand-techniques are similar to boxing. Special attention is paid to develop elegant and soft movements.
It primarily encompasses kicking techniques somewhat similar to Tae Kwon Do or Karate. It includes punching techiques from Western Boxing and stick fighting techniques based on French rapier fighting. It is very stylized and more extended than most Eastern kicking arts.
Three different forms are taught:
Usually together with Savate is taught "La Canne", a mostly defensive art using wooden sticks."
Chris Butts - firstname.lastname@example.org)
Shogerijutsu deals with the concept of the dynamic martial artist. Each student learns the basics, and from there they build on their own foundation. The style is progressive and demands an assertive and positive attitude in which to move up in rank. Shogerijutsu combines many facets of learning from the martial arts. In relies on no single philosophy of martial art save for self-preservation and combat.
Shogerijutsu is derived from many things, as are all martial arts. It takes the basic self-defense techniques of jujutsu, karate-do, kung fu, and kick boxing, then combines it with the philosophy of styles that represent the fundamental approach toward self-defense and combat such as kenpo, jeet kune do, aikijutsu, and gung fu. The tai sabaki, atemi-waza, kata, and methods of training are those of the shogerijutsu system, created by the founder himself.
Sho means essence, geri means kick, and jutsu means technique. Hence Shogerijutsu means "the essence in kicking technique". Like other styles though, the name itself does not always define the techniques or philosophy of living that goes on within a system. The word "kicking" can be replaced with any multitude of strikes or even words of positive thinking for that matter. With combat there are not set rules since it in itself is a ever-changing dynamic entity. A Shogerijutsu student must adapt to this thought process, and learn for themselves the many ways in which to accomplish a certain task.
The basics are taught at first. As the student progresses so does their knowledge of control, joint locks, throws, combat philosophy, ranges, kata, and body positioning. Each phase of learning focuses on a breakup of the latter, with emphasis on implementing kata technique into applicable use on the street. This style is ideal for people who want to learn martial art basics. The philosophy of this style blends well with any style whose purpose is self-defense with focus on individualism.
Jishin-ryu is the way of confidence. This style is still under research. The purpose of this style will be to teach martial arts through understanding kata. The techniques themselves are taken from kata only, and applied through various combat principles. There will be 5 kata up to black belt, and another 5 thereafter up to Gokyo-san or 3rd dan.
For more information contact:
Norman Shogerijutsu Academy
1818 Twisted Oak Dr.
Norman, OK 73071
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The oldest Chinese bare-handed fighting style. Shuaijiao is a comprehensive fighting style which incorporates the principles of Taijiquan.
Shuaijiao emerged around 2,000 years ago. It was originally taught only to the military elite. Starting in the Qin Dynasty, Shuaijiao was demonstrated in tournaments for the Imperial court. During the Qing Dynasty, China maintained a camp of 300 full time fighters who trained for competition with China's allies. Today, Shuaijiao is still taught primarily to the military and police in China and Taiwan. Shuaijiao is a Northern Chinese martial art that was not well known in the south until the 1930's.
Shuaijiao was introduced to the United States in 1978 by Dr. Chi-Hsiu Daniel Weng. Dr. Weng started martial arts training at age 11, beginning with judo. After achieving second degree black belt in judo, he began study of Shuaijiao from Grandmaster Chang Dongsheng. Dr. Weng spent 20 years studying Shuaijiao with Grandmaster Chang, including 10 years as Shuaijiao instructor at the Taiwan Central Police College. Dr. Weng is an 8th degree black belt in Shuaijiao, and is president of the U.S. Shuai-Chiao Association.
There has been a large growth of interest and participation in Shuaijiao during the past several years. Major Chinese martial arts tournaments now include Shuaijiao divisions. Shuaijiao fighters have also competed successfully in Sanshou (full contact fighting) competition. The five-man U.S. full contact team sent to the 2nd World Wushu Championships included three Shuaijiao fighters.
Shuaijiao integrates striking, kicking, throwing, tripping, grappling, joint locking, and escaping methods. Shuaijiao fighting principles are based on Taijiquan, but techniques are applied with more force. There are 30 theoretical principles of Shuaijiao; the six major principles are: absorbing, mixing, squatting, hopping, turning, and encircling.
Shuaijiao fighting strategy emphasizes maintaining balance and controlling the opponent. Tactics emphasize throwing the opponent while maintain a joint lock, then following with a vital point strike. There are 36 major throws in the system, with 3600 combinations. Shuaijiao is notable for joint attacks and hard throws.
Shuaijiao has a belt ranking system. The succession of belts is: white, green, green-blue, blue 1, blue 2, blue 3, black. There are ten degrees of black belt. The 10th degree is reserved for the founder of the lineage, the late Grandmaster Chang Dongsheng.
Competition is similar to actual combat, except that strikes and kicks are allowed only in conjunction with a throw. Also, joint attacks are discouraged. Match is three falls. Point is awarded upon completion of the throw with control maintained over opponent. There is no pinning nor submission holds in Shuaijiao competition; in actual combat the throw would be followed by a finishing strike. Victory in tournament competition is required for advancement to blue belt and above.
There are a dozen stationary training stances to train strength and flexibility. Twenty moving forms train the position and footwork used in approaching, joint locking and throwing. Wushu high kicking excercises train leg strength and flexibility. The kicks most often used in Shuaijiao fighting are low kicks and sweeps. Unique to Shuaijiao is "belt cracking", which uses the uniform belt in excercises that train strength and proper position. Throws are practised in excercises with a partner, then in sparring. Sparring is practised at all levels, as soon as the student has mastered breakfalls. A typical class consists of stretching excercises, Wushu kicking, forms practise, throwing and breakfalls, and sparring.
Shuaijiao styles are categorized by region. The four major regional styles are Mongolian, Beijing, Tianjin, and Baoding. The USSA teaches the Baoding style. For more information, contact:
United States Shuai-Chiao Association,
P.O. Box 1221
Cupertino, CA 95015
Jeffrey Chapman - firstname.lastname@example.org
Russ Rader - email@example.com
Tim Rivera - firstname.lastname@example.org)
Pencak Silat is the Indonesian and Malaysian set of Martial Arts, all with different styles and schools (over 400 of them). Some of them use different spellings, depending upon their lineage - Dutch-Indonesian Silat is typically "Pentjak Silat" and "pure" Indonesian styles "Pencak Silat." The Indonesian spelling is used here, not to exclude some Silat styles, but for uniformity.
Since Silat is an umbrella term covering many styles, it is not possible to give a single history. Some of the arts are very old (1000 years?), and some were developed less than 50 years ago. Also, as with other arts, the history of Silat is somewhat unclear. There is a mixture of indigenous techniques along with techniques borrowed from Chinese arts and Indian arts such as Kalaripayit.
Pencak Silat depends heavily on an indigenous weapons and animal-styles heritage. In the (distant) past, it was predominately a weapons system; empty hand techniques are derived from the weapons forms. It is still often said that there is no silat without the knife.
Techniques are quite varied, although kicks are not emphasized much. Foot work is sophisticated and the development of stability is of major importance. The foot and and hand techniques are so subtle and intricate that they are often taught separately, then integrated after the student has mastered them individually. There is a good balance between offensive and defensive techniques.
Different styles of Silat use different terminology to describe a practicioner's ability - "guru" is frequently used to refer to a proficient instructor, "kang" for senior students, and "pendekar" someone who has developed a high level of skill and possibly spiritual development. However, the usage varies from style to style, and possibly even from school to school.
As an example, Pencak Silat Mande Muda has a complex and rather rigorous system of training, which includes classical empty hand and weapons forms, practical empty hand, weapons, and improvised weapons techniques, stretches, physical conditioning, and breath control. Although the forms are often performed with musical accompaniment, much like a dance, they are nevertheless extremely valuable both as conditioning methods and as encyclopedias of technique.
Mande Muda, Serak (also spelled Sera and Serah), Cimande (Tjimande), Cikalong (Tjikalong), Harimau, Mustika Kwitang, Gerakan Suci, Perisai Diri, many others.
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Ray Terry - firstname.lastname@example.org)
The five original Korean Kwans ("schools") were: Chung Do Kwan, Moo Duk Kwan (the art of Tang Soo Do), Yun Moo Kwan, Chang Moo Kwan, and Chi Do Kwan. These were founded in 1945 and 1946. Three more Kwans were founded in the early 1950's - Ji Do Kwan, Song Moo Kwan, and Oh Do Kwan.
After fifty years of occupation by Japan (which ended in 1945) and after the division of the nation and the Korean War, Korean nationalism spurred the creation of a national art in 1955, combining the styles of the numerous kwans active within the country (with the exception of Moo Duk Kwan, which remained separate - therefore Tang Soo Do is still a separate art from TKD today). Gen. Hong Hi Choi was primarily responsible for the creation of this new national art, which was named Tae Kwon Do to link it with Tae-Kyon (a native art). Earlier unification efforts had been called Kong Soo Do, Tae Soo Do, etc. Many masters had learned Japanese arts during the occupation, or had learned Chinese arts in Manchuria. Only a few had been lucky enough to be trained by the few native martial artists who remained active when the Japanese banned all martial arts in Korea. Choi himself had taken Tae-Kyon (a Korean art) as a child, but had earned his 2nd dan in Shotokan Karate while a student in Japan.
Primarily a kicking art. There is often a greater emphasis on the sport aspect of the Art. Tae-Kwon-Do stylists tend to fight at an extended range, and keep opponents away with their feet. It is a hard/soft, external, fairly linear style. It is known for being very powerful.
Training tends to emphasize sparring, but has forms, and basics are important as well. There is a lot of competition work in many dojongs.
The World Taekwondo Federation is the governing body recognized by the International Olympic Committee, and as a result WTF schools usually emphasize Olympic-style full contact sparring. The WTF is represented in the U.S. by the U.S. Taekwondo Union (USTU).
The International Taekwondo Federation is an older organization founded by Hong Hi Choi and based out of Canada. It tends to emphasize a combination of self-defense and sparring, and uses forms slightly older than those used by the WTF.
The American Taekwondo Association is a smaller organization similar in some ways to the ITF. It is somewhat more insular than the ITF and WTF, and is somewhat unique in that it has copyrighted the forms of its organization so that they cannot be used in competition by non-members.
There are numerous other federations and organizations, many claiming to be national (AAU TKD has perhaps the best claim here) or international (although few are), but these three have the most members. All of these federations, however, use similar techniques (kicks, strikes, blocks, movement, etc.), as indeed does Tang Soo Do (another Korean art, founded by the Moo Duk Kwan, that remained independent during the unification/foundation of Tae Kwon Do).
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Michael Robinson - firstname.lastname@example.org,
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One of the three orthodox "internal" styles of Chinese martial art (the other two being Xingyiquan and Baguazhang). The term "Taiji" refers to the ancient Chinese cosmological concept of the interplay between two opposite yet complementary forces (Yin and Yang) as being the foundation of creation. "Quan" literaly means "fist" and denotes an unarmed method of combat. Taijiquan as a martial art is based on the principle of the soft overcoming the hard.
The origins of Taijiquan are often attributed to one Zhang Sanfeng (a Taoist of either the 12th or 15th century depending on the source) who created the art after witnessing a fight between a snake and a crane. These stories were popularized in the early part of this century and were the result of misinformation and the desire to connect the art with a more famous and ancient personage. All of the various styles of Taijiquan which are in existence today can be traced back to a single man, Zhen Wangding, a general of the latter years of the Ming Dynasty. After the fall of the Ming and the establishment of the Qing Dynasty (1644), Chen Wangding returned to the Chen village and created his forms of boxing. Originally containing up to seven forms,only two forms of Chen Style Taijiquan have survived into the present.
The Art was only taught to members of the Chen clan until a promising young outsider named Yang Luzhan was accepted as a student in the early part of the 19th century. Yang Luzhan (nicknamed "Yang without enemy" as he was reportedly a peerless fighter) modified the original Chen style and created the Yang style of Taijiquan, the most popular form practiced in the world today. Wu Yuxiang leaned the Art from Yang Luzhan and a variation of the original Chen form from Chen Jingbing (who taught the "small frame" version of Chen Taijiquan) and created the Wu style. A man named Hao Weizhen learned the Wu style from Wu Yuxiang's nephew and taught the style to Sun Ludang, who in turn created the Sun style (Sun was already an established master of Xingyiquan and Baguazhang when he learned Taijiquan. He combined his knowledge of the other arts when creating his style). Yang Lu Chan had another student, a Manchu named Quan You, who in turned taught the Art to his son, Wu Jianquan. Wu Chian quan popularized his variation of the Yang style, which is commonly refered to as the Wu Chian quan style. In recent times (this century) there have been many other variations and modifications of the Art, but all may be traced back through the above masters to the original Chen family form.
Complete Taijiquan arts include basic exercises, stance keeping (Zhanzhuang), repetitive single movement training, linked form training, power training (exercises which train the ability to issue energy in a ballistic pulse), weapons training (which includes straight sword, broadsword, staff and spear), and various two-person exercises and drills (including "push-hands" sensitivity drills). A hallmark of most styles of Taijiquan is that the movements in the forms are done quite slowly, with one posture flowing into the next without interruption. Some forms (the old Chen forms for example) alternate between slow motion and explosive movements. Other styles divide the training into forms which are done slowly at an even tempo and separate forms which are performed at a more vigorous pace. The goal of moving slowly is to insure correct attention is paid to proper body mechanics and the maintenance of the prerequisite relaxation.
Training exercises can be divided into two broad categories: solo exercises, and drills which require a partner. A beginner will usually begin training with very basic exercises designed to teach proper structural alignment and correct methods of moving the body, shifting the weight, stepping, etc. All of the Taijiquan arts have at their very foundation the necessity of complete physical relaxation and the idea that the intent leads and controls the motion of the body. The student will also be taught various stance keeping postures which serve as basic exercises in alignment and relaxation as well as a kind of mind calming standing meditation. A basic tenet of all "internal" martial arts is that correct motion is born of absolute stillness. Once the basics are understood, the student will progress to learning the formal patterns of movement ("forms") which contain the specific movement patterns and techniques inherent in the style.
Traditionally, single patterns of movement were learned and repeated over and over until mastered, only then was the next pattern taught. Once the student had mastered an entire sequence of movements individually, the movements were taught in a linked sequence (a "form"). The goal of training is to cultivate a kind of "whole body" power. This refers to the ability to generate power with the entire body, making full use of one's whole body mass in every movement. Power is always generated from "the bottom up," meaning the powerful muscles of the legs and hips serve as the seat of power. Using the strength of the relatively weaker arms and upper body is not emphasized. The entire body is held in a state of dynamic relaxation which allows the power of the whole body to flow out of the hands and into the opponent without obstruction.
The Taijiquan arts have a variety of two person drills and exercises designed to cultivate a high degree of sensitivity in the practitioner. Using brute force or opposing anothers power with power directly is strictly discouraged. The goal of two person training is to develop sensitivty to the point that one may avoid the opponent's power and apply one's own whole body power wher the opponent is most vulnerable. One must cultivate the ability to "stick" to the opponent, smothering the others' power and destroying their balance. Finally, the formal combat techniques must be trained until they become a reflexive reaction.
Modified forms of Taijiquan for health have become popular worldwide in recent times because the benefits of training have been found to be very conducive to calming the mind, relaxing the body, relieving stress, and improving one's health in general.
Modern vs. Traditional training methods
Traditionally, a beginning student of Taijiquan was first required to practice stance keeping in a few basic postures. After the basic body alignments had settled in, the student would progress to performing single movements from the form. These were performed repetitively on a line. After a sufficient degree of mastery had been obtained in the single movements, the student was taught to link the movements together in the familiar long form. Now, it is not uncommon for a student to be taught the long form immediately, with no time being spent on stance keeping or on basic movement exercises. Since the Long Form trains all of the qualities developed in the basic exercises, this does not really produce a dilution of resulting martial art. It does however make it more difficult for beginner to learn. The duration of the basic training depends on the student and the instructor; however, it would not be unusual for a relatively talented student, with good instruction, to be able to defend themselves effectively with Tai Chi after as little as a year of training.
Chen Wangding's original form of Chen style Taijiquan is often refered to as the "Old Frame" (Laojia) and its second form as "Cannon Fist" (Paochui). In the latter part of the 18th century, a fifth generation decendant of Chen Wangding, Chen Youben simplified the original forms into sets which have come to be known as the "New Style" (Xinjia). Chen Youben's nephew, Chen Jingbing, created a variation of the New Style which is known as the "Small Frame" (Xiaojia) or "Zhaobao" form. All of these styles have survived to the present.
The Yang style of Taijiquan is a variation of the original Chen style. The forms which were passed down from the Yang style founder, Yang Luzhan have undergone many modifications since his time. Yang Luzhan's sons were very proficient martial artists and each, in turn, modified their father's art. The most commonly seen variation of the form found today comes from the version taught by Yang Luzhan's grandson, Yang Zhengfu. It was Yang Zhengfu who first popularized his family's Art and taught it openly. Yang Zhengfu's form is characterizes by open and extended postures. Most of the modern variations of the Yang style, as well as the standardized Mainland Chinese versions of Taijiquan are based on his variation of the Yang form.
Yang Luzhan's student, Wu Yuxiang combined Yang's form with the Zhaobao form which he learned from Chen Jingping to create the Wu style. This style features higher stances and compact, circular movements. His nephew's student, Hao Weizhen was a famous practitioner of the style, so the style is sometimes refered to as the Hao Style. Hao Weizhen taught his style to Sun Ludang, who combined his knowledge of Xingyiquan and Baguazhang to create his own.
Yang Luzhan had another student named Juan You, who in turn taught the style to his son Wu Jianquan. This modification of the Yang style is usually refered to as the Wu Jianquan style. This form's movements are smaller and the stance is higher than the popular Yang style.
In summary, the major styles of traditional Taijiquan are the Chen, Yang, Wu, Wu jianquan and Sun. All other "styles" are variations of the above.
Non-martial Taiji variants.
There are modified forms of Taiji which are devoted mostly to health enhancement and relaxation. The movements retain the flavor of Taijiquan, but are often simplified.
Kirk Lawson - firstname.lastname@example.org,
Jason Couch - email@example.com,
Paul Wagner - firstname.lastname@example.org,
Stephen Hand - email@example.com,
Topi Mikkola - firstname.lastname@example.org,
Mark Rector - email@example.com,
Eli Steenput - firstname.lastname@example.org)
Historical European Martial Arts groups are dedicated to re-creating the lost martial arts of Europe. Different groups embrace styles and weapons of particular periods, which range from the Middle Ages to the Industrial Revolution, although the majority focus on the Renaissance era. These arts are re-created by intensely studying and then practicing the techniques illustrated in various period instructional manuals.
Masters of defense are known to have taught the martial arts in Europe as early as the 12th Century. These masters wrote, and often illustrated, training manuals to pass on their skills and techniques; the oldest known existent copy dates to the 13th century.
Some writings are cryptic lines intended only for those students already initiated into the particular fight system; some are more accessible descriptions and illustrations intended to attract new students; and yet others are the distillation of the essential fight principles extracted from the teacher's years of experience. Unfortunately, these writings are almost all that is left to the practitioner, as intact martial systems have not survived the passage of time.
Although certain sports such as fencing, archery, singlestick, boxing, and folk wrestling have retained portions of these skills, much martial knowledge was lost due to the changed focus of military science, the ever-fickle philosophies and fashions of personal self-defense, and the rules imposed by the evolution into sporting activities.
In the late 19th Century a renewal of interest in these "lost" skills emerged. This movement was led notably in Great Britain by a group of fencers that included Egerton Castle ("Schools and Masters of Defense"), Sir Alfred Hutton ("Old Swordplay", "Cold Steel"), and Captain Matthey ("Paradoxes of Defense"). These Victorian gentlemen not only collected antique arms and fencing texts, but also put their research into practice in the fencing hall. Theirs was the last gasp of swordsmanship practiced by men who still romantically viewed the sword and the knowledge of its use as a necessity for the well-dressed gentleman and of those men who believed the historical texts offered very real and practical advice for contemporary soldiers who were still expected to wield the lance, bayonet and sword on the field of battle.
A burgeoning sporting safety equipment industry spurred the renewed interest in combat sports. Some believe that exposure to classical Asian martial arts through trade with Japan also influenced this revival. This interest was often viewed with an eye toward sport, as in the case of quarterstaff, or merely as a curiosity.
In the late 20th century interest in recovering the martial aspect of these European martial arts again gained in popularity. Forces behind the interest and research in this area included:
Other possible motivations for the resurgence of interest included: ethnic and nationalistic pride in cultural heritage; the backlash against religious or spiritual elements found in some non-Western martial arts; Self Defense; and as a vehicle for establishing a connection to the past for some who would otherwise be uninterested in Martial Arts.
There is no accepted "standard" naming convention for these clubs or the martial arts that they practice. Some examples of school names include "Fechtbuch Society," "School of Fence/Defence," "Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) schools/clubs/study groups/associations," "Western Martial Arts," "Historical Swordsmanship," "Academy of Arms," "Classical Fencing," etc. Most will simply report that they practice "Western Martial Arts." The trend is to select a name indicative of the focus of the organization or to select a name that would have been appropriate for the school during the period studied.
Historical fight manuals provide instruction in both armed and unarmed combat: standing grappling, striking, ground grappling, throwing, etc. Weapons instruction found in various manuals include dagger, longsword, arming sword, spear, quarterstaff, polearm, weapon and shield, club, cudgel, sabre (saber), smallsword, rapier, two-weapon styles, and many more.
Illustrations for competing in judicial duels in particular show, in addition to the expected sword illustrations, techniques for fighting with hooked shields, polearms, and even techniques for the bizarre domestic duel wherein a woman swings a rock in a veil at a man waist- deep in a hole in the ground armed with a club.
Techniques and styles vary with time period and with location but can cover unarmored, armored, mounted, afoot, differently armed, and most other conceivable variations in combative circumstances.
While not addressed here in any detail, the civilian and sporting elements of Western martial arts are also a valid area of study for groups, including various pugilistic, wrestling, stickfighting, and other martial styles that may have different origins than the Medieval and Renaissance martial arts previously discussed.
There are a large number of Historical European Martial Arts clubs, both small and large, including The British Federation, Federazione Italiana Scherma Antica e Storica, the European Historical Fencing Alliance, the Association for Historical Fencing in the USA, the Australian Historical Swordplay Federation, The Company of Maisters in Great Britain, The Academy of European Medieval Martial Arts, The Association for Renaissance Martial Arts, and the International Masters at Arms Federation. A web search on the term "Fechtbuch," "Historical European Martial Arts", "Western Martial Arts", "European Swordplay" and the like will net numerous organizations and clubs.
Every society or club has its own curriculum, equipment, safety, and training requirements. Some organizations offer simple guidance, information exchange, and fellowship; others may offer a regulating body to unite clubs in distant geographic locations. Since any regular training is necessarily very local, most local groups set their own standards regardless of affiliation.
Working from texts written by the masters of old, these groups may study techniques from earlier or later martial traditions to isolate the evolution of technical details. Perhaps most important, groups network with other re-creationists via the Internet to discuss details, make contacts, and arrange workshops and seminars to assist in re-creating the particular art they study. In addition to the input from others studying the same or related material, modern and historical combat sports practitioners may also be consulted for further technical comparisons.
Marty Goldberg - email@example.com)
Wing Chun was an obscure and little known art until the mid twentieth century. While multiple histories of the art do exist (some with only minor discrepancies), the generally accepted version is thus:
The style traces its roots back over 250 years ago to the Southern Shaolin Temple. At that time, the temple a was sanctuary to the Chinese revolution that was trying to overthrow the ruling Manchu. A classical martial arts system was taught in the temple which took 15-20 years to produce an efficient fighter.
Realizing they needed to produce efficent fighters at a faster pace, five of China's grandmasters met to discuss the merits of each of the various forms of gongfu. They chose the most efficient techniques, theories and principles from the various styles and proceeded to develop a training program that produced an efficent fighter in 5-7 years.
Before the program was put into practice, the Southern temple was raided and destroyed. A lone nun, Ng Mui, was the only survivor who knew the full system. She wandered the countryside, finally taking in a young orphan girl and training her in the system. She named the girl Yimm Wing Chun (which has been translated to mean Beautiful Springtime, or Hope for the Future), and the two women set out refining the system.
The system was passed down through the years, and eventually became known as Wing Chun, in honor of the founder. The veil of secrecy around the art was finally broken in the early 1950's when Grandmaster Yip Man began teaching publicly in Hong Kong, and his students began gaining noteriety for besting many systems and experienced opponents in streetfights and "friendly" competitions. The art enjoyed even more popularity when one of its students, Bruce Lee, began to enjoy world wide fame.
Most important is the concept of not using force against force, which allows a weak fighter to overcome stronger opponents. Generally, a Wing Chun practitioner will seek to use his opponent's own force against him. A great deal of training is put in to this area, and is done with the cultivation of a concept called Contact Reflexes (see "Training").
Also of importance are the use of several targeting ideas in Wing Chun. The Mother Line is an imaginary pole running vertically through the center of your body. From the Mother Line emanates the Center Line, which is a vertical 3D grid that divides the body in to a right half and a left half. Most of the vital points of the body are along the Center Line, and it is this area that the Wing Chun student learns to protect as well as work off of in his own offensive techniques. Also emanating from the Mother Line is the Central Line. The Central Line is seen as the shortest path between you and your opponent, which is generally where most of the exchange is going to take place. Because of this linear concept, most of the techniques seek to occupy one of the two lines and take on a linear nature.
This leads to the expression of another very important concept in Wing Chun: "Economy of Motion". The analogy of a mobile tank with a turret (that of course shoots straight out of the cannon) is often used to describe the linear concept.
Only two weapons are taught in the system, the Dragon Pole and the Butterfly swords. These are generally taught only once the student has a firm foundation in the system.
The way the art produces efficent and adaptble fighters in a relatively short time is by sticking to several core principles and constantly drilling them in to the student, as well as taking a very generic approach to techniques. Instead of training a response to a specific technique, the student practices guarding various zones about the body and dealing genericly with whatever happens to be in that zone. This allows for a minimum of technique for a maximum of application, and for the use of automatic or "subconcious" responses.
Much training time is spent cultivating "Contact Reflexes". The idea is that at the moment you contact or "touch" your opponent, your body automaticaly reads the direction, force, and often intent of the part of the opponent's body you are contacting with and automatically (subconciously) deals with it accordingly. This again lends itself to the generic concept of zoning.
Contact Reflexes and the concept of not using force against force are taught and cultivated through unique two man sensitivity drills called Chi Sao.
The concepts of guarding and working off of these lines and zones are learned throught the practice of the three forms Wing Chun students learn, and which contain the techniques of the system: Shil Lum Tao, Chum Kil, and Bil Jee.
Another unique aspect of the system is the use of the Mook Jong, or wooden dummy, a wood log on a frame that has three "arms" and a "leg" to simulate various possible positions of an opponent's limbs. A wooden dummy form is taught to the student, that consists of 108 movements and is meant to introduce the student to various applications of the system. It also serves to help the student perfect his own skills.
Weapons training drills off the same generic ideas and concepts as the open hand system (including the use of Contact Reflexes). Many of the weapon movements are built off of or mimic the open hand moves (which is the reverse process of Kali/Escrima/Arnis, where weapon movements come first and open hand movements mimic these).
Currently, there exist several known substyles of Wing Chun. Separate from Yip Man are the various other lineages that descended from one of Yip Man's teachers, Chan Wah Shun. These stem from the 11 or so other disciples that Chan Wah Shun had before Yip Man.
Pan Nam Wing Chun (currently discussed here and in the martial arts magazines) is currently up for debate, with some saying a totally separate lineage, and others saying he's from Chan Wah Shun's lineage.
Red Boat Wing Chun is a form dating back from when the art resided on the infamous Red Boat Opera Troup boat. Little is known about the history of this art or its validity.
At the time of Yip Man's death in 1972, his lineage splintered in to many sub-styles and lineages. Politics played into this splintering a great deal, and provided much news in the martial arts community throughout the 70's and 80's. By the time the late 80's/early 90's rolled around, there were several main families in Yip Man's lineage. To differentiate each lineage's unique style of the art, various spellings or wordings of the art were copyrighted and trademarked (phonetically, Wing Chun can be spelled either as Wing Chun, Wing Tsun, Ving Tsun, or Ving Chun). These main families and spellings are:
Wing Tsun: Copyrighted and Trademarked by Grandmaster Leung Ting. Used to describe the system he learned as Grandmaster Yip Man's last direct student before his death. Governing body is the International Wing Tsun Association, and the North American Section in the U.S. (IWTA-NAS).
Traditional Wing Chun: Copyrighted and Trademarked by Grandmaster William Cheung. Used to describe a very different version of Wing Chun he learned while living with Yip Man in the 1950's. Includes different history of lineage as well. Governing body is the World Wing Chun Kung Fu Association.
Ving Tsun: Used by other students of Yip Man, such as Moy Yat. This spelling was considered the main one used by Grandmaster Yip Man as well. It is also used by many of the other students, and was adopted for use in one of the main Wing Chun associations in Hong Kong -- The Ving Tsun Athletic Organization.
Wing Chun: General spelling used by just about all practitioners of the art.
A World Wide listing of Wing Chun Kwoons (schools) is maintained by Marty Goldberg (firstname.lastname@example.org) and posted periodically to rec.martial-arts. A mailing list (open to all students of Wing Chun) is also maintained by Marty and Rob Gillespe at email@example.com.
Nick Doan - firstname.lastname@example.org,
Alex Jackl - email@example.com)
This is an almost impossible category. This label is attached to almost any martial art that comes from China. It is the generic name for literally hundreds of individual Chinese fighting arts. In reality we should have an entry for each individual Gongfu style we are interested in, but this would fill entire volumes. However, we will do our best.
This is extremely controversial. Most of what appears here is a summary of what has been learned from Sifu Benny Meng.
There are vague references of a King in China some thousands of years ago who trained his men in techniques of hand-to-hand combat to use in fighting against invading barbarians.
The first real references of an organized system of martial arts came from a man named General Chin Na. He taught a form of combat to his soldiers which most people believe developed into what is modern day Chin-Na.
The first written record we have of Chinese martial arts is from a Taoist acupuncturist from the 5th century. He describes combat designed along the lines of an animal's movements and style.
Legend has it that a Bhuddist monk named Bohdiharma, also called Damo, came across the Tibetan Mountains to China. The Emperor of China at the time was much impressed with the man, and gave him a temple located in Henan - the famed Sui Lim Monastery (Shaolin Monastery). Damo found that the monks there, while searching for spiritual enlightenment, had neglected their physical bodies. He taught them some exercises and drills that they adapted into fighting forms. This became the famous Shaolin Gongfu system.
"Gongfu" means "skill and effort". It is used to describe anything that a person nees to spend time training in and becoming skillful in. (A chef can have good "gongfu".) The Chinese term that translates into "military art" is "Wushu" Gongfu.
As all martial arts, Wushu in its early stages of development was practiced primarily for self-defense and for aquiring basic needs. As time progressed, innumerable people tempered and processed Wushu in different ways. By China's Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911), Wushu had formed its basic patterns.
Intense military conflicts served as catalysts for the development of Wushu. During China's Xia, Shang, and Zhou periods (2000BC to 771BC), Wushu matured and formed complete systems of offense and defense, with the emergence of bronze weapons in quantity. During the period of Warring States (770BC to 221BC), the heads of states and government advocated Wushu in their armies and kept Wushu masters for their own puposes.
Military Wushu developed more systematically during the Tang and Song dynaties (618 to 1279) and exhibitions of Wushu arts were held in the armies as morale boosters and military exercises. In the Ming and Qing dynasties, the general development of Wushu was at its height. Military Wushu became more practical and meticulous and was systematically classified and summarized . General Qi Jiguang of the Ming Dynasty delved into Wushu study and wrote "A New Essay on Wushu Arts", which became an important book in China's military literature.
The latter half of the 20th century has seen a great upswing in the interest of Gongfu world wide. The introduction of Gongfu to the Western world has seen to it that its development and popularity will continue to grow.
Styles of Gongfu encompass both soft and hard, internal and external techniques. They include grappling, striking, nerve-attack and much weapons training.
The Shaolin styles encompass both Northern and Southern styles, and therefore are the basis of the following outline.
Gongfu almost always seems to incorporate forms and routines. They emphasize solo practice as well as group practice. (They even have forms for two or more people). They train in multiple types of weapons. There is also a great emphasis on sparring in the harder styles, and sensitivity training in the soft styles.
William Breazeal - firstname.lastname@example.org)
Xingyiquan is one of the three orthodox "internal" styles of Chinese martial art (the other two being Taijiquan and Baguazhang). "Xing" refers to form and "Yi" to the mind or intent. "Quan" literally means fist and denotes a method of unarmed combat. Xingyiquan is commonly refered to as "Form and Mind" or "Form and Will" boxing. The name illustrates the strong emphasis placed on motion being subordinate to mental control.
The exact origins of Xingyiquan are unknown. The creation of the Art is traditionally attributed to the famous general and patriot Yue Fei (1103- 1141) of the Song Dynasty. There is, however, no historical data to support this claim. The style was originally called "Xin Yi Liu He Quan"(Heart Mind Six Harmonies Boxing). The Six Harmonies refer to the Three Internal Harmonies (the heart or desire coordinates with the intent; the intent coordinates with the qi or vital energy; the qi coordinates with the strength), and the Three External Harmonies (the shoulders coordinate with the hips; the elbows coordinate with the knees and the hands coordinate with the feet).
The earliest reliable information we have makes reference to Ji Longfeng (also known as Ji Jige) of Shanxi Province as being the first to teach the art of Xin Yi Liu He Quan. Ji Longfeng was active near the end of the Ming Dynasty (early 1600's) and was a master of spear fighting (he had the reputation of possessing "divine" skill with the spear). He is recorded as stating "I have protected myself in violent times with my spear. Now that we are in a time of "peace" and our weapons have all been destroyed, if I am unarmed and meet the unexpected, how shall I defend myself?" In answer to his own question, Ji Longfeng reportedly created a style of weaponless combat based on his expertise with the spear. He refered to his art as "Liu He," the Six Harmonies.
Ji Longfeng had two very famous students. One was from from Hebei province and was named Cao Jiwu. The other was from Henan Province and was named Ma Xueli. It was at this point in history that the Xin Yi Liu He Quan (now also refered to as Xingyiquan) divided into three related yet separate styles, the Shanxi, Henan and Hebei schools. After spending 12 years studying Xingyiquan with Ji Longfeng, Cao Jiwu entered the Imperial Martial Examinations and placed first (this was the most prestigious honor one could possibly win as a martial artist in old China, and assured the victor a high government position). Cao passsed on his art to two brothers, Dai Longbang and Dai Linbang.
Dai Longbang passed his Art on to Li Luoneng (also known as Li Nengran). Li holds the distinction of being the greatest Xingyi Boxer in the styles' history and one of the top Chinese boxers of all time. Li Luoneng taught his art in his native Shanxi Province and also taught a great number of students in Hebei Province (his duties as a bodyguard involved escorting various members of wealthy families to and from Hebei). Two of Li's most famous Shanxi students were Song Shirong and Zhe Yizhai. His most famous Hebei student was the formidable Guo Yunshen (who reportedly defeated all comers with his "Beng Quan," a straight punch to the body). Guo Yunshen passed on his art to Wang Fuyuan, Liu Qilan and Sun Ludang among others; Liu Qilan passed on the Art to the most famous practitioners of this century, including Li Cunyi and Zhang Zhangui (also known as Zhang Zhaodong). There are many practitioners of all three sub-systems active today, and Xingyiquan is still a popular and well respected style of martial art in China.
The art is divided into two main systems, the Ten Animal and Five Element respectively. The Five Element system is further divided into two major branches, the Hebei and Shanxi styles. The Ten animal style is closest to the original Xin Yi Liu He Quan in form and practice. The movements in the forms are patterned after the spirit of various animals in combat, including the Dragon, Tiger, Monkey, Horse, Chicken, Hawk, Snake, Bear, Eagle and Swallow. The Five Element based systems have five basic forms (including Splitting, Drilling, Crushing, Pounding, and Crossing) as the foundation of the art. These basic energies are later expanded into Twelve Animal forms which include variations of the animal forms found in the Ten Animal styles as well as two additional animals, the Tai (a mythical bird) and the Tuo (a type of water lizard, akin to the aligator). Training in all systems centers on repetitive practice of single movements which are later combined into more complicated linked forms.
The direction of movement in Xingyiquan forms is predominately linear. Practitioners "walk" through the forms coordinating the motions of their entire bodies into one focused flow. The hands, feet and torso all "arrive" together and the nose, front hand and front foot are along one verticle line when viewed from the front (san jian xiang jiao). The arms are held in front of the body and the practitioner lines up his or her centerline with opponent's centerline. A familiar adage of Xingyiquan is that "the hands do not leave the (area of the) heart and the elbows do not leave the ribs." There are few kicks in the style and the techniques are of a predominately percussive nature. Great emphasis is placed upon the ability to generate power with the whole body and focus it into one pulse which is released in a sudden burst.
Xingyi is characteristically aggressive in nature and prefers to move into the opponent with a decisive blow at the earliest opportunity. The style prizes economy of motion and the concept of simultaneous attack and defense. As the name of the style implies, the form or "shape" of the movements is the outward, physical manifestation of the "shape" of one's intent. A fundamental principle underlying all styles of Xingyiquan is that the mind controls and leads the movement of the body.
Training in Henan (Ten Animal) Xin Yi Liu He Quan includes basic movements designed to condition and develop the striking ability of the "Seven Stars" (the head, shoulders, elbows, hands, hips, knees and feet). From there the student will progress to learning the basic animal forms. Form practice consists of repeating single movements while walking foward in various straight line patterns. Later, the single movements are combined into linked forms. The techniques are relatively simple and straightforeward and rely on the ability to generate force with almost any part of the body (the Seven Stars). Also included at more advanced levels are weapons forms (including the straight sword, staff and spear).
The Five Element based styles of Xingyiquan (Shanxi and Hebei) traditionally begin training with stance keeping (Zhan Zhuang). The fundamental posture is called "San Ti" (Three Bodies) or "San Cai" (Three Powers, refering to heaven, earth and man). It is from this posture that all of the movements in the style are created and most teachers place great emphasis upon it. After stance keeping the student begins to learn the Five Elements (Wu Xing). These are the basic movements of the art and express all the possible combinations of motion which produce percussive power. After a certain level of proficiency is acquired in the practice of the Five Elements, the student goes on to learn the Twelve Animal and linked forms. The Twelve Animal forms are variations of the Five Elements expressed through the format of the spirit of animals in combat. There are several two-person combat forms which teach the student the correct methods of attack and defense and the applications of the techniques practiced in the solo forms. Five Element based styles also include weapons training (the same weapons as the Henan styles).
As mentioned above, Xingyiquan is divided into three related yet distinct styles: Henan Xin Yi Liu He Quan and Shanxi/Hebei Xingyiquan.
Henan Xin Yi Liu He Quan is characterized by powerful swinging movements of the arms and the ability to strike effectively with every part of the body. This system is very powerful and aggressive in nature and the movements are simple and straightforeward.
Hebei style Five Element Xingyiquan emphasizes larger and more extended postures, strict and precise movements and powerful palm and fist strikes.
Shanxi style Five Element Xingyiquan is characterized by smaller postures with the arms held closer to the body, light and agile footwork and a relatively "softer" approach to applying technique (Shanxi Xingyi places a greater emphasis on evasiveness than the other styles).
Tobias Ratschiller - tRatschiller@pass.dnet.it)
Yoseikan Budo ("the house in which is taught with courage and honesty the way of the warrior") was founded in the early 60's by Hiroo Mochizuki Sensei, son of Minoru Mochizuki, one of the great martial artists of the 20th century. Mochizuki Hiroo Sensei has high Dan rankings in several martial arts, among them Aikido, Jujutsu, Wado-Ryu Karate, and Iaido.
Yoseikan Budo is today spread throughout Europe, Africa and the USA. The FYBDA (Federation Internacional de Yoseikan Budo et Disziplines Asimilees) is the worldwide umbrella organization, which is subdivided in national Academies and regional federations.
Mochizuki Hiroo Sensei saw in his continuous studies of all aspects of martial arts that most basic techniques (which are the same in many MAs) are based on a wavy movement beginning in the hip. Using these principles in the right way produces much more power than when movement is limited to only some parts of the body (e.g. the arms and upper torso).
According to Mochizuki Sensei it is very important to have good basics as you can then apply them to many other styles. YB consists of (modified) techniques of Karate, Judo/Ju-Jutsu and Aikido. The use of classical weapons as Bokken, Tanto, Bo, Nunchaku etc is taught as well as traditional and new forms (kata). Higher ranks are taught co-called "adapted styles" which include Aiki Yoseikan (Aiki-Jutsu), Kempo Yoseikan (classical Karate), Ken-Jutsu, Iai-Jutsu and Kobudo. These styles can then be combined with each other; so it would be possible to answer a Karate-attack with a Aikido Tai-Sabaki and then apply a Judo Nage-Waza.
Competitions are held and consist of Kata, Randori, Tanto-Tanto, etc.
Beginners usually study basic techniques for a year or so, including mae-geri, mawashi-geri etc, nage-waza, falls, foot-work, kata, etc. From 3rd Kyu to 1st Kyu more aikido-techniques and the use of weapons are taught (note that these techniques are never distinguished from other YB-training).
Dan ranks learn advanced techniques, more Katas, weapons, anatomy, atemi-waza, etc.
There was a split of the umbrella organization in the early years, leading to a sub-style (found primarily in the USA) with the name YB that focuses primarily on Aikido-techniques.
Some answers given may reflect personal biases of the author and the martial arts FAQ listing's contributors. The answers contained herein pertain to discussions on the rec.martial-arts group, and are by no means exhaustive.
The martial arts FAQ list owes its existence to the contributors on the net, and as such it belongs to the readers of rec.martial-arts. Copies may be made freely, as long as they are distributed at no charge, and the disclaimer and the copyright notice are included.
-- Matthew Weigel email@example.comLet's Start Over... Can We Go Back a Little?