Archive-name: martial-arts/faq/part2
Last-modified: 29 December 2006
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rec.martial-arts FAQ - Part 2 of 3

16. What are the different Arts, Schools, Styles?
  • Aikido
  • Baguazhang
  • Brazilian JiuJitsu
  • Bushidokan
  • Capoeira
  • Cha Yon Ryu
  • Cuong Nhu
  • Daito Ryu Aiki-Jujustu
  • Gatka
  • Hapkido
  • Hwa Rang Do
  • Iaido
  • Judo
  • Jujutsu
  • Kajukenbo
  • Kali/Escrima/Arnis
  • Karate
  • Kendo
  • Kenjutsu
  • Kenpo (Amer.)
  • Kempo (Kosho Ryu)
  • Kempo (Ryukyu)
  • Kobudo
  • Krav Maga
  • Kyudo
  • in Part 3 of 3:

  • Lua
  • Moo Do
  • Pugilism
  • Muay Thai
  • Ninjutsu
  • Praying Mantis
  • ROSS
  • Sanshou
  • Savate
  • Shogerijutsu
  • Shuaijiao
  • Silat
  • Tae Kwon Do
  • Taijiquan
  • Western MA
  • Wing Chun
  • Wushu/Gongfu
  • Xingyiquan
  • Yoseikan Budo

  • 16) What are the different Arts, Schools and Styles?

    This is a question with many, many answers -- some could say that there are as many styles as there are martial artists. So, we'd like to introduce some Schools and Styles that will give you a basic familiarity with the world of martial arts. The Arts are listed alphabetically.

    Important note: This information is true to the best of the knowledge of those who wrote the descriptions of the various arts. If your style has only a small write up or none at all and you have enough information on it to make a good FAQ entry, write it up in the form shown below and send it to

    If you have a question about a particular style or its writeup, one option is to look in the next section for who contributed to the art's writeup, and send e-mail to them. Otherwise, comment to


    Eric Sotnak -,
    Alex Jackl -


    Aikido emphasizes evasion and circular/spiral redirection of an attacker's aggressive force into throws, pins, and immobilizations as a primary strategy rather than punches and kicks.




    Aikido was founded in 1942 by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969). Prior to this time, Ueshiba called his art "aikibudo" or "aikinomichi". In developing aikido, Ueshiba was heavily influenced by Daito Ryu Aikijujitsu, several styles of Japanese fencing (kenjutsu), spearfighting (yarijutsu), and by the so- called "new religion": omotokyo. Largely because of his deep interest in omotokyo, Ueshiba came to see his aikido as rooted less in techniques for achieving physical domination over others than in attempting to cultivate a "spirit of loving protection for all things." The extent to which Ueshiba's religious and philosophical convictions influenced the direction of technical developments and changes within the corpus of aikido techniques is not known, but many aikido practitioners believe that perfect mastery of aikido would allow one to defend against an attacker without causing serious or permanent injury.


    The primary strategic foundations of aikido are:
    (1) moving into a position off the line of attack;
    (2) seizing control of the attacker's balance by means of leverage and timing;
    (3) applying a throw, pin, or other sort of immobilization (such as a wrist/arm lock).

    Strikes are not altogether absent from the strategic arsenal of the aikidoist, but their use is primarily (though not, perhaps, exclusively) as a means of distraction -- a strike (called "atemi") is delivered in order to provoke a reaction from the aggressor, thereby creating a window of opportunity, facilitating the application of a throw, pin, or other immobilization.

    Many aikido schools train (in varying degrees) with weapons. The most commonly used weapons in aikido are the jo (a staff between 4 or 5 feet in length), the bokken (a wooden sword), and the tanto (a knife, usually made of wood, for safety). These weapons are used not only to teach defenses against armed attacks, but also to illustrate principles of aikido movement, distancing, and timing.


    A competitive variant of aikido (Tomiki aikido) holds structured competitions where opponents attempt to score points by stabbing with a foam-rubber knife, or by executing aikido techniques in response to attacks with the knife. Most variants of aikido, however, hold no competitions, matches, or sparring. Instead, techniques are practiced in cooperation with a partner who steadily increases the speed, power, and variety of attacks in accordance with the abilities of the participants. Participants take turns being attacker and defender, usually performing pre-arranged attacks and defenses at the lower levels, gradually working up to full-speed freestyle attacks and defenses.


    There are several major variants of aikido. The root variant is the "aikikai", founded by Morihei Ueshiba, and now headed by the founder's grandson, Moriteru Ueshiba. Several organizations in the United States are affiliated with the aikikai, including the United States Aikido Federation, the Aikido Association of America, and Aikido Schools of Ueshiba.

    Other major variants include:

    16.2)Baguazhang (Pa Kua Chang)

    William Breazeal -,
    Mike Martelle -


    Baguazhang is one of the three orthodox "internal" styles of Chinese martial art (the other two being Taijiquan and Xingyiquan). Translated, Bagua means "Eight Trigram". This refers to the eight basic principles described in the ancient metaphysical treatise the Yijing (I-Ching), or "Book of Changes". Bagua is meant to be the physical manifestation of these eight principles. "Zhang" means "palm" and designates Baguazhang as a style of martial art which emphasizes the use of the open hand over the closed fist. Baguazhang as a martial art is based on the theory of continuously changing in response to the situation at hand in order to overcome an opponent with skill rather than brute force.


    Northern China.


    Although there are several theories as to the origins of Baguazhang, recent and exhaustive research by martial scholars in mainland China concludes without reasonable doubt that the art is the creation of one individual, Dong Haichuan (or Dong Haiquan). Dong was born in Wen'an County, Hebei Province about 1813. Dong practiced local martial arts (which reportedly relied heavily upon the use of openhand palm strikes) from his youth and gained some notoriety as a skilled practitioner. At about 40 years of age, Dong left home and travelled southward. At some point during his travels Dong became a member of the Quanzhen (Complete Truth) sect of Taoism. The Taoists of this sect practiced a method of walking in a circle while reciting certain mantras. The practice was designed to quiet the mind and focus the intent as a prelude to enlightenment. Dong later combined the circle walking mechanics with the boxing he had mastered in his youth to create a new style based on mobility and the ability to apply techniques while in constant motion.

    Dong Haiquan originally called his art "Zhuanzhang" (Turning Palm). In his later years, Dong began to speak of the Art in conjunction with the Eight Trigrams (Bagua) theory expoused in the Book Of Changes (Yijing). When Dong began teaching his "Zhuanzhang" in Beijing, the vast majority of his students were already accomplished martial artists in their own right. Dong's teachings were limited to a few "palm changes" executed while walking the circle and his theory and techniques of combat. His students took Dong's forms and theories and combined them with their original arts. The result is that each of Dong's students ended up with quite different interpretations of the Baguazhang art.

    Most of the various styles of Baguazhang found today can be traced back to one of several of Dong Haiquan's original students. One of these students was a man called Yin Fu. Yin studied with Dong longer than any other and was one of the most respected fighters in the country in his time (he was the personal bodyguard to the Dowager Empress, the highest prestige position of its kind in the entire country). Yin Fu was a master of Luo Hanquan, a Northern Chinese "external" style of boxing before his long apprenticeship with Dong. Another top student of Dong was Zheng Dinghua, originally a master of Shuaijiao (Chinese wrestling). Zheng taught a great number of students in his lifetime and variations of his style are many. A third student of Dong which created his own Baguazhang variant was Liang Zhenpu. Liang was Dong's youngest student and was probably influenced by other of Dong's older disciples. Although Baguazhang is a relatively new form of martial art, it became famous throughout China during its inventor's lifetime, mainly because of its effectiveness in combat and the high prestige this afforded its practitioners.


    Baguazhang is an art based on evasive footwork and a kind of "guerilla warfare" strategy applied to personal combat. A Bagua fighter relies on strategy and skill rather than the direct use of force against force or brute strength in overcoming an opponent. The strategy employed is one of constant change in response to the spontaneous and "live" quality of combat.

    Bagua is a very circular art that relies almost entirely on open hand techniques and full body movement to accomplish its goals. It is also characterized by its use of spinning movement and extremely evasive footwork. Many of the techniques in Bagua have analogs in other Northern Chinese systems;however, Bagua's foot work and body mechanics allow the practitioner to set up and execute these techniques while rapidly and smoothly changing movement direction and orientation. Bagua trains the student to be adaptable and evasive, two qualities which dramatically decrease the amount of physical power needed to successfully perform techniques.

    The basis of the various styles of Baguazhang is the circle walk practice. The practitioner "walks the circle" holding various postures and executing "palm changes" (short patterns of movement or "forms" which train the body mechanics and methods of generating momentum which form the basis of the styles' fighting techniques). All styles have a variation of the "Single Palm Change" which is the most basic form and is the nucleus of the remaining palm changes found in the Art. Besides the Single Palm Change, other forms include the "Double Palm Change" and the "Eight Palm Changes" (also known variously as the "Eight Mother Palms" or the "Old Eight Palms"). These forms make up the foundation of the Art. Baguazhang movements have a characteristic circular nature and there is a great deal of body spinning, turning and rapid changes in direction. In addition to the Single, Double and Eight Palm Changes, most but not all styles of Baguazhang include some variation of the "Sixty-Four Palms." The Sixty-Four Palms include forms which teach the mechanics and sequence of the specific techniques included in the style. These forms take the more general energies developed during the practice of the Palm Changes and focus them into more exact patterns of movement which are applied directly to a specific combat technique.


    Training usually begins with basic movements designed to train the fundamental body mechanics associated with the Art. Very often the student will begin with practicing basic palm changes in place (stationary practice), or by walking the circle while the upper body holds various static postures (Xingzhuang). The purpose of these exercises is to familiarize the beginning student with the feeling of maintaining correct body alignment and mental focus while in motion. The student will progress to learning the various palm changes and related forms. The Sixty-Four Palms or other similar patterns are usually learned after some level of proficiency has been attained with the basic circle walk and palm changes. Some styles practice the Sixty-Four Palms on the circle while other styles practice these forms in a linear fashion. All of the forms in Baguazhang seek to use the power of the whole body in every movement, as the power of the whole will always be much greater than that of isolated parts. The body-energy cultivated is flexible, resilient and "elastic" in nature.

    In addition to the above, most styles of Baguazhang include various two- person forms and drills as intermediate steps between solo forms and the practice of combat techniques. Although the techniques of Baguazhang are many and various, they all adhere to the above mentioned principles of mobility and skill. Many styles of Baguazhang also include a variety of weapons, ranging from the more "standard" types (straight sword, broadsword, spear) to the "exotic." An interesting difference with other styles of martial arts is that Baguazhang weapons tend to be "oversized," that is they are much bigger than standard weapons of the same type (the extra weight increases the strength and stamina of the user).


    Each of Dong Haiquan's students developed their own "style" of Baguazhang based on their individual backgrounds and previous martial training. Each style has its own specific forms and techniques. All of the different styles adhere to the basic principles of Baguazhang while retaining an individual "flavor" of their own. Most of the styles in existence today can trace their roots to either The Yin Fu, Zheng Dinghua Or Liang Zhenpu variations.

    Yin Fu styles include a large number of percussive techniques and fast striking combinations (Yin Fu was said to "fight like a tiger," moving in swiftly and knocking his opponent to the ground like a tiger pouncing on prey). The forms include many explosive movements and very quick and evasive footwork. Variations of the Yin Fu style have been passed down through his students and their students, including Men Baozhen, Ma Kuei, Gong Baotian, Fu Zhensong and Lu Shuitian.

    Zheng Dinghua styles of Baguazhang include palm changes which are done in a smooth and flowing manner, with little display of overt power (Zheng Dinghua's movement was likened to that of a dragon soaring in the clouds). Popular variants of this style include the Gao Yisheng system, Dragon style Baguazhang, "Swimming Body" Baguazhang, the Nine Palace system, Jiang Rongqiaok style (probably the most common form practiced today) and the Sun Ludang style.

    The Liang Zhenpu style was popularized by his student Li Ziming (who was the president of the Beijing Baguazhang Association for many years and who did much to spread his art worldwide).

    Brazilian JiuJitsu

    Don Geddis -


    Possibly the premier ground-fighting martial art. Made famous by Royce Gracie in the early UFCs in the mid-1990's, it specializes in submission grappling when both fighters are on the ground. Techniques include positional control (especially the "guard" position), and submissions such as chokes and arm locks.




    In the mid-1800's in Japan, there were a large number of styles ("ryu") of jiu-jitsu (sometimes spelled "jujitsu"). Techniques varied between ryu, but generally included all manner of unarmed combat (strikes, throws, locks, chokes, wrestling, etc.) and occasionally some weapons training. One young but skilled master of a number of jiu-jitsu styles, Jigoro Kano, founded his own ryu and created the martial art Judo (aka Kano-ryu jiu-jitsu) in the 1880's. One of Kano's primary insights was to include full-power practice against resisting, competent opponents, rather than solely rely on the partner practice that was much more common at the time.

    One of Kano's students was Mitsuo Maeda, who was also known as Count Koma ("Count of Combat"). Maeda emigrated to Brazil in 1914. He was helped a great deal by the Brazilian politician Gastão Gracie, whose father George Gracie had emigrated to Brazil himself from Scotland. In gratitude for the assistance, Maeda taught jiu-jitsu to Gastao's son Carlos Gracie. Carlos in turn taught his brothers Osvaldo, Gastão Jr., Jorge, and Helio.

    In 1925, Carlos and his brothers opened their first jiu-jitsu academy, and Gracie Jiu-Jitsu was born in Brazil.

    At this point, the base of techniques in BJJ was similar to those in Kano's Judo academy in Japan. As the years progressed, however, the brothers (notably Carlos and Helio) and their students refined their art via brutal no-rules fights, both in public challenges and on the street. Particularly notable was their willingness to fight outside of weight categories, permitting a skilled small fighter to attempt to defeat a much larger opponent.

    They began to concentrate more and more on submission ground fighting, especially utilizing the guard position. This allowed a weaker man to defend against a stronger one, bide his time, and eventually emerge victorious.

    In the 1970's, the undisputed jiu-jitsu champion in Brazil was Rolls Gracie. He had taken the techniques of jiu-jitsu to a new level. Although he was not a large man, his ability to apply leverage using all of his limbs was unprecedented. At this time the techniques of the open guard and its variants (spider guard, butterfly guard) became a part of BJJ. Rolls also developed the first point system for jiu-jitsu only competition. The competitions required wearing a gi, awarded points (but not total victories) for throws and takedowns, and awarded other points for achieving different ground positions (such as passing an opponent's guard). After Rolls' death in a hang-gliding accident, Rickson Gracie became the undisputed (and undefeated!) champion, a legend throughout Brazil and much of the world. He has been the exemplar of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu technique for the last two decades, since the early 1980's, in both jiu-jitsu competition and no-rules MMA competition.

    Jiu-jitsu techniques have continued to evolve as the art is constantly tested in both arenas. For example, in the 1990's Roberto "Gordo" Correa, a BJJ black belt, injured one of his knees, and to protect his leg he spent a lot of practice time in the half-guard position. When he returned to high-level jiu-jitsu competition, he had the best half-guard technique in the world. A position that had been thought of as a temporary stopping point, or perhaps a defensive-only position, suddenly acquired a new complexity that rapidly spread throughout the art.

    In the early 1990's, Rorion Gracie moved from Brazil to Los Angeles. He wished to show the world how well the Gracie art of jiu-jitsu worked. In Brazil, no-rules Mixed Martial Art (MMA) contests (known as "vale tudo") had been popular since Carlos Gracie first opened his academy in 1925, but in the world at large most martial arts competition was internal to a single style, using the specialized rules of that style's practice.

    Rorion and Art Davie conceived of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. This was a series of pay-per-view television events in the United States that began in 1993. They pitted experts of different martial arts styles against each other in an environment with very few rules, in an attempt to see what techniques "really worked" when put under pressure. Rorion also entered his brother Royce Gracie, an expert in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, as one of the contestants.

    Royce dominated the first years of the UFC against all comers, amassing eleven victories with no fighting losses. At one event he defeated four different fighters in one night. This, from a fighter that was smaller than most of the others (at 170 lbs, in an event with no weight classes), looked thin and scrawny, and used techniques that most observers, even experienced martial artists, didn't understand.

    In hindsight, much of Royce's success was due to the fact that he understood very well (and had trained to defend against) the techniques that his opponents would use, whereas they often had no idea what he was doing to them. In addition, the ground fighting strategy and techniques of BJJ are among the most sophisticated in the world. Besides the immediate impact of an explosion of interest in BJJ across the world (particularly in the US and Japan), the lasting impact of Royce's early UFC dominance is that almost every successful MMA fighter now includes BJJ as a significant portion of their training. Description:

    Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is primarily a ground-fighting art. Most techniques involve both fighters on the mat. There is a heavy emphasis on positional strategy, which is about which fighter is on top, and where each person's legs are. Positions are stable situations, from which a large variety of techniques are available to both fighters.

    The primary positions include:

    Specific techniques taught are designed either to improve one's position (for example, to "pass the guard", by going from being "in the guard" to getting around the opponent's legs, resulting in side control); or else as a finishing submissions. Most submissions are either chokes (cutting off the blood supply to the brain) or arm locks (hyperextending the elbow, or twisting the shoulder).

    Belt ranks start at white belt, and progress through blue, purple, brown, and then black. It generally takes about 2-3 years of training multiple times per week to be promoted to the next belt rank. However, there is no formal rank test. Instead, rank is about the ability to apply jiu-jitsu techniques in a competitive match. A student generally needs to be able to reliably defeat most other students at a given rank in order to be promoted to the next rank.

    Given the jiu-jitsu roots, and the interest in competition, occasionally related techniques are taught. In each case, other specific martial arts focus on these sets of techniques more than BJJ, and they generally just receive passing mention and rare practice in BJJ training. For example, takedowns tend to be similar to Judo and western wrestling; leg locks (such as in Sambo) are not encouraged but sometimes allowed. Some schools teach street self-defense or weapon defense as well; this instruction tends to be much more like old-style Japanese jiu-jitsu with partner practice, and rarely impacts the day-to-day grappling training. Also, many dedicated BJJ students are also interested in MMA competition, and attempt to practice their techniques without a gi, and sometimes with adding striking from boxing or Muay Thai.


    Most training has students wearing a heavy ("jiu-jitsu" or "Judo") gi/kimono, on a floor with padded mats. A typical class involves 30 minutes of warm ups and conditioning, 30 minutes of technique practice with a willing partner, and 30 minutes of free sparring training, against an opponent of equal skill who attempts to submit you.

    Most of the training is done with all students on the mat. For example, training usually beings with both students facing each other from a kneeling position.

    Competition is also encouraged. For a jiu-jitsu tournament, competitors are divided by age, belt rank, and weight class. Time limits are generally five to ten minutes, depending on belt rank. Matches start with both competitiors standing, on a floor with a padded mat. A tap out from submission ends the match. If time runs out without a submission, points determine the winner:

    Many BJJ students are also interested in open submission grappling tournaments (different points rules, usually no gi), or Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). Most BJJ instructors encourage such competition, and often assist in the training. However, typically BJJ classes wear a gi, start from the knees, and prohibit strikes.



    However, note that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is sometimes taught under slightly different names. In Brazil it is generally known simply as "jiu-jitsu".

    Members of the Gracie family often call it "Gracie Jiu-Jitsu", and in fact this name probably pre-dates the now more-generic BJJ for labelling the art when outside of Brazil. (This probably would have become the generic name for the art, but Rorion Gracie trademarked the phrase for his academy in Torrance, CA. A later lawsuit between Rorion Gracie and Carley Gracie was resolved to permit Gracie family members to use that phrase when teaching their family's art of jiu-jitsu. However, the generic term "Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu" is now preferred for referring to the art independent of instructor.)

    Also, the Machado brothers (cousins of the Gracies) sometimes call their style "Machado Jiu-Jitsu". Any of these names refer to basically the same art.


    Bob Blount -

    Bushidokan is an eclectic art of recent origin, founded by Jim Harrison in the late 1960's. Harrison has studied Judo and Shorin-Ryu karate extensively. The Bushidokan Art is a combination of Okinawan karate, judo, and some JJ, with the primary emphasis on karate. The karate portion of Bushidokan's training is quite similar to Shotokan - definitely Okinawan in ancestry. Bushidokan is best suited for those interested in effective street self-defense, tournament fighting, and fairly rugged physical conditioning.

    Beginning students learn seven basic stances, seven basic strikes (six linear, one circular), seven basic blocks (one of which is circular) and seven basic kicks. Many of the self-defenses taught incorporate techniniques not included in the "basic" seven, thus exposing the student to a greater variety. These include a number of throws, a few soft (redirecting) blocks, and several wrist/hand locks. Two basic self-defense strategies - a direct counter and an indirect counter - are taught for each type of attack. Sparring is introduced as students progress, but is always optional, and ranges from "no contact" to "full contact".


    Daniel C. Sobral -,
    "Lagartixa" (Gecko) -


    This is a very acrobatic, very energetic Brazilian martial art.


    Angola and Brazil


    Capoeira is the common name for the group of African martial arts that came out of west Africa and were modifed and mixed in Brazil. These orginal stlyes included weapons, grappling and striking as well as animal forms that became incorpated into different components and sub styles of the popular art.

    In the 1500's, black slaves from Africa were used in Brazil to build the empire of the sugar cane. These slaves lacked a form of self-defense, and in a way quite parallel to Karate, they developed a martial-art with the things they had in hand, namely, sugar cane knives and 3/4 staffs. Being slaves, they had to disguise the study of the art, and that is how the dance came into it.

    In the early 1800's Capoeira was outlawed in Brazil, especially in its "home state" of Bahia, where gangs utilized it as their personal fighting style against police.

    Capoeira was born in the "senzalas", the places where the slaves were kept, and developed in the "quilombos", the places where they used to run to when they fled from their enslavers.


    Capoeira consists of a stylized dance, practiced in a circle called the "roda", with sound background provided by percussion instruments, like the "agogo", the "atabaqui", etc. The "Berimbau" is a non-percussion instrument that is always used on rodas.

    Capoeira relies heavily on kicks and leg sweeps for attacks and dodges for defenses. Is not uncommon to not be taught any kind of hand strike of parry, though arm positioning for blocks is taught.

    The "ginga" (meaning "swing), the footwork of Capoeira, consists in changing the basic stance (body facing the adversary, front leg flexed with body weight over it, the other leg stretched back) from the right leg to the left leg again and again.

    Capoeira also puts a heavy emphasis on ground fighting, but not grappling and locks. Instead, it uses a ground stance (from the basic stance, you just fall over your leg stretched back, flexing it, and leaving the front leg stretched ahead), from which you make feints, dodges, kicks, leg sweeps, acrobatics, etc.

    Hand positioning is important but it's used only to block attacks and ensure balance, though street fighting "capoeiristas" use the hands for punches.

    When fighting, it is rare to stop in one stance, and in this case, you just "follow" your opponent with your legs, preventing him from getting close, or preparing a fast acrobatic move to take advantage when he attacks. The rest of the time, you just keep changing stances, feinting, and doing the equivalent of boxing "jabs".


    After a thorough warm-up, standing exercises are done, with emphasis on the "ginga", the footwork characteristic of the art, and on the basic kicks: "bencao", a front-stomping kick, "martelo", a roundhouse kick, "chapa", a side-kick, "meia-lua", a low turning kick, "armada", a high turning kick, "queixada", an outside-inside crescent kick. Then walking sequences are done, with the introduction of sommersaults, backflips and headstands, in couples and individual. Some more technical training follows, with couples beginning a basic and slow "jogo", and then the whole class forms and goes for "roda" game for at least 30 minutes.

    Capoeira conditions and develops the muscles, especially the abdominal muscles.


    Regional: Capoeira in a more artistic, open form, giving more way to athletic prowess and training. The newer, faster, more popular style created by mestre Bimba (the guy who was responsible for the legalization of capoeira and the founder of the first academy). Breakdancing evolved from this style, and 90% of all breakdancing moves come directly from capoeira. This is a faster game, less a fight and more of a showing off. Flourishes, high kicks, and aerial, acrobatic maneuvers are the hallmark of the regional game, which is usually played to the beat of the berimbau known as Sao Bento Grande.

    Angola: a more closed, harder style that is closest to the original African systems that came to Brazil. The "traditional" capoeira, the game is accompanied by a specific beat of the berimbau by the same name. Angola games are generally slow and low to the ground, and incorporate a lot of trickery, sweeps and takedowns, and physically grueling movements that require great strength and balance.

    Iuna: Iuna is not really a style of capoeira. Rather, it refers to a rhythm of the berimbau that is played when somebody dies or when mestres (masters) play alone. There is no singing when iuna is played, and only masters allowed to play during iuna.

    Cha Yon Ryu

    Ross Deforrest -


    An eclectic, fairly new martial art.


    The Cha Yon Ryu ("Natural Way") system was founded in 1968 by Kim Soo of Houston, Texas, who remains Director of the system. Grand Master Kim, who holds upper dan rankings in both tae kwon do and hapkido chose to incorporate into the Cha Yon Ryu system techniques and forms from several different martial arts.


    Tae Kwon Do contributes kicking techniques, strong stances and direct, linear strikes and blocks, as does Shotokan Karate. With the study of movements from Okinawa te (Okinawa), the Cha Yon Ryu practitioner starts to add techniques with some angularity to his/her repertoire, and eventually progresses to the fluid, circular movements of Ch'uan Fa Gongfu. Hapkido is the martial art from which are drawn defenses against chokes, grabs and armed attacks, as well as various throwing and falling techniques.


    The Dojang Hun (Training Hall Oath) Seek perfection of character
    Live the way of truth
    Be faithful
    Respect your seniors
    Refrain from violent behavior



    Cuong Nhu (pronounced "Kung New")

    Elizabeth Roman and Robert First - and

    Cuong Nhu is another eclectic, fairly new martial art, founded in 1965 by Master Ngo Dong in Vietnam. The first US school opened in Gainesville FL in 1971. Cuong Nhu is an integrated martial art blending hard aspects ("cuong" in Vietnamese) from Shotokan Karate, Wing Chun Gongfu, and American Boxing, with influences from the soft ("nhu" in Vietnamese) arts of Judo, Aikido, and Taiji, in addition to Vovinam, a Vietnamese martial art using both hard and soft techniques. In keeping with its inclusive nature, Cuong Nhu instruction extends beyond the traditionally martial to public speaking, poetry, paintint, and philosophy. There is a strong emphasis on developing self control, modesty, and a non-defeatist attitude.

    Beginning students focus on the hard, linear arts, mostly modified Shotokan Karate techniques and katas. Experienced students add movements from more advanced softer, circular arts such as Aikido and Taiji. All levels get some exposure to the entire range of styles. Training emphasizes moral and philosophical development, and students discuss the "Code of Ethics" and selections from Cuong Nhu philosophy in class. As with other styles, belt color indicates rank as certified by regional testing.

    There are approximately 70 Cuong Nhu dojos in the US. For more information or the location of a school near you, the Cuong Nhu Oriental Martial Arts Association (CNOMAA) can be reached at (904) 737-7094 or

    Daito Ryu Aiki-Jujustu

    Torben Alstrup/Ole Kingston -


    A prominent sub-style of Jujutsu


    Daito-ryu Aiki-Jujutsu is an old Jujutsu style presumably founded my Minamoto, Yoshimitsu in the eleventh century. Originally, it was only practised by the highest ranking Samurais in the Takeda family in the Kai fiefdom in northern Japan.

    Feudal overlord Takeda, Shingen died in 1573, and his kinsman Takeda, Kunitsugu moved to the Aizu fiefdom, where he became Jito - overseer of the fief. Kunitsugu introduced Daitoryu Aikijujutsu at the Aizu fiefdom, where the secret fighting art only was taught to the feudal lords and the highest ranking samurais and ladies in waiting.

    The feudal system was broken down after 1868 when the Meiji restoration begun. Saigo, Tanomo (1829-1905), the heir to Daito-ryu gave the system to Takeda, Sogaku (1859-1943) and instructed him to pass it on to future generations. Takeda, Sogaku first used the term "Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu" in the beginning of the twentieth century and taught the art of it to many students.

    Takeda, Sogaku taught Daito-ryu from the beginning of the twentieth century until his death in 1943 two of his best known students were Ueshiba, Morihei, founder of Aikido and Choi, Yong Sul, founder of Hapkido.

    Other prominent 20th century Daito-ryu masters include Horikawa, Kodo (1894-1980); Takuma, Hisa (1895-1979); Hakaru, Mori (1931-), the current director of the Daitoryu Aikijujutsu Takumakai; Sagawa, Yukiyoshi (1902-); Takeda, Tokimune (1916-1993), son of Takeda, Sogaku; Katsuyuki, Kondo (1945-); and Okamoto, Seigo (1925-), who is often considered the most progressive teacher of Daitoryu Aikijujutsu.

    Description and Training:

    The way of teaching Daitoryu comes from Takeda, Sogaku's students in the same manner as the understanding, feeling and character of the techniques. Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu has four levels of techniques: Shoden (Lowest), Chuden (advanced), Okuden (highest) and Hiden (secret techniques).

    Shoden The training in Daito-ryu starts with Shoden, where the student learns ukemi (falling and rolling), taisabaki (moving the body), tesabaki and ashisabaki (movements of the hands and feet and legs), defense against grappling, and continues with defense against punches, kicks and weapons, as for instance short and long staffs (tanbo, jo and chobo) and knives and swords (tanto and katana).

    There are techniques that can be done from standing, sitting or lying positions. The first transmission scroll Hiden Mokuroku describes the first 118 jujutsu techniques from the Shoden level.

    Chuden These are advanced jujutsu techniques with large soft movements as known from Aikido. The actual aiki training consists of a combination of these techniques and those from Shoden. At this level of training it is allowed to use some amount of force, several steps and large movements.

    Okuden When doing Okuden all movements should be as small as possible. Breathing, reflexes, circles and timing are used instead of muscles; the techniques are small and fast, and it is not necessary to hold an attacker in order to throw him.

    The reflexes of the attacker are used against him. He gets a soft shock, similar to an electric shock activating his reflexes, and it becomes easy to manipulate the body of the attacker so it is felt as an extension of one's own.

    Hiden These are the secret techniques. The real aiki consists always of soft techniques that only work properly when the whole body and proper breathing is used. The attacker is touched easily, you are as glued to him, and the techniques are so small that even experienced budokas cannot see what is happening. However, the most fascinating part of Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu is that it is unnecessary to use physical power for incapacitating the attacker his own force is turned against him.


    Arun Singh -


    A Sikh martial art.

    Origins and History:

    Gatka is the martial art of the Sikhs, and is tied in with the religion Sikhism. It's a weapons-based martial art, which was imparted to the Sikhs in the time of Guru Hargobind Ji (the sixth Guru of the Sikhs) by the Rajputs (Hindu warriors of northern India) in the 16th century, in gratitude for their release from imprisonment by the fledgling Sikh army of that time. The Sikhs at that time opposed the Mughal Empire, which violently oppressed both Sikhs and Hindus in the name of Islam.

    The Tenth Master of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, was an extremely proficient martial artist.

    He continued to encourage the Sikhs to train seriously in the martial arts, and in 1699 founded the Khalsa, a special Order, to which all Sikhs would thereafter aspire to joining. The Khalsa was subject to strict military and personal discipline, and were enjoined to, inter alia, always carry 5 items with them: the Kanga (a small wooden comb), Kachhehra (long drawers instead of a loincloth), Kara (a steel bracer worn on the right wrist), Kesh (uncut hair) and Kirpan (curved sword). The Khalsa was enjoined to train to fight, and to vigorously resist the oppression of any religious community, including Sikhs and Hindus. The wearing of the kirpan represented the martial character of the Khalsa, and all Sikhs, men, women and children, were encouraged to resist their Mughal oppressors, and to train diligently in gatka.

    Gatka was used succesfully by the Sikhs throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, in numerous battles against the Mughal forces. Eventually, the Sikhs succeeded in deposing the Mughal overlords, and in creating a new, tolerant rulership in the Punjab (the "Land of Five Rivers", a region in modern-day India and Pakistan).

    Gatka is, and has always been, taught as a spiritual exercise in Sikhism. Sikhism requires its followers to become absorbed in honouring the Name of God, and this is taught through the ecstatic exercise of gatka. Sikhism and gatka are inextricably intertwined, in many ways.


    Gatka actually refers to the soti, a wooden stick used in training, which is equipped with a basket hilt. The entire martial art is based on the correct use of a vast array of melee (hand-to-hand) weapons. The foundation of the art is the panthra, a basic form and methodology for moving the feet, body, arms and weapons correctly, in unison. Gatka is normally taught with rhythmic accompaniment, and the object is to achieve fluid, natural and flowing movement, without hesitation, doubt or anxiety. The attacking and blocking methods are all based upon the positions of the hands, feet and weapon(s) during the panthra dexterity exercise. Many weapons are taught with special methodologies, in addition to the panthra exercise.

    There are set of unique "chambers" and other techniques, which are unique to certain weapons, such as the khanda (two-edged sword), the tabar (axe) and the barcha (spear).

    The most common weapon used by gatka exponents today is the lathi (a stick of varying length), but all of the other traditional weapons are still taught. A common combination in that hands of gatka practitioners of today and in the past is the sword and shield.

    The panthra exercise is a flowing, non-stop movement, and there are no specific "techniques" as such in gatka. Rather, the methods of attacking and defending are the same, and the application depends on the circumstances at the time. The panthra exercise is practised at the same time as the "Jaap Sahib" prayer is being sung. Also, a three-beat-per-cycle is played by a drummer at the same time. This assists in developing natural and flowing co-ordination.


    Most gatka groups train in a religious or semi-religious situation, such as in a gurdwara (a Sikh place of worship) or in a Sikh cultural centre or school. However, in recent years a number of "Akhara" (regiment or gymnasium) organisations have been founded, with the express purpose of teaching and disseminating the skill of gatka.

    Gatka students always train with "both hands full", as this is both an excellent exercise for matching the two halves of the body and is emphasised as ideal for combat. Gatka emphasises the superiority of having something in both hands, whether it's two sticks, or a stick and a sword, or a sword and a shield or any other combination.

    At an advanced level, gatka is always tailored to the practitioner. Hence the gatka practitioner will eventually focus all of his effort on training his or her abilities with a chosen weapon or combination of weapons.


    Gatka was never originally intended as a competitive sport. However, recently a number of modern gatka organisations have introduced competition. Normally, these are based on a "best of two" or a "best of Five" hits contest between two practitiners.

    How to find an instructor:

    The best traditional gatka practitioners outside the Punjab are known by word of mouth only. However, some organisations have recently begun teaching their own variation of gatka, in schools and clubs, in the same way as any other martial art. These organisations usually advertise, too. However, their gatka may differ significantly from the traditional form of the art, either by accident or design. It may be fruitful to consult your local gurdwara (Sikh temple) officials in order to find a reputable gatka instructor who is willing to teach you. Discretion (most gatka experts disdain being the centre of attention) and courtesy will be indispensable in finding yourself a willing instructor in the art.


    Randy Pals -,
    Ray Terry -,
    Dakin Burdick -


    This Korean art is sometimes confused with Aikido, since the Korean and Japanese translation of the names is the same.




    Hapkido history is the subject of some controversy.

    Some sources say that the founder of Hapkido, Choi, Yong Sul was a houseboy/servant (some even say "the adopted son") of Japanese Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu GrandMaster Takeda, Sokaku. In Japan, Choi used the Japanese name Yoshida, Tatsujutsu since all immigrants to Japan took Japanese names at that time. Choi's Japanese name has also been given as Asao, Yoshida by some sources. According to this view, Choi studied under Takeda in Japan from 1913, when he was aged 9, until Takeda died in 1943. However, Daito Ryu records do not reflect this, so hard confirmation has not been available. Some claim that Choi's Daito Ryu training was limited to attending seminars.

    Ueshiba, Morihei, the founder of Aikido, was also a student of Takeda (this is not disputed). Hapkido and Aikido both have significant similarities to Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu, so it would seem that Hapkido's link to it is real, regardless of how and where Choi was trained.

    Choi returned to Korea after Takeda's death and began studying Korean arts and teaching Yu Sool or Yawara (other names for jujutsu), eventually calling his kwan ("school") the Hapki Kwan. Ji, Han Jae, began studying under Choi and eventually started his own school, where he taught what he called Hapkido, after the grandmaster's school. Along the way, Hapkido adopted various techniques from Tang Soo Do, Tae Kyon, and other Korean kwans (schools).

    Korean sources may tend to emphasize the Korean arts lineage of Hapkido over the Aikijujutsu lineage, with some even omitting the Aikijujutsu connection. However, as noted above, the connection can be seen in the techniques.

    Ji now calls his system Sin Moo Hapkido. He currently lives and teaches in California, as does another former Choi student, Myung, Kwang Sik, who is GrandMaster of the World Hapkido Federation.

    Some other Choi Hapkido students are still living. Chang, Chun Il currently resides in NY, and Im, Hyon Soo who lives and teaches in Korea. Both of these men were promoted to 9th dan by Choi. One of the first Hapkido masters to bring the art to the western culture was Han, Bong Soo.

    In the 1970's and 80's Hapkido was taught as the style of choice to elite South Korean armed forces units.


    Hapkido combines joint locks, pressure points, throws, kicks, and strikes for practical self-defense. More soft than hard and more internal than external, but elements of each are included. Emphasizes circular motion, non-resistive movements, and control of the opponent.

    Although Hapkido contains both outfighting and infighting techniques, the goal in most situations is to get inside for a close-in strike, lock, or throw. When striking, deriving power from hip rotation is strongly emphasized.


    Varies with organization and instructor. As a general rule, beginners concentrate on basic strikes and kicks, along with a few joint locks and throws. Some of the striking and kicking practice is form-like, that is, with no partner, however, most is done with a partner who is holding heavy pads that the student strikes and kicks full power.

    Advanced students add a few more strikes and kicks as well as many more throws, locks, and pressure points. There is also some weapons training for advanced students - primarily belt, kubatan, cane, and short staff.

    Some schools do forms, some do not. Some do sparring and some do not, although at the advanced levels, most schools do at least some sparring. Many Hapkido techniques are unsuitable for use in sparring, as their use would result in injury, even when protective gear is used. Thus, sparring typically uses only a limited subset of techinques.

    There is generally an emphasis on physical conditioning and excercise, including "ki" exercises.


    [more info needed]

    Hwa Rang Do

    Carsten Jorgensen -


    Hwa Rang Do is a comprehensive martial arts system whose training encompasses unarmed combat, weaponry, internal training and healing techniques. Translated, Hwa Rang Do means "the way of flowering manhood".




    For the ancient history of the Hwarang, please refer to the Ancient Korean History section of

    In March 1942 present day founder of Hwa Rang Do, Dr. Joo Bang Lee and his brother, Joo Sang Lee was introduced to the Buddhist monk Suahm Dosa by their father, who was a personal friend of the monk, and they began their formal training aged 5 & 6.

    The brothers lived and trained as the sole students with the monk mostly in weekends and during school vacations but also trained in other martial arts when they were unable to train under Suahm Dosa. Influences include Boxing, Yudo, Komdo, and Tang Soo Do. In addition the Lee Brothers attained Master level of Dae Dong Ryu Yu Sul (modern name - Hapkido) from its founder Choi Yong Sool in October 1956.

    In April 1960 Dr. Joo Bang Lee created and founded his martial art by combining Suham Dosa's techniques with the other systems he had trained. He choose the name Hwa Rang Kwan to describe his system and this also marked the first time the Hwa Rang was used publicly in connection with unarmed Korean martial arts. There is no way of knowing if the techniques Suahm Dosa taught the brothers actually was the martial art of the Silla Hwa Rang, or another form of monk martial art.

    In 1967, at the request of President Park, Dr. Joo Bang Lee organized the unification of the Korean martial arts and directed the Unified Korean Martial Arts Exposition on May 27, 1968 at the Jang Chung Sports Arena in Seoul. Since it was difficult for all martial art organization leaders to agree on methods of administration, this organization was also disbanded shortly after the exposition.

    Following the dissolution, Dr. Joo Bang Lee concentrated his efforts solely on the development of his martial art to the exclusion of all other martial arts. He renamed it Hwa Rang Do translated to mean "The Way of the Flowering Manhood". (Do - represents "the way" or the "martial art"). Also this marked the first time the character for "Way" was used in connection with the Hwa Rang and the unarmed martial arts.

    In 1968, Head Grandmaster Joo Sang Lee introduced Hwa Rang Do to the United States of America. Dr. Joo Bang Lee became the system's supreme grandmaster upon Suahm Dosa's death in 1969. He immigrated to America in 1972 and founded the World Hwa Rang Do Association and since then Hwa Rang Do has spread all over the world. Today Dr. Joo Bang Lee presides over the World Hwa Rang Do Association, Hwa Rang Do World Headquarters in Downey, California (USA).


    Hwa Rang Do is a combination of UM (soft/circular movement) and YANG (hard/linear movement). The Mu Sul (martial aspects) of Hwa Rang Do can be further explained in four distinct - though interconnecting - major paths of study.

    NAE GONG - deals with developing, controlling, and directing one's Ki, or internal energy force, through breathing and meditation exercises in conjunction with specific physical techniques.

    WAE GONG - Wae gong includes more than 4000 offensive and defensive combative applications. Combining elements predominantly tense and linear in nature with those soft and circular, these techniques mesh to form a natural fighting system. This phase includes full instruction in all hand strikes and blocks (trapping and grabbing as well as deflection applications, using the hands, wrist, forearm, elbows, arms and shoulders), 365 individual kicks, throws and falls from any position and onto any surfaces, human anatomical structure as it pertains to combat applications (knowing and utilizing the body's weak points to effectively control the opponent, regardless of their size), joint manipulation and breaking, finger pressure-point application, prisoner arrest, control and transport, grappling applications, forms, offensive choking and flesh-tearing techniques, defense against multiple opponents, breaking techniques, counter-attacks, and killing techniques.

    MOO GI GONG - involves the offensive and defensive use of the over 108 traditional weapons found within 20 categories of weaponry. By learning these various weapon systems, the practitioner can most effectively utilize any available object as a weapon as the situation demands.

    SHIN GONG - is the study, development, and control of the human mind in order to attain one's full potential and mental capabilities. Techniques are taught to achieve an increase in one's total awareness, focus, and concentration levels. Included are instruction in : controlling one's mind; development of the "sixth sense"; memory recall; the study of human character and personalities; practical psychology; visualization; the art of concealment and stealth as utilized by special agents (Sulsa); as well as advanced, secretive applications. Hwa Rang Do teaches both the martial art (mu-sul) and healing art (in-sul). If one is able to injure or worse, then he/she should know how to heal as well, once again maintaining harmony through balance of opposites. First aid applications, revival techniques are taught in conjunction with the traditional full studies of acupuncture, Royal Family acupressure, herbal and natural medicines, and bone setting.


    A typical training session includes Meditation (beginning and end of class). Total body stretching and warm-up exercises. Basic punching and kicking practice. Ki power exercises. "Basic-8" combination drills (which vary by belt rank). Two-man countering techniques (vary by belt rank). Open session which may include: sparring, tumbling, grappling, sweeps, or advanced techniques. Self-defense techniques. Cool down exercises. Hwa Rang Do code of ethics.

    For further information, please refer to and/or write to:

    World Hwa Rang Do Association
    8200 E. Firestone Blvd.,
    Downey, Ca 90241
    (310) 861-0111




    Al Bowers -


    The Art of drawing the sword for combat.




    This art is very old, and has strong philosophical and historical ties to Kenjutsu. It was practiced by Japanese warriors for centuries.


    The object is to draw the sword perfectly, striking as it is drawn, so that the opponent has no chance to defend against the strike.


    Usually practiced in solo form (kata), but also has partner forms (kumetachi).


    Muso Shinden Ryu, Muso Jikishin Ryu, and others.


    Neil Ohlenkamp -,
    Michael D'Auben -


    Judo is a sport and a way to get in great shape, but is also very useful for self-defense.




    Judo is derived from Jujutsu (see Jujutsu). It was created by Professor Jigoro Kano who was born in Japan in 1860 and who died in 1938 after a lifetime of promoting Judo. Mastering several styles of jujutsu in his youth he began to develop his own system based on modern sports principles. In 1882 he founded the Kodokan Judo Institute in Tokyo where he began teaching and which still is the international authority for Judo. The name Judo was chosen because it means the "gentle way". Kano emphasised the larger educational value of training in attack and defense so that it could be a path or way of life that all people could participate in and benefit from. He eliminated some of the traditional jujutsu techniques and changed training methods so that most of the moves could be done with full force to create a decisive victory without injury.

    The popularity of Judo increased dramatically after a famous contest hosted by the Tokyo police in 1886 where the Judo team defeated the most well-known jujutsu school of the time. It then became a part of the Japanese physical education system and began its spread around the world. In 1964 men's Judo competition became a part of the Olympics, the only eastern martial art that is an official medal sport. In 1992 Judo competition for women was added to the Olympics.


    Judo is practiced on mats and consists primarily of throws (nage-waza), along with katame-waza (grappling), which includes osaekomi-waza (pins), shime-waza (chokes), and kansetsu-waza (armbars). Additional techniques, including atemi-waza (striking) and various joint locks are found in the judo katas. Judo is generally compared to wrestling but it retains its unique combat forms. As a daughter to Jujutsu these techniques are also often taught in Judo classes.

    Because the founder was involved in education (President of Tokyo University) Judo training emphasizes mental, moral and character development as much as physical training. Most instructors stress the principles of Judo such as the principle of yielding to overcome greater strength or size, as well as the scientific principles of leverage, balance, efficiency, momentum and control.

    Judo would be a good choice for most children because it is safe and fun.


    Judo training has many forms for different interests. Some students train for competition by sparring and entering the many tournaments that are available. Other students study the traditional art and forms (kata) of Judo. Other students train for self-defense, and yet other students play Judo for fun. Black belts are expected to learn all of these aspects of Judo.


    Because Judo originated in modern times it is organized like other major sports with one international governing body, the International Judo Federation (IJF), and one technical authority (Kodokan). There are several small splinter groups (such as the Zen Judo Assoc.) who stress judo as a "do" or path, rather than a sport.

    Unlike other martial arts, Judo competition rules, training methods, and rank systems are relatively uniform throughout the world.


    Darren Wilkinson -


    Old, practical, fighting art. A parent to Judo, Aikido, and Hapkido.




    The begining of Ju-jutsu can be found in the turbulent period of Japanese history between the 8th and 16th Century. During this time, there was almost constant civil war in Japan and the classical weaponed systems were developed and constantly refined on the battle field. Close fighting techniques were developed as part of these systems to be use in conjunction with weapons against armoured, armed apponents. It was from these techniques that Ju-jutsu arose.

    The first publicly recognised Ju-jutsu ryu was formed by Takenouchie Hisamori in 1532 and consisted of techniques of sword, jo-stick and dagger as well as unarmed techniques.

    In 1603, Tokugawa Ieyasu brought peace to Japan by forming the Tokugawa military government. This marked the beginning of the Edo period of Japanese history (1603-1868), during which waring ceased to be a dominant feature of Japanese life.

    In the beginning of this period there was a general shift from weaponed forms of fighting to weaponless styles. These weaponless styles were developed from the grappling techniques of the weaponed styles and were collectively known as ju-jutsu. During the height of the Edo period, there were more than 700 systems of jujutsu.

    The end of the Edo was marked by the Meiji Restoration, an abortive civil war that moved power from the Shogun back to the Emperor. A large proportion of the Samurai class supported the Shogun during the war. Consequently, when power was restored to the Emperor, many things related to the Samurai fell into disrepute. An Imperial edict was decreed, declaring it a criminal offence to practice the old style combative martial arts. During the period of the Imperial edict, Ju-jutsu was almost lost. However, some masters continued to practice their art "under-ground", or moved to other countries, allowing the style to continue. By the mid twenty century, the ban on ju-jutsu in Japan had lifted, allowing the free practicing of the art.


    The style encompasses throws, locks, and striking techniques, with a strong emphasis on throws, locks, and defensive techniques. It is also characterized by in-fighting and close work. It is a circular, hard/soft, external style.

    Training: Practical with a heavy emphasis on sparring and mock combat.


    There are many, each associated with a different "school" (Ryu). Here is a partial list: Daito Ryu, Danzan Ryu, Shidare Yanagi Ryu, Hokuto Ryu, Hakko Ryu, Hontai Yoshin Ryu, Sosuishi Ryu, Kito Ryu, Kyushin Ryu.

    A more modern addition to this list is "Gracie Jujutsu", so named because of its development by the Gracie family of Brazil. Gracie Jujutsu (or GJJ as it has come to be known on rec.martial-arts) has a heavy emphasis on grappling/groundfighting. The Gracies have come into public promenence over the past year or two through a series of "no rules" martial arts contests known as the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC), some of which have been won by Royce (pronounced "Hoyce" in the Portugese language) Gracie.


    Peter Jason Ward -
    Todd D. Ellner -


    An eclectic martial art that is a blend of Karate, Judo, Kempo, and Boxing, from which arts it takes its name.


    Kajukenbo was synthesized in the Palomas settlements of Hawaii during the years 1949-1952. Five practitioners of their respective martial arts developed Kajukenbo to complement each others styles to allow effective fighting at all ranges and speeds. The man credited with the founding of Kajukenbo is Siju Adriano D. Emperado who practiced kempo and escrima. It was decided that kempo would be the scafolding around which Kajukenbo was built. The arts drawn upon to found Kajukenbo are Tang soo do, judo, ju-jitsu, kempo, and chu'an fa gung fu (Chinese boxing); hence the name Ka-ju-kem-bo (Tang Soo Do was shortened as a form of karate, even though that is technically incorrect).

    To test the effectiveness of their origional techniques the five founders would get into fights around the Palomas settlements (the worst slum in Hawaii at the time). If the technique succeeded consistently in streetfighting it was kept as part of the system. From these field test came Kajukenbo's Quins (known as the Palomas sets (forms or kata)), Natural laws (self-defense), Tricks (close-quarters fighting), and grab arts (escapes).


    Kajukenbo concentrates on being an effective art at all ranges of fighting, kicking -> Punching -> Trapping -> Grappling. While many schools of karate and Korean martial arts concentrate on kata, Kajukenbo stresses the self-defence movements over the relatively fewer forms in the art. The reasoning behind this is that a practitioner must be capable of defending himself in streetfighting situations before turning inward to perfect the 'art' of Kajukenbo. At higher levels there is meditative and chi training, but the author cannot comment further at his level of experience.

    Kajukenbo stresses the following-up of techniques based on an opponents reactions and not stopping with just one hit. The reasoning is that while one should strive to end a fight with the fewest techniques nessesary, it is important to know how an opponent will respond to attacks, and how best to take advantage of his reactions. A major ethical point behind my instruction was, "If he starts the fight, you decide when the fight is over."


    The training is physically intense and very demanding. Exercise is a part of the class structure to insure that practitioners will be physically capable of defending themselves outside of the dojo. The warm-up and callistenics typically last 1/3 of the class period. Emphasis is placed on bag work (kick, punching, elbows, and knees) as well as sparring and grappling (contact with control). After a certain amount of time training, students begin to throw real punches at each other and their partner is expected to react appropriately or face the consequences. Learning to absorb and soften an impact is also a major facet of training. Quins (kata) are performed to fine-tune a person's movements while working with partners for self defense teaches a student how to manipulate an opponent and follow up on his reactions.


    Kajukenpo, formed in 1970 by Algene Caraulia, and headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio (from Anthony Schaaf <>).

    Kenpo Karate is considered to be a sub-style of Kajukenbo (see separate entry on Kenpo) and is very close to "the original" Kajukenbo.

    Tum Pai is adminstered by Sifu Jon Loren, and incorporates more of the soft, internal Chinese arts.

    Kajukenbo Chuan Fa was created by Sifu Al Dacascos and has been taken over by Leonard Endrizzi and Bill Owens. It includes more Chiese martial arts than Kenpo Karate and is softer but no less rigorous.

    Wun Hop Kuen Do is the newest sub-style - the personal expression of Sifu Dacascos, containing the original syllabus but with more Chinese and Filipino influence.


    Andy Maddox -
    Russ Rader -
    Tim Rivera -


    Kali, Escrima, and Arnis are all terms for the native fighting arts of the Philippines, specifically the arts that use weapons. 'Arnis' and 'Escrima' (or 'Eskrima') are words rooted in Spanish, while 'Kali' shows up in various pre-Spanish Pilipino dialects.

    Some authorities say that Arnis is a term used in the northern parts of Luzon Island, Escrima or Eskrima is used more commonly in the middle parts of the Philippines, such as Cebu City, and Kali is used in the southern island of Mindanao. Some of those who say that Kali is the term for the southern styles claim that, since Mindanao was never conquered by the Spanish to the extent that the rest of the Philippines was, Kali more closely resembles the original pre-Spanish arts of the area, and is more "complete" (covers more combative possibilities).

    There are also some who claim that the word Kali is part of a modern attempt to marginalize the Spanish (and other European) influence on Filipino martial arts, and some go so far as to refer to Kali as a "Filipino-American" style.

    However, most people tend to say that the words don't matter - every village, and often every master, has a distinct style, and that's what the important thing is - "do you study Illustrisimo, Caballero, or Cabales style?" Not "do you study escrima or kali?"


    The Phillipines


    Filipino martial arts are the result of the interaction of Spanish and possibly Italian and other European styles of sword-fighting (cut and thrust rather than fencing, probably) with the native arts that existed at the time. Although the European influence is probably mostly Spanish, there is some evidence of Italian and possibly other European mercenaries present in the Phillippines, and they probably used (and possibly taught) their own native fighting styles.

    The most popular legend concerning the Filipino arts is that Datu (Chief) Lapu Lapu killed the Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magellan in personal combat.


    There are many different styles of Filipino martial arts, but general categories can be drawn along the lines of range. Largo Mano styles tend to prefer staying at long distance from their opponents, and using well-timed and placed strikes to the hands of their opponents to disarm them. Corto or Serrada styles are the opposite, tending to crowd into their opponents, where the opponent will hopefully be uncomfortable and unprepared, while the Serrada practitioner, by virtue of his practice, will feel at home at this range. Other styles prefer the medio, or middle range, which is between Largo Mano and Serrada. There are also styles, such as Lameco Escrima, that address all three ranges. The name Lameco even comes from these ranges; (La)rgo Mano, (Me)dio, and (Co)rto.

    The different Filipino styles typically cover some (or all) of the following areas:
    1 Single Stick (or long blade) 2 Double long weapon 3 Long & Short (sword & dagger, e.g.) 4 Single dagger 5 Double Dagger 6 Palm Stick/Double-end Dagger 7 Empty Hands (punching, kicking, grappling) 8 Spear/Staff, long weapons (two-handed) 9 Flexible weapons (whip, sarong, etc.) 10 Throwing weapons 11 Projectile weapons (bows, blowguns) 12 Healing arts

    A further distinction that some people make is that some Filipino styles are, at their heart, blade arts, while others are designed to work with sticks. There are some arts, such as Sayoc Kali, that focus on the knife almost exclusively, while there are others, such as some lineages of Balintawak Eskrima, that focus almost entirely on the single stick. This focus in certain lineages or styles may be the origin of the notion that Kali is more "complete" than Arnis or Escrima. However, this is a matter of some contention.

    A distinctive feature of all of these Filipino arts is their use of geometry. In strikes/defenses and movement, lines and angles are very important. In addition, the independent use of the hands, or hands and feet, to do two different things at the same time, is a high-level skill sought after a fair amount of experience.


    Filipino styles normally classify attacks not by their weapon, or their delivery style, but by the direction of their energy - for example, a strike to the head is usually analyzed in terms of "a high lateral strike." A punch to the gut is treated much the same as a straight knife thrust to that region would be. Students learn how to deal with the energy of the attack, and then apply that knowledge to the slight variations that come with different lengths and types of weapons.

    Filipino arts place great emphasis on footwork, mobility, and body positioning. The same concepts (of angles of attack, deflections, traps, passes, etc.) are applied to similar situations at different ranges, making the understanding of ranges and how to bridge them very important. The Filipinos make extensive use of geometric shapes, superimposing them on a combat situation, and movement patterns, to teach fighters to use their position and their movement to best advantage. Some styles emphasize line-cutting (a la Wing Chun), while some are very circular (like Aikido). Some like to stay at long range, some will move inside as soon as possible. These differences are hotly debated, as are most things, but they all work differently for different people.

    Most Filipino arts stress the importance of disarming an opponent in combat. This is not usually done gently, or by using a complex disarm (although these are taught), but by "destroying" the hand holding the attacking weapon using your weapon (break the hand, and the stick will fall.) This is often referred to as "de-fanging the snake", since a poisonous snake that has no fangs cannot harm you.


    Latosa Escrima, Serrada Escrima, Dumog, Panandiakman, Panantukan, Sikaran, Balintawak Eskrima, Modern Arnis, Garimot Arnis, Inosanto/LaCoste Kali, Sayoc Kali, Doce Pares, Pekiti-Tirsia Kali, many more.


    Howard S. High -,
    Avron Boretz -,
    Izar Tarandach -,
    Richard Parry -


    Somewhat generic term used for Japanese and Okinawan fighting arts.




    Karate is a term that either means "Chinese hand" or "Empty hand" depending on which Japanese or Chinese characters you use to write it. The Okinawan Karates could be said to have started in the 1600s when Chinese practitioners of various Gonfu styles mixed and trained with local adherents of an art called "te" (meaning "hand") which was a very rough, very simple fighting style similar to Western boxing. These arts generally developed into close- range, hard, external styles.

    In the late 19th century Gichin Funakoshi trained under several of the great Okinawan Karate masters (Itosu, Azato) as well as working with Jigoro Kano (see Judo) and Japanese Kendo masters (see Kendo). Influenced by these elements, he created a new style of Karate. This he introduced into Japan in the first decade of the 20th century and thus to the world. The Japanese Karates (or what most people refer to when they say "karate") are of this branch.


    Okinawan Karate styles tend to be hard and external. In defense they tend to be circular, and in offense linear. Okinawan karate styles tend to place more emphasis on rigorous physical conditioning than the Japanese styles. Japanese styles tend to have longer, more stylistic movements and to be higher commitment. They also tend to be linear in movement, offense, and defense.

    Both tend to be high commitment, and tend to emphasize kicks and punches, and a strong offense as a good defense.


    This differs widely but most of the Karate styles emphasize a fairly equal measure of basic technique training (repitition of a particular technique), sparring, and forms. Forms, or kata, as they are called, are stylized patterns of attacks and defenses done in sequence for training purposes.


    (Okinawan): Uechi-Ryu, Goju-Ryu, Shorin-Ryu, Isshin-Ryu
    (Japanese): Shotokan, Shito-Ryu, Wado-Ryu

    Here is a more complete list (complements of Howard High) in which Okinawan and Japanese styles are mixed:

    Ashihara, Chinto-Ryu, Chito-Ryu, Doshinkan, Gohaku-Kai, Goju-Ryu (Kanzen), Goju-Ryu (Okinawan), Goju-Ryu (Meibukan), Gosoku-Ryu, Isshin-Ryu, Kenseido, Koei-Kan, Kosho-Ryu Kenpo, Kyokushinkai, Kyu Shin Ryu, Motobu-Ryu, Okinawan Kempo, Okinawa Te, Ryokukai, Ryuken, Ryukyu Kempo, Sanzyu-Ryu , Seido, Seidokan, Seishin-Ryu, Shindo Jinen-Ryu, Shinjimasu, Shinko-Ryu, Shito-Ryu (Itosu-Kai), Shito-Ryu (Seishinkai), Shito-Ryu (Kofukan), Shito-Ryu (Kuniba Ha) , Shito-Ryu (Motobu Ha), Shorin-Ryu (Kobayashi), Shorin-Ryu (Matsubayashi), Shorin-Ryu (Shobayashi), Shorin-Ryu (Matsumura), Shorinji Kempo, Shorinji-Ryu, Shoshin-Ryu, Shotokai, Shotokan, Shotoshinkai, Shudokai, Shuri-Ryu, Shuri-Te, Uechi-Ryu , Wado-Kai, Wado-Ryu, Washin-Ryu, Yoseikan, Yoshukai, Yuishinkan.

    Sub-Style Descriptions:

    Wado-Ryu was founded by Hironori Ohtsuka around the 1920s. Ohtsuka studied Jujutsu for many years before becoming a student of Gichin Funakoshi. Considered by some to be Funakoshi's most brilliant student, Ohtsuka combined the movements of Jujutsu with the striking techniques of Okinawan Karate. After the death of Ohtsuka in the early 1980s, the style split into two factions: Wado Kai, headed by Ohtsuka's senior students; and Wado Ryu, headed by Ohtsuka's son, Jiro. Both factions continue to preserve most of the basic elements of the style.

    Uechi-ryu Karate, although it has become one of the main Okinawan martial arts and absorbed many of the traditional Okinawan karate training methods and approaches, is historically, and to some extent technically quite separate. The "Uechi" of Uechi-ryu commemorates Uechi Kanbun, an Okinawan who went to Fuzhou, the capital city of Fujian province in China in 1897 to avoid being drafted into the Japanese army. There he studied under master Zhou Zihe for ten years, finally opening his own school, one of the few non-Chinese who ventured to do so at the time. The man responisble for bringing Uechi-ryu to the US is George Mattson.

    Uechi-ryu, unlike the other forms of Okinawan and Japanese karate mentioned in the FAQ, is only a few decades removed from its Chinese origins. Although it has absorbed quite a bit of Okinawan influence and evolved closer to such styles as Okinawan Goju-ryu over those decades, it still retains its original Chinese flavor, both in its technique and in the culture of the dojo. It is a "half-hard, half-soft" style very similar to such southern Chinese styles as Fukienese Crane (as still practiced in the Chinese communities of Malaysia), Taiwanese Golden Eagle, and even Wing Chun. Conditioning the body for both attack and defense is a common characteristic of both Okinawan karate and southern Shaolin "street" styles, and as such is an important part of Uechi training. There is a strong internal component to the practice, including focused breathing and tensioning exercises similar to Chinese Qigong. Uechi, following its Chinese Crane heritage, emphasizes circular blocks, low snap kicks, infighting (coordinating footwork with grabs, locks, throws, and sweeps), and short, rapid hand traps and attacks (not unlike Wing Chun).


    Al Bowers -


    This is a popular sport in Japanese communities.




    Kendo is the sport and competitive form of Kenjutsu. Kendo has been practiced for a long time in one form or another.


    The practitioners wear protective armor and use simulated swords (split bamboo called "shinai") to "spar" against one another. Strike areas are limited as are moves. It is a very formal art. It is linear, hard, and external.


    Training mostly consists of two-person drills, basics, and some kata that have been retained from kenjutsu between individuals.


    none (?)


    Al Bowers -


    The combative use of a sword.




    The origins of this art are lost in the midst of history. It probably has its origins in 12th century or 11th century Japan. It is famous in myth and story from people like Miyamoto Mushashi in the 15th century.

    There are 4 root systems, Cujo-ryu, Nen-ryu, Kage-ryu and Shinto Ryu. These probably all have roots prior to the beginning of the 16th century. In the 16th century, there was an explosion of styles, with many being formed between then and the present.

    Modern kenjutsu schools trace from either the monk Jion (Nen ryu or Cujo ryu) or from Iiosai, the founder of the Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu.


    This is a hard, weapon style using the Japanese sword. It involves powerful, high commitment strikes to selected targets in order to kill the opponent. There is a strong side of spiritual and philosophical study, similar in a way to that of Aikido.


    There is a large amount of two-person work, mostly with wooden swords (bokken). Some schools use the fukuru shinai, an ancestor of todays weapon (Shinkage ryu, Nen-ryu). Sparring is a developed student activity.


    Kage, Shinkage, Yagyu Shinkage Cujo, Itto-ryu, Nen-ryu, Katroi-shinto Ryu, Kashima shin-ryu, Niten-ichi-ryu, Jigen-ryu.

    Shinkage was a royal school - for the Shogun.

    Kenpo (American - see also Kajukenbo)

    Stephen Kurtzman -


    Note: In the Japanese language, the consonants "n" and "m" have the same symbol, thus the English spelling can be rendered either "Kempo" or "Kenpo". There are several arts in this family, but the spelling of "Ken/mpo" is not of significance in distinguishing between them.




    American Kenpo is an eclectic art developed by Hawaiian Ed Parker in the 60s. The art combines the Kara-Ho Kenpo which Parker learned from William Chow with influences from Chinese, Japanese, Hawaiian, and Western Martial sources.


    American Kenpo blends circular motions and evasive movements with linear kicks and punches. The art is oriented toward street-wise self defense.


    A big emphasis on basics, sparring, and kata. It is similar to most Karate styles in its training mechanisms.


    The Tracy schools of Kenpo teach Parker's style, but are a "politically" separate organization.

    Kempo (Koshu Ryu)

    Contributor: Mark Edware Bober (


    Kosho Ryu Ken/mpo is a philosophical art much like Jeet Kune Do but with a Zen influences...lots of mind science material and healing arts. It is not a style of compiled kata or specific is a study of all motion and therefore cannot be stylised to look like a specific teacher or animal movement. Thus, this writeup will discuss only the history of the art.




    Kosho Shorei Kempo was created by several happenings, spanning a period of centuries. According to Mitose Sensei, during the invasion of Genghis Khan, the Head Monk of the Shaolin Temple fled China and found refuge with the Mitose family. In appreciation for the kindness of the Mitose's, he taught them Shaolin Chuan Fa (Shorinji Kempo in Japanese). From James Mitose's book:

    "Fifteen hundred years ago, the ancestor (of the Author) was a Shinto priest. He studied and taught many different martial arts including sword fighting, lance fighting, fighting with the bow and arrow, fighting on horseback, and swim fighting. Some arts looked like Kempo, Karate, Gongfu, and Ju-jitsu- but they were different in many ways. He mastered all of these arts and became Grand Master. Then Grand Master Mitose founded a martial arts school and called his style Mitose's Martial Art School."

    In 1235 a Shinto priest whom James Mitose called his first ancestor became enlightened to what we call Kempo. According to Mitose, this man was a martial arts master and a Buddhist monk studying at Shaka-In who found it difficult to be both. His religion taught him pacifism; his martial art taught him destruction. He pondered this dilemma under an old pine tree meaning Kosho in Japanese. He became enlightened and was from then on known as, Kosho Bosatsu, the Old Pine Tree Enlightened One. He discovered the relationship between man and Nature and also the secret of the Escaping Arts which is what makes Kempo a True and Pure Kempo or study of all Natural Law through a Martial Arts medium. Then "the Grand Master founded the Kosho Shorei Temple of Peace, True Self Defense and Kosho Shorei Yoga School. At that time, he made up the Coat of Arms and the Motto for his Temple. In his Temple, he taught how to escape from being harmed by using the escaping patterns, with God's help."

    Only 2 people in the world learned the Escaping Arts from Mitose Sensei and one of these two learned all the facets of Kosho, namely its 22 Generation Grandmaster Bruce Juchnik. The highest goal is to defend oneself without body contact unlike Okinawan/Japanese Karate systems or many other Ken/mpo systems.

    Kosho Ryu influences can be seen in Ed Parker and his creation American Kenpo. He added many labels to concepts inherent in Kosho that had Japanese names or no labels at all.

    References: "What Is Self Defense" 1953 James M. Mitose, "What Is True Self Defense" 1981 James M. Mitose

    Kempo (Ryukyu Kempo)

    Al Wilson -


    Ryukyu Kempo (which roughly translates into Okinawan kung-fu, or Chinese boxing science) is the original style of martial arts learned and taught by Gichin Funakoshi on the island of Okinawa (1). It stresses the existence of body points within your opponent that can be struck or grappled for more effective fighting.


    Okinawa Islands (Ryukyu island chain).


    Practioners of Ryukyu Kempo believe that karate-do is a popular subform of Kempo, established within this century by Gichin Funakoshi. People with original copies of Gunakoshi's first edition book _Ryukyu Kempo_ state that he is clearly is grappling and touching an opponent. Later editions and current karate books only show a practioner with a retracted punch, where the original shows actively grappling an enemy. It is felt that Funakoshi was the last of the purists, wanting all to learn the art.

    In subseqent years, the Okinawans, who have a culture and history of their own, became disenchanted with the Japanese, and were less inclined to teach them the "secret techniques" of self defence. When American military men occupied Japan after WWII, they became enamored of the martial-arts. It is theorized that the Japanese and Okinawans were reluctant to teach the secrets of their national art to the occupiers, and so taught a "watered down" version of karate-do usually reserved for children. Contemporary Kempo practioners practice "pressure point fighting" or Kyushu-jitsu and grappling, called Tuite. It is an exact art of striking small targets on the body, such as nerve centers, and grappling body points in manners similar to Jujitsu or Aikido(2).

    Modern teachers of this are George Dillman of Reading, PA, Taiku Oyata of Independence, Missouri, Rick Clark of Terre Haute, Indiana, and others.


    The practioners of kempo believe that kata do not represent origin or direction of attacks but positional techniques for the defender. Concentration is made on physical perfection of kata and the Bunkai, or explanation of the movements. Tournaments of kata and kumite (sparriing) are encouraged as learning experiences, but not overly stressed. Also taught is Kobudo, which is defined as weapons fighting using ordinary hand tools.

    Five principles to be observed in Oyata's school:

    There are a couple of physical differences in Kempo and many other styles. One is a three-quarter punch, rather than a full twist. Second is a fist whereby the thumb stops at the first finger, rather than the first two fingers. Third is the sword hand, which has the little finger placed as parallel as possible to the third finger and the thumb straight and on the inside rather than bent.(2)

    References: (1) Karate-Do: My Way of Life by Gichin Funakoshi
    (2) Kyusho Jitsu: The Dillman Method of Pressure Point Fighting by George A. Dillman with Chris Thomas.
    (3) Ryukyu Kempo: History and Basics by J. D. Logue (Oyata student).




    Steve Gombosi -,
    John Simutis -


    "Kobudo" literally means "ancient martial ways". In the karate world, it generally refers to those traditional Okinawan weapons whose history and practice has been linked to that of karate.




    Most Okinawan styles have at least some kobudo/kobujutsu curriculum. In addition, there are at least two major Okinawan organizations whose primary focus is these weapons arts: the Ryukyu Kobudo Hozon Shinko-kai and the Okinawa Kobudo Renmei. In the US there is 'Okinawa Kobudo Association, USA'; the shihan in the US is in Citrus Heights, CA. There may be other US Kobudo organizations.

    The most common kobudo weapons (and the ones most often taught by Okinawan karate systems) are:

    bo - staff, usually a rokushakubo or "six foot staff", although 4, 9, and 12 foot staffs are also used.
    sai - three-tined iron clubs, usually carried as a set of 3.
    nunchaku - two short tapered wooden clubs, connected at the narrow ends by a short rope or chain (a flail, as well as other uses).
    kama - a sickle, used singly or in pairs;
    tuifa/tonfa - a club with a hand-length perpendicular handle, the ancestor to the police PR-24; usually used in pairs.

    Less common weapons are:

    koa - a hoe.
    eku - a boat oar.
    tekko - essentially brass knuckles.
    shuchu - a small kubotan-like thing about 5" long.
    san-setsu-kon - the 3-section staff.
    surujin/suruchen - a weighted chain with a spike or blade on one end - similar to the Chinese chain whip or the Japanese manrikigusari;
    tinbe - actually, this is two weapons...the tinbe itself, which is a small shield traditionally made of the shell of a sea tortoise, and the rochin, which is a short spear with a cutting blade - the weapon actually resembles a Zulu spear more than anything else.
    kusarikama - a kama on the end of a rope or chain.
    nunti - a short spear.

    and a few other oddball implements of mayhem including spears and the occasional pilfered Japanese sword ;-).

    Krav Maga

    Peter Muldoon -


    The Israeli official Martial Art




    The Krav Maga was developed in Israel in the early forties when the underground liberation organizations were fighting for the independence of the State of Israel. At that time, it was illegal to possess weapons. The inventor and developer of the Krav Maga was a champion heavy weight boxer, a judo champion, and an expert in jiu-jutsu. In addition, he was as a trapeze acrobat and a well known dancer. The knowledge he thus obtained, contributed to the development of the Israeli martial art of self defense. There is no hidden meaning behind the name Krav Maga, and literarily means "contact fight / battle".

    The Krav Maga was put into practice originally by the fighters of the liberation organizations that often went to battle armed with knives or sticks and with the knowledge of Krav Maga, and they were very successful. After the establishment of the State of Israel, Krav Maga was adopted as the official martial art taught in the defense forces, and especially in the elite police and army units. Krav Maga was integrated into army training by Imi Lichenfield, a career IDF officer and chief instructor at the armys physical training facility at the Wingate Institute. Imi is still active involved in the Krav Maga Association and maintains the role of president.

    Over the years, the Krav Maga has turned into an integrated part of training in many disciplines such as educational institutes. Krav Maga is taught in many public schools in Isreal.


    The Krav Maga is not an ecletic martial art system, rather, it was developed with the perception that the classic martial arts were lacking various elements. The defense needs in the eras that the classic martial arts were developed were different than those of today. New unique techniques for defense against pistols, guns and hand grenades were considered needed, and therefore developed.

    Krav Maga has no katas or specific sequences that must be followed. Students use the basic moves in conjunction with any one of a number of other moves to fend off an attack, the key idea being adaptability to new situations through improvisation. Emphasis is put on speed, endurance, strength, accuracy and co-ordination especially for intensive Krav Maga training.


    Since the Krav Maga by definition is for self defense, it does not have any constitution and judicial rules and therefore there are no contests and exhibitions. The training is for practical usage in the every day reality. There is a colored belt system with a Black Belt typically granted after 8 to 10 years of practice. Spiritual and philosophical aspects are studied only at the Black Belt level.

    Get information from this website:
    and/or write to:

    Krav Maga Academy
    57 West 84 st.
    New york, NY 10024
    (212) 580-5335
    Another website: Brazilian Association of Krav Maga:




    E.Clay Buchanan -


    Japanese target archery practiced as a martial art.




    Kyudo, the Way of the Bow, is the oldest of Japan's traditional martial arts. The bow has been used in Japan since prehistoric times. From the fourth to the ninth century, close contacts between China and Japan had a great influence on Japanese archery, especially the Confucian belief that through a person's archery their true characters could be determined. Over hundreds of years archery was influenced by the Shinto and Zen Buddhist religions along with the pressing practical requirements of warriors. Court nobles concentrated on ceremonial archery while the warrior class emphasized kyujutsu, the martial technique of using the bow in actual warfare.

    With the introduction of firearms the bow as a weapon was neglected and almost died out all together until Honda Toshizane, a kyudo instructor at Tokyo Imperial University, combined elements of the warrior style and the court ceremonial style into a hybrid style which ultimately became known as the Honda Ryu (Honda martial school). This style found great favor with the general public and he is generally credited with saving Japanese Archery from oblivion. With the American occupation banning all martial art instruction, traditional kyujutsu schools declined further and when the ban was lifted, Kyudo, as opposed to kyujutsu, became widely practiced and the Zen Nihon Kyudo Federation (All Japan Kyudo Federation) was established in 1953, publishing the standard kyudo textbook called the Kyohon, and overseeing Kyudo development both in Japan and internationally up to the present time. There now exists a European Kyudo Federation which has annual seminars and promotion tests and in 1993 the first such seminar and promotion test was held in America in San Jose, California.


    Kyudo is a highly meditative martial art whose ultimate goals are Shin (Truth i.e. the ultimate reality), Zen (Goodness) and Bi (Beauty). When asked the question "What is Truth?" a master archer would pick up a bow and arrow and shoot it, without saying a word, allowing the level of mastery of the bow to serve as the gauge of the archer's progress along the "way" thereby showing the archer's knowledge of reality i.e. "Truth" itself.

    By such diligent practice Confucian theory teaches that the archer will become morally good (Zen), and this sincerity of personality will excite the aesthetic sense of anyone watching at an intuitive, emotional level giving the performance a beauty derived not only from the technical skill of the archer but also from the archer's emotional maturity and spiritual sincerity.


    Students typically begin by practicing visualization: performing the shooting motions with no equipment and then perhaps using the gomuyumi (rubber bow), a short stick with a length of rubber tube attached, to acquire the feel of real bow resistance. The first actual shots are fired into a straw bundle, called a makiwara, from a short distance of about three feet. The student then progresses to target shooting at a fixed regulation distance of 28 meters.

    All students, no matter which instructor or school, will shoot the same design of Japanese bow which is little changed from the twelfth century. Traditionally made of hardwoods laminated front and back with bamboo the Japanese bow is one of the longest in the world, usually over seven feet in length. It is a natural double recurve bow with the arrow nocked one third of the way from the bottom and the bow actually rotating in the hand at release approx. 270 degrees. The unique design of the bow requires that the bow actually be torqued or twisted in full draw to make the arrow fly straight.


    Technically, styles can be divided into two broad categories, shamen uchiokoshi and shomen uchiokoshi, the modern shomen uchiokoshi style having been developed by Honda Toshizane. Shamen archers predraw the bow at an angle to the body and fix their grip on the bow before raising it. Shomen archers raise the bow straight over the head and fix their final grip on the bow in a predraw above the head.

    There were dozens of traditional schools before World War II and many of them survive today provoking endless debate as to the superiority of one over the other. In fact, some traditional schools still do not use the word kyudo preferring the word kyujutsu instead to describe their teachings. Some styles heavily emphasize the spiritual aspect of shooting and some proponents of Zen Archery view kyudo as a way to further their own spiritual development in Zen Buddhism.

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     Matthew Weigel
    Let's Start Over...

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