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Japanese Martial Arts

Japanese martial arts are the enormous variety of martial arts native to Japan. At least three Japanese terms are used interchangeably with the English phrase "Japanese martial arts":

The usage of term "budō" to mean martial arts is a modern one, and historically the term meant a way of life encompassing physical, spiritual, and moral dimensions with a focus of self-improvement, fulfillment, or personal growth. The terms bujutsu and bugei have more discrete definitions, at least historically speaking. Bujutsu refers specifically to the practical application of martial tactics and techniques in actual combat. Bugei refers to the adaptation or refinement of those tactics and techniques to facilitate systematic instruction and dissemination within a formal learning environment.

Japanese Martial Arts

Name Detail
Karate About Karate (the way of the empty hand).
Judo About the martial art of Judo (the gentle way)
Aikido About Aikido (the way of harmony of the spirit).
Kendo about Japanese fencing (the way of the sword).
Jiu Jitsu Jiu Jitsu is a derivation of Judo


Karate-Do (Japanese: "way of the empty hand"), unarmed-combat system employing kicking, striking, and defensive blocking with arms and legs. Emphasis is on concentration of as much of the body's power as possible at the point and instant of impact. Striking surfaces include the hands (particularly the knuckles and the outer edge), the ball of the foot, heel, forearm, knee, and elbow. All are toughened by practice blows against padded surfaces or wood. Pine boards up to several inches in thickness can be broken by the bare hand or foot of an expert. Timing, tactics, and spirit, however, are each considered at least as important as physical toughening.

In sporting karate and sparring (kumite) in training, blows and kicks are stopped short, preferably within an inch of contact. Sporting matches commonly last only three minutes, to a decision, if neither contestant has scored a clean "killing" point in the estimation of the judges.

Contests of form (kata) are also held, in which single competitors perform predetermined series of movements simulating defense and counterattack against several opponents. Performances are scored by a panel of judges, as in gymnastics.

Karate evolved in the Orient over a period of centuries, becoming systematized in Okinawa in the 17th century, probably by people forbidden to carry weapons. It was imported into Japan in the 1920s. Several schools and systems developed, each favouring somewhat different techniques and training methods.

Karate, like other Oriental fighting disciplines, stresses mental attitude, rituals of courtesy, costumes, and a complex ranking system (by colour of belt). There is some overlapping of technique with other fighting styles.



Japanese JUDO (from Chinese: "gentle way"), system of unarmed combat, now primarily a sport, was, as Aikido, derived from the Japanese soft style techniques termed Jujutsu/Jujitsu. Sporting judo rules are complex; the objective is to throw the opponent cleanly, or pin him, or master him by applying pressure to arm joints or to the neck. Techniques are generally intended to turn an opponent's force to one's own advantage rather than to oppose it directly.

A ritual of courtesy in practice is intended to promote an attitude of calm readiness and confidence. The usual costume, known as judogi, is a loose jacket and trousers of strong white cloth. White belts are worn by novices and black by masters, with intermediate grades denoted by other colours.

Kano Jigoro (1860-1938) collected the knowledge of the old jujitsu schools of the Japanese samurai and in 1882 founded his Kodokan School of judo, the beginning of the sport in its modern form. By the 1960s judo associations had been established in most countries and affiliated to the International Judo Federation with headquarters in Paris.

Judo was included in Olympic Games competition for the first time at Tokyo in 1964 and held regularly from 1972. World judo championships for women began in 1980. Women's Olympic competition began in 1992.



Aikido (Japanese: "way of spiritual harmony"), (originally derived from the Japanese soft style techniques termed jujutsu/jujitsu) self-defense system that utilizes twisting and throwing techniques and in its aim of turning an attacker's strength and momentum against him. Pressure on vital nerve centres is also used.

Aikido was developed to subdue, rather than maim or kill as in Karate, but many of its movements can nevertheless be deadly.Aikido especially emphasizes the importance of achieving complete mental calm and control of one's own body to master an opponent's attack.

As in other Japanese martial arts, the development of courtesy and respect is an integral part of Aikido training. The basic skills of aikido come originated in Japan in about the 14th century. In the early 20th century they were systematized in their modern form through the work of the Japanese DaiToRyu Yawara( AiKi JuJitsu) expert Morei Ueshiba.

There are no offensive moves in aikido. As taught by Ueshiba, it was so purely defensive an art that no direct contest between practitioners was possible. In 1969 the founder morei Ueshiba passed away. And so the 2nd generation "doshu" became Kissomaru Ueshiba (son of Morei Ueshiba) (1969 -1997).

Since 1997 to present time the 3rd doshu has been Moriteru Ueshiba. However, hundreds of schools and organizations has broken away from the original teachings.

Jiu Jutsu

Jujutsu / Jujitsu

Jujutsu was never a martial art. It is originally a term for the soft skill techniques. It was not until the Japanese traditional arts came to the Americas that Jujutsu/Jujitsu became a martial art's name as in the instance of "Brazilian Jiu jitsu". Before then there existed no Jujutsu/Jujitsu schools in Japan.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a derivation of Judo, and has no direct link to Japanese Jujutsu. The derivation from Judo to BJJ was originally done by Helio Gracie, to accomodate his small, weak and fragile frame.

Since then, many practicioners have made various adaptions to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and blended with other martial arts.

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