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Types of Martial Arts

various form of Martial Art

Martial Arts and its various types

The origins of Japanese Types of Martial Arts can be traced back to the samurai traditions. Samurai warriors were previously expected to master different weapons. But this was later restricted by the Japanese society members.  

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What Are Martial Arts?

Martial arts involves any or a plethora of combat techniques that are practiced for various reasons such as self defence,

mandatory military purpose, entertainment, competition, exercise, etc.

There are many types of martial skills ranging from hand-to-hand combats to the use of different weapons. 

In Japanese martial forms, the term Gendai budō (Judo, Kendo, Aikido, Kyūdō, karate, etc) focuses on self-improvement

while Koryū bujutsu (Jujutsu, Sumo, Swordsmanship, etc) practices martial practice for combats.

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Different Types of Japanese Martial Arts

Naginatajutsu (長刀術)

Naginatajutsu, or simply naginata is a Japanese martial art of naginata, which is a pole who looks like bamboo also used as a weapon. The pole weapons each have a blade attached to them and are wielded as swords.

This allows the practitioners to attack with their naginata from long-range and difficult positions, such as while riding a horse.

Many women in Japan practice Naginatajutsu because, during the Edo period (between 1603 and 1867), ladies in waiting were trained to use the naginata.

This is not to say that male warriors did not practice Naginatajutsu. In fact, samurais widely used it during the early medieval period.

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Kendo (剣道)

Kendo, which means ‘way of the sword’, is a Japanese martial art of using shinai (bamboo swords), which was once used by samurai.

Participants in this sport wear helmets and other protective gear to protect themselves from injury as the purpose of the game is to strike the opponent in the Do (body), Men (head), Kote (wrist) and Tsuki (troat).

As a physical and mental sport, kendo aims to mould the practitioner’s body and mind and develop a strong spirit through structured training.

Played between two people, whenever one of the opponents struck, he would shout “Kiai” to show their spiritual steadiness.

The two main techniques of Kendo include:

  1. Shikake-waza – Initiating the attack
  2. Oji-waza – Counter-attacking

Okinawa Kobudō (沖縄古武道)

Kobudō, which means “old martial way of Okinawa”, is a Japanese martial art of Okinawan weapon systems.

It is believed that when the Satsuma samurai clan prohibited the peasants from using weapons during the Japanese occupation of Okinawa,

the locals became defenseless so they had to secretly make weapons from any tools they could use, such as farming implements and household items.

Iaidō (居合道)

Iaidō is a sword-based Japanese martial art wherein a person wields the katana, a Japanese long sword. The purpose of this practice is for the katana holder to be alert to draw his sword as quickly as possible when he is suddenly attacked. Beginners are usually given wooden stick swords, and many practitioners use the iaitō (blunt-edged swords). Shinken swords are used by those who have more experience.

In Iaidō, a lone swordsman wields his sword, adhering to specific rules of movement. The purpose is not to fight an opponent but rather to learn to perfect one’s character through a commitment to martial arts.

The four main components of Iaido are:

  1. Nuki-tsuke – Drawing the sword from the scabbard.
  2. Kiri-tsuke – Cutting or striking with the sword.
  3. Chiburi – Cleaning blood from the blade.
  4. Noto – Putting the sword back in the scabbard.

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