Japanese Martial Arts Japanese Martial Arts

The history of martial arts in Japan is based on a caste system that restricted the use of weapons, and on Samurai's traditions. Generally samurai were professionals who fought with various weapons, as well as bare-handed, whose speciality was their ability to fight. Based on this history, Japan's martial arts developed into diverse styles and methods of training and weapons. Let us introduce martial arts that are well known around the world: judo, kendo, karate, and kyudo.


A martial art developed from the old martial arts school of jujutsu, with throwing, grappling, and striking as its core techniques. In the Meiji era it spread among police and schools, and after World War II it became a wide international success, with the establishment of the IJF (International Judo Federation) and its adoption as an Olympic sport. Today it is classified as both a sport and martial art, but with "use strenth for a good purpose" and "mutual prosperity" as its fundamental principles, its purpose is not merely the doctrine that victory in competition is everything, but the training and education of both body and mind.


Karate spread from Okinawa to the rest of Japan in Taisho era, and to the world after World War II. It is now practiced worldwide as a useful martial art and sport. Karate can be generally classified into the traditional schools which adopts sundome (stopping just before a strike) rules, full contact school which adopts direct striking rules, and direct striking with protective gear school which adopts a point system.


Directly descended from bamboo fencing stick practices with protective gear developed in the late Edo period. Towards the end of the Edo era, extensive inter school contests came to be held. Since the Meiji period, Kendo has been a legitimate competitive sport with rules established by the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai (Greater Japan Martial Virtue Society).


Based on the old martial arts schools of archery, it is now practiced as a sport and physical education. There are also schools existing since ancient times, continuing to preserve the old school while coexisting with modern kyudo.


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