Examining Martial Arts Styles
Generally speaking the term “martial arts” creates the mental picture of a person in white kicking with a leg or chopping with an arm. This illustrates one of a number of misconceptions associated with the martial arts, in particular the belief that there are only a handful of martial arts styles. The fact is that there are a multitude of different martial arts styles.
Perhaps the best known of the martial arts styles is karate, a form of martial arts that began to take root more firmly in countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom during the post war years of the 1940s. Karate originated on an island known as Okinawa. Ultimately, the Japanese invaded Okinawa in the 17th century. By the 20th century, karate masters from Okinawa were teaching karate on the Japanese mainland (at which time the term “karate” actually was brought into common usage).
During the 1940s, many of these different styles became better known to people living all over the world. The practice of many different martial arts styles became more prevalent in western nations during this period of time. (Additionally, two new martial arts styles came into formal existence during the 1940s.)
Aikido was the first of these two martial arts styles established in the 1940s. Aikido is a defensive martial art with the stated ultimate goal of the unification of the body and soul. As far as the martial arts styles are concerned, Aikido is intended to be a more contemplative practice.
The second of the martial arts styles to be founded during the 1940s was Tae Kwon-do. Tae Kwon-do was established in Korea after World War II. This martial arts style was created by a Korean Army general in an attempt to better coordinate the martial arts of Korean troops.
Jiu Jitsu, another of the martial arts styles, was the martial art most closely associated with the Samurai warriors of Japan. Jiu Jitsu is closely connected with both the Samurai code of conduct and ethics as well as the Zen Buddhist philosophy. (Judo is an outgrowth of the Jiu Jitsu martial arts practice. However, purists do not consider Judo itself to be one of the martial arts styles in the strict, traditional sense. In the eyes of these traditionalists, Judo represents a sport despite its connection to Jiu Jitsu because it was established as a means of personal development. Of course, many people consider Judo to be one of the martial arts styles.)
The many martial arts styles have continued to attract a growing number of adherents since the 1940s. People continue to be drawn to various martial arts styles as a mean of effective self defense program, to enhance discipline and to better their physical and mental conditions.