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Introduction to the Martial Arts
Jujutsu, Karate, Aikido, Judo, Kendo. With the increased mingling of East and West, these terms are becoming more familiar to Americans. There is a certain vagueness, however, as to their exact meanings and interrelationships. Popular imagination surrounds them all with an aura of mystery and magic.

The following is a brief overview of some of the more popular Martial Arts of Japan. During the long periods of war and unrest from about 900 to 1500 AD, and throughout the feudal period up to 1868, the Samurai, or warrior class, comprised the "Knights" and the police force of Japan. By diligent practice under skilled masters, they achieved great proficiency in swordsmanship, archery, horsemanship, and various forms of hand-to-hand combat. This constant training, together with an intuitive method of practice and intense systematic study of mechanical principles, combined with ample opportunities for experimentation in actual battle, led, over the centuries, to the perfection and formulation of the various systems of Kendo (way of the sword), Kyudo (way of the bow) and Jujutsu (gentle art for incapacitating the opponent). While the origins of various arts are too remote to be precisely determined, almost all can be traced to a common source-the fighting techniques of the ancient Japanese Samurai.

Jujutsu
Jujutsu, the predecessor of Aikido and Judo, is the oldest of the Japanese Martial Arts. Unlike Judo, which emphasizes sport, Jujutsu is an aggressive form of self defense consisting of disabling kicks or strikes to vital points, locks or grips to incapacitate the opponent or to cause dislocation or fracture, strangulations, pushes, pulls and throws to bring the opponent into a position where he is rendered immobile. Ideally, all these maneuvers employ, the principle of using the opponent's weight and momentum, and of retreating, and sidestepping to bring him off balance. Throughout the long and glorious reign of the samurai, schools of Jujutsu flourished all over Japan. The numerous systems, all based upon the same principles, zealously guarded and transmitted their special secrets only to their own disciples. 

Karate
Contrary to popular belief, Karate did not begin in Japan. Its roots began on a small island by the name of Okinawa (part of Japan since 1972). Okinawa is the largest of the Ryukyu Islands, which are situated halfway between China and Japan.

In 1609, the islands of the Ryukyu were conquered by the Samurai of Satsuma, Kyushu. The prince of Okinawa was taken hostage and a police force was established at the capital city of Naha. The military class was banned and all weapons confiscated. For this reason we have the combative techniques that were developed in secrecy and handed down from father to son.

In 1903, Karate emerged from secrecy with it's introduction into the Okinawan school system as a form of physical education. In 1922, an Okinawan school teacher named Gichin Funakoshi introduced Karate to Japan. The Japanese adopted this newfound Okinawan art and worked very hard to make it their own. Being an industrious people, they began to export and spread this art among various nations of the world, one of which was Korea, which changed the name from Karate to Tae Kwon Do, in 1960.

This exporting of Karate by Japan gave rise to the commonly held belief that the Japanese invented Karate, when in fact they learned it from an Okinawan school teacher hundreds of years after the Okinawans developed it.

Go Back HomeJuJutsu SectionKarate SectionSensei FinkAbout Our DojoSpecial Events

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