Japanese Martial Arts
Japanese martial arts are mainly based on the military arts of the warrior class, known as Samurai or Bushi, from which comes the term Bushido (bushi – warrior; do – way or path). Many of these arts are based around weapons like swords (katana), bows, staves (bo and jo), and some are even practiced from horseback.
There are two main categories of these hand-to-hand combat arts, boxing and grappling, though there is some overlap between them.
The boxing arts are categorized generally as Karate. The best known of these include (but are not limited to) Shotokan Karate, Ishin-Ryu, Karate Do, and Okinawa Te.
The best known grappling arts include (but are not limited to) Aikido, Aikijitsu, Goshin Jujutsu, Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, and Sumo. Each can trace its roots to military disciplines. They are based on the hand-to-hand techniques practiced within the framework of those disciplines. For example, some swordsmen, when unarmed, practiced the art currently known as Aikijitsu (a gentler variation of this is modern day Aikido). A variety of Jiu-Jitsu (unarmed, hand-to-hand combat) schools flourished in Japan throughout its history. Several of those grappling disciplines (including some elements of Sumo – Japanese wrestling) were combined to form the modern day sport of Judo (the gentle way, or way of suppleness).
At our school, Aikido, Aiki Jujutsu (aka Aikijitsu), and Judo are the main focuses of our Japanese Martial Arts curriculum. Click here for a brief history of Aikido and its founder.
The Japanese Martial Arts lineages, like those of the Chinese, have deep heritages and are rich in traditions. This introduction can not do them justice. You’ll find many books written about these systems.