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19

Interesting question! The first ranking system in Japanese arts was a merit system based on menkyo or licenses. Essentially, you trained until you learned enough to earn a license recognizing your ability in that set of techniques or lessons. You may have a menkyo for each section of the syllabus (mokuroku), or you might have menkyo shoden, menkyo chuden, ...


17

Here are bits that we do know: Gichin Funakoshi, born and raised in Okinawa, is the man who opened the first official, public karate dojo, and he did so on the main island of Japan. Prior to that, it was mostly studied at night, in secret. This was due to Japanese occupation - making the carrying of weapons illegal. Like all resourceful people do, they ...


16

There are a few different phenomena that are easy to conflate here and which may or may not impact the perception of "legitimacy." Lineage and Certification One are claims of lineage. A lot of martial arts, especially eastern ones, have a variety of extraordinary claims about their lineage that are a) largely irrelevant and b) pretty grandiose. ...


13

Okay, after reflection, I'm going to try to answer this with the respect it deserves: Firearms became a part of military life in China in the late 12th century, as the invention of gunpowder led to the development of portable cannonry. This sort of firearm and others were introduced and adopted by the Japanese sometime in the 15th century. The musket was ...


13

See the translation of Taekwondo entry in Japanese Wikipedia. According to this article, in 1940s during the Japanese rule of Korean Peninsula, Karate (空手) was taking hold under the name Kongsoodo (공수도, 空手道) and Tangsoodo (당수도, 唐手道). To backtrack on these namings, we need to understand the origin of Karate. Sakukawa Kanga (佐久川寛賀) from Ryukyu Kingdom ...


12

I would disagree with the premise that firearms arent in the 'martial arts' world. Firearm training most definitely falls into the category of martial arts. It may just not immediately be recognized as what we typically consider to be a 'martial art' because its not surrounded by the trappings of Japanese/Chinese technique names, uniforms, and cultural ...


12

To quote wikipedia "Aside from a few very well known systems, such as Xiao Hong Quan, the Da Hong Quan, Yin Shou Gun, Damo Sword, etc., after the loss of records during the 20th Century Cultural Revolution it would be almost impossible for a particular style to conclusively establish a connection to the Temple." The shaolin.com website claims ...


12

Genuine Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu all stems from one man: Mitsuyo Maeda of Kodokan Judo. Maeda had numerous students the world over, and upon settling in Brazil, was featured in a circus there, where he was seen by Carlos Gracie, the eldest son of Gastao Gracie, a business partner of the circus there. Carlos was accepted as a student, passed on his training to his ...


10

What Use Lineage? A traceable lineage neither guarantees a quality training environment nor a legitimate experience. One should also keep in mind that Asian martial arts have a tendency to embellish their relationships and lineages. For example, it's common in Japanese arts for a soke to claim he was the only student of his teacher, or for a practitioner to ...


10

I found the same picture at several websites. According to this blog, the picture was taken in 1942 at the Kenkoku University. It also mentions "(Manchria)" but that's probably a typo for "Manchuria", the old name for north-east China which at that time was under Japanese control. Another website mentions that the building in the background is Shimbuden ...


10

Sorry I'm not able to give a more academic answer to your question. As a former black belt in TKD and a bit of a martial arts history buff, I took an interest in this question myself at one point in my past. Here are my observations and thoughts on the matter. Taekwondo forms used to be entirely from Shotokan karate. This comes about because many Koreans ...


9

An interesting question, and very difficult to answer. The reason is that, especially among far eastern arts, there were many oral traditions, and poor written documentation... Many arts claim ages that documentation does not really support. From what we know, codified systems of boxing (striking) and wrestling (grappling) were depicted in the murals of one ...


9

The relationships between judo, Kosen judo, various traditional Japanese jujutsu ryu, groundwork (newaza), the nature of challenge matches during that period in Japan, and pinning a style on a given grappling expert during that period in Japan are all very complicated and deeply interconnected. In my view, if we are to develop an understanding of this ...


9

Sounds like a quote from Kisshomaru Ueshiba in "The Spirit of Aikido" (合氣道のこころ). I don't have the English version to compare, but in the Japanese version it's the first line of the first chapter: 合氣道は、いうまでもなく本質的に武道である。 Kisshomaru expressed the same sentiment many times - his father may have as well, but I don't recall off hand. Morihei more often talked ...


9

The claim From Kalaripayattu Bangalore's website: Marmas are the specific points in the body where the application of pressure or insertion of needles (Bhedan karma) will effect the flow of vital energy or Prana along a complex system of subtle channels calls Naadis. A knowledge of such specific points is called Marma Shastra. Marmam has three ...


8

You are indeed looking for the 'Pinan' (or 'Heian') forms. The wiki article sheds quite a lot of light upon them. Short story - they are in Shito, Wado, Shorin, Kobayashi, Kyokushin Shorei, Matsubayashi, and Shindo Jinen Ryu, as well as Shukokai and Shotokan. They were created by Anko Itosu. They consist of pieces of the larger forms KankuDai / Kusanku and ...


8

My answer here is going to be very similar to my answer to What qualifies a school or business as a legitimate martial arts system? The short answer is: "It isn't unless you think it is or you are operating in a culture that thinks it is, and then only to the degree that you accept it as valid." Lineage is frequently claimed, but difficult if not ...


8

I seem to have been thaught a story similar to what Sardathrion explains, yet slightly different. Sadly, though, I have no reference other than "my sensei told me". According to my sensei, people wore the left side on top because the inside of the kimono became easily accessible with the right hand, a bit like a big pocket, allowing to dissimulate weapons ...


8

I've only started practicing Payattu*, and the students did try to convince me that such a technique exists. Of course there is no way laws of physics can be bent in such a manner, this technique is a myth. I did try to find out where these stories came from. First you have to understand that Payattu is thousands of years old (9th century CE). This ...


7

I would say that they have become part of martial arts in the greater sense of martial arts. By this I mean in training relating to war. It is just a very vague and unstructured one. All military and police forces will teach firearms use. There are set movement and training regimes -- very similar to kata in hand to hand and ranged weapon styles. Body ...


7

Jigoro Kano first came up with the kyu/dan ranks in 1883 for Judo. The original belts were blue (6th kyu), white (5 and 4 kyu), brown (3, 2, and 1 kyu), and black for dan grades (10 ranks). The idea behind the system was to promote a quick reward/progression system and a way to identify your opponent's average skill in randori. After that, a myriad of ...


7

It is important to recognise that the vast majority of styles and variations may have never been documented at all, with every little remote village possibly having some knowledge passed down from generation to generation. The Shaolin Temple merely happened to be a gathering place with a strong enough tradition of formally collecting this type of knowledge. ...


7

David has an excellent answer. I would just like to add that it is important to remember that styles evolve over time - this is a natural phenomena that has been going on for centuries. It is a result of students getting to a sufficient level where they start their own school, they then have their own style of teaching and will tend to emphasize the parts ...


7

Wrestling As long as there have been people, there has been wrestling. Nearly every culture has some form of it used for contests internal and external to the group. When we talk about old martial arts, we are talking about wrestling. In Egypt, the fifteenth tomb of Beni Hassan has a large wall depicting wrestling techniques. At this point we're talking ...


6

Are you looking for the origin of Tai Chi? Or of the many different styles of martial arts? Or of martial arts in general? Martial arts have existed as long as people have been fighting. And as often as people have been fighting, people have been figuring out better and more efficient ways of fighting, and teaching these methods to others. There is no one ...


6

I haven't been able to find a reference to that direct quote. There are a number of things that mean the same thing. O'Sensei appears to have spoken often about being on a quest to find the perfect Budo, and that Aikido (or Aiki Budo) is the result of that search. The closest quote I've found is: "On reflection, Aikido can be seen as the root source of ...


6

Gi, or more properly dōgi (道着) is wafuku (和服), or Japanese Clothing, and the handedness (for lack of a better word) of kimono is that it is worn with the left panel over the right. It is mostly out of tradition, likely with roots in the the codification of Shintō traditions in which an order of things must be observed (for instance, when praying at a Shintō ...


6

It is said that the first female instructor was Takako Kunigoshi. She was one of the first women to train under Ueshiba Sensei and started in January 1933 at what is now the Hombu Dojo. She trained there with another woman, but I don't know her name. Later she was asked to teach self-defense to other women. More information can be found here and here


6

This is about the Bodhidharma Shaolin Kung Fu myth. There is no legitimate evidence for Kung Fu or Shaolin Kung Fu coming from India or Kalari being the oldest martial art or first martial art in the world and wrestling(for example in cave paintings in Mongolia), grappling, stone chinese swords were there in prehistoric times. Bodhidhadharma taught ...


6

Interesting... I very much like @DaveLiepmann's answer, and agree with his message if not always his way of saying it. I do want to expand a little on it. Reality vs. Non-Reality Without getting into hundreds of years (Possibly thousands) of philosophical debate on what is and what is not real, let's consider Objective vs. Subjective reality. For ...



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