Questions tagged [history]

Martial arts origins, lineage, intermingling, influences, and cultural contexts.

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How is it feasible to wear a proper sword on your back?

We all know this common trope in fantasy that expert swordmen and heroes wear their swords sheathed on their backs. Question is: how?! I do own a longsword, blade length about 30 inches. The typical ...
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1 vote
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Which martial arts actor emulates Bruce Lee's fighting style most faithfully?

The three depictions of Bruce Lee that I've seen are Jason Scott Lee in Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, Danny Chan in the Ip Man films, and Mike Moh in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (although I'd rather ...
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Is there any reliable evidence to suggest Bruce Lee was a great fighter?

There are two videos on Youtube which, judging by the comments below them, seem to convince people of Bruce Lee's brilliance. Both videos are excerpts from a single film, apparently shot at the 1967 ...
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3 votes
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Why did Bruce Lee stop studying under Ip Man?

According to Wikipedia, Bruce was arrested in 1958 due to a fight with a rival school's student, and as a result, his parents decided it would behoove him to return to the United States (emphasis mine)...
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Is there a function of mythology, history, and oral history in martial arts?

Jian is my focus, and I get criticized for passing on “single drop of red”. This is because most people’s awareness of the concept comes though late 20th century wuxia, is a fantastical genre from its ...
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What is the value in preserving traditional martial arts in the mixed martial arts era?

This question does not express an opinion. The author has reached some conclusions of his own, but feels it is a useful question for both those who remain dedicated to traditional arts and those who ...
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3 votes
3 answers
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What does it mean to "eat bitter" in Chinese gongfu

This is an old Chinese idiom, but it seems to have a special importance in Chinese martial arts, where it might be said to be a central maxim. Essentially, some form of: "To get good gongfu, ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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Sun Tzu as applied to martial arts?

Sun Tzu is famous for his strategy manual The Art of War. In modern times this manual has been applied to domains such as business, but has it been applied to martial arts? Can Art of War be applied ...
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What is the primary technique of Wudang sword?

Wudang sword is famed in China and has been preserved as an extant practice since swordfighting days. But when I watch web videos on the art, I sometimes get unreliable information about what it ...
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7 votes
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Was grappling actually underappreciated in the USA before the UFC?

A narrative I commonly see is that grappling was only widely appreciated in America due to the success of Gracie Jiujitsu in the first few UFCs of the 1990s. Supposedly, people expected boxing, ...
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Was Gozo Shioda influenced by Kimura & Oyama?

I ask because my understanding is that Shioda's Yoshinkan school of Aikido was considered controversial in that it recognized the brutality of combat, when one is fighting for one's life, and ...
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What sort of throws are illegal in Muay Thai and why?

I started to watch Muay Thai recently, and something I can't really wrap my head around is exactly what throws are illegal. Muay Thai abstains from many throws and takedowns you'd find in grappling ...
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Why are Judo's Seiryoku Zen'yo Kokumin Taiiku exercises seldomly practiced?

In Kodokan Judo by Jigoro Kano (the founder of judo), chapter 19 Seiryoku Zen'yo Kokumin Taiiku contains a catalogue of individual striking exercises called Tandoku Renshu and partner exercises called ...
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Why is judo's Katame-no-Kata so free-form relative to Nage-no-Kata?

The first two kata taught in judo are Nage no Kata (throwing forms) and Katame no Kata (grappling forms). Here is also a second Katame no Kata video with different escapes for the first pin kuzure ...
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Was Bujinkan Ninjutsu practiced by ninjas in feudal Japan?

I have been quite a fan of Bujinkan Ninjutsu for a while now and in fact, been researching quite a lot about Ninjutsu and its history. Unfortunately, as I started researching more into Ninjutsu, I ...
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Origin of the triangle choke?

The triangle choke as used in Judo and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu has its origins in early 20th century Judo: Original Translation Photograph from article この技法は大正十一年の高専柔道大会で六高柔道部生徒達によって初めて繰り出され、それ以降... ...
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6 votes
2 answers
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When was throwing introduced to martial arts?

Throws seem mysterious to me. Just the idea of being able to move your body in such a way that you are able to physically pick someone up without your hands and land them on their back seems like a "...
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2 votes
1 answer
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What martial arts are part of Kuk Sool Won?

I started taking Kuk Sool Won a few weeks ago. Kuk Sool Won is a Korean martial art that is basically a collection of older, traditional Korean martial arts. I found out about it because it is the art ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Etymology of Tsubame-gaeshi?

Why is tsubame-gaeshi ("swallow reversal") thus named? Wouldn't it have been more natural to name it deashi-gaeshi in line with the other kaeshi counter-throws?* * Osoto-gaeshi, ouchi-gaeshi, uchi-...
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2 votes
1 answer
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What is "Tengu-nage"?

Famous judoka Yokoyama Sakujirō was known by the nickname Tengu, and his tokui-waza was hence named tengu-nage: Yokoyama's specialty was tengu-nage ("mountain-devil throw"), said to be nearly on a ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Etymology of Yama-Arashi?

Most1 Kodokan judo techniques are named in a somewhat systematised way, describing the major visual/mechanical components of the technique (e.g. koshi-guruma "hip wheel", o-soto-gari "major outer reap"...
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3 votes
1 answer
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How has Kodokan technique classification changed over the years?

Over the years several new techniques have been added to the Kodokan judo syllabus, and some variants of existing techniques have since gained their own official names. How has technique ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Judo techniques with their origin in BJJ?

Are there any techniques developed independently in BJJ since it branched off from judo which have hence been incorporated into Judo to success? E.g. a novel type of armlock/strangle/pin, a non-...
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3 votes
2 answers
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Did Jigoro Kano invent the concept of Kuzushi in judo?

It is oft claimed that one of the distinguishing points between Kano's Judo and the schools of Jujutsu that came before was that he introduced the concept of kuzushi ("balance breaking") ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Is there a legitimate fighting technique using dual sword on horse?

My question comes from this video(link provided below). I am not convinced that the person in the video who used dual swords on a horse to cut some tatami was faking it or not, but I ask anyway ...
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Is there a martial arts manuscript/record or technique using a glaive while on horseback?

As the title states, I want to know if there is a martial arts technique with a manuscript record (preferably in English with an image or a video explanation) that uses a glaive type sword while on ...
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8 votes
2 answers
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What did Judo change/innovate when it branched from Jujutsu?

What did Judo change/innovate from Jujutsu? I understand that Kano, the inventor of Judo, borrowed from Jujutsu, and his style was originally called Kano Jujutsu. And I understand that he removed ...
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3 votes
2 answers
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What is the purpose of Baguazhang deerhorn knife having some of its blade protruding/pointing inside?

Won’t it hit/stab the wielder if knocked/pushed in? i know potentially it can be a handguard/armguard protection but so far as i see, most of this also sharpened or very pointy. (correct me if iam ...
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4 votes
0 answers
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Does "do" v. "jutsu" naming reflect Daoist influence?

I have read about the naming changes in Japanese martial arts, with a shift from jutsu (術) to do (道) reflecting a supposed shift in emphasis from fighting techniques to a quest for mental and physical ...
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7 votes
2 answers
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What is kubi-nage?

I have occasionally seen a throw called kubi-nage ("neck throw") referenced in Judo. This isn't a Kodokan-recognised name, but the throws I have seen described as it appear to be very similar to koshi-...
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6 votes
2 answers
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Did Jujutsu invent the Heimlich Manoeuvre? If so, when?

I have seen a couple of texts referring to what appears to be the Heimlich Manoeuvre among the methods of resuscitation* taught in some schools of jujutsu (and consequently, judo). What is surprising ...
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9 votes
1 answer
326 views

How has BJJ innovated since diverging from Judo?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has its roots in early 20th century Judo, but has developed independently as a distinct martial art focused on groundwork in the century since then. It maintains a number of ...
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6 votes
2 answers
270 views

What style(s) of Jujitsu did Jigoro Kano study?

I have read that in Japan there was a general system called jujitsu. However there were hundreds of branches of jujitsu. Most samurai were trained in different branches of jujitsu. Basically any ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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Are there any still surviving schools of Jujutsu?

I've trained at a couple of "traditional Jujutsu" clubs, but as far as I can tell their syllabuses seem to have been inspired by early 20th century judo, perhaps with a bit of aikido thrown in. Are ...
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2 answers
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Are Biceps Slicers legal in judo?

There are a number of compression locks in grappling, which function with tori placing a limb (acting as a fulcrum) in the crook of one of uke's joints, and applying pressure to flex the joint over ...
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3 votes
0 answers
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Origin of kata-guruma?

In an interview with Torahei Ochiai in the 1920's, Jigoro Kano states that he adopted kata-guruma from wrestling's fireman's carry.1 However, the Kodokan Judo Throwing Techniques book posits a ...
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5 votes
2 answers
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Why are punches to the head prohibited in some Eastern striking martial arts?

Some eastern martial arts (such as karate, taekwondo) prohibit straight boxing-style strikes/punches to the head in their sports rules: A punch that makes strong contact with the opponent's hogu ...
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5 votes
1 answer
535 views

Why were leg-locks removed from Judo?

Early judo contained (in addition to strangles and arm-locks) various types of leg-lock. At some point in the early 20th century all leg-locks were banned in both randori and competition, and removed ...
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2 votes
3 answers
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Under which Chinese teacher did Tang Soo Do's founder (Hwang Kee) study?

Wikipedia mentions the name as Yang Kuk Jin. I assume that this is some member of the Yang-style taichi. The best family tree I've been able to find for that is here: But I don't see any cognates of ...
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8 votes
1 answer
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Origin of kawazu-gake?

There have been multiple proposed etymologies for the judo throw kawazu-gake (河津掛): Named after a famed sumo wrestler, Kawazu Saburo Sukeyasu Named after "frog" (蛙 old japanese kawazu, ...
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7 votes
2 answers
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Source: Hélio Gracie being offered a Kodokan Belt and refusing?

I remember reading somewhere that, way down the line, the Kodokan offered Hélio Gracie a high dan ranking, and to absorb what had become BJJ back into the world of Judo. Hélio refused, presumably ...
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4 votes
4 answers
2k views

What is traditionally written on a judo belt?

I recently passed a Dan exam and would like to get rid of my old, cheap belt. I would like to buy a higher grade belt and have some inscriptions on it. I plan to take a Kusakura obi with the Kodokan ...
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1 vote
2 answers
358 views

Philosphy and history of Okinawan Karate

I've recently started stufdying Goju Ryu. I have some training and a black belt in a few other styles. One of the things that I miss with some masters here is their lack of historical and ...
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1 vote
2 answers
170 views

Is "Jogo do Pau" the only historic European martial art kept alive until today?

Recently I was at a "Jogo do Pau" demonstration, and during the introduction it was said to be the only historic European martial art that kept being practiced until the present day. It was at risk ...
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14 votes
6 answers
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Is modern martial arts effectiveness intentionally reduced?

Reading the "Taekwondo Grappling Techniques" book (Dr. Tony Kemerly and Steve Snyder, Tuttle Publishing, 2009), the first chapter provides an interesting overview of Taekwondo history, and the ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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ITF Taekwondo Patterns Information- Yul Gok & Toi Gye

I study ITF Taekwondo, and our patterns are named for significant people, places, groups, or events in Korean history. I was trying to learn more about the Neo-Confucian beliefs of Yi-Hwang ( Toi Gye)...
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8 votes
2 answers
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Did Ueshiba successfully explain his aikido knowledge to his students?

Original Question This is an excerpt of an interview with Takako Kunigoshi, a direct student of Ueshiba, in THelper's answer to Who were the first female aikidoka?. Editor: During Ueshiba Sensei’s ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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Did Samurai armour have flexible joints?

What type of armour was common for samurai? I would like to know if the armour had flexible joints versus totally flexible joints. I suppose the flexible joint armour came afterwards. To me some ...
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5 votes
0 answers
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Accuracy and historical veracity of goshi-no-kata knife attack: Yakuza link?

In the Shodokan Aikido goshin-no-kata, there is a technique (the 24th one) where uke's steps with the tanto in both hands and draws it. Tori grabs uke's left hand and executes a tenkai-kote-hineri. ...
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10 votes
3 answers
829 views

Why should "Oss" be used in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

Disclaimer: this is a potentially subjective question, so I'm looking for answers to "why" with references. What is your experience and historical understanding of the use of the word? I've moved to ...
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