Questions tagged [history]

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

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30
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5answers
15k views

How did the colour belt ranking system originate?

Many martial arts (karate, judo, jiujutsu, taekwondo, kung-fu, etc.) use some form of coloured belts to denote rank and level. How did this come about? Did the concept have common origin or did ...
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7answers
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Why are firearms not part of the martial arts world?

Systems of martial arts utilize of variety of weapons that include polearms, blades, and blunt objects among others. While Systema and some branches of ninpo budo taijutsu include firearms as part of ...
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9answers
2k views

How important is lineage when it comes to credibility or trustworthiness?

I was doing some surfing today and noticed a few mentions of lineage when considering a given school/dojo. The people asking about lineage of a given school seemed to feel that if the instructor(s) ...
17
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3answers
603 views

Do all schools of BJJ come from the same root?

Do all schools of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) come from the same original source? Or did some come down different path ways and hop on to the BJJ marketing wagon?
17
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3answers
444 views

Have any Kung Fu styles established a formal connection to the Shaolin Temple?

I often see martial arts schools claiming to be "Shaolin" in some way or another. As far as I know, though, that claim doesn't necessarily mean they are connected to the temple. Where can I find a ...
17
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3answers
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What Level Of Expertise Did Theodore Roosevelt Have In Judo?

During his tenure as president, Theodore Roosevelt held a third-degree brown belt in Judo (according to Wikipedia). I know that in standard ranking systems, a third-degree brown belt is just below ...
17
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3answers
5k views

Is there any documentation of newaza in Fusen-Ryu?

Renzo Gracie's book Mastering Jujitsu makes the interesting and not otherwise repeated claim that BJJ is descended directly from Fusen-Ryu rather than Judo. Allegedly, while Judo was cleaning up at ...
16
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6answers
14k views

Why is a gi worn left side over right?

I know the proper way to put on your gi is to put the left side over the right side, but why is this? Where did this custom come from? I think it applies to all martial arts (at least I know it does ...
15
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2answers
469 views

"Aikido is first and foremost BUDO"

The above sentence has been attributed to O'Sensei and I'd like to use it as a motto for my dojo's website. Problem: I can't find a reliable source about when/where he said this. Or a proper Japanese ...
14
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9answers
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What Defines Something As A Martial Art?

I've recently run across several conversations where someone goes to great lengths to clarify that a certain style is not a martial art. Mitro's answer to this question on Krav Maga for example: Is ...
14
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6answers
1k views

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 ...
14
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8answers
2k views

What is the oldest documented Eastern Martial Art that is still practiced?

Probably the oldest overall is something like wrestling, but of the eastern arts, what would be the oldest that people still practice?
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4answers
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History of Shotokan's Influence on Taekwondo

I have heard two things about Taekwondo from different sources: A) The founder of TKD (Choi Hong Hi) trained in Shotokan Karate and TKD is based on Shotokan. B) Taekwondo is based on pre-existing ...
12
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2answers
2k views

What qualifies a school or business as a legitimate martial arts system?

How can one find out if a martial art school is legitimate/registered? I took a style back in the 90's called Chung Moo Quan. The school eventually closed because of some investigations into it ...
12
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3answers
30k views

What do the colors of Gi in Jiu-Jitsu mean? Which should I get?

I was thinking of taking up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and my local gym offers the Gi in white, blue, or black. What are the advantages of each? Does black/blue stay looking cleaner with use? Or perhaps ...
12
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1answer
490 views

Who were the first female aikidoka?

When did the first women start training in Aikido? Who were they and where did they train? Who was the first female aikidoka to achieve teaching rank?
11
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3answers
6k views

China leader's bodyguards: From bagua to baji?

I have heard that in China, the emperor's bodyguards used to be Baguazhang practitioners. I do not have source to back this up, but Wikipedia at least hints at it: Because of his work as a servant ...
10
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4answers
9k views

Did Karate really originate in the Okinawa region of Japan?

Several Karate instructors I've spoken to indicate that Karate originated in the Okinawa region of Japan. However, when visiting the region and speaking to some of the local Karate students, they ...
10
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4answers
867 views

Aikido jo-staff origins

Within some Aikido circles, I have heard it be said that the jo-staff was representing a spear thus should be treated as if it had a blade at one end. This help explains uke's reactions to some of ...
10
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3answers
757 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 ...
10
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1answer
1k views

How did jiujitsu spread to Britain?

'Suffrajitsu': How the suffragettes fought back using martial arts talks about jiujitsu being used by suffragettes in pre-WWI Britain. How did the martial art spread from Japan to Britain?
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9answers
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Is "choondu marmam" in Kalari Payattu real?

In Kalari Payattu there is something called choondu marmam, which is used to attack the opponent with spiritual power. Is it real?
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7answers
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Does Krav Maga have any roots in Aikido?

Looking at this video, it seems that Krav Maga has a lot in common with Aikido, suprisingly! A lot of the techniques demonstrated here seem to be from Aikido, and also, the keikogi is almost identical....
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4answers
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Did martial arts really originate from India and is it based on yoga?

A person from Ukraine told me today that one of the reasons he practices martial arts, and also studies (and practices) religion by residing in religious places in India, is because he believes India ...
9
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9answers
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What is the cause for Northern and Southern Chinese kung fu differences?

When I hear anyone talk about a specific Chinese martial art, it falls into either a Northern Chinese or Southern Chinese style. I have learned that the general differences between the Northern and ...
9
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1answer
201 views

Glima and Greco-Roman wrestling cross pollination

Glima is a wresting Scandinavian martial art dating back to Viking times. Greco-Roman wrestling should be well known. Vikings were known to associate with the Roman Empire -- see the Varangians. Is ...
8
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4answers
3k views

Origin of the "pinyon" in Villari's Shaolin-Kempo-Karate system?

When I was young, I took a few years of Shaolin-Kempo-Karate at a couple Villari's dojos. As part of our training, we had the expected set of katas that we were required to learn. However, there was ...
8
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3answers
1k views

What is the oldest martial art?

What I mean by the "oldest martial art" is an organized martial art or lineage of martial arts that we have history about from a reliable source including its origins and date that it was designed. I'...
8
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2answers
313 views

Who said there are 3 paths of judo and where can I find the quote

Someone has said there are 3 paths (or types of practitioner) of judo. It goes something like this, but I might remember the details a bit wrong: One is a competitor, advances quickly in rank, but ...
8
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2answers
308 views

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 ...
8
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2answers
246 views

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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3answers
347 views

Who was the first female judoka?

Who were the first female judo players? When did they train? Keiko Fukuda was promoted to fifth dan in 1953.
8
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1answer
1k views

When did fake pro wrestling become so popular in the US?

Except for Mexico and Japan there are not many nations where professional (fake) wrestling is so successful. Where did this come from? Why did it become so popular? Here in Europe we don't have ...
8
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1answer
514 views

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 ...
8
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1answer
713 views

What are the origins of "tricking"?

My wife recently introduced me to the practice of "tricking" (essentially, a form of martial arts demo that focuses on jumps and acrobatic maneuvers - in some ways, the martial arts version of parkour)...
7
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2answers
253 views

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 ...
7
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2answers
709 views

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-...
7
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2answers
537 views

Explanation of the goshin-ho kata…

The goshin-ho is a set of 50 self defence techniques that are part of the curriculum for 四段 (4th dan), 五段 (5th dan), and 六段 (6th dan). The start can be seen here and the middle here… I am looking for ...
7
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1answer
253 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 ...
7
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3answers
2k views

When was the Southern Shaolin Temple destroyed?

Assuming it did indeed exist, when was the Southern Shaolin Temple destroyed? Personally, I've heard that it was possibly destroyed multiple times with the years (AD) 1646, 1647, 1674, 1732, 1901, ...
7
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1answer
2k views

Légion étrangère close combat system

What is the system of close combat taught in the Légion étrangère? How did it evolve during the history of the Légion?
7
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3answers
2k views

Was the Southern Shaolin Temple real and if so which location is valid?

We may never know the definitive answer to this one, but was hoping someone could shed some light in terms of educated opinions and/or factual evidence that points in a certain direction. Here's ...
7
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0answers
264 views

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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6answers
5k views

Does anyone actually fight with two katana simultaneously?

Most of us are familiar with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Leonardo fights with two katana, one in each hand. In every other movie I have ever seen in which katana appear, they are treated as a ...
6
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2answers
240 views

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 "...
6
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2answers
515 views

What's the name of this sweep and where did it originate?

Here is a description of the sweep: Attacker is in a sitting position, holding the opponent in guard, possibly, but not necessarily controlling the opponent's hands and preventing the opponent from ...
6
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2answers
233 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 ...
6
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1answer
517 views

Origin of this Zen koan-like story

We all heard that story, in one form or another: Student: Master, how long does it take to be a black belt. Master: Four years. Student: What if trained twice as hard? Master: Eight ...
6
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2answers
119 views

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, ...
6
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2answers
164 views

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 ...