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30

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, ...


21

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. ...


21

Imrich Lichtenfeld - the founder of Krav Maga - does not appear to have any formal asian martial arts roots that I can find. His bios state that he learned wrestling and grappling from his father, and later honed his skills fighting on the street. (wikipedia, kravmaga.com). Once he immigrated to Israel he joined the para-military forces and started teaching ...


20

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 (today'...


19

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 ...


18

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 ...


17

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 ...


16

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 ...


14

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 ...


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

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 to ...


13

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 ...


12

White shows blood best, which is practical on the mat. You want to know if you or your partner has a cut or scrape. However, women recommend keeping a black gi to train in during your period (1, 2). Bleach is a non-factor because it weakens the fabric and will cause premature gi death by ripping. Blue and black look slightly more clean and sharp in more ...


12

Earliest examples of wrestling Wrestling has been a part of most societies since time-immemorial: Fresco in tomb 15 at Beni Hasan, Egypt ca. 2,000 BC. The earliest known historical European descriptions of wrestling techniques are from classical antiquity: Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 466 (c. 200 CE, Greece). And the earliest known manuals are from Chinese ...


11

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 ...


11

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 ...


10

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 ...


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

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 ...


10

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 ...


10

You're describing the knee push variation of "Scissor Sweep." It's very common in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. There are two main ways to do it from full guard. Both involve getting control of one arm in either double wrist control, or arm drag position. For the sake of this example we'll say you have their right arm. Method 1: Classic Scissor Sweep While keeping ...


9

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 ...


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

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 ...


9

Likelihood of truth We're talking about one or two bagua bodyguards, and then three baji bodyguards, out of how many--dozens? thousands?--of royal bodyguards during that time. Your sources suggest that the bagua-to-baji idea is at best an oversimplification and probably just a saying unless you find more substantial evidence. That said, it is an ...


9

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 (...


9

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 ...


9

A third degree brown belt is the lowest level of brown belt, not the highest, and is thus the furthest from black belt. A black belt does also not denote an understanding of all the tenets of judo. A third-degree brown belt means that you're not a total novice to the art. Sometimes it means even less. Teddy Roosevelt was a tough guy who liked many combat ...


9

According to Wikipedia's Martial Arts Timeline the oldest martial art identified is Ancient Egyptian. There are murals in the Beni Hasan tomb depicting wrestling that date back to 20th Century BCE. If you want the very first martial art, that's probably going to be "pointy stick". That Wikipedia link is pretty good. It shows approximate dates of ...


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 ...


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