Dictionary of Martial Art Styles

Aikido - Aikido is a Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba (often referred to by his title 'O Sensei' or 'Great Teacher'). On a purely physical level it is an art involving some throws and joint locks that are derived from Jujitsu and some throws and other techniques derived from Kenjutsu. Aikido focuses not on punching or kicking opponents, but rather on using their own energy to gain control of them or to throw them away from you. It is not a static art, but places great emphasis on motion and the dynamics of movement.

Hapkido - Hapkido is a discipline of coordination, a way of strengthening the mind and body, of fusing the individuals physical and mental powers so that he or she will emerge as a more fully integrated human being. The word in fact means; Method or Way (DO) for the coordination Harmony (HAP) of mental Energy or spirit (KI). One should always try to avoid violence, but if someone grabs you, attempts to strike you, or physically assaults you in any way, it has escalated beyond words, and you are left with the only option which is to defend.

Hwa Rang Do - Hwa Rang Do, teaches that in order to attain maximum human potential, one must attain a state of balance and maintain harmony with natural laws of the universe. The theory of Um-Yang states that in nature there is co-existence of polar dichotomies. For every one, there is an equal opposite. Hwa Rang Do, is a combination of UM {soft/circular movement} and YANG {hard/linear movement}, making it one of the most diversified and comprehensive martial arts to be found in the world. It's study integrates the spiritual, mental, and physical disciplines enabling its practitioners to realize their full potential in all areas of life. The techniques are derived in accord with the principles of Um-Yang. Three Elements of Um, the essence of Hwa Rang Do®, soft techniques: Yu - soft, fluid force of flowing water. The power of Yu is deceptive; relenting under force; it draws its attack into its own stream of power and re-directs it. Won - is movement in circular directions. Its power may be seen in the rock at the end of a sling, or the power developed from a spinning motion. Hwa - as the third element of Um, it represents unity and combination. Three Elements of Yang, the essence of Hwa Rang Do, hard techniques; Kang - is hard like steel or stone. Its power is illustrated in the form of a closed fist in a thrust punch or a straight front kick. Kak - means angles. Its form is found in the correct angle of the joint when applying breaking and throwing techniques or straight angular blocks. Kan - means maintaining proper distance. It is the opposite aspect of Hwa or combination and its form is found in understanding the distance between two opponents.

Jeet Kune Do - Jeet Kune Do is the complete body of technical (physical, scientific) and philosophical (mental, social and spiritual) knowledge that was studied and taught by Bruce Lee during his lifetime. It is concerned solely and exclusively with Bruce Lee's personal evolution and process of self-discovery through the Martial Art, as supported by written record (personal papers and library) and oral recollections (by those students who spent time with and/or studied under him). Jeet Kune Do should be considered as the "Root" that was established by Bruce Lee, and NOT the ultimate goal of any practitioner, as students are expected to modify, add, and delete all aspects of Jeet Kune Do until they develop something that is uniquely their own (You the individual become, through this process of self-discovery, your own best teacher).

Ju Jitsu - Ju Jitsu is formed from two ideograms Ju the various meanings of which are suppleness, flexibility, pliancy, gentleness and Jitsu meaning technique or art. So Ju Jitsu means the art of suppleness or flexibility. As most Ju Jitsuka (a student of Ju Jitsu) know there is nothing "gentle" about the martial art. What Ju is conveying is that Ju Jitsu does not use strength against strength, it uses the opponents strength and force of attack as a weapon against him, thus enabling a stronger or bigger attacker to be subdued. Ju Jitsu is one of the most complete martial arts there is. It incorporates unarmed strikes, joint locks, chokes and throws.

Judo - Judo is based on the ancient Japanese martial art called Jujitsu. Professor Kano opened the Kodokan Dojo in Tokyo, Japan in the year 1882 and started to train students in Nippon-Den-Kodokan-Judo. Judo, which means the "gentle way," is not only concerned with attack and defense techniques but the physical conditioning and total health that could be attained from its practice. The meaning of the word Ju (gentleness) denotes not resisting the strength of the opponent, but adapting to it, and taking advantage of it by turning it to one's own advantage. The meaning of the word Do (way) denotes not just methods or techniques, but also signifies adherence to strict moral principles which are essential in striving for "self-perfection as a human being".

Karate - Karate is a generic term for the various kick/punch arts which originated in Okinawa and Japan. Karate is a Japanese word that translates into English as, “empty hand.” It is a martial art of unarmed self-defense in which directed blows of the hands or feet are delivered with special shouts from a poised stance. Karate is related to judo but stresses striking techniques, through kicks and punches, rather than wrestling or throwing an opponent. Karate as a means of self-defense has the oldest history, going back hundreds of years. It is only in recent years that the techniques which have been handed down were scientifically studied and the principles evolved for making the most effective use of the various moves of the body. Training based on these principles and knowledge of the working of the muscles and the joints and the vital relation between movement and balance enable the modern student of Karate to be prepared, both physically and psychologically, to defend himself successfully against any would-be assailant. The major traditional styles of karate are Shotokan, Shito Ryu, Goju Ryu, and Wado Ryu.

Kendo - Kendo is a Japanese style of fencing derived during the Meiji period in Japan (1868-1912), from the two-handed sword fighting techniques of the samurai. Today kendo, which means "way of the sword", is practiced with shinai (bamboo swords), and fighters wear protective equipment covering the target areas: the head, wrists, and abdomen. The bogu (protective gear) consists of a men (face mask), a do (breastplate), kote (fencing gloves), and the tare, a kind of apron to protect the stomach and hips. Under the protective gear, kendoka (students of kendo) wear a hakama, or wide split skirt, reaching the ankles. The weapon used in Kendo is the shinai, or bamboo sword. The shinai is approximately four feet in length and is made of four carefully formed bamboo slats bound together to form hollow cylinder. A cord runs along the length of the shinai. To make a valid cut a player must strike his opponent with the side opposite the cord. In addition the point must be struck with the top third of the shinai.

Kickboxing - Kickboxing started in the US during the 1970's when American karate practitioners became frustrated with strict controls on martial arts competitions that didn't allow full contact kicks and punches. Many questions were raised when the sport began about the high risk of injury. As a result, safety rules were improved and protective clothing was added. As this is a relatively new sport there are no long-term traditions. The sport has undergone changes and been refined during the last two decades. Competitors use sparring, kicks, punches, kick blocks, shadow boxing, and wood breaking that is learned and applied under professional instruction.

Kung Fu - An extremely disciplined, powerful martial art where strength is built in low stances and powerful blocks. Some Kung Fu blocks are so powerful that it can break the arm of someone who is punching you. Kunf Fu has many systems like Hung-Gar, WuShu, Wing Chun, and others. Kung Fu is for the patient, and mentally and physically strong person. It was the basis for many later forms of martial arts. Over the years, kung fu developed into different styles such as Wing Chun, Drunken boxing and styles based on animal movements like the crane or snake. The reason for such diversity was simple. People rarely traveled far from their homes and kung fu evolved in different locations. In northern China, martial arts emphasized kicking and leg work. In the South, various forms of boxing were most common. Top kung fu stars today have mastered different styles as well. Jet Li is best known as a practitioner of wu shu which uses many different styles emphasizing fluid motion. Jackie Chan learned kung fu while training in a Chinese opera school in Hong Kong and boosts a mastery of the "five animal styles" of kung fu which is highlighted in the film Shaolin Wooden Men.

Muay Thai - (also referred to as Thai Boxing), and Savate (also referred to as Boxe Francais). Muay Thai is the oldest known form of kickboxing and is the primary building block of all other forms of kickboxing. Muay Thai is the national sport of Thailand and is one of the most popular sports in the world today. The history of Kickboxing in Thailand however, is clouded at best. When the Burmese army sacked and razed Ayuddhaya to the ground the archives of Thai history were lost, and along with them much of the early history of Muay Thai. The first great interest in Muay Thai as a sport is documented to have come around the year of 1584 under the rule of King Naresuan. The King himself was well trained in the art of Muay Thai and so were his soldiers. Soon the art spread to the public and new fighting techniques began to evolve. Matches were held in every town and village on a daily basis. The sport of Muay Thai made its way to Europe sometime around the 17th century where it was embraced with open arms. The sport was modified, primarily to outlaw the use of knees and elbows, and given the name Savate.

Soo Bahk Do - Soo Bahk Do is an ancient, traditional Korean martial art comprising hand and foot techniques. The art is renowned for its disciplined approach and emphasis on the tradition and technical aspects of martial art. Like most traditional martial art systems, Soo Bahk Do has unlimited horizons. Consistent training leads to improvement not only in physical ability, such as flexibility, strength, stamina and speed, but also mental focus and application of will. These benefits develop a sense of calm and quiet confidence in the practitioner.Soo Bahk Do is one of the most popular forms of Korean martial art.

Sumo - Originally known as "sumai", meaning struggle, sumo began around 20 B.C. as military combat. Sumai used most of the modern sumo techniques, plus a variety of strikes. . It resembled other wrestling based arts such as mongolian wrestling and Indian wrestling. Before the 16th century almost all wrestling was practiced for battle. Evolving after the 16th century, it eventually became known as sumo. Rules, ranks, and a ring now make sumo into a sport of giants. The water ceremony, the bowing, the costumes, and pageantry are all reminders of the ancient military traditions are still recognized today in competition. To follow a competition is quite easy. The winner is the one who forces his opponent out of the ring or forcing his opponent to touch the floor with any body part above the knee, first. The techniques they employ range from slapping (tsuppari), sweeps (ketaguri), and a wide variety of sacrafice throws (utchari).

T'ai Chi Chuan - The forms of Tai Chi Chuan are a traditional Chinese approach to exercise, meditation, and personal growth. Practiced both for health and self-defense, its graceful, flowing movements are at the same time beautiful, healthful and powerful. Its practice promotes an inner calm and a tranquil attitude, enhancing self-awareness. Tai Chi springs from emptiness and is born of nature. It is the source of motion and tranquility and the mother of Yin and Yang. The body weight or center of gravity of the practitioner sinks into the abdomen and trunk of the body, thus allowing more relaxed and deep breathing. With the mind quieted, the heartbeat slows down, and different muscular, neurological, glandular, and organ systems function in a more balanced fashion. The practice of Tai Chi Chuan is harmony and understanding of the ways of the world.

Tae Kwon Do - Tae Kwon Do is the world's most widely practice martial art. Tae Kwon Do is a Korean art. It is an Olympic sport, a system of self-defense, and a way of life. The techniques are graceful and powerful precise movements. Students continuously strive to improve the presentation of each technique. The art of Tae Kwon Do develops posture, movement, excellent coordination, and attention to detail. We believe that everyone can benefit from exposure to this arts discipline.

Tang Soo Do - Tang Soo Do is a Korean martial art which teaches empty hand and foot fighting, fighting forms, self-defense, and weapons. Tang Soo Do also teaches people to live a healthy and harmonious life. This ancient martial art traces its lineage back 2,000 years to the Korean peninsula. Tang Soo Do not only teaches physical techniques but also trains us to practice "DO" way of life through practice of the five virtues; "IN" -humanity, "UI"-righteousness, "YIE"-etiquette, "JI"-wisdom and "SHIN"-trust. When we reach the ultimate level of "DO", we can live in perfect harmony with the laws of nature.

Wing Chun - Wing Chun is the name of a system of martial arts developed in southern China approximately 300 years ago. Its originator, the Buddhist nun Ng Mui, was a master of Shaolin Kung Fu and used this knowledge to invent a way to take advantage of the weaknesses inherent in the other Shaolin systems. This new system was well-guarded and passed on to only a few, very dedicated students. Later, the style became known as Wing Chun, after Ng Mui's first student, a woman named Yim Wing Chun. More recently, beginning in 1970, Bruce Lee, who trained primarily in Wing Chun but also some other arts, incorporated some of its techniques and ideas into his own Jeet Kune Do. His fame led to international interest in Wing Chun.