Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Origin of Martial Arts

In many cases Karate has been considered a fighting art with origin in Japan, not being that completely correct. To be much more accurate we must say that Karate has strong historical relations with certain ancient Greek sports, has it’s most deepest roots in India, it’s general headquarters in China and its development in Okinawa.
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Martial arts were developed in different ancient oriental cultures, where every different martial art was adapted to every land, it’s people and idiosyncrasy. It was assimilated in local wars and was influenced by religions and philosophies of the historical period. Even more, the real differences between martial arts were based on culture, history, political systems, geography, etc. In this way these lands, with the practice of their own fighting systems, gave life to their own styles.

The conclusions that can be made about karate today, are very different one from another depending on the source of the opinion. Some observe it as a system where the most important thing is kicking, giving blows with incredible strength and of course breaking objects. there are also endless tales about the mysterious and mystical aspects of martial arts, all of them very exaggerated and more related to fantasy than reality. These stories grow until they become myths or legends. Most of the time they are about people with a weak appearance that defeat terrible enemies.

We must remember that occident has always had a great curiosity about the way of life of these exotic and faraway countries, this and economical and sports interests have contributed to the deformed idea that people have about martial arts. These elements can explain why martial arts are so popular in Europe and America, but this obviously doesn’t have much to do with the real purpose and concepts that uphold martial arts and even less with the legacy that left the greatest martial arts masters.
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From the very beginnings of karate the participation of man was not motivated by fighting aspects alone, there was also a Zen meditation practice involved. In fact philosophy was understood as the best spiritual system for the comprehension of martial arts. Regarding this students used these as a way of life.

Moreover the difference between human beings and animals is based on rationalism, humans use intelligence instead of strength, developing also a sense of moral. Now in days people do not appreciate these type of theories, they are not very important, in fact society itself is established on the base of strength and violence so that its institutions can be respected. Mans actual rhythm of life, produces negative effects in his mind and body, but this can be surpassed with the practice of any martial art. The nature of martial arts is that the use the use of strength is valid only in certain cases, for example when human life is threatened, and even then it can not be used in a destructive manner.


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