Thursday, December 01, 2005

Global Martial Arts

Wing Chun is a system of fighting said to be created by a female martial artist of the same name. It has been developed over time in the highly populated regions of southern China. Often fights would take place in over crowded boats, where high kicks and swinging punches would not have been favourable. Thus the style favours very few kicks, all below waist height and uses mainly short punching techniques such as the chain punch. It has a special concern about protecting its centre line and attacking the opponents.

Chain punching and sticky hands are two techniques that are often heavily emphasised. The concept of trapping is also an aspect, which is often associated with the style.

Praying Mantis apart from having a cool name also has quite an impressive look to it. Its low stance and claw like hand guard make it quite memorable. Again this system mainly uses the upper body in its attack (obviously the legs play an extremely important role in stability and movement).

Unlike Wing Chun it does not emphasize the centre line as the target, but uses more curved or swinging hooked punches. The shape of the hand when striking an opponent is also unusual in this system. A strike from the back of the hand or fingers joined together to form a beak shape is often seen.

Eagle Claw is another famous technique although it is rare to find an instructor. The system concentrates on grappling techniques, mainly what is termed as Chin na or catching hands. There are 72 preset techniques in Chin na, from which you are to understand how to create more yourself. It is believed to have been originally developed by one of China's many great generals and passed on to his troops to increase their effectiveness in combat.

Eighteen throw system is a little known art, but is amongst some of the oldest styles in China. This is a system of throwing and ground grappling techniques.

Hun Chaun is an extremely widely practiced technique although sometimes the practitioners themselves do not know it. The average Chinese villager who wishes to train in the martial arts often practices this technique. It is also know as Hun Gar or Lau Gar. The Hun or Lau referring to the particular family (Gar) variant.

Chow Lu Fat is another very famous system of Kung Fu renowned for its external fighting style. Again this styles emphasis is on the upper body.

Northern long fist is a flamboyant system that concentrates on punching techniques. The system uses long swinging punches from a distance to attack its opponents.

Southern long fist is an extremely rare system in the west. Although it sounds similar in name to the previous system mentioned, it is by no means the same. It also concentrates on hand techniques. At a basic level it resembles western boxing. It is however, not restricted in its techniques as boxing is due to the rules of the sport.

This style bridges long distances quickly in order to strike with the fist. The advantage being that the opponent does not expect to be hit form such distance. Deception and curved punches are trademarks of the style.

Southern fist

Pak Kua or Ba Gua Zhang as it is sometimes known is one of the main three internal systems of Kung fu. It is characterised by its distinctive footwork and use of curved movements.

Hsing-I is the second of the main three internal arts. It is by far one of the oldest Chinese styles, having first been mentioned around four thousand years ago (Yellow Emperor). It is said to resemble Karate in form but is soft and relaxed. It is practiced at a normal speed unlike the other two internal styles.

Tai Chi Chuan is the third main internal style. It is by far the most famous and widely used. It is characterised by its slow graceful movements, building internal strength. It is not renowned for its combat effectiveness although it can ultimately be used for this. It is also a favourite amongst the elderly community.

Iron Palm is both an internal and external technique. It concentrates on the development of strong powerful palm strikes. Students are often seen sending the hands, fingers first, into hot sand or even coals. To achieve this without damaging the hands one must apply the correct medicine.

Iron Bell is a little known technique and indeed little practiced. To my knowledge there are only two proper Masters known to exist. This style concentrates on creating a highly conditioned body using internal training methods. It is said that these masters only have 2-3 weak points where they are especially vulnerable. The points differ from person to person.

Iron Shirt/Vest is another system that concentrates on conditioning the body, mainly the upper body.

The reference to iron indicates the internal aspect of the three aforementioned styles. An important part of the training is the ability to develop chi.

Drunken Style is a technique that takes on some of the characteristics of a drunkard. These include being extremely relaxed and unpredictable. It is characterised by its use of movements that look off balance but are not.

Flipping kick is another little known technique. It is characterised by its shear speed and power, achieved by the nunchaku like action of the leg.

Pak Mei (White Eyebrow)

Japanese martial arts

Ju Jitsu is a grappling style that was developed on mainland Japan by the Samurai. It uses both throws and wrist/arm locking techniques. Kicks and punches are also taught but is an aspect, which it is not particularly famous for. It is however famous for its submission holds and is a favourite in the British military.

is an offshoot of Ju Jitsu. It concentrates on throwing techniques and was designed by Jigero Kano, to develop the martial artist spiritually as appose to developing a street fighter.

Aikido is another offshoot of Ju Jitsu, and in much the same way as Judo was designed to develop the spirit of the practitioner. It specialises in wrist locks and proclaims to use the force of the opponent against them (a lot of styles claim this).

Ninpo tai jitsu is better known as Nin jitsu. It was developed in the mountains of mainland Japan, where many of societies out casts ended up with native tribes. It contains a range of movements although it is not famous for any particular range.

Karate is probably the most famous of martial arts. It was developed from the Chinese temple boxing system by the Okinawan's. Originally known as Chinese hand, it was changed to mean empty hand by Ginchin Funokoshi who created Shotokan Karate, when Japan invaded China.

Under the banner of Karate there are many variants. These include Shotokan, Wado Ryu, Kyoshinkai etc. They are characterised by the linear attacks and emphasis on conditioning.

Kendo is a sword fighting art. As with a few of the more famous Japanese martial arts, this focuses on the spiritual development more than the self defense, hence the "do" at the end.

The sword is actually made of bamboo so as to prevent injury, and is know as a "Boken".

Ken jitsu is the ancestor of Kendo, the "jitsu" refering to the more lethal martial way. Here real swords are often used in training. Both these arts are known for their short simple movements.

Iedo is a lesser known sword fighting style. It mainly concentrates on trying to finish the fight in one movement. The art of quick draw swords.

Sumo is a type of wrestling. It has many rules to it as it is a sport. It is characterised by some throwing techniques and by powerful striking palms.

Japanese wrestling is a grappling style that includes punching and kicking.

Shoot fighting is mainly a grappling art, developed from various styles particularly ju jit su. It does contain striking aswell but concentrates on submission techniques. It is particularly famous for its sudden grabbing of the legs, hence the shoot aspect of the name.

Korean martial arts

Tae kwon do is a mix between japanese karate (which makes up the main hand techniques) and Korean kicking style Tae Kyon. The kicking technique is the main distinguishing features of Tae Kwon Do.

It is a relatively new style which has grown rapidly in popularity, mainly due to good marketing by the Korean government. It is now an Olympic sport.

Tang Soo do

Hapkido involves a lot of wrist lock technques and some basic grappling techniques, but is not as well known for them as other grappling styles. It too contains kicking techniques derived from Tae kyon.

Soo Bak do

Thai martial arts

Muay Thai is famous for its knee and elbow techniques. Practioners are often commended for their fitness and conditioning. The Muay Thai fighter will land with the shin as oppose to the instep of the foot, thus they condition this area a lot.

Shin kicks to the legs followed by knees and elbows is what you should expect. They are not so famous for their punching techniques, but do still use it on the occasion. The punching is simular to western boxing.

Burmese martial arts

Malaysian martial arts

Penchak Silat
is a generic name for various fighting arts that are quite simular in south east asia. It involves puching kicking grapplings techniques. The fighters tend to have a low stance and are quite agressive. Practioners often carry unconventional fighting aid like a hook ring on the finger, which adds a cutting edge to a punch.

Philippines martial arts

Escrima is a stick fighting art.

Konk kolan

Limo lama

Bangladeshi martial arts

Latti is a short stick fighting art. There are only a few people practicing the art now.

Indian martial arts

Kelari pattayu

Thang ta is a sword and spear art.

Gatka is a sword fighting style.

Russian martial arts

Sambo is a russian martial art developed by the Russian army. It is mainly a grappling style, favouring submission holds and featuring leg and ankle locks that are often not in other grappling styles.

European martial arts

Savate/boxe francais (French) was developed indepently in France during the Napoleonic period. Its hand techniques are like mainstrean western boxing. They also have quite distinctive kicks, often kicking with the heels.

Boxing (English) evolved over the last 3 hundred years. Due to the numerous safety rules applied to it (modern rules= queensbury rules) it now only involves punching techniques. Jab, cross, hook and uppercuts are the main techniques learned.

Most fighters only stick to working these moves. Some fighters will work on moving around the opponent coming in for quick shots and moving out quickly before being hit.

Fencing (European) is a sword fighting style. Practitions will often be seen fighting with a Foil or Sabre. It has short parries and long direct jabs.

Brazilian martial arts

Capoeira originally from Africa it was banned by the slave owners from being practiced so the practioners incorperated it into a dance. It is characerised by it flamboyant movements.

U.S.A martial arts

Jeet Kune Do is the style developed by the late Bruce Lee. It translates as the way of the intercepting fist, and is probably one of the U.S.As earliest original arts. There are many variants of JKD and offshoots, depending on who teaches you.

You have the OJKD (original JKD) also known as Jun Fan Gung Fu. This is 80% Wing Chun, the rest is made up of Boxing, Fencing and Savate techniques. The next major group is the JKDC (concepts), these guys do most of the same curriculum as the OJKD guys but also add other stuff from Kali to BJJ any style that they see fit but the aforementioned is a norm.

Other smaller groups but equally influential art Progressive Fighting System PFS, created by Paul Vunak (student of Dan Inosanto who was Lee's second top student), it goes further adapting the techniques himself. So the practitioner may be doing something that was descended from Wing Chun but may not be recognised as one.

American freestyle wrestling is a grappling art descended from greco roman wrestling. It is generally practiced as a sport, where the player has to keep the opponent pinned down for a given number of seconds.

Locks and submission holds are not a general feature of this, although in the advent of nhb tournaments wrestlers are learning these aswell. Some famous names include Dan Severn and Randy Coutor both UFC champions.


Blogger Erik Mann said...

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11:42 AM  

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