Martial Arts Worldwide

By Alexa Boyce
When people here in the States think of Martial Arts, they may think of Bruce Lee's street fighting technique or Mr. Miyagi's disciplined approach. The truth is, that martial arts come in a large variety of styles and emphases. Some martial arts styles stress street combat, others stress sports skills and competition, others stress internal energy or chi, while still others are traditional arts that stress perfection of technique, self discipline and etiquette. They also vary in the main body stances, and can be divided into Stand-Up Style, Ground Fighting/Grappling Style, Throwing Style, Weapons- Based Style and Low-Impact or Meditative Style. Below, you will find a list of various martial arts practices and their unique features.
This Stand-Up Style martial art is traditionally considered to have originated in Okinawa, Japan, though it actually originated in China. Karate emphasizes power through various stances and footwork. Karate is practiced in stylized routines.
Kung Fu:
Another Stand-Up style, Kung Fu originated in China, Tibet and Mongolia. The words Kung Fu literally mean “hard work” or specifically, skill achieved through hard work. There are more than 400 different sub-styles of Kung Fu, and can stress skills such as stances or hand techniques.
Tai Kwon Do:
This Stand-Up style originated in Korea during the Koguryo dynasty, though modern TKD was developed in the 40's during the Japanese occupation, and bears little resemblance to the traditional TKD. Modern TKD emphasizes kicks and sparring, punches to the head are not allowed.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
This Grappling style originated in Japan, and was brought to Brazil in the early 20th century when Jiu Jitsu master Mitsuo Maeda emigrated from Japan. Brazilians honed this art through street fights until it became the completely unique art that it is today.
An Afro-Brazilian martial art whose influence can be most seen in Northern Brazil, in places such as Salvador. This style is heavily influenced by dance, and is always performed to music. Characteristics are deft, tricky moves played on the ground or completely inverted. It is very acrobatic and fun to watch as well as do.
Krav Maga:
In Hebrew, Krav Maga means “close combat”. It is a self-defense and military hand-to-hand combat technique. It is popular among civilians as well, though civilian classes generally leave out the killing techniques taught to the military and the hold stances taught to Israeli police.
Tai Chi:
This Meditative style art originated in China in the 15th and 16th centuries. For the most part, Tai Chi is a slow moving style that stresses breathing techniques to facilitate the flow of chi. Broken up into Yang, Chen, Wu, and Sun styles.

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