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Ancient peoples of all types engaged in fighting, war and hunting.
Thus, each civilization has subscribed to a version of martial arts or combat that is unique to them. Yet, most people think of Asia when they hear the term martial arts. Along with this, around the year 600 BC, trade between India and China flourished. It is believed that during this period, information regarding Indian martial arts was transmitted to the Chinese and vice versa.
According to legend, an Indian monk named Bodhidharma facilitated the transmission of Chan (China) or Zen (Japan) in China when he moved to southern China. His teachings lent a lot to martial arts philosophies like humility and restraint that continue to this day. In fact, some have credited Bodhidharma with initiating Shaolin martial arts, although this claim has been discredited by many.
Types of Martial Arts: Generally, martial arts can be divided into five distinct categories: standing or striking styles, grappling styles, low impact styles, weapon based styles, and MMA (A Hybrid Sports Style).
Along with this, the emergence of MMA has caused a certain mix of styles in recent years to the point that many dojos are not quite the same as they used to be. Either way, here are some of the more popular styles.
Striking or standing styles
Tae Kwon Do
Combat or ground combat styles
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Throw or strike styles
Low impact or meditative styles
Styles based on Chi Gong
MMA – Hybrid sporty style
Famous figures of martial arts
Many people have made significant contributions to the martial arts. Here is just a sample.
Itosu Anko: Anko (1831-1915) is widely regarded as “the grandfather of karate”, for his work in creating simplified katas and forms for less advanced students. In this way and more, he is credited with helping the art gain wider acceptance.
Helio Gracie: Gracie passed away in January 2009 at the age of 95. He is considered the inventor of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, having taken the teachings of judo and made them less about strength and more about leverage.
Royce Gracie: Helio’s son Royce Gracie won three of the first four UFC tournaments. It served to show the world how effective the art his father had invented, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, was. He did so, by the way, only weighing 170 to 180 pounds in tournaments where there was no weight limit. His performance in those early UFC tournaments changed martial arts forever.
Dr Jigoro Kano: At a time when all individualized activities in Japan were in decline (Japanese jujutsu included), Kano invented Kodokan Judo with the idea that it could one day become quite mainstream to become a sport and therefore less individualized. . So, he eliminated many techniques that he considered dangerous in jujutsu, and ultimately his dream came true. In 1910, judo became a recognized sport.
Bruce Lee: Bruce Lee was important for more than his ability to star in popular movies and the TV series The Green Hornet. He was also an innovator in the arts, realizing that things that didn’t work should be rejected for effective techniques. He was the founder of Jeet Kune Do art, a style designed to live outside the boundaries of other traditional martial arts styles. On July 20, 1973, Lee died in Hong Kong at the age of 32. The official cause of his death was brain edema, which had been caused by a reaction to a prescription pain reliever.
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