TaeKwon-Do is action philosophy. It is the Korean art of self defense. Literally translated, Tae means foot, Kwon means hand, Do means art. It is much more than the image of the martial arts’ physical aspect. It is designed as a nonviolent art and system of complete body exercise as well as being a way of life. It includes physical techniques, mental disciplines, and a deep philosophy. By practicing TaeKwon-Do one can benefit in these ways.
Physically – One can develop good coordination, gain strength, increase flexibility, and improve cardio-vascular conditioning. From all of these physical practices one can have a strong body.
Mentally – One can build self-confidence, gain better judgement, and improve self-control. From all these mental disciplines, one can have a sound mind.
Philosophically – While developing a strong body and a sound mind, it is appropriate to learn the valuable philosophical tools and lessons in life offered by TaeKwon-Do philosophy. Among these lessons:
Incorporating these three aspects into one’s life will build for them, the ability to be strong, to be humble, to be gentle, and to maintain self-respect.
TaeKwon-Do philosophy emphasizes good health, happiness, generosity, and a sense of value of freedom, justice and peace. All of these inspire both independence and coexistence.
TaeKwon-Do is an art for humanity. It is a guide for the formation of outstanding character. It is practiced as a modern world sport. It is useful as a contemporary universal philosophy.
TaeKwon-Do is the most practical, most beautiful and greatest martial arts in the world.
The earliest records of Taekwondo practice date back to about 50 B.C. During this time, Korea was divided into three kingdoms.
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Karate may be defined as a weaponless means of self-defense. It consists of dynamic offensive and defensive techniques using all parts of the body to their maximum advantage. Karate practice is divided into three categories:
In each category the beginner is given instruction at the most basic level until the techniques become spontaneous. A beginner’s technical progress in karate is accompanied by physical progress. Gradually the student becomes involved with the study of more intricate and difficult kata, and more dynamic forms of kumite. As the student approaches black belt level, technique, stamina, speed and coordination become natural as a result of strong practice. It is at this stage that the serious student discovers that the study of karate has only just begun. The object of true karate practice is the perfection of oneself through the perfection of the art. Karate as self-defense is a very dynamic martial art. The trained karate practitioner is able to coordinate the mind and body perfectly, thereby allowing tremendous physical power to be unleashed at will. Therefore, it is not the possession of great physical strength that makes a strong karate practitioner; rather it is the ability to coordinate mind and body. Upon developing this ability, even the smallest person finds that he has within himself the power to deliver a devastating blow to any would-be attacker. The values of Karate to people in modern society are numerous. In our everyday lives we often forget the value of exercise to both our physical and mental health. The practice of karate tones the body, develops coordination, quickens reflexes, and builds stamina. Also, the serious practice of karate develops composure, a clearer thought process, deeper insight into one’s mental capabilities, and more self-confidence.
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Let’s start with an explanation of few terms and expressions. The term ‘kung fu’ (or ‘gung fu’) literally means ‘achievement through great effort’ but is also taken to be the name of a group of Chinese martial arts which typically feature sharp blows and kicks. The term ‘kung’ means something like achievement or merit, and ‘fu’ can be translated into man.
Many people are under the impression that Kung Fu originated with the Shaolin Temple. It did not. Although many people believe that the Chinese martial arts originated at the Shaolin Temple there is some evidence to suggest that the Chinese martial arts were well developed before the Shaolin Temple was built. The temple was built in the third century A.D. but there are references to such individuals as the physician Hwa Tuo who was using exercises based on animal movements to improve the physical health of his patients well before that date. Hwa Tuo lived at the time of the Three Kingdom, around A.D. 220-65. Hwa Tuo is said to have created a set of exercises based upon five animals: the tiger, bear, monkey, stork and dear. The reason this is significant is that there is even today a strong relationship between animal movement and the Chinese martial arts.
In fact the Shaolin temple did become a center of development for the martial arts and remained so for more than a thousand years before it was dissolved by the Ching Dynasty in the Eighteenth Century. As a side note the Shaolin Temple is situated at the foot of the ‘Songshan’ mountain in Dengfeng County, Honan Province. It should also be said that there have been many Shaolin Temples built all around China. Whether these were set up as competitors to the temple at Songshan or represented an extension of the original Shaolin Temple is not known.
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Traditional Aikido is non-competitive and promotions do not come through besting an opponent, but through demonstrating understanding of basic exercises and techniques, which become more demanding or difficult as rank increases. In Aikido we strive to work in cooperation with a partner, still employing effective technique against an energetic and realistic attack, yet doing so by blending with the attack and redirecting its energy back to the attacker.
We practice techniques against a variety of attacks such as kicks, punches, strikes, single-hand or two-hand grabs from the front or rear, chokes, multiple person attacks, and attacks with weapons. In all of these we strive to resolve the conflict in a non-lethal, non-disruptive, yet effective manner. Techniques may end in joint locks or immobilizations, or in dynamic motions where the attacker is thrown forwards or backwards across the mat, or through the air into a spectacular breakfall. Rather than primarily linear motions, Aikido is comprised of blending, turning, pivoting, circling, and spiraling. We are learning to deal not only with our own energy, but with that of an attacker or another person (or people) as well. Aikido embodies concepts which are at the same time very simple, yet very complex. Because of these and other differences, Aikido can be very challenging to learn, yet at the same time can be very rewarding because it is ultimately bringing us into harmony with ourselves and with our world, and helping us to become more complete and integrated human beings.
Aikido is a very effective martial art for self defense, not only because it teaches us how to defend against a variety of attacks, but because it is also training our state of mind and physical condition. Improved posture and breathing help us to fit better into our bodies; a positive state of mind affects how we move in the world and how we are perceived by others. The ability to maintain physical center and mental calm helps us in meeting stressful situations or in resolving conflict in a variety of situations – in the dojo, on the street, at school, in a business meeting, or at home. Most martial arts can help us improve physical things like balance, timing, and reaction. One of the purposes of repeated training is to move these things from conscious processing to automatic reflex. Aikido also helps us develop our spirit, sense of well-being, awareness and compassion. The multi-faceted approach to Aikido training makes us stronger and more complete human beings, better able to diffuse or defend against negative situations.
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Jiu-Jitsu is very different from many other martial arts. Unlike other martial arts like Karate and Tae Kwon Do, Jiu-Jitsu’s main focus is on grappling and ground fighting. However, surprisingly to many, Jiu-Jistu has emerged as the elite martial art that has dominated the world of MMA.
In contrast to other Martial Arts that only teach stand up techniques, Jiu-Jitsu teaches how to compete and control your opponent from being on your feet to defeating them on the ground. With statistics showing 90% of fights going to the ground it is obvious that the one that has the best ground skills is going to have a serious advantage. For those that wonder how this affects it’s use as an efficient form of self-defense it is important to remember where it came from. Gracie Jiu-Jitsu or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was specifically developed as a formidable form of self-defense in one of the toughest and most dangerous cities in the world. If it succeeded in becoming the most effect form of self-defense in Rio de Janeiro, you can bet it can help you out when you need it.
As opposed to martial arts like Karate that rely on power and hard strikes to do damage to an opponent, Jiu-Jitsu can be easily used by anyone of any size against a larger and stronger opponent. Jiu-Jitsu focuses on technique and strategy instead of brute strength. This makes BJJ a great martial art for men, women, teens and kids alike. The other advantage this form of fighting has over striking arts is that is offers more control in real life situations. Jiu-Jitsu can still be deadly if needed, but better than that it offers an easy way to take control of an attacker and render them unable to attack until they give up, calm down or help comes along.
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