Japanese Martial Arts

I lived in Japan for a little more than two years when I was in my early twenties, and when I wasn’t working I spent most of my time studying and practicing the martial arts, specifically Judo and Shotokan Karate. After entering the dojo each evening, I spent time sitting quietly in meditation before practicing kata (forms), techniques, and sparring. It was here where I began to learn about Zen and its relationship to the martial arts. Judo, Kendo, and Karate are greatly influenced by Zen.

A very popular style of Karate in Japan is called Shorinji Kempo and those who practice it believe that Bodhidharma was the creator. This great spiritual leader lived many years ago and the story goes that one day the Shorinji Temple was attacked by bandits and they stole all the food and clothing they could find. The Zen monks who lived there had no weapons or swords so they defended themselves with their empty hands (karate means empty hand) and Shorinji Kempo was born. Doshin So later established and further refined Shorinji Kempo based on the philosophy and techniques of Bodhidharma.

I started out studying and practicing Judo but I was also looking for more so I moved on and for the rest of my time in Japan I studied and practiced Shotokan Karate. Judo is a great martial art that was developed in the earlier 1880s. One of the fundamentals of this martial art that separates it from other styles is its use of leverage and basically knowing how to throw your opponent. It uses grappling and falling techniques to protect yourself and anyone of any age can learn. Judo is also a great sport. I always enjoy watching the competition in the Olympics.

Judo is extremely popular and practiced by millions all around the world. It’s a great martial art for staying in shape, helping you improve and excel in other athletic programs, and protect yourself with some excellent self defense techniques. Like all other martial arts, Judo has rules designed to improve confidence, physical ability, leadership skills, and flexibility. Honor and respect are first and foremost. As with any dojo that I have ever trained in there is always respect for the art, respect for the master, and respect for yourself. Judo is best known for its throwing, grappling, and falling techniques and it is also known for arm and leg locks, controlling holds, and chocking techniques. Judo is also known as “the gentle way” which makes it an excellent martial art that anyone can learn and practice, male or female, young or old, and even if you are disabled.

Aikido is a very popular Japanese martial art. Although it was developed sometime during the early 1940s so it isn’t really that old in the realm of martial arts, and yet it has a rich history that gives this art the feel as if it dates back hundreds of years. Aikido was created by Morihei Ueshiba born in 1883.  As he was growing up in Japan, one day he saw his father become a victim of some thugs who vandalized him. In an effort to seek revenge for his father he dedicated his life to the study of Jujitsu, Fencing, and spear fighting. Even though he had great skill in these fighting arts he felt something was missing, and he needed more. He began to educate himself on religion in an effort to find a deeper meaning in life but he always worked diligently in the perfection of his martial arts. It was at this point in his life when he created the martial art of Aikido by combining his training and education in Jujitsu, spear and sword fighting techniques, along with his religious beliefs. In addition to the usual kicks, blocks, and punches that are most martial arts, Aikido’s techniques include joint locks, weight leveraging, throws, as well as the use of an opponent’s aggressive force in defeating him. Aikido has become extremely popular in the United States, as well as many other countries around the world. Aikido will teach you more than self defense as you may very well find deeper self respect, inner spiritual peace, and harmony.

Shotokan Karate Do is a very popular and traditional style of martial art practiced and studied all over Japan. I have studied and practiced this marital art for more than two years. It is a traditional martial art in that its fundamentals are kicks, punches, and blocks. It is considered a ‘hard style’ meaning strong stances, closed fists, and powerful kicks and punches. Shotokan Karate Do is also founded on very formal teachings as its techniques are exhibited in Kata and Kumite (pronounced: Ku-me-tay.) Kata is a series of movements and actions (kicks, punches, and blocks) performed by all students and supervised by a mid to high ranking black belt or the Sensei. Kumite is based on formal sparring techniques and it also means competition based on the rules of sparring. Shotokan Karate Do’s philosophy is greatly influenced by Bushido and Zen. Bushido literally means “the way of the warrior” and it is the foundation for the life of a Samurai.

The history of Ninjitsu isn’t very clear simply because it has been shrouded in secrecy and its teachings, forms, and philosophy have been passed down from one generation to another. Consequently there isn’t much in the way of documentation or actual written records. However, most historical records indicate that Ninjitsu originated, or was created by families who lived in the Koga region during the Muromachi period. The Muromachi period started around 1337 and lasted to approximately 1573. This period in Japanese history was ruled by a supreme military commander titled Shogun and when this period of rule ended in 1573, the 15th and last Shogun was driven out of the capital of Kyoto. A Shogun was a military governor who ruled a prefecture in Japan and was appointed by the emperor. The Shogun assigned territories to very powerful lords called daimyos and they commanded many samurai. The history of Shogun rule started in 1192 and last for more than six hundred years until 1867. During this period of history in feudal Japan the daimyos commanded many samurai and ninjas. A ninja was a mercenary or covert operative skilled in espionage, infiltration, sabotage, and assassination. They were elite spies skilled in stealth tactics as well as hand to hand combat. It was from these early skills and tactics that Ninjitsu arose.

Fujita Seiko (1898-1966) was the 14th and last officially known headmaster of the Koga prefecture. His status and teachings prior to World War II earned him great respect and a reputation from the Japanese government so much so that he became a teacher for the Japanese military. After the war he went back to private teaching and had many students and followers. A number of his students went on to develop their own style of Ninjitsu and developed over seventy different styles based on a particular set of skills or techniques. Most of these styles no longer exist and currently Ninjitsu is not about a specific or certain style but focuses on techniques from a number of martial arts. It can also utilize armed and unarmed skills and techniques, philosophies, and strategies making it a very comprehensive martial art. Those who are trained in this art are basically taught to react to every movement by the enemy allowing them to respond in a specific way that will always give them the best advantage.

Kempo has its origins in basic Japanese karate. This style uses punches and kicks with hardly any type of grappling techniques that is the basis of most styles of karate. This style has well developed techniques that enable the fighter to disarm an opponent using weapons. The one notable difference in this style of martial art is the development of lightning fast strikes. If you decide to learn Kempo you will be taught that every strike has a block and every block has a strike. In most styles of Japanese karate you learn about kicks, punches, and blocks and how to effectively use them. In Kempo karate, once you counter an attack with a block, you will immediately execute a strike based on that block. The speed of a strike in Kempo karate is an amazing skill that is developed through many years of training. When you become extremely skilled and proficient in this martial art you will be able to execute many strikes before your opponent can block the first one. In addition to all the techniques that you will be learning, you will devote a great deal of your training time learning how to speed strike. Be advised, speed striking in Kempo karate will take many years to master. The more time you spend sparring and shadow boxing the more your speed striking ability will improve. You will also learn self control, how to avoid confrontations at all costs, and using your skills when you have no other choice.

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If you would like to learn a very effective style of martial art, but for whatever reason you can’t get to a dojo, then here’s a solution that may be right for you. It’s called Aikijitsu and it is a very versatile martial art. Thanks to the creation of the internet you can now learn Aikijitsu at home, and you can independently learn it at your own pace. There are no time restrictions. This is a great program that will allow you to prepare yourself and be ahead of the game when you do get the opportunity to train in person. It’s great if you are new to the world of martial arts or experienced and looking to expand your knowledge. It is a complete revolutionary video teaching step by step, there are no time restrictions, and the evaluation process will be able to monitor your progress, evaluate your skills, and assess your eligibility to move up in the belt ranks. You can literally go from a white belt to a black belt. This is a very effective self defense system used by the Samurai in ancient Japan for close combat fighting.

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A versatile marital art

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If you would like to tap into the ancient power of Tai Chi, then here’s a program that can show you how. Current medical research is now proving significant benefits for a variety of health problems and this ancient exercise has amazing health benefits. When the energy in your body is blocked it will cause pain and various chronic diseases. Tai Chi will improve diseases slowly but steadily, give you more energy, strengthen your immune system, relieve stress, and calm your mind.

Even though Tai Chi is a martial art, it has been practiced for thousands of years by many all over the world, and it is the epitome of Yin and Yang (balance.) It looks slow but it is fast, it is gentle but strong, it is soft but hard, and it will bring balance to your life. Everyone one can do this safe exercise every day even if you are eighty plus years old.

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Takes only ten minutes per day

Is a gentle exercise

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Improve balance

Decrease blood pressure

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In my opinion the world we live in today is considerably more complicated and chaotic than any other time in my life. Living cost a lot more these days and to be truthful, cost of living has been steadily going up from year to year, and yet somehow, making more money to keep up has always been a problem. I can’t believe what I have to pay for a car and gasoline, not to mention food. The world population is getting crazier day by day, with the war on terrorism, and other geographical conflicts. Apparently, politics are up for grabs by anyone who has enough money to pursue such an endeavor, qualified or not, and we seemed to be having another civil war. I don’t mean like the North and the South, I mean between the Democrats and the Republicans, or the left and the right. We are all Americans, well most of us, and we should be working together.

Do you find yourself worrying about these things along with all the other personal areas of your life like relationships, family dynamics, and finances to name a few? Do you find yourself not having enough time to think or to even relax? The time has come to change all that, and I mean right now. Look, you’re not getting any younger, and I’m here to tell you from experience, for most of us, the older we get, the more our health takes a hit. It is time for you to realize awareness and clarity. It is time for you to have peace of mind, help you achieve clear focus, and experience enlightenment.

There is a program that combines meditation and spirituality and lead you to a calm and happier mindset. Discover what your life’s purpose is, the secret to separating yourself from your thoughts, learn how to control your emotions, learn the art of breathing and living in the moment, and of course achieving enlightenment. This spiritual meditation program will show you how to gain balance, clarity, and peace of mind.

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Now that you know Chi is a vital life force energy and its relativity to all things this program will show you how to awaken the Chi, the life force, that is naturally inside you. You will learn how it can heal your body, mind, and spirit, and how to balance your thoughts and emotions. This program will also show you how to significantly increase your energy levels so you will feel calm and peaceful. My ally is the Force and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow, its energy surrounds us and binds us to the Universe.

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Tai Chi is an ancient martial art with an excellent history that takes only ten minutes a day and gives you a balanced exercise routine that can help you develop and maintain a focused, calm, and alert mind. This Tai Chi program will show you that it is scientifically documented to help in stress reduction, enhanced flexibility, improved balance, decreases blood pressure, and helps with heart disease. If you practice Tai Chi daily you can prevent depression and improve sleep. Tai Chi will enhance the functioning of the cardiovascular, circulatory, respiratory, and nervous systems. You’ve heard of endorphins, right? A pain relieving chemical released during exercise and helps your body’s response to stress? In less than ten minutes a day Tai Chi can help you cope better, maybe reduce the need for pain medication, and get you back in shape. Doing Tai Chi every day gives you the mind set to live a healthy lifestyle, work on improving your diet, and create balance in your life. Here are three more reasons to learn Tai Chi; you can practice any time, any place, and you don’t need any equipment. Tai Chi can contribute to a feeling of personal well being.

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Feel calm

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Be learning a martial art

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