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Japanese martial arts

1 History
Further information: History of martial arts, Origins of
Asian martial arts, and Modern history of East Asian
martial arts
The historical origin of Japanese martial arts can be

Disarming an attacker using a tachi-dori

( sword-taking) tech-
Late 19th-century photograph of a yamabushi fully robed and
equipped, armed with a naginata and tachi.
found in the warrior traditions of the samurai and the
caste system that restricted the use of weapons by other
members of society. Originally, samurai were expected
to be procient in many weapons, as well as unarmed
combat, and attain the highest possible mastery of com-
bat skills.
Ordinarily, the development of combative techniques is
Japanese martial arts refer to the variety of martial arts intertwined with the tools used to execute those tech-
native to the country of Japan. At least three Japanese niques. In a rapidly changing world, those tools are
terms are used interchangeably with the English phrase constantly changing, requiring that the techniques to use
Japanese martial arts. them be continuously reinvented. The history of Japan
The usage of term "bud" to mean martial arts is a mod- is somewhat unusual in its relative isolation. Compared
ern one, and historically the term meant a way of life with the rest of the world, the Japanese tools of war
encompassing physical, spiritual, and moral dimensions evolved slowly. Many people believe that this aorded
with a focus of self-improvement, fulllment, or personal the warrior class the opportunity to study their weapons
growth.* [1] The terms bujutsu and bugei have more dis- with greater depth than other cultures. Nevertheless, the
crete denitions, at least historically speaking. Bujutsu teaching and training of these martial arts did evolve. For
refers specically to the practical application of martial example, in the early medieval period, the bow and the
tactics and techniques in actual combat.* [2] Bugei refers spear were emphasized, but during the Tokugawa period,
to the adaptation or renement of those tactics and tech- fewer large scale battles took place, and the sword became
niques to facilitate systematic instruction and dissemina- the most prestigious weapon. Another trend that devel-
tion within a formal learning environment.* [2] oped throughout Japanese history was that of increasing


martial specialization as society became more stratied The following subsections represent not individual
over time.* [6] schools of martial arts, but rather generictypesof mar-
The martial arts developed or originating in Japan are tial arts. These are generally distinguishable on the ba-
extraordinarily diverse, with vast dierences in train- sis of their training methodology and equipment, though
ing tools, methods, and philosophy across innumerable wide variation still exists within each.
schools and styles. That said, Japanese martial arts may
generally be divided into kory and gendai bud based on
whether they existed prior to or after the Meiji Restora- 2.1 Sumo
tion, respectively. Since gendai bud and kory of-
ten share the same historical origin, one will nd var- Main article: Sumo
ious types of martial arts (such as jujutsu, kenjutsu, or
naginatajutsu) on both sides of the divide. Sumo (: sum), considered by many to be
Japan's national sport, has its origins in the distant past.
A note on the organization of this article; it The earliest written records of Japan, which are dated
would be impossible to discuss Japanese mar- from the 8th century AD, record the rst sumo match in
tial arts in terms of the thousands of individual 23 BC, occurring specically at the request of the em-
schools or styles, such as Itt-ry, Dait-ry, peror and continuing until one man was too wounded
or Tenshin Shden Katori Shint-ry. Instead, to continue. Beginning in 728 AD, the emperor Shmu
major sections are divided based on when the Tenn (, 701756) began holding ocial sumo
art originated (regardless of whether it is still matches at the annual harvest festivals. This tradition of
practiced), and subsections are dedicated to the having matches in the presence of the emperor continued,
root type of martial art, such as jujutsu (the art but gradually spread, with matches also held at Shinto fes-
of empty-handed combat through use of indirect tivals, and sumo training was eventually incorporated into
application of force) or kendo (Japanese sport military training. By the 17th century, sumo was an or-
fencing), wherein notable styles or major dif- ganized professional sport, open to the public, enjoyed by
ferences between styles may be discussed. both the upper class and commoners.
Today, sumo retains much of its traditional trappings, in-
cluding a referee dressed as a Shinto priest, and a ritual
2 Kory bujutsu where the competitors clap hands, stomp their feet, and
throw salt in the ring prior to each match. To win a match,
Main article: Kory competitors employ throwing and grappling techniques to
See also: List of kory schools of martial arts force the other man to the ground; the rst man to touch
the ground with a part of the body other than the bottom
Kory (: ), meaningtraditional school, of the feet, or touch the ground outside the ring with any
orold school, refers specically to schools of martial part of the body, loses. Six grand tournaments are held
arts, originating in Japan, either prior to the beginning annually in Japan, and each professional ghter's name
of the Meiji Restoration in 1868, or the Haitrei edict and relative ranking is published after each tournament
in 1876.* [7] In modern usage, bujutsu (), meaning in an ocial list, called the banzuke, which is followed
military art/science, is typied by its practical application religiously by sumo fans.
of technique to real-world or battleeld situations.
The term also is used generally to indicate that a particu-
lar style or art is traditional, rather than modern
2.2 Jujutsu
. However, what it means for an art to be either tra-
ditionalor modernis subject to some debate. As a Main article: Jujutsu
rule of thumb, the primary purpose of a kory martial art Jujutsu (: jjutsu), literally translates
was for use in war. The most extreme example of a kory toSoft Skills. However, more accurately, it means the
school is one that preserves its traditional, and often an- art of using indirect force, such as joint locks or throwing
cient, martial practices even in the absence of continuing techniques, to defeat an opponent, as opposed to direct
wars in which to test them. Other kory schools may have force such as a punch or a kick. This is not to imply that
made modications to their practices that reect the pas- jujutsu does not teach or employ strikes, but rather that
sage of time (which may or may not have resulted in the the art's aim is the ability to use an attacker's force against
loss of "kory" status in the eyes of its peers). This is as him or her, and counter-attack where they are weakest or
opposed tomodernmartial arts, whose primary focus least defended.
is generally upon the self-improvement (mental, physical, Methods of combat included striking (kicking, punch-
or spiritual) of the individual practitioner, with varying ing), throwing (body throws, joint-lock throws, unbal-
degrees of emphasis on the practical application of the ance throws), restraining (pinning, strangulating, grap-
martial art for either sport or self-defence purposes. pling, wrestling) and weaponry. Defensive tactics in-
2.3 Swordsmanship 3

A matched set (daisho) of antique Japanese (samurai) swords

and their individual mountings (koshirae), katana on top and
wakisashi below, Edo period.

Jujutsu training at an agricultural school in Japan around 1920.

cluded blocking, evading, o balancing, blending and es-

caping. Minor weapons such as the tant (dagger), ryu-
fundo kusari (weighted chain), jutte (helmet smasher), paramount martial art, surpassing all others. Regardless
and kakushi buki (secret or disguised weapons) were al- of the truth of that belief, the sword itself has been the
most always included in kory jujutsu. subject of stories and legends through virtually all cul-
Most of these were battleeld-based systems to be prac- tures in which it has been employed as a tool for vio-
ticed as companion arts to the more common and vital lence. In Japan, the use of the katana is no dierent.
weapon systems. At the time, these ghting arts went by Although originally the most important skills of the war-
many dierent names, including kogusoku, yawara, ku- rior class were prociency at horse-riding and shooting
miuchi, and hakuda. In reality, these grappling systems the bow, this eventually gave way to swordsmanship. The
were not really unarmed systems of combat, but are more earliest swords, which can be dated as far back as the
accurately described as means whereby an unarmed or Kofun era (3rd and 4th centuries) were primarily straight
lightly armed warrior could defeat a heavily armed and bladed. According to legend, curved swords made strong
armored enemy on the battleeld. Ideally, the samurai by the famous folding process were rst forged by* the
would be armed and would not need to rely on such tech- smith Amakuni Yasutsuna (, c. 700 AD). [8]
niques. The primary development of the sword occurred between
In later times, other kory developed into systems more 987 AD and 1597 AD. This development is character-
familiar to the practitioners of the jujutsu commonly seen ized by profound artistry during peaceful eras, and re-
today. These systems are generally designed to deal with newed focus on durability, utility, and mass production
opponents neither wearing armor nor in a battleeld en- during the intermittent periods of warfare, most notably
vironment. For this reason, they include extensive use civil warfare during the 12th century and the Mongolian
of atemi waza (vital-striking technique). These tactics invasions during the 13th century (which in particular saw
would be of little use against an armored opponent on the transition from mostly horseback archery to hand to
a battleeld. They would, however, be quite valuable to hand ground ghting).
anyone confronting an enemy or opponent during peace- This development of the sword is paralleled by the devel-
time dressed in normal street attire. Occasionally, incon- opment of the methods used to wield it. During times of
spicuous weapons such as knives or tessen (iron fans) were peace, the warriors trained with the sword, and invented
included in the curriculum. new ways to implement it. During war, these theories
Today, jujutsu is practiced in many forms, both ancient were tested. After the war ended, those who survived ex-
and modern. Various methods of jujutsu have been in- amined what worked and what didn't, and passed their
corporated or synthesized into judo and aikido, as well knowledge on. In 1600 AD, Tokugawa Ieyasu (
as being exported throughout the world and transformed , 15431616) gained total control of all of Japan,
into sport wrestling systems, adopted in whole or part by and the country entered a period of prolonged peace that
schools of karate or other unrelated martial arts, still prac- would last until the Meiji Restoration. During this pe-
ticed as they were centuries ago, or all of the above. riod, the techniques to use the sword underwent a tran-
sition from a primarily utilitarian art for killing, to one
encompassing a philosophy of personal development and
2.3 Swordsmanship spiritual perfection.
The terminology used in Japanese swordsmanship is
See also: Katana somewhat ambiguous. Many names have been used for
Swordsmanship, the art of the sword, has an almost various aspects of the art or to encompass the art as a
mythological ethos, and is believed by some to be the whole.

2.3.1 Kenjutsu 2.4 Naginatajutsu

Main article: Kenjutsu Main article: Naginatajutsu

Naginatajutsu ( : ) is the
Japanese art of wielding the naginata, a weapon resem-
Kenjutsu ( : ) literally means the
bling the medieval European glaive or guisarme. Most
art/science of the sword. Although the term has been
naginata practice today is in a modernized form (gendai
used as a general term for swordsmanship as a whole, in
bud) called theway of naginata(naginata-d) ornew
modern times, kenjutsu refers more to the specic aspect
naginata(atarashii naginata), in which competitions are
of swordsmanship dealing with partnered sword training.
also held.
It is the oldest form of training and, at its simplest level,
consists of two partners with swords drawn, practicing However, many koryu maintain naginatajutsu in their cur-
combat drills. Historically practiced with wooden katana riculum. Also of note, during the late Edo period, nag-
(bokken), this most often consists of pre-determined inata were used to train women and ladies in waiting.
forms, called kata, or sometimes called kumitachi, and Thus, most naginatajutsu styles are headed by women and
similar to the partner drills practiced in kendo. Among most naginata practitioners in Japan are women. This has
advanced students, kenjutsu training may also include in- led to the impression overseas that naginatajutsu is a mar-
creasing degrees of freestyle practice. tial art that was not used by male warriors. In fact, nagi-
natajutsu was developed in early medieval Japan and for
a time was widely used by samurai.
2.3.2 Battjutsu
2.5 Sjutsu
Main article: Battjutsu
Main article: Sjutsu
Battjutsu (: ), literally mean-
ing the art/science of drawing a sword, and devel- Sjutsu (: ) is the Japanese art of ghting
oped in the mid-15th century, is the aspect of swords- with the spear (yari). For most of Japan's history, sjutsu
manship focused upon the ecient draw of the sword, was practiced extensively by traditional schools. In times
cutting down one's enemy, and returning the sword to of war, it was a primary skill of many soldiers. Today it
its scabbard (saya). The term came into use specically is a minor art taught in very few schools.
during the Warring States Period (15th17th centuries).
Closely related to, but predating iaijutsu, battjutsu train-
ing emphasizes defensive counter-attacking. Battjutsu
2.6 Ninjutsu
training technically incorporates kata, but generally con-
sist of only a few moves, focusing on stepping up to an en-
Main article: Ninjutsu
emy, drawing, performing one or more cuts, and sheath-
ing the weapon. Battjutsu exercises tend to lack the elab-
orateness, as well as the aesthetic considerations of iai- Ninjutsu was developed by groups of people mainly from
jutsu or iaid kata. Finally, note that use of the name the Iga Province and Kka, Shiga of Japan who became
alone is not dispositive; what is battjutsu to one school noted for their skills as assassins, scouts and spies. The
may be iaijutsu to another. training of these shinobi (ninja) can involve disguise,
escape, concealment, archery, medicine, explosives, and
poisons.* [9] Mostly developed in the 14th century during
the warring states period of feudal Japan, many dierent
2.3.3 Iaijutsu
schools (ry) have taught their unique versions of the art.

Main article: Iaijutsu

2.7 Other kory martial arts
Iaijutsu (: ), approximately the
art/science of mental presence and immediate reaction The original martial art schools of Japan were almost en-
, is also the Japanese art of drawing the sword. However, tirely sogo (comprehensive) bujutsu. With the long peace
unlike battjutsu, iaijutsu tends to be technically more of the Tokugawa shogunate there was an increase in spe-
complex, and there is a much stronger focus upon perfect- cialization with many schools identifying themselves with
ing form. The primary technical aspects are smooth, con- particular major battleeld weapons. However, there
trolled movements of drawing the sword from its scab- were many additional weapons employed by the warriors
bard, striking or cutting an opponent, removing blood of feudal Japan, and an art to wielding each. Usually they
from the blade, and then replacing the sword in the scab- were studied as secondary or tertiary weapons within a
bard. school but there are exceptions, such as the art of wield-

by the Shint Mus-ry.

Other arts existed to teach military skills other than the
use of weaponry. Examples of these include marine
skills such as swimming and river-fording (suijutsu),
equestrianism (bajutsu), arson and demolition (kajutsu).

3 Gendai bud

Main article: Gendai bud

Gendai bud (: ), literally

meaning modern martial way, usually applies to arts
founded after the beginning of the Meiji Restoration in
1868. Aikido and judo are examples of gendai bud that
were founded in the modern era, while iaid represents
the modernization of a practice that has existed for cen-
The core dierence is, as was explained under "kory",
above, that kory arts are practiced as they were when
their primary utility was for use in warfare, while the pri-
mary purpose of gendai bud is for self-improvement,
with self-defense as a secondary purpose. Additionally,
many of the gendai bud have included a sporting element
to them. Judo and kendo are both examples of this.

3.1 Judo

Main article: Judo

Judo (: jd), literally meaninggentle
wayorway of softness, is a grappling-based martial
art, practiced primarily as a sport. It contains substan-
tially the same emphasis on the personal, spiritual, and
physical self-improvement of its practitioners as can be
found throughout gendai bud.
Judo was created by Kano Jigoro ( Kan Jig-
or, 18601938) at the end of the 19th century. Kano
took the kory martial arts he learned (specically Kit-
ry and Tenjin Shin'yo-ry jujutsu), and systematically
reinvented them into a martial art with an emphasis on
freestyle practice (randori) and competition, while re-
moving harmful jujutsu techniques or limiting them to
the kata. Kano devised a powerful system of new tech-
niques and training methods, which famously culminated
on June 11, 1886, in a tournament that would later be dra-
matized by celebrated Japanese lmmaker Akira Kuro-
sawa ( Kurosawa Akira, 19101998), in the lm
"Sanshiro Sugata" (1943).
A samurai wielding a naginata.
Judo became an Olympic sport in 1964, and has spread
throughout the world. Kano Jigoro's original school,
the "Kodokan", has students worldwide, and many other
ing the short sta, (jd) which was the primary art taught schools have been founded by Kano's students.

allowed for the practice of strikes at full speed and power

without risk of injury to the competitors.
Today, virtually the entire practice of kendo is governed
by the All Japan Kendo Federation, founded in 1951.
Competitions are judged by points, with the rst com-
petitor to score two points on their opponent declared the
winner. One point may be scored with a successful and
properly executed strike to any of several targets: a thrust
to the throat, or a strike to the top of the head, sides of
the head, sides of the body, or forearms. Practitioners
also compete in forms (kata) competitions, using either
wooden or blunted metal swords, according to a set of
forms promulgated by the AJKF.

3.3 Iaid
Main article: Iaid

Iaid (: ), which would be the way

of mental presence and immediate reaction, is nomi-
nally the modernization of iaijutsu, but in practice is fre-
quently identical to iaijutsu. The replacement of jutsu
Judoka executing a throw (o-soto-gari). with d is part of the 20th century emphasis upon per-
sonal and spiritual development; an evolution that took
place in many martial arts. In the case of iaid, some
3.2 Kendo schools merely changed in name without altering the cur-
riculum, and others embraced the wholesale change from
Main article: Kendo a combat-orientation to spiritual growth.
Kendo (: kend), meaning the way of

3.4 Aikido
Main article: Aikido
Aikido (: aikid) means the way

Kendo training at an agricultural school in Japan around 1920.

the sword, is based on Japanese sword-ghting. It is

an evolution of the art of kenjutsu, and its exercises and
practice are descended from several particular schools of
swordsmanship. The primary technical inuence in its
development was the kenjutsu school of Itt-ry (founded
c. 16th century), whose core philosophy revolved around
the concept that all strikes in swordsmanship revolve
around the technique kiri-oroshi (vertical downward cut).
Kendo really began to take shape with the introduction of
bamboo swords, called shinai, and the set of lightweight Aikido shihnage technique.
wooden armour, called bogu, by Naganuma Sirzaemon
Kunisato (, 16881767), which to harmony with ki". It is a Japanese martial art devel-
3.6 Karate 7

oped by Morihei Ueshiba ( Ueshiba Morihei, If the archers were mounted on horseback, they could be
1883 1969). The art consists of striking, throw- used to even more devastating eect as a mobile weapons
ingandjoint lockingtechniques and is known for its platform. Archers were also used in sieges and sea battles.
uidity and blending with an attacker, rather than meet- However, from the 16th century onward, rearms slowly
ing force with force. Emphasis is upon joining with displaced the bow as the dominant battleeld weapon. As
the rhythm and intent of the opponent in order to nd the the bow lost its signicance as a weapon of war, and
optimal position and timing, when the opponent can be under the inuence of Buddhism, Shinto, Daoism and
led without force. Aikid is also known for emphasizing Confucianism, Japanese archery evolved into kyud, the
the personal development of its students, reecting the
way of the bow. In some schools kyud is practiced
spiritual background of its founder. as a highly rened contemplative practice, while in other
Morihei Ueshiba developed aikido mainly from Dait- schools it is practiced as a sport.
ry aiki-jjutsu incorporating training movements such
as those for the yari (spear), j (a short quartersta), and
perhaps also juken (bayonet). Arguably the strongest in- 3.6 Karate
uence is that of kenjutsu and in many ways, an aikid
practitioner moves as an empty handed swordsman. Main article: Karate

3.5 Kyd Karate ( karate) literally means empty hand. It

is also sometimes called the way of the empty hand
Main article: Kyd ( karated).
See also: Yabusame Karate originated in and, is technically, Okinawan, for-
Kyd (: ), which means way of the merly known as the Ryky Kingdom, but now a part
of present-day Japan. Karate is a fusion of pre-existing
Okinawan martial arts, called "te", and Chinese martial
arts. It is an art that has been adopted and developed by
practitioners on the Japanese main island of Honshu.
Karate's route to Honshu began with Gichin Funakoshi
( Funakoshi Gichin, 18681957), who is called
the father of karate, and is the founder of Shotokan
karate. Although some Okinawan karate practitioners
were already living and teaching in Honsh, Funakoshi
gave public demonstrations of karate in Tokyo at a physi-
cal education exhibition sponsored by the ministry of ed-
ucation in 1917, and again in 1922. As a result, karate
training was subsequently incorporated into Japan's pub-
lic school system. It was also at this time that the white
uniforms and the ky/dan ranking system (both origi-
nally implemented by judo's founder, Kano Jigoro) were
Karate practice is primarily characterized by linear
punching and kicking techniques executed from a sta-
ble, xed stance. Many styles of karate practiced to-
day incorporate the forms (kata) originally developed by
Funakoshi and his teachers and many dierent weapons
originally used as farm implements by the peasants of Ok-
inawa. Many karate practitioners also participate in light-
and no-contact competitions while some (ex. kyokushin
karate) still compete in full-contact competitions with lit-
tle or no protective gear.
A full draw (kai).

bow", is the modern name for Japanese archery. Orig-

3.7 Shorinji Kempo
inally in Japan, kyujutsu, the art of the bow, was a
discipline of the samurai, the Japanese warrior class. The Main article: Shorinji Kempo
bow is a long range weapon that allowed a military unit
to engage an opposing force while it was still far away. Shorinji Kempo ( shrinji-kenp) is a

post-World War II system of self-defense and self- of modern karate, there is a great emphasis on improv-
improvement training (: gyo or discipline) known as ing oneself. It is often said that the art of karate is for
the modied version of Shaolin Kung Fu. There are two self-defense; not injuring one's opponent is the highest
primary technique categories such as gh (strikes, kicks expression of the art. Some popularly repeated quotes
and blocks) and jh (pins, joint locks and dodges). It was implicating this concept include:
established in 1947 by Doshin So ( S Dshin)
who had been in Manchuria during World War II and who The ultimate aim of Karate lies not in victory
on returning to his native Japan after World War II saw or defeat, but in the perfection of the character
the need to overcome the devastation and re-build self- of its participants.-Gichin Funakoshi* [11]
condence of the Japanese people on a massive scale.
Although Shorinji Kempo was originally introduced in
Japan in the late 1940s and 1950s through large scale
4.3 Bud
programmes involving employees of major national or-
Main article: Bud
ganizations (e.g. Japan Railways) it subsequently became
popular in many other countries. Today, according to
the World Shorinji Kempo Organization (WSKO),* [10] Literally 'martial way' is the Japanese term for martial
there are almost 1.5 million practitioners in 33 countries. art.* [12]* [13]* [14]

4.4 Bushid
4 Philosophical and strategic con-
cepts Main article: Bushid

4.1 Aiki A code of honor for samurai way of life, in principle simi-
lar to chivalry but culturally very dierent. Literallythe
Main article: Aiki (martial arts principle) way of the warrior, those dedicated to Bushido have
exemplary skill with a sword or bow, and can withstand
great pain and discomfort. It emphasizes courage, brav-
The principle of aiki () is particularly dicult to de- ery, and loyalty to their lord (daimyo) above all.
scribe or explain. The most simple translation of aiki, as
joining energy, belies its philosophical depth. Gener-
ally, it is the principle of matching your opponent in order 4.5 Courtesy
to defeat him. It is this concept ofmatching, orjoin-
ing, or even harmonizing(all valid interpretations Shigeru Egami:* [15]
of ai) that contains the complexity. One may match
the opponent in a clash of force, possibly even resulting Words that I have often heard are thatev-
in a mutual kill. This is not aiki. Aiki is epitomized by erything begins with rei and ends with rei". The
the notion of joining physically and mentally with the op- word itself, however, can be interpreted in sev-
ponent for the express purpose of avoiding a direct clash eral ways; it is the rei of reigi meaning eti-
of force. In practice, aiki is achieved by rst joining with quette, courtesy, politenessand it is also the rei
the motion of the opponent (the physical aspect) as well of keirei,salutationorbow. The meaning
as the intent (the mental portion), then overcoming the of rei is sometimes explained in terms of kata
will of the opponent, redirecting their motion and intent. or katachi (formal exercisesand form
Historically, this principle was used for destructive pur- or shape). It is of prime importance not
poses; to seize an advantage and kill one's opponent. The only in karate but in all modern martial arts.
modern art of aikido is founded upon the principle that For the purpose in modern martial arts, let us
the control of the opponent achieved by the successful understand rei as the ceremonial bow in which
application of aiki may be used to defeat one's opponent courtesy and decorum are manifest.
without harming them. He who would follow the way of karate
must be courteous, not only in training but in
daily life. While humble and gentle, he should
4.2 Attitude never be servile. His performance of the kata
should reect boldness and condence. This
Kokoro (: ) is a concept that crosses through seemingly paradoxical combination of bold-
many martial arts, but has no single discrete meaning. ness and gentleness leads ultimately to har-
Literally translating as heart, in context it can also mony. It is true, as Master Funakoshi used to
mean characteror attitude.Character is a cen- say, that the spirit of karate would be lost with-
tral concept in karate, and in keeping with the do nature out courtesy.
4.8 Openings, initiative and timing 9

4.6 Kiai soft method. Soft method techniques are generally con-
ceptualized as being circular.
Main article: Kiai These denitions give rise to the often illusory distinc-
tion betweenhard-styleandsoft-stylemartial arts.
A term describing 'ghting spirit'. In practical use this In truth, most styles technically practice both, regardless
often refers to the scream or shout made during an at- of their internal nomenclature. Analyzing the dierence
tack, used for proper breathing as well as debilitating or in accordance with yin and yang principles, philosophers
distracting the enemy. would assert that the absence of either one would render
the practitioner's skills unbalanced or decient, as yin and
yang alone are each only half of a whole.
4.7 Hard and soft methods

Main article: Hard and soft (martial arts) 4.8 Openings, initiative and timing
There are two underlying strategic methodologies to the
See also: Maai

Openings, initiative, and timing are deeply interrelated

concepts applicable to self-defense and competitive com-
bat. They each denote dierent considerations relevant to
successfully initiating or countering an attack.
Openings ( suki) are the foundation of a successful at-
tack. Although possible to successfully injure an oppo-
nent who is ready to receive an attack, it is obviously
preferable to attack when and where one's opponent is
open. What it means to be open may be as blatant as
an opponent becoming tired and lowering their guard (as
in physically lowering their hands), or as subtle as a mo-
mentary lapse in concentration. In the classical form of
combat between masters, each would stand almost en-
tirely motionless until the slightest opening was spotted;
only then would they launch as devastating an attack as
they could muster, with the goal of incapacitating their
opponent with a single blow.* [16]
The yin-yangsymbol (Chinese: taijitu).
In Japanese martial arts,initiative( sen) isthe de-
cisive moment when a killing action is initiated.* [17]
application of force in Japanese martial arts. One is
There are two types of initiative in Japanese martial arts,
the hard method ( gh), and the other is the soft early initiative ( sen no sen), and late initiative
method ( jh). Implicit in these concepts is their
( go no sen). Each type of initiative complements
separate but equal and interrelated nature, in keeping with the other, and has dierent advantages and weaknesses.
their philosophical relationship to the Chinese principles
Early initiative is the taking advantage of an opening in an
of yin and yang (Jap.: in and y). opponent's guard or concentration (see suki, supra). To
The hard method is characterized by the direct applica- fully take the early initiative, the attack launched must be
tion of counter-force to an opposing force. In practice, with total commitment and lacking in any hesitation, and
this may be a direct attack, consisting of movement di- virtually ignoring the possibility of a counter-attack by the
rectly towards the opponent, coinciding with a strike to- opponent. Late initiative involves an active attempt to in-
wards the opponent. A defensive technique where the duce an attack by the opponent that will create a weakness
defender stands their ground to block or parry (directly in the opponent's defenses, often by faking an opening
opposing the attack by stopping it or knocking it aside) that is too enticing for the opponent to pass up.* [17]
would be an example of a hard method of defense. Hard All of the above concepts are integrated into the idea of
method techniques are generally conceptualized as being the combat interval or timing ( maai). Maai is a
linear. complex concept, incorporating not just the distance be-
The soft method is characterized by the indirect applica- tween opponents, but also the time it will take to cross
tion of force, which either avoids or redirects the oppos- the distance, and angle and rhythm of attack. It is specif-
ing force. For example, receiving an attack by slipping ically the exactpositionfrom which one opponent can
past it, followed by adding force to the attacker's limb for strike the other, after factoring in the above elements. For
the purpose of unbalancing an attacker is an example of example, a faster opponent's maai is farther away than a

slower opponent. It is ideal for one opponent to maintain not in martial arts, but rather in Japanese and Asian cul-
maai while preventing the other from doing so.* [18] ture generally. It underlies Japanese interpersonal rela-
The Three Attacks tionships in many contexts, such as business, school, and
sports. It has become part of the teaching process in
Japanese martial arts schools. A senior student is se-
Go no sen - meaning late attackinvolves a de- nior to all students who either began training after him
fensive or counter movement in response to an at- or her, or who they outrank. The role of the senior stu-
tack.* [19] dent is crucial to the indoctrination of the junior students
Sen no sen - a defensive initiative launched simulta- to etiquette, work ethic, and other virtues important to
neously with the attack of the opponent.* [19] the school. The junior student is expected to treat their
seniors with respect, and plays an important role in giv-
Sensen no sen - an initiative launched in anticipation ing the senior students the opportunity to learn leader-
of an attack where the opponent is fully committed ship skills. Senior students may or may not teach formal
to their attack and thus psychologically beyond the classes, but in every respect their role is as a teacher to
point of no return.* [19] the junior students, by example and by providing encour-
agement.* [20]

4.9 Shuhari
The principle of Shuhari describes the three stages of 5.4 Ranking systems
Main articles: Menkyo kaiden, Ky, and Dan rank
4.10 States of mind: empty, immovable,
remaining, and beginner's There are ultimately two ranking systems in the Japanese
martial arts, although some schools have been known to
Main articles: Mushin (mental state), Fudshin, Zanshin, blend these two together. The older system, usual prior
and Shoshin to 1868, was based a series of licenses or menkyo. There
were generally very few levels culminating in the license
of total transmission (menkyo kaiden).
In the modern system, rst introduced in the martial arts
5 Pedagogy through judo, students progress by promotion through a
series of grades (ky), followed by a series of degrees
(dan), pursuant to formal testing procedures. Some arts
5.1 Schools use only white and black belts to distinguish between lev-
els, while others use a progression of colored belts for ky
Main article: Ry (school) levels.

Literally meaningowin Japanese, Ry is a particular

school of an art. U.S.A. school of Japanese martial arts.
5.5 Forms
5.2 Instructors Main article: Kata

See also: Sensei, Ske, and Shihan

It has often been said that forms (kata) are the backbone
of the martial arts. Nevertheless, dierent schools and
Sensei () is the title used for a teacher, in a similar styles put a varying amount of emphasis upon their prac-
manner to a college 'Professor' in the United States. Ske tice.
(: ) translates asheadmastermeaning the
head of a ryu.

5.3 Seniors and juniors 6 See also

Main article: Senpai
List of Japanese martial arts

The relationship between senior students ( senpai)

and junior students ( khai) is one with its origins Okinawan martial arts

7 Sources [16] Hyams, Joe (1979). Zen in the Martial Arts. New York,
NY: Penguin Putnam, Inc. p. 58. ISBN 0-87477-101-3.
Hall, David A. Encyclopedia of Japanese Martial Arts. [17] Lowry, Dave. Sen (Taking the Initiative)".
Kodansha USA, 2012. ISBN 1568364105 ISBN 978-
1568364100 [18] Jones, Todd D.Angular Attack Theory: An Aikido Per-
spective. Aikido Journal.

[19] Pranin, Stanley (2007).Exploring the Founder's Aikido

8 References . Aikido Journal. Retrieved 2007-07-25.

[20] Lowry, Dave (1984). Senpai and Kohai (Seniors and

[1] Green, Thomas. Martial Arts of the World: Encyclopedia.
Juniors)". Karate Illustrated.
pp. 5658. ISBN 978-1576071502.

[2] Mol, Serge (2001). Classical Fighting Arts of Japan: A

Complete Guide to Kory Jjutsu. Tokyo, Japan: Kodan-
sha International, Ltd. p. 69. ISBN 4-7700-2619-6.

[3] Armstrong, Hunter B. (1995). The Koryu Bujutsu Expe-

rience in Kory Bujutsu - Classical Warrior Traditions of
Japan. New Jersey: Koryu Books. pp. 1920. ISBN

[4] Dreager, Donn F. (1974). Modern Bujutsu & Budo -

The Martial Arts and Ways of Japan. New York/Tokyo:
Weatherhill. p. 11. ISBN 0-8348-0351-8.

[5] Friday, Karl F. (1997). Legacies of the Sword. Hawai:

University of Hawai'i Press. p. 63. ISBN 0-8248-1847-

[6] Oscar Ratti; Adele Westbrook (15 July 1991). Secrets

of the Samurai: The Martial Arts of Feudal Japan. Tut-
tle Publishing. ISBN 978-0-8048-1684-7. Retrieved 11
September 2012.

[7] Skoss, Diane (2006-05-09). A Koryu Primer. Koryu

Books. Retrieved 2007-01-01.

[8] Warner, Gordon; Draeger, Donn F. (2005). Japanese

Swordsmanship. Weatherhill. pp. 89. ISBN 0-8348-

[9] Hatsumi, Masaaki. Ninjutsu: History and Tradition.

June 1981

[10] World Shorinji Kempo Organization. World Shorinji

Kempo Organization. World Shorinji Kempo Organiza-
tion. Retrieved 29 July 2012.

[11] Ribner, Susan; Richard Chin (1978). The Martial Arts.

New York: Harper & Row. p. 95. ISBN 0-06-024999-4.

[12] Morgan, Diane (2001). The Best Guide to Eastern Phi-

losophy and Religion. New York: Renaissance Books. p.

[13] Armstrong, Hunter B. (1995). The Koryu Bujutsu Expe-

rience in Kory Bujutsu - Classical Warrior Traditions of
Japan. New Jersey: Koryu Books. pp. 1920. ISBN

[14] Green, Thomas A. and Joseph R. Svinth (2010) Martial

Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia of History and In-
novation. Santa Barbara: ACB-CLIO. Page 390. ISBN

[15] Shigeru, Egami (1976). The Heart of Karate-Do. Tokyo:

Kodansha International. p. 17. ISBN 0-87011-816-1.

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