What You Need To Know About The Japanese Martial Arts Styles

The Samurai.  Jigoro Kano.  Even Steven Seagal.  What do these groups and people have in common?  They've all been involved in Japanese martial arts, that's what.  And when you think about it, the world of fighting and self defense owes a huge debt of gratitude to the Japanese martial arts styles of karate, judo, aikido, and more.

So, let's learn a little bit more about the Japanese martial arts styles.

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Men practicing aikido martial arts
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Morihei Ueshiba sought a style of fighting that was peaceful in nature. We're talking about true self defense, the kind that emphasizes holds instead of strikes and using an opponent's aggression against them rather than being the aggressor. The martial arts style of aikido that he founded during the 1920's and 30's is just that. Click the link to read more about this unique Japanese martial art.

Some Famous Aikido Practitioners

Steven Seagal: Seagal is one of most famous martial arts movie actors of all-time

Kisshomaru Ueshiba: The third child of Morihei Ueshiba, Kisshomaru became the international leader of aikido when his father died.

Morihei Ueshiba: The founder of the martial arts style of aikido.

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Boy holding a Iaido sword, drawn with both hands.
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Between the years 1546 to 1621, a man by the name of Hayashizaki Jinsuke Minamoto Shigenobu lived in what is now considered the Kanagawa prefecture of Japan. Shigenobu is the man credited with formulating and establishing the exclusive art of Japanese sword fighting that is known today as iaido.  Click the link to find out more.

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Judo players fighting
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Judo is a popular martial arts style and Olympic sport with only a recent history. The term judo translates to "the gentle way." Click the link to learn more about this Japanese martial arts style.

Famous Judo Practitioners

Jigoro Kano: The founder of judo, Kano brought the art to the masses and his efforts eventually got it recognized as an Olympic sport.

Gene LeBell: LeBell is a former American judo champion, author of many judo books, stunt performer, and professional wrestler. His nickname is "Judo". Enough said, right?

Hidehiko Yoshida: A Japanese judo gold medalist (1992) and well-known MMA fighter. Yoshida is known for wearing his gi into matches and for his terrific throws, toughness, and submissions.

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Men and women in martial arts class
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Karate is primarily a striking martial art that emerged on the island of Okinawa as a blend of native Okinawan fighting styles and Chinese fighting styles. There are numerous karate styles being practiced today all over the world, making it one of the most popular fighting styles in existence.

Some Japanese Karate Substyles

Budokan: A style of karate that emanated from Malaysia.

Goju-Ryu: Goju-ryu emphasizes inside fighting and simple rather than flashy strikes.

Kyokushin: Though founder Mas Oyama was born in Korea, the fact that nearly all of his training took place in Japan makes this a Japanese style. Kyokushin is a full contact type of fighting.

Shotokan: Shotokan emphasizes the use of the hip with strikes and blocks. Lyoto Machida has recently put this style on the map in MMA.