The Way of the Brush & the Sword Sacred Fist Karate International Ken To Fude No Ryu Kenshu Kai Karate Solly Said's Solly Said's Karate,Kickboxing & Gym
Ken To Fude No Ryu Kenshu Kai Karate International Karate, Kickboxing & Gym
The Way of the Brush & the Sword Sacred Fist Karate International Embracing the spirit of never quitting

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MODERN JAPAN BRINGS TO MIND IMAGES of steaming noodle bars, teeming streets, cutting-edge fashion, world-class technology and innovation, and, of course, stunning natural landscapes. Beneath the surface of this diverse culture, however, there beats a very ancient heart. The battlefield arts that have existed in Japan for millennia have greatly influenced Japanese culture, thinking, and history but, in the context of martial-arts history, the permutations that have become incredibly popular around the world-such as karate, aikido, and judo-are relative newcomers.

Japan is one of the major regions from which most of the martial arts practiced today originate. Only China and Korea can boast a similar heritage. In addition to the influence of its ancient traditions and battlefield arts, Japan has also made many important contributions to modern martial-arts practice. Perhaps the most well-known and widely adopted is the colored belt system-used to grade students according to rank and experience. Belts range in color from white through the spectrum of the rainbow to black, after which different degrees, or "dans," are awarded. Devised in the 19th century by Kano Jigoro, the founder of judo, the system is now used in many fields of martial art.

Judo was also one of the first of the martial arts to be thoroughly codified. By combining the throwing and grappling aspects of jujutsu with elements from other wrestling arts, and standardizing the new art into a coherent system, Jigoro sowed the seeds for the sporting phenomenon that judo has become. Although many of the techniques were already prevalent in wrestling arts around the world, the standardization of the judo training syllabus allowed it to be taught easily, and to a good standard. This undoubtedly led to judo's widespread and rapid popularization.

Voices from the past
The ancient warriors of Japan left behind a fascinating legacy of literature devoted to the martial code and the philosophical thought of the warrior. Bushido: The Soul of Japan, written in 1899 by Inazo Nitobe, popularized the term "bushido," meaning "the way of the warrior." As a code, bushido cites seven virtues that are held in the greatest regard within the warrior culture: honor, loyalty, courage, benevolence, justice, veracity, and politeness.

The Forty-Seven Ronin, the true story of an event that came to represent the ideal of how warriors should behave, provides an earlier example of Japan's martial literary legacy and the ethical code of bushido. The story revolve; around 47 samurai warriors in the service of Asano Naganori, the Lord of Ako, on the island of Honshu.

While on a visit to the court of the Shogun of Tokyo, Naganori was insulted by another Lord, at which point he unsheathed his sword and struck the man had offended him. It was considered extremely bad manners to draw a sword in the court of the Shogun, Naganori was ordered to commit "seppuku," a ritualized form of suicide.

On his death the 47 warriors became ronin - samurai without a master - and vowed vengeance on the man who had insulted their master and provoked his suicide. They left their homes and families to enact a plan of revenge. To avoid raising suspicion, they posed as drunkards on the streets Tokyo for almost two years, until an opportunity arose on December 14, 1702. They crept into the Lord's home and killed him, immediately surrendering themselves to the authorities, even though they knew their actions were punishable by death. They then committed ritual suicide at the tomb of their late master.Although today we may consider this to be an extreme example of loyalty, it highlights the tradition from which martial artists fashion their attitudes and underlying philosophical principles

A unique text
The 17th-century work by Miyamoto Musashi, Go Rin No Sho, or The Book of the Five Rings, is considered a major classic in martial philosophy and military strategy. Musashi was a samurai warrior, and the book describes his numerous duels and his unique style of twin swordsmanship. It focuses on the spirit of martial arts that can only be attained after rigorous physical and technical training. The text is divided into five scrolls-Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, and Sky- fundamental elements that often feature in Eastern philosophical literature.
Outside influence
Although an island nation, Japan shares much common heritage with China; in fact, its main writing script, Kanji, is derived from Chinese characters. Its major religions include Buddhism, Christianity, and Shinto, which many Buddhists also follow. Buddhism was imported to Japan from Korea in 552 CE. Along with Confucianism (an ancient Chinese philosophical and ethical system that originates from the teachings of the early Chinese philosopher, Confucius) Buddhism has played an important part in the shaping of Japanese thought, culture, and martial arts-in particular the emphasis that many of the arts place on oneness with nature and the universe, and the development of personal virtue.

Enduring loyalty
The Japanese are renowned for placing emphasis on the group as opposed to the individual, and great importance is attached to two very different types of interpersonal relationship: the reciprocal and the asymmetrical. A reciprocal relationship, as the name suggests, is mutually beneficial, with partners aiming to fulfill the reciprocal obligations by agreeing to work together and help each other, for example, in a collaboration between two business partners, or in a marriage between a husband and wife.

An asymmetrical relationship represents an inferior and superior partnership, in which the inferior partner is in debt to the superior partner and neither of them expect that debt to be repaid. Bound to his Master for life, the discipleship that a martial arts' student experiences is a classic example of this. According to the asymmetrical view, the student will never be able to repay the debt he owes for the bestowal of special skills and knowledge upon him by the Master.

The emphasis on both the unity of the group and the asymmetrical relationship is a fundamental element of Japanese martial arts' culture, and understanding its importance goes a long way towards explaining the loyalty that almost all practitioners feel toward their own group, their teacher, and their art.

Evolution of the arts
There are many accounts of how Japanese martial arts evolved into the forms that we recognize today. Japanese interest in Chinese culture began during the Tang dynasty (618-907 CE) and cross-fertilization of ideas between the two countries was widespread during this period, especially concerning architecture and design, religion, and martial arts.

The flowering of Buddhism in Japan had a profound effect on Japanese martial arts, especially during the Nara period (710-784 CE), which represents one of the most active periods of cultural imports into Japan. Many Japanese traveled to China to study Buddhism, some of whom may have brought back kung-fu methods to Japan and Okinawa. Japan also has a long history of Buddhist pilgrims from the Korean peninsula, and they are also likely to have had some influence on Japan's cultural evolution.

During the era of The Samurai, Japanese swordsmiths were responsible for producing what are widely regarded as the finest swords ever made. These highly skilled craftsmen employed a number of complex methods to forge lightweight, exceptionally hard, razor-sharp blades-weapons that helped elevate the samurai to legendary status. Parts of the sword would be embellished with elaborate engraving and inlay work. The scabbard was often made of lacquered wood decorated with designs taken from mythology or nature.

Changing times
The Edo period (1603-1867) was another crucial time in the development of Japanese martial arts, particularly the sword arts. Prior to this period, when warriors fought multiple opponents on the battlefield, sword techniques naturally favored the use of different angles of attack, various blocking and deflecting techniques, and cuts aimed at the quick kill with the minimum expenditure of energy. However, because the Edo period was largely a peaceful time in Japanese history, dueling between individuals became more common than armed conflict between groups of militia. In swordsmanship, this led to the concept of "one cut, one kill"-whereby two warriors engaged in a duel would intend for the first cut to make the kill. This changed the training focus and techniques used in Japanese martial arts entirely.

Modern developments
The most recent development in Japanese martial history was the ban on the wearing of a sword in public, imposed by the government in 1876, which fueled the growth of unarmed combat, introduction of this law effectively saw an end the domination of the samurai, and encouraged an interest among the civilian population in the "empty-hand" methods of Japanese martial arts. It was a very important time in the evolution of many systems.



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