'The Path of the Field of Battle'. A very ancient ritual South-Indian martial art devoted to the goddess Kali. It includes unarmed techniques (Suvasu) resembling Karate and Aiki-Jitsu. For weapons they use mainly stabbing weapons. Movements are always accompanied by breathing techniques. In general attacks are directed against 108 weak points of the body. Tradition believes that this style was exported to China and incorporated in the Shaolin.
'Empty Hand'. A fighting art with only bare hands and feet originating from Okinawa. It began when the Chinese occupied Okinawa in the 16th century and forbade the inhabitants to possess weapons. Later under the Japanese occupation this interdict was repeated. The style was influenced by the Chinese Shaolin. It was a means of defense against brigands and armed invading troops. Peasants trained in secret and invented and perfected their various techniques against attack. Influenced by Chinese Boxing or Kempo the art was driven toward efficacy; aesthetic and moral aspects were not important. The original art tended more towards full contact as they were meant for real combat. Funakoshi Gichin (1869-1957) unified all these different styles of Okinawa-te and spread them throughout Japan as a form of Budo. The young people of Japan responded with enthusiasm. Excercises and contests were extremely violent. Funakoshi Yoshitaka developed his father's deadly Okinawa-te into a more sporting method Karate-do (Shotokan-style). The sport was codified into a non-contact sport with Atemi delivered to the vital points of an opponent. After the fall of Japan in 1945 America banned all Japanese combat sports, except Karate. There is a clear impact on close-combat techniques used by American soldiers. Karate grew in popularity all over the world. After 1974, the Bruce Lee phenomenon took Western film audiences by storm. The influence on the success of Full Contact is obvious. But the Karate-do motto remains ' never strike the first blow'. Many styles have developed, like Shotokan, Shito-ryu, Sankukai, etc. The first World Championships took place in Tokyo in October 1970 when the WUKO (World Union of Karate-do Organizations) was founded. In 1992 it was recognized as an Olympic sport. Actual figures are unreliable, but it is estimated that there are some 15 million Karateka in the world.
'Way of the Fist'. A Chinese Martial Art, using no weapons, probably practised from the 7th century by Buddhist monks of the Shaolin. Just before 1600 it was introduced in Okinawa. Later during the 19th century this developed into Karate. Characteristic are powerful and fast fist techniques. The feet are used only to move around.
A sports hall for a traditional Turkish form of wrestling, the 'Yaghliguresh'. Bouts take place on hardened earth or dried grass. Each year tournements are held in Edirne. The contestants only wear kneelong trousers and cover themselves with oil. To win a bout, the opponent must be raised to an inverted position for a few seconds before he is thrown to the ground. See also Zour Xaneh.
the art of fighting with a short staff or other short weapon. Used against the Bushi wearing a light armour. Founded in 1532 by Takenouchi Hisamori.
Kung-fu, Gung-fu, Gong-fu
'Human effort'. A word from the Cantonese dialect which has become popular in the second half of the 20th century, in preference to the Mandarin word Wushu. Kakutei-jutsu in Japanese, Quan-fa in Mandarin. Became popular in the 1960s and 1970s because of the Bruce Lee films, and the television series 'Kung-fu' starring David Carradine. Styles of Kung-fu fighting vary enormously, from styles of Karate to a style imitating a drunken monkey, from the soft and flowing actions of Taiji Quan to the arobatic feats of Chinese gymnasts. Styles using weapons are no less varied. From the classical two-edged sword to fighting with a bench. Most Kung-fu styles trace their origins to the Shaolin-si. See Wushu, Wei-jia, Nei-jia, Shaolin-pai, Taiji-quan.
A sickle formerly used by peasants for cutting rice straw. In Okinawa this weapon of self-defence sometimes has a chain weighted at the end with an iron or lead ball. The sickle was used to parry a sword blade and the chain to entangle the blade. The chain could also wrap around the body, arms or legs of the assailant. The sickle was also used against horses. The weapon was later adopted by the Ninja and by the police. This weapon is now rarely taught, except in a few rare Ryu of Japan, eg. the Araki-ryu. Training is done with a wooden sickle, only some advanced students still train with a sharp, steel-bladed sickle.