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Japanese Martial Arts History

Mongolian tribesmen introduced the Chinese to violent skull-bashing wrestling in 770 B.C., and consequently, they indirectly introduced the Koreans and Japanese to it, too.
In China, the wrestling was called shang pu, and in Korea, it was called tae sang bak. Tae sang bak is also a synonym for the Korean wrestling form known as ssireum, which is pronounced as sumo in Japanese.

From there, Japanese martial arts history changed again in 23 B.C., when wrestler Tomakesu-Hayato was ordered to fight Nomi-no-Sukene. Nomi-no-Sukene kicked Tomakesu-Hayato to death by combining his violent wrestling with chikara kurabe. Thus, jujutsu was born.

Chinese martial artists also introduced chuan fa (kempo) to Japan in A.D. 607. When a style of chuan fa that was mixed with jujutsu was taught to Jigoro Kano (1860-1938), he removed the kicks and punches to create judo, which led to Morihei Uyeshiba’s creation of aikido in 1943.

The interaction and influence between the three countries is evident in many other Japanese martial arts, such as kendo. Likewise, when Okinawan martial artist Sakugawa created karate-no-sakugawa in 1722, the character “kara” originally referred to China. However, after Gichin Funakoshi introduced karate into Japan in 1921, kara’s meaning changed to “empty.”

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  1. Haruo Matsuoka on Steven Seagal and Aikido’s History in America

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  2. Ninja History 101: Ninjutsu Training

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  4. History of Karate: The Story of Gichin Funakoshi Disciple Osamu Ozawa (Part 2)

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  5. History of Karate Video: The Story of Goju-Ryu Karate Techniques Master Teruo Chinen

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    When you live next door to the founder of a martial arts style, what do you do? Train with him, of course! Read and watch a brief account of the long and storied life of Chojun Miyagi and Eiichi Miyazato disciple Teruo Chinen.
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  6. History of Karate: The Story of Gichin Funakoshi Disciple Osamu Ozawa (Part 1)

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    Until his death on April 14, 1998, Osamu Ozawa was the highest-ranked shotokan karate master in the Western hemisphere. His place in the history of karate stemmed from a fascinating life — the kind most of us only read about.

    Osamu Ozawa was born in 1925 in Kobe, Japan. His ancestors
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  7. Top 10 Karate Concepts Every Martial Artist Should Know

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  8. Japanese Weapons Master Masayuki Shimabukuro Demonstrates Samurai Sword-Cutting Techniques in Advanced Samurai Swordsmanship DVD Preview!

    Japanese Weapons Master Masayuki Shimabukuro Demonstrates Samurai Sword-Cutting Techniques in Advanced Samurai Swordsmanship DVD Preview!

    In their new Japanese martial arts DVD collection, Advanced Samurai Swordsmanship, samurai sword masters Masayuki Shimabukuro and Carl E. Long detail and demonstrate a variety of samurai sword techniques. In this exclusive DVD preview, Long introduces Shimabukuro’s cutting demonstration, or suemono giri. “We’re going to explore the more advanced section
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  9. Judo vs. Boxing: “Judo” Gene LeBell Defeats Boxer Milo Savage in First MMA Fight

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    For much of the world, MMA was born on November 12, 1993, when the Ultimate Fighting Championship debuted in Denver. Most martial artists know otherwise, however. They know the date was actually December 2, 1963, the day “Judo” Gene LeBell stepped into the ring to face boxer Milo Savage. Black
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  10. Real Samurai Sword Masters in Action on New Japanese Martial Arts DVD Collection!

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    Japanese weapons master Masayuki Shimabukuro takes you to the next level of samurai sword mastery in this three-disc samurai DVD set! In Advanced Samurai Swordsmanship, Japanese sword master Masayuki Shimabukuro and his senior student, Carl E. Long, delve deeper into the elegance of body-and-weapon movement that defines personal mastery of
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