What are the “Martial Arts”?• The martial arts are different systems of fighting taught all over the world. The term martial art has become heavily associated with the fighting arts of eastern Asia, but was originally used in regard to the combat systems of Europe as early as the 1550s. The term is ultimately derived from Latin, martial arts being the "Arts of Mars," the Roman god of war.
Kung FuChinese martial arts, also referred toby the Mandarin Chinese term wushuand popularly as kung fu (Chinese: 功夫; pinyin: gōngfu), are a number offighting styles that have developedover the centuries in China. Thesefighting styles are often classifiedaccording to common traits, identifiedas "families" (家, jiā), "sects" (派, pài)or "schools" (門, mén) of martial arts.Examples of such traits includephysical exercises involving animalmimicry, or training methods inspiredby Chinese philosophies, religions andlegends.
Karate Karate is a martial art developed in the Ryukyu Islands in what is now Okinawa, Japan. It was developed partially from local Okinawan fighting methods and from Chinese kenpō. Karate is a striking art using punching, kicking, knee and elbow strikes, and open-handed techniques such as knife-hands. The martial arts movies of the 1960s and 1970s served to greatly increase its popularity and the word karate began to be used in a generic way to refer to all striking-based Oriental martial arts. Karate schools began appearing across the world, catering to those with casual interest, such as young children, as well as those seeking a deeper study of the art.Karate masters are sometimes known to break boards and bricks withtheir bare hands.
JujutsuJujutsu (Japanese: 柔術, jūjutsu, alsoknown as jujitsu), is a Japanesemartial art and a method of closecombat for defeating an armed andarmored opponent in which one usesno weapon, or only a short weapon.Jujutsu is different from many othertypes of martial arts in how isfocuses on using throws andgrappling techniques to subdue one’sopponent. A form of Jujutsu featuredin the Olympics is known as Judo.
Capoeira Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, and music. It was created in Brazil mainly by descendants of African slaves with Brazilian native influences, probably beginning in the 16th century. It is known by quick and complex moves, using mainly power, speed, and leverage for leg sweeps.Capoeira involves many elaborate kicks and flips.
What do you think?• What are some famous styles of martial arts from your country?• Why do you think people practice martial arts?• How does Kung Fu compare to western boxing?• Do you think practicing Tai Chi is good for your health?
Internal Martial Arts Internal Martial Arts or Nèijiā is a term in Chinese martial arts, grouping those styles that practice nèijìng (內勁; literally "internal strength"), occupied with spiritual, mental or qi-related aspects, as opposed to an "external" approach focused on physiological aspects. The internal styles are also known for their association with the Taoist monasteries of Wudang mountain in the Hubei Province of China. These styles are usually known as Tàijíquán, Xíngyìquán and Bāguàzhǎng.
Touch of DeathThe Death Touch refers to any martial arts techniquethat can kill using seemingly less than lethal forcetargeted at specific areas of the body.The concept known as Dim Mak (simplified Chinese:点脉) traces its history to Traditional ChineseMedicine Acupuncture. Tales of its use are oftenfound in Chinese martial arts fiction. Dim Mak isdepicted as a secret body of knowledge withtechniques that attack pressure points andmeridians, said to incapacitate or sometimes causeimmediate or even delayed death to an opponent.Although Dim Mak originates in Wuxia fiction, therehave been a number of martial artists claiming topractice the technique in reality, beginning in the1960s with American eccentric Count Dante, whogave it the English name "The Death Touch".However, the subject of the death touch in real life isin much debate and controversy
NunchakuNunchaku (ヌンチャク, nunchaku) is a traditional Asian weapon consisting of twosticks connected at their ends with a short chain or rope. In the English languagenunchaku are often referred to as "nunchucks", "nunchuks", or, incorrectly,"numchucks".
Ninja Stars A shuriken (Japanese 手裏剣; literally: "sword hidden in the hand") is a traditional Japanese concealed weapon that was generally used for throwing, and sometimes stabbing or slashing. They are sharpened hand-held blades made from a variety of everyday items such as needles, nails, and knives, as well as coins, washers, and other flat plates of metal. In the West they are often known as Ninja stars or throwing stars.
Chain WhipThe chain whip or nine-section-whipis a weapon used in some Asianmartial arts, particularly traditionalChinese disciplines, in addition tomodern and traditional wushu. Itconsists of several metal rods, whichare joined end-to-end by rings toform a flexible chain. Generally, thewhip has a handle at one end and ametal dart, used for slashing orpiercing an opponent, at the other.
What do you think?• Do you believe in “internal power” (qi)?• Have you ever heard of someone being killed by the “touch of death”?• What do you think about people who practice with strange weapons like the chain whip?• Why do you think some people still use swords in their martial arts practice?
Bruce LeeBruce Lee (born Lee Jun-fan; 1940 – 1973) was aChinese American, Hong Kong actor, martial artsinstructor, philosopher, film director, filmproducer, screenwriter, and founder of the JeetKune Do martial arts movement (“The Way ofthe Intercepting Fist”). He is widely consideredby many commentators, critics, media and othermartial artists to be the most influential martialartist of all time.Though commonly thought to be from HongKong, Lee was in fact born on 27 November1940 at the Chinese Hospital in Chinatown, SanFrancisco, California.
Chuck Norris Carlos Ray "Chuck" Norris (born March 10, 1940) is an American martial artist and actor. After serving in the United States Air Force, he began his rise to fame as a martial artist and has since founded his own school, Chun Kuk Do. Norris appeared in a number of action films, such as Way of the Dragon in which he starred alongside Bruce Lee and was a leading star in the 1980s. He next played the starring role in the television series Walker, Texas Ranger from 1993 to 2001.
Jean-Claude Van DammeJean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg (born18 October 1960), professionally known as Jean-Claude Van Damme is a Belgian martial artist,actor and director best known for his martial artsaction films, the most successful of which includeBloodsport (1988), Kickboxer (1989), UniversalSoldier (1992), Hard Target (1993), Timecop (1994),Sudden Death (1995) and JCVD (2008). He isknown as "The Muscles from Brussels".After studying martial arts intensively from the ageof ten, Van Damme achieved national success inBelgium as a martial artist and bodybuilder,earning the "Mr. Belgium" bodybuilding title. Heemigrated to the United States in 1982 to pursue acareer in film, and achieved success withBloodsport in 1988.
What do you think?• Who is your favorite martial arts actor?• Do you enjoy movies about kung fu, or are you more interested in romance or comedy?• Do you think the fighting in kung fu movies is the same as fighting in real life?• Do you think you could beat Jackie Chan in a fight?