Martial Arts do - the long way of the fighting styles

Far East lineage

The following chart provides a basic idea about the lineage of some martial arts in three Far East separate regions (China, Japan, Okinawa).

Far East styles lineage
Far East styles lineage

These fighting systems may have their roots in India.

Some claim that Vajramuschti is the source of Eastern martial arts. Reserved for the class of warriors from which Buddha belonged, this fighting art would have been adopted by his followers as a resource for self-defense against the dangers in their pilgrimage.

Vajramuschti is considered to became the foundation of Kalaripayattu. This fighting style was created in the fourth century AD and originated in the Indian state of Kerala. Stressing pressure points attacks, use of weapons and yoga stretching, it is considered as the oldest current martial art.

Others claim that the earliest records of Chinese martial arts are previous to Buddhism (some include references to Taoism), which would suggest a common origin between China and India.

As the army of Alexander the Great reached India in the 4th century B.C, it is likely that the fighting techniques disputed at the ancient Olympic Games in Greece (Boxing, Wrestling and Pankration) were taught locally.

According to a legend, Shaolin Boxing would have been created at the Shaolin Temple in China by the Indian monk Boddidarma, who first taught techniques to strengthen and improve health. The monks of the temple developed this style further later on, as well as several other Kung Fu styles (including the one based on five animals which emerged centuries later.)

China itself was the birthplace of Karate-Do. This fighting style was first introduced in the Ryukyu islands - which are today the southern islands of Japan - by trading merchants who made trips to Southern China. Karate was first known as "China-Hand" and "Okinawa-Hand".

Jiu-Jitsu was the only Japanese unarmed martial art around the time of the samurai, and served as the inspiration for Judo and Aikido (as well as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu). It followed a different lineage than Karate-Do: kicks and punches were not included because they could not have effects against the powerful armor worn by the samurai.

Karate-Do instead made use of bare fists, hands, elbows, feet, and knees, because it was a form of resistance of the population of the Ryukyu Islands against the Japanese occupation authorities, which prohibited the inhabitants to carry weapons.

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