What Type Of Martial Arts Did The Japanese Samurai Use?

by Bunka Japan May 30, 2021 5 min read

What Were Those Martial Arts That Samurai Practiced And Would Someone Be Able To Recreate The Skills Of The Samurai Today?

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The life of a samurai was rooted in Bushido honor and martial techniques. However, what were the martial techniques they practiced, and could someone today duplicate the samurai's abilities? It's an intriguing question, and the solution is interesting.

In grappling, hitting, swordsmanship, archery, riding, knot tying, and battlefield plans, the Samurai developed their combat techniques. The entire current disciplines of Akido, Judo, Kendo, Iado, Karate, and many more would have been incorporated in their whole combat system.

Is it possible for someone today to train and live like a samurai did hundreds of years ago? What would this way of life and training look like if it were feasible to recreate it, and what are these styles? We can figure it out by looking at the broad categories of their education and then the specific types that would be required now.

Budo, or Japanese martial arts, arose out of a necessity for defense and fighting. Those who belonged to the top social class during the Edo Period (1603-1867) were known as bushido or samurai. These warriors honed their combat abilities and eventually passed on their ideologies and methods to future generations.

Practitioners of Japanese samurai katana martial arts no longer employ them in conflict nowadays. They've evolved into reliable self-defense techniques through time.

In current times, they are used to promote educational principles that include spiritual, moral, cultural, and physical development. A samurai's might and might are reflected in every martial arts practitioner.

Learning Japanese martial arts is a fantastic method to learn about the country's history as well as the art in general for martial arts aficionados. Here are a few prominent modern Japanese martial arts to help you channel your inner samurai.

 

Karate

Karate

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Karate literally translates to "empty hand," which perfectly describes martial art's nature: it is weapon-free. Karate is a Japanese martial art that originated on the island of Okinawa and is now one of the most well-known in the world. It first appeared in the 14th century in the Ryky Kingdom, when commercial links with China were established.

Later on, karate was introduced to the Japanese mainland. Its origins may be traced back to indigenous combat systems such as te(, which means "hand") and Chinese kenp. From “Chinese hand” to “empty hand,” martial art was renamed.

Only the arms and legs are used in this unarmed martial art, which focuses on kicking, hitting, and defensive blocking. Modern karate has developed into many styles as a result of its wide historical impact. Grappling techniques, locks, restraints, critical point attacks, and throws are only a few of them.

Karate has also become a popular sport all around the world. It genuinely sets Japan's impact apart from other countries, with roughly 100 million individuals practicing martial art across five continents and 192 nations.

The "Karate belt system," which has represented a karate student's advancement since the early 1900s, has been a part of karate's development. The white belt represents the very first level of karate training, while the black belt represents the accomplishment of a more in-depth and comprehensive grasp of the sport.

Karate is profoundly philosophical, in addition to its physical strength and self-defense abilities. Self-discipline is instilled in practitioners by discovering and strengthening their talents.

With the rise of martial art, Okinawan karate has become increasingly more relevant to practitioners, prompting them to go to Okinawa to discover the martial art's roots.

 

Aikido

Aikido

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Aikido  The martial art is called "being one with the opponent" because of the three letters ai, which means "union or harmony," ki, which means "universal energy or spirit," and do, which means "way."

Aikido, which was founded in the late 1920s by Morihei Ueshiba, is a Japanese martial art that is influenced by ancient Japanese martial arts.

Morihei Ueshiba learned numerous kinds of jujitsu, fencing, and spear combat, and wanted to find a deeper meaning in life in the end.

In addition to his exceptional physical ability, he developed the contemporary martial art of aikido by combining martial training with religious and political ideals. Techniques in a martial art are used to prevent opponents or assailants from injury.

The objective is to blend in with the opponent's movement while deflecting the force of their strike. It's when you use your opponent's strength against them.

 Aikido uses non-harmful grips and throws to assist practitioners to protect themselves while without harming the opponent. The methods make this martial art astonishingly benign and true to its name, which means "the path to oneness with universal energy."

 

Kendo

Kendo

Kendo is the “Way of the Sword,” and it is based on Japanese swordsmanship methods. It's a type of traditional Japanese fencing in which bamboo swords and protective armor are used. Kendo is a martial art that goes back to the 13th century and is heavily influenced by Samurai art tactics. It was outlawed for several years following World War II but was eventually restored as an educational sport.

Kendo is one of the most popular martial arts taught in Japanese public schools. It entails full-throttle thrusts, hits, and counter-attacks using the bamboo sword. Kendo is a full-contact sport that integrates the physical, mental, and emotional aspects.

Kendo practitioners are rated using a grading system rather than wearing belts or other external symbols of status. The highest grade, 8th Dan, is known for being particularly difficult to get. In Japan, the Dan examinations are held twice a year, and only around 1% of those who take them succeed. Kendo is a lifetime art as a result of this. To find our more about what are the differences between Kendo and Kenjutsu read here.

 

Kyudo

Kyudo

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Kyudo is a Japanese archery method known as the "Way of the Bow." Its own ideology, equipment, customs, and procedures are all unique to it. Asymmetrical longbows are used in Kyudo to shoot arrows. In Japan, martial arts are not taught until the age of 15 since it demands maturity and power.

Any kyudo newbie would believe that the purpose is to hit the target. It is necessary, but the attitude and dignity of an archer are more crucial.

The ultimate objective is to achieve the mushin() mental state, which is a type of "meditation via activity" in which the practitioner clears their mind. Kyudo is likewise a lifetime practice, with the highest grade being 8th Dan.

This martial art's practitioners are required to strive for technical excellence, as well as the highest level of refinement and embodiment of the talent.

If at all possible, whoever wields the bow should be able to see the truth of kyudo. This peaceful skill may appear simple, yet mastering it is a demanding task. Similarly, in kendo, the 8th Dan tests have a success rate of fewer than 1%.

 

Sumo

Sumo

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Sumo is a Japanese martial art that should not be overlooked when studying Japanese martial arts. Wrestling in the Japanese style is the national sport of the country.

Its origins may be traced back to Shinto religious ceremonies, which entail human wrestling with a Shinto deity. Sumo's regulations are straightforward as a martial art form.

The first wrestler to contact the ground with any part of his body other than his feet loses, as does the first wrestler to be thrown out of the ring.

To people who are unaware of sumo's history, a wrestling match may appear to be just another type of entertainment. However, this martial art is not for the faint of heart, since it entails more than simply throwing the opponent out of the arena.

Professional sumo wrestlers are required to live a traditional lifestyle as it is a full-contact wrestling sport. They train together in sumo stables, sharing tactics and learning from one another.

Wrestlers of all grades reside and train at the stables, where they may further their knowledge of the martial art.


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