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The Position of Language in Asian Martial Arts

Martial arts has a deep and complicated historical past with sumo wrestling’s roots relationship again all the way in which to 23 AD in Japan. Since then, quite a few types of martial arts have emerged and developed into the various kinds of fight sports activities we all know right now. However martial arts transcend self-defense and fight.

They’re additionally distinctive by way of their linguistic intricacies and philosophies. It’s mentioned that as a lot as language is “generative in nature and consists of definable elements and governing rules equivalent to growth, acquisition, and upkeep”, so too is martial arts. That’s why it’s thought-about a lifestyle for a lot of versus a mere bodily exercise that reinforces power, flexibility, stability, and coordination. 

On this article, we discover the connection between language and martial arts, whereas additionally exploring the philosophies behind them in three completely different Asian nations: Japan, China, and South Korea. Hold studying to find extra.

Japan: Judo

Philosophy: It’s believed that Judo is a kind of martial arts that goals for optimum effectivity with minimal effort. It is usually mentioned that it may be likened to water and its varied varieties. From a peaceful lily pond to a stormy sea and even steam or a block of ice, Judo takes the bodily being and transforms them right into a non-resisting agent that flows like water in its liquid state, important for each facet of life. Because of this, Judo is usually known as the “mild approach”. Developed in 1882 by Jigoro Kano, “Kodokan Judo” focuses on flexibility, yielding, or an adroit approach of philosophy. Immediately, Judo is accepted as an Olympic sport and is practiced worldwide. 

Counting from 1-10: “Ichi, ni, san, shi, go, roku, shichi, hachi, kyu, ju!” – Japanese

Different Japanese martial arts

As a result of the Japanese martial arts scene is so wealthy and various, there are a couple of different varieties of martial arts which can be price mentioning, which we cowl under.

  • Aikido: Aikido was developed within the early levels of the twentieth century and it means “the way in which of unifying with life vitality” or “a approach of the spirit of mutual concord”. It’s based mostly on varied techniques, together with Daito-ryu-aikijutsu, Kito-ryu-jujutsu, Goto-ha Yaguy jujutsu (all techniques of hand-to-hand fight), and kenjutsu (the way in which of the sword. Its principal function is the harmonious mixing of the intrinsic human spirit. It emphasizes flowing and sleek method, utilizing the participant’s “qi” or “ki”–the inner, important vitality that everybody possesses.
  • Jujitsu: Though it’s most likely extra right to name it “jujutsu”, Jujitsu gained recognition within the 1600s. In brief, it refers to being adaptive, versatile or yielding as a talent or an artwork. It’s thought-about one of many first martial arts disciplines in Japan. Whereas some faculties favor throwing and/or placing, others choose submission. Immediately, there are numerous types of Jujitsu being practiced on the earth, both in conventional varieties or by means of fashionable diversifications.
  • Karate: Karate was developed in Japan within the early Twenties. It means “empty hand”, which emphasizes placing and kicking. There are numerous types of karate that emerged in Japan, together with Goju-ryu, Shito-ryu, Wado-ryu, and many others. Its roots, nevertheless, date again to China within the 1500s. 
  • Kendo: Kendo is a contemporary adaptation of kenjutsu or “sword artwork”, practiced by the samurai earlier than the Meiji period in Japan earlier than 1868. Along with Judo, it’s taught in Japanese public faculties as a way of bodily training. It includes contributors carrying physique and head safety and utilizing bamboo swords for observe.
  • Kempo/Kenpo: Loosely based mostly on the Chinese language martial artwork of Chuan fa, it includes punching and kicking. It includes completely different types which can be practiced each inside Japan and in the remainder of the world.

China: Kung Fu

Philosophy: “Kung fu” means talent achieved by means of exhausting work. It’s thought-about each a type of train with a non secular dimension, stemming from focus and self-discipline and a primarily unarmed mode of private fight.

Counting from 1-10: “Yī’, èr, sān, sì, wǔ, liù, qī, bā, jiǔ, shí!” – Chinese language (Simplified)
Language and combat philosophy
Extra terminology:

  • Sifu: A marker of talent and respect, it refers back to the grasp who guides you in bodily, ethical, and philosophical teachings.
  • Wushu: Refers back to the sport and exhibition facet of Chinese language martial arts. It focuses on sleek actions and acrobatics along with martial arts methods.
  • Qi: Utilized in philosophy and medication in Chinese language, that is known as “life vitality”.
  • Taolu: It refers back to the sequences or varieties in Kung Fu, that are choreographed patterns of actions.
  • Quan: It’s about using arms in fight and it means “fist”. 
  • Zhan Zhuang: Refers to standing meditation and is a observe for creating inside power, stability, and a deep sense of grounding.
  • Leitai: A raised platform the place martial arts matches are held.
  • Gong Li: The extent of talent or energy one has achieved in Kung Fu. It encompasses bodily power, method, pace, accuracy, and understanding of Qi.

Korea: Taekwondo 

Philosophy: Taekwondo, roughly translated, means to regulate one’s fists. It’s about utilizing all elements of the physique to cease bodily battle and assist to construct a extra peaceable society. Originating in Korea, it primarily makes use of punches and kicks to defend oneself towards bodily assault. Immediately, there are numerous various kinds of Taekwondo, every of which follows a unique emphasis, guidelines, varieties, and different components. As well as, right now it’s acknowledged as an Olympic sport.

Counting from 1-10: “Hanna, dul, set, internet, dasot, yasot, elgob, yadol, ahop, yol!” – Korean


Regardless of the completely different types of Asian martial arts right now, one factor is evident. Every one is deeply rooted in a non secular and philosophical underpinning, which guides a practitioner in a holistic approach.

Nevertheless, to know the philosophy, one should additionally perceive sure linguistic and cultural features of the particular type of martial arts that one is coaching in.

By understanding these vital components, it’s extra doubtless that you simply’ll work in direction of turning into a extra well-rounded particular person with a deeper understanding of self in relation to others in your group or setting.



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