Hi everybody I’m John Graden, Executive Director
of the Martial Arts Teacher’s Association and an eighth degree black belt. I’m excited
to be here today with you. Let’s talk a little bit about the origins of the martial arts.
Today the rage of course is mixed martial arts and that is going to be the future but
in order to have mixed martial arts you have to have separate martial arts. And we have
a variety of styles and part of the martial arts tradition is to look forward but honor
our past so let’s do that right now. There are two primary categories of martial arts,
striking martial arts. One is a soft style and the other is the hard style. The soft
style probably is where the origins of the martial arts began and that would be the Kung
Fu or Gung Fu systems. The difference is that hard styles are very straight and linear and
soft styles tend to work more in circles in a softer fashion. So the Kung Fu system is
also typically more internally based than some of the other systems so the soft style
of Kung Fu is a circular system. On the straight hard line styles our origins are in Okinawan
karate which is a very traditional strong system that emphasizes blocking and then countering.
They like to let you make the first move, capitalize on your mistake and make you pay
for it. Out of Okinawan karate came Japanese karate, shotakon, pioneered by the great Gichin
Funakoshi in the early 1920’s. That’s a very straight linear driving forward kind of style,
just like the Japanese, very simple, very powerful and right to the point. The fourth
major system is one of the later ones and this was developed in the 1950’s and this
is Tai Kwan Do or the various Korean systems of martial arts and they emphasize kicking.
The beauty of kicking is that your leg is a lot stronger than your arm. It is a lot
longer than your arm so it is a very effective weapon if you can keep your opponent at bay.
In the 70’s we started to merge these together, actually the origins of mixed martial arts
into a system that is called kickboxing. Kickboxing at the time took all the best of all the various
styles and applied them in a kickboxing ring with gloves, with rules, and started to develop
the sport that I think today has led to the mixed martial arts that we all enjoy on television
and of course on the internet. So there is an overview of the various systems of martial
arts all four of those, or five of those have deep subsystems and family trees and it is
quite, it is like roots going everywhere. So it is exciting, it is interesting, but
again we want to look with the future of mixed martial arts but always honor our past. I’m
John Graden and we’ll see you again at johngraden.com. Thank you.