WorldMAC Academy


It is estimated 350 million people participate in martial arts worldwide, which represents 5% of the world’s population.  In the USA alone some 18 million people practise martial arts, yet sports authorities across the globe continue to wrongly classify these as minority sports.  Apart from mainstream martial arts that include Karate, Kung-Fu, Taekwondo, Judo, Muay Thai, Freestyle, and Ju-Jitsu, there are also a growing number of new and developing martial arts.  The World Taekwondo Federation (WTF), the leading governing body for Korean Taekwondo, recently announced circa 60 million people practise this martial art alone, which has advanced significantly since the Seoul Olympics in 1988 where it featured for the first time as an Olympic sport.  Martial artists are among the most dedicated of sports practitioners, whether amateurs or professionals, and spend years perfecting their chosen arts. To date all this hard work and effort is generally only recognised within clubs or associations, with no or very little external validation, accreditation or recognition.  This has now changed as the WorldMAC Academy has developed a universal education programme suitable for all 350 million martial artists worldwide.  


World Martial Arts Council 


The World Martial Arts Council (WMAC) was conceived to protect all martial artists from the inherent and ever increasing political wrangling within these sports.  With over 14 million individuals already registered, this non-political alliance identified the need to provide accredited educational courses on a global scale.  After years of dedication and research into martial arts academia the WorldMAC Academy, an educational institution, is now operational. 



Academic Research Team

  Dr. Paul Bowman

 Martial Arts Studies Research Network

 Articles Posted 

 Martial Arts Studies Academic Journal  

 Whilst registered individuals and groups are invited to send academic papers and information relating to martial arts practice for inclusion in this section, the World Martial Arts Council is not responsible for the accuracy of content. 

Martial Arts Chronology

The art of fighting dates back to pre-historic times before written records existed, and has continued to develop along with human endeavour to survive.   There are many claims regarding the martial arts, their founders, and speculation about dates of origin ranging from 4000 BCE to their inception in Asia around 2000 BCE, and between 420-589 CE at the Buddhist monastery in China located in Henan province, where frescoes depict monks exercising, sparring, and training with weapons.  Whilst this was a focal point for Shaolin Kung-fu instruction, evidence identifying its creators is inconclusive, although three theories emerged.  The first attributed the creation to the Indian priest Ta-mo (Bodhidharma), who followed his predecessor, Bodhiruchi, to the middle-kingdom several decades after the construction of the temple but this is unsubstantiated.  The second theory attributes its creation to Hwei-Kuang and Sung-Chou, monks that preceded the arrival of Ta-mo in China by several years.  The third theory attributes the origin to the collective efforts of a number of priests over many years, and is the most plausible.  However, it can be safely assumed the history of any martial art is inextricably linked to that of the country in which it originated.

In Japan many martial arts developed from the samurai tradition.  Circa 720 CE in Japan the Nihon Shoki, the first chronicle concerning Japanese wrestling, was compiled and around 800 CE kenjutsu schools were common.  Circa 900 CE the art of kali was founded in the Philippines; ch’in-na was transmitted from China to Japan and became the basis for aiki-jutsu, and between 900 and 1200 CE the art of silat, also from China, reached Indonesia.  From 1147-1170 subak reached its peak in popularity in Korea, and between 1185 and 1336 aiki-jutsu, founded by Shinra Saburo Yoshimitsu, became popular throughout Japan, where in 1192 bushido emerged.  Between 1271 and 1368 kung-fu was used by anti-government resistance groups in China, and it was during the 13th Century that Zen was introduced to Japan by Chinese Buddhist monks.  Circa 1300 in China, Chang San-Feng introduced soft elements to Shaolin Kung-fu and reputedly founded tai chi chuan.  In 1350 in Japan, the earliest recorded Nen-ryu school of swordsmanship was founded, and sword techniques were systematized for the first time by Choisai and Jion.  Between 1368 and 1644 ch’in-na was recorded as a self-defence system; Okinawa in 1372 became a Chinese satellite, and from then elements of kung-fu were introduced into Okinawan tode.  In 1392 thirty-six Chinese families immigrated to Okinawa and taught Chinese boxing to the local population.  Circa 1400 in Japan, ninjutsu emerged and flourished for four centuries.  It was during the 15th Century that atemi became popular in Japan, and during this time Huan Tuah is thought to have founded bersilat in what is now Malaysia.  In 1477 all weapons were banned in Okinawa by Sho Shin, which stimulated underground training in unarmed combat.  During 16th Century China, wing chun was founded by Yim Wing Chun, a Buddhist nun; African slaves developed capoeira in Brazil; c.1550 in Japan, jojutsu was founded by Muso Gunnosuke; in 1570 the art of sumo emerged, and between 1600 and 1650 jujitsu developed.

During 17th Century China, Wong Long founded praying mantis kung-fu; in 1609 the banned use of weapons in Okinawa led to the creation of kobu-jutsu in which farm tools were implemented as alternatives to weapons.  In 1629 in Okinawa, tode and chuan fa were synthesized into a new martial art named te; between 1644 and 1648 China’s Ch’en Yuan-pin reputedly introduced a form of jujutsu and the sai; in 1692 Ko Sokun, a ship-wrecked Chinese boxer, introduced kumiai-jutsu, and around 1700 modern characteristics of Okinawan karate emerged.  Between 1703 and 1709 in Thailand, Muay Thai in its early form reached its peak in popularity, and in 1730 the Ching Edic in China drove kung-fu underground where it propagated secretly from generation to generation.  In 1750 budo disciplines in Japan emerged from bujutsu; and by 1761 a form of kung-fu was being taught in Okinawa.  In the Philippines in 1764 Spanish authorities banned the art of kali; in France c.1800 the art of savate emerged; and by 1830 the first savate club was founded in Italy.  Circa 1831 Chan Heung founded Choy-Li-Fut in China; in 1832 Charles Lecour synthesized English boxing and savate to create French boxing, and in 1848 kung-fu was secretly transmitted to the USA by Chinese labourers imported for the Gold Rush in California.  In 1868 in Japan, samurai were prohibited from carrying swords, which facilitated the end of the samurai era; in 1882 Jigoro Kano founded judo and established the Kodokan at the Eisho-Ji Temple; and in 1884 the first judo contest was conducted.  Between 1887 and 1889 in Okinawa, the word karate replaced the word te; in 1887 the technical formation of Kodokan judo was completed; and c.1890 in Okinawa, Kanryo Higashionna introduced naha-te and the breathing exercise called sanchin.  In 1890 sumo, judo, and kendo were introduced into the Japanese scholastic system for boys, and naginata-do for girls.  In 1895 the Dai Nippon Butokukai was founded in Japan; in 1896 Jigoro Kana devised the go-kyo-no-waza, a systemized approach for teaching the art of judo; and in 1899 the Butokuden was established there.

In China in 1900, during the Boxer Rebellion, martial arts were virtually eliminated from the mainland; in Okinawa from 1901-1902 karate became part of the physical education curriculum at two schools; Yasutsune Itosu became the first karate master to instruct publicly; and in 1902  Yoshiaki Yamashita introduced judo in the USA.  In 1904 writer Re-Nie Guy de Montgaillard introduced jujutsu in France; judo was taught to police; in 1905 the majority of jujutsu schools in Japan merged with the Kodokan; in Okinawa karate was taught as a sport in middle schools; and the first public karate exhibition was conducted in 1906 by Gichin Funakoshi.  In the same year Gunji Koizumi introduced judo in England; Agitaro Ono taught jujutsu at military academies in Germany; in 1907 the University Kendo Federation was founded in Japan; and Takugoro Ito founded the first judo school in Washington, USA.  In 1909 Jack Santos introduced kali in the USA; and Shigen Teshima, with Naomatsu Kaneshiga, introduced judo in Hawaii.  In 1911 the Judo Teacher’s Training Department was established at the Kodokan in Japan; and both kendo and judo were named compulsory subjects in Japanese middle schools.  In 1912 kung-fu was restored and instituted in all areas of Chinese learning; and in Japan the Nihon Kendo Kata, the foundation of all modern kendo practice, was created.  In 1914 judo was introduced in Belgium by Ito and Maurice Minne; and in 1917 Gichin Funakoshi performed the first karate demonstration at the Butokuden in Japan.  In 1918 in England, the Budokwai Judo Club was founded by Gunji Koizumi; in Italy in 1920 judo was introduced by Carolo Oletti, and Okinawan Kentsu Yabu performed karate demonstrations in Hawaii and the USA, which was the first international exposure of this art.  In 1921 the Okinawan Association for the Spirit of the Martial Arts was founded by Gichin Funakoshi; and in 1922 he demonstrated karate at the 1st National Athletic Exhibition, and established the first karate club in Japan at the Meisei Juku.  In Honolulu the Chinese Physical Culture Association became the first club in the West to teach a form of kung-fu; and the Kodokan Dan Grade Holder’s Association in Japan, along with the Korean Archery Association, were also founded at this time.

In 1924 the first Japanese collegiate karate club was founded by Gichin Funakoshi at Keio University; and the Jiu-Jitsu Association of Germany was founded.  In 1926 a women’s judo section was established at the Kodokan in Japan; c.1927-1928 in Okinawa, Chojun Miyagi founded goju-ryu karate; in 1927 in Hawaii, Kentsu Yabu gave the first public karate demonstration and introduced shuri-te; in 1928 the All Japan Kendo Federation was founded; Chojun Miyagi taught karate at universities; Nippon kempo was founded by Muneomi Sawayama; in Okinawa, Choshin Chibana named his karate style shorin-ryu; in China kung-fu was renamed wushu and became formalized; in Australia judo was introduced by Dr. A. J. Ross; and the Australian Council of Judo was founded.  In 1929 judo was introduced in India; and in England, the first international judo event was conducted between the Budokwai and the Jiu-Jitsu Club of Frankfurt.  In 1930 Gogen Yamaguchi established the Japanese goju-ryu headquarters; Kenwas Mabuni founded shito-ryu karate; the 1st All Japan Judo Championships were conducted; the Okanawan Prefecture Athletic Association was established; Ark-Yuey Wong founded the Wong Wen Sun Chinese Benevolent Association in Los Angeles; judo was introduced in Hungary by Tibor Vincze; and in England the first intercollegiate judo competition was conducted between Oxford and Cambridge universities.  In 1931 the Tokyo police adopted modern hojo-jutsu; Kanken Toyama founded shudokan karate; in Hungary the first judo club was founded; and judo was introduced in Africa. 

In 1932 in Japan, the Judo Medical Research Society was founded, as was the European Judo Federation; in Germany the first international judo summer school was conducted by Alfred Rhode; and the first known kendo school outside of Japan was founded by Shuji Mikami in Hawaii.  In 1933 karate was recognized as an official martial art of Japan; the Dai Nippon Butokukai (Okinawan Branch) was founded; judo began to replace jiu-jitsu; Choki Motobu promoted Okinawan karate in Hawaii, and Zuiho Mutsu, with Kamesuke Higaonna, co-founded the Hawaii Karate Seinin Kai, the first known Caucasian group to openly study and promote karate.   In 1934 Maurice Van Nieuwenhuizen introduced judo in Holland; Chojun Miyagi lectured and taught goju-ryu karate in Hawaii, and Master Ryuzo Ogawa became Chief Instructor of the Jukendore-nei Association in Brazil.  In 1935 the All Japan Goju-kai Karate-do Association was founded by Gogen Yamaguchi; the All Japan Kempo Federation was established by Muneomi Sawayama; and in France, Club Franco-Japonais was founded by Mikonosuke Kawaishi.  In 1936 distinguished karate masters decided to officially adopt the term ‘karate’ for the national martial art of Okinawa; the Shotokan Karate Dojo was established by Gichin Funakoshi’s students; Funakoshi adopted Chomo Hanashiro’s translation of karate as ‘empty hand’ and popularized it; Toaro Mori taught kendo in the USA; and the Jiu-Jitsu Club de France was founded by M. Feldenkrais.  In 1937 in Korea, a branch of hapkido called han pol was founded by Chung Yun Kim; and sambo was recognized as an official sport in the Soviet Union.

In 1939 Hironori Otsuka founded wado-ryu karate and the All Japan Wado-kai Karate-do Federation; and the first sambo championships were conducted in Leningrad.  In 1940 karate became the official martial art of the Okinawan Police Academy; Emilio Btuno and Henry Stone conducted the first intercollegiate judo competition in California; and the Jiu-Jitsu Federation of France was founded by scientist Paul Maury-Bonet.  In 1941 kendo was named as a compulsory subject in Japanese primary schools; in 1942 Morihei Ueshiba founded aikido in Japan, and James Mitose established the Official Self-Defense Club in Honolulu.  In 1943 Japanese karate and Chinese kung-fu were introduced in Korea, and the 1st French Judo Championships were conducted.  In 1944 Professor William K.S. Chow taught kenpo in Hawaii; between 1945 and 1950 in Japan the Allied occupation banned the practice and teaching of all martial arts; and in Germany judo practice was also banned by the Allied occupation.  Circa 1945 in Korea, Hwang Kee founded tang soo do; in 1945 the European Judo Union was founded; Won Kook Lee founded chung do kwan in Korea; the Korean Judo Association was established; and to evade Communism on the Chinese mainland, kund-fu masters retreated to Hong Kong and Taiwan where they disseminated their arts.  In 1946 ByungIn Yoon founded chang moo kwan in Korea; Doshin So systemized shorin-ji-kempo in Japan; the All Japan Karate-do Association was established by Kanken Toyama; Robert Trias introduced karate in the USA; and in Burma (now Myanmar), U Ba Than founded the International Bando Association.  In 1947 Shoshin Nagamine founded matsubayashi shorin-ryu; the French Federation of Judo & Associated Sports was established by Paul Maury-Bonet; and Ikatan Pentjak Silat was founded in Indonesia.  Circa 1954 Henry D. Plee founded the Academie Francaise d’ Arts Martiaux, and also the French Federation for Free Boxing & Karate.  In 1954 in Japan, Eizo Onishi established the first koei-kan karate dojo; in Okinawa, Tatsuo Shimabuku founded isshintyu karate; in the USA, Edward Kaloudis introduced karate on the East Coast; William Dometrich introduced chito-ryu karate; Ed Parker introduced kenpo karate; and in Hawaii, Bobby Lowe founded the first overseas branch of kyokushinkai karate.

In 1955 in Japan, the Japan Karate Association opened its first school and began sending shotokan instructors overseas; and Mas Oyama founded the first school for kyokushinkaikan.  Seven styles merged in Korea to form taekwondo; in the USA, Robert Trias conducted the first karate tournament; the Amateur Judo Association was replaced by the Judo Black Belt Federation; and Tsutomu Ohshima introduced shotokan karate.  In1956 Yoshiaki Ajari founded the All Japan Collegiate Karate Federation; the first World Judo Championships were conducted; and the All Okinawa Karate-do Association and All Japan Juken-do Federation were established.  Ohshima established Shotokan Karate of America; Jhoon Rhee introduced taekwondo in America; Ed Parker established the first West Coast kenpo school; and the New Zealand Judo Federation was founded.  In 1957 the 1st All Japan Karate Championships were conducted; in the USA, Cecil Patterson became one of the South’s first wado-ryu karate instructors; Gordon Doversola introduced Okinawa-te; Louis Kowlowski founded the first karate school in the Midwest; and Don Nagle introduced isshinryu karate.  In France, Tetsuji Murackami founded a shotokan school; in Germany, Juergen Seydel introduced karate; and in Sweden, Gerhard Gosen introduced aikido, karate, and tai chi chuan; whilst in Honolulu, Tinn Chan Lee became the first instructor to teach kung-fu to the general public.  In 1958 Tsutomu Ohshima conducted the first Nisei Week Karate Championships in the USA; George Mattson introduced uechi-ryu karate and became the first instructor in the New England states; and in Canada, Mas Tsuroka, father of Canadian karate, began teaching in Toronto.  In 1959 in the USA, Don Nagle established isshinryu headquarters; Hiroshi Orito introduced renbukai karate; Peter Urban introduced Japanese goju-ryu karate in New Jersey; and Alan Lee introduced Shaolin kung-fu on the East Coast.

In Korea in 1960 Joo Bang Lee and Joo Sang Lee founded the first public hwarang-do school; in the USA, the U.S. Judo Federation replaced the Judo Black Belt Federation; in Seattle, Bruce Lee established his first gym in Chinatown; Yoshiakai Ajari taught wado-ryu karate-do publicly for the first time; Dr. Maung Gyi introduced bando; Anthony Mirakian introduced Okinawan goju ryu in Massachusetts; S. Henry Cho founded the first taekwondo dojang on the East Coast; in Australia, William Cheung introduced wing chun kung-fu in Canberra; and in Yugoslavia, Trin Tam Tam introduced karate in Zagreb.  In 1961 in Korea, the Korea Taekwondo Association was founded; in America, shorinji-ryu karate was introduced in San Francisco by Richard Kim; Hidetaka Nishiyama founded the All America Karate Federation; the German Karate Federation was established by Juergen Seydel; and the 1st  French Karate Championships were conducted.  In 1962 taekwondo became an official event at the 43rd National Games in Korea; in New York, the first open tournament was conducted in the form of the North American Karate Championships; in Philadelphia, Teruyuki Okazaki founded the East Coast Karate Association; in Washington D.C., taekwondo pioneer Jhoon Rhee began building his martial arts empire; in Texas, Allen Steen established his first karate school and began building an empire in the Southwest; the National Collegiate Judo Association was founded, and the 1st National Collegiate Judo Championships were conducted at the U.S. Air Force Academy; in Finland, Turan Judoseura, the first judo school, was established; Mas Oyama opened kyokushinkai karate schools across Europe; in Malaysia, the regulating body for bersilat named the Silat Seni Gayong Association, was established; and in Toronto, the 1st Canadian Karate Championships were conducted by Mas Tsuroka.  In 1963 in the USA, the 1st  World Karate Championships were conducted in Chicago; in California, Chuck Norris opened the first tangsoodo school; the Irish Judo Association was founded; kendo was introduced in Sweden by Robert von Sandor and Roald Knutsen; the first karate international event was conducted between European countries that included France, Belgium, and England; and the Canadian Jiu-jitsu Association was established.

In 1964 in Japan, renbukai karate was founded; judo entered the Olympic Games for the first time; and the Federation of All Japan Karate-do Organizations and the All Japan Karate-do Organization were founded.  In Los Angeles, Sea Oh Choi introduced hapkido; in Pasadena, the first collegiate karate course was founded by Tsutomu Ohshima at the Institute of Technology; the 1st U.S. National Karate Championships were conducted by Jhoon Rhee in Washington D.C.; and the 1st International Karate Championships were conducted by Ed Parker in Long Beach, California.  In Sweden, the first karate dojo was founded by Attila Mezsaros; in Yugoslavia, Tetsuji Murakami pioneered karate; and in Montreal, taekwondo was introduced in Canada by Chong Lee.  In 1965 in the USA, Fumio Demura introduced shito-ryu karate in Santa Ana, California, and Pauline Short founded the first karate school exclusively for women in Portland, Oregon.  Charles Palmer became the first non-Japanese president of the International Judo Federation; and in France, Count Pierre Barunzy founded the first national savate organization.  In 1966 in Korea, the International Taekwondo Federation was founded; and In Hyuk Su founded kuk sool won.  In New York, Peter Urban established USA Goju; the European Karate Union was founded; in Paris, the 1st European Karate Championships were conducted; kendo was introduced in Germany by Gerd Wischnewski; the German Karate Union was founded by Mike Anderson and Juergen Seydel; the Karate Union of Great Britain was established; the Netherlands Tae Kwon Do Association was established by Park Jong Soo; and the Karate Association of Malaya was founded by Chew Choo Soot.  In 1967 in Japan, naginata-do became a physical education course in senior high schools and colleges; in the USA, jeet kune do was founded by Bruce Lee in Los Angeles, and he established the Jun Fan Gung-Fu School in Chinatown.  Hirokazu Yamamori introduced shorin-ji kempo in America; in Kentucky, the U.S. Chito-kai was founded by William Dometrich; in Finland, the Wadokan-ryu karate dojo was established; and in England, the 1st Karate Union of Great Britain Championships were conducted.

In 1968 in the USA, Jim Harrison conducted the first professional karate tournament in Kansas City; Dr. Maung Gyi founded the American Bando Association at Ohio University; and Al Dacascos founded won hop kuen-do in Oakland, California.  The European Karate Federation was established; aikido was introduced in Germany; and sambo was recognized as a third form of wrestling by the International Amateur Wrestling Federation.  In 1969 in Japan, Seiken Shukumine founded taido; in the USA, the American Tae Kwon Do Association was established by Haeng Ung Lee; the U.S. Judo Association was founded; the Yugoslav Karate Federation was established; kyudo was introduced in Hamburg, Germany; in Sweden, the European Kendo Federation and the Swedish Budo Federation were founded; and the Modern Arnis Federation of the Philippines was established by Remy Presas in Manila.  In 1970 in Tokyo, the World Union of Karate-do Organizations (WUKO) was established; the 1st WUKO World Championships were conducted; the International Kendo Federation was founded; and in the USA, Joe Lewis established professional full-contact karate in Long Beach, California.  In 1971 in Japan, the International Kendo Federation was founded; aikido master Koichi Tohei established the Ki Society; and in the USA, Bill Wallace rose to prominence when he won the Grand Title at Allen Steen’s U.S. Karate Championships in Dallas.  In 1972 the Kukkiwon was founded in Korea; the All Europe Karate Federation was reorganized and became the European Amateur Karate Federation; the 2nd WUKO World Karate Championships were conducted in Paris; in the UK, the foshinka karate system was created by Alan Foster, and the first school was opened in York, England.  In Brazil, capoeira was recognized as an official sport; the 1st European Sambo Championships were conducted in the Soviet Union; and both the American Tae Kwon Do Coaches Association and the American Collegiate Tae Kwon Do Association were founded in the USA.

In 1973 in Korea, both the National High School & Middle School Taekwondo Federation, and the National Collegiate Taekwondo Federation were founded; the 1st World Tae Kwon Do Championships were conducted in Seoul; the World Tae Kwon Do Federation was founded; and taekwondo was included in the physical education curriculum of primary and middle schools.  In St. Louis in the USA, Mike Anderson established the semi-contact competition at the Top Ten Nationals; in the UK, the British Kendo Renmei was founded; the Judo Karate Federation of Pakistan was established; and in Iran, the 1st World Sambo Championships were conducted in Tehran.  In 1974 the 1st Asian Tae Kwon Do Championships were conducted in Seoul, Korea; in the USA, the International Amateur Karate Federation was founded in New York; taekwondo was recognized as an official sport by the Amateur Athletic Union; the Professional Karate Association was established in Los Angeles; Harold Long founded the Isshinryu Karate Association in Tennessee; in Honolulu, Tommy Lee created the World Series of Martial Arts Championships; taekwondo was introduced in Sweden by Lee Joo Suh; General Choi Hong Hi moved the International Taekwon-Do Federation headquarters from Korea to Toronto in Canada; and in the UK, Alan Foster, founder of foshinka karate, moved from York to an isolated farm in Lancashire to further develop the foshinka karate system, and established the Foshinka Dai Karate Society.

In 1975 in the USA, the 1st National AAU Taekwondo Championships were conducted at Yale University in Connecticut; the 1st National AAU Senior Men’s Sambo Championships were conducted in Phoenix; the 1st IAKE World Karate Championships were conducted by Hidetake Nishiyama in Los Angeles; in Yugoslavia, Zarko Modric established full-contact karate; and the first residential martial arts school of foshinka dai karate was opened in Keighley by Alan Foster along with training centres across Yorkshire and Lancashire in the UK.  Circa 1976-1977 the World All-Style Karate Organization was founded by George Bruckner and Mike Anderson in West Berlin, Germany; in 1976 in the USA the World Karate Association was founded by Howard Hanson and Arnold Urquidez in Los Angeles; the California State Athletic Commission began regulating full-contact karate; the 1st National Collegiate Tae Kwon Do Championships were conducted in Louisiana; in France, the World Champion All Star Team Tournament was conducted in Paris; in Spain, the European Taekwon-Do Union was founded in Barcelona; in the UK, the Foshinka Dai Karate Society was relocated to York, and thirty-one new schools were established; Alan Foster founded the British Union of Karate & Kung-Fu Associations (BUKKA); and in Bolivia, the Bolivariana Karate Federation was established.  In 1977 in Asia, the Amateur Karate Federation was founded; in the USA, the International Shotokan Karate Federation was established in Philadelphia; the North American Tae Kwon Do Union was founded in Berkeley; the Pan-American Tae Kwon Do Union was established in Chicago; and in Central America, the Caribbean Karate Federation was founded.  In 1978 the All America Karate Federation was reorganized as the American Amateur Karate Federation in Los Angeles; in Europe, the European Jujutsu Federation was founded; the Swedish Wu Shu Federation was established; and the 1st Pan-American Tae Kwon Do Championships were conducted in Mexico.  In 1979 the 1st WAKO Full-Contact World Championships were conducted by George Bruckner in West Berlin in Germany; and the Soviet Union joined the European Karate Union.  In 1980 a conference in Tokyo between rivals WUKO and IAKF resulted in their unification of amateur karate in Japan; the International Olympic Committee recognized taekwondo, which made it eligible for entry into the Olympic Games; in France, the European Kung-Fu Union was founded in Paris; and in South America, the South American Karate Confederation was established.

Following four years of researching the implications of forming a single international organization for the unification of all martial arts, Alan Foster established the World Martial Arts Council (WMAC) in 1992, wrote the WMAC Constitution and the WorldMAC Games Charter, and arranged the first WMAC Conference in Thailand in 1997.  The above nine people, plus Michael Good that took the photograph, visited Thailand to discuss how this innovative concept could be progressed, and whilst everyone was in favour, the opinion at the time suggested this was too big a dream, and could never happen due to the politics and greed endemic in the martial arts, so it was decided to concentrate on expanding the World Martial Arts Council on a global scale.  At this time Thailand was asked to stage the WorldMAC Games but owing to political unrest in the country, this was not possible.  Over the years that followed Alan Foster continued to develop the World Martial Arts Council and introduced academic courses, an International Guild of Masters, an independent Accreditation Board, a plan to establish residential Centres of Excellence in all countries, and regional and national qualifying events for the WorldMAC Games across the globe.  In 2015, eighteen years after the first conference in Thailand, agreement was reached to stage the first WorldMAC Games in Bangkok, and these were a huge success.  This event was vital in the next stage of development, and many countries offered to host the WorldMAC Games in future years.  In the six months that followed, Alan Foster was invited back to Thailand, then to Dubai, Pakistan, and India.  The Indira Gandhi Stadium in New Delhi, the largest venue in India and the third largest in Asia where the Commonwealth Games were staged in 2010, was selected as the venue for the second WorldMAC Games in 2016.  From the humble beginning of only ten people in 1997 the World Martial Arts Council expanded to over 14,000,000 individual members in ninety-seven countries and is still growing on a daily basis.  The reasons for this phenomenal growth is registration with the World Martial Arts Council is totally free, and the dynamic leadership of volunteers throughout the world that receive no financial remuneration for their valuable work, loyalty, and dedication.

*Information taken from Martial Arts: Traditions, History, People (1983) & WMAC Archives (2016).       

Original Book of Knowledge

 History of Okinawan Karate

According to ancient legend, karate had its beginnings in India with a Buddhist monk who travelled across the Himalayan Mountains from India to the Shaolin Temple in Honan Province of China, where he taught other monks his philosophies of physical and mental conditioning that included exercises for maintaining physical strength and self-defence. This same monk known as Bodhidharma in India and as Ta Mo in China is credited with founding the school of Buddhist philosophy known as "Ch´an" in China and "Zen" in Japan.  There is a belief that the martial art known as karate today came from those original teachings through someone who visited or lived for some time in China at the Shaolin Temple.  Despite whether or not this is true, it is obvious there are similarities between the art of karate and the language and martial arts of China.  Furthermore, it must be assumed the karate of Okinawa developed from trial and error of fighting experiences into a different and unique martial art.

Karate was developed in the Ryukyu Kingdom prior to its 19th Century annexation by Japan. It was taken to the Japanese mainland in the early 20th Century during a time of cultural exchanges between the Japanese and the Ryukyuans.  In 1922 the Japanese Ministry of Education invited Gichin Funakoshi to Tokyo to give a karate demonstration, in 1924 Keio University established the first university karate club in Japan, and by 1932 major Japanese universities had karate clubs.  In this era of escalating Japanese militarism, the name was changed from 唐手(Chinese hand) to 空手(empty hand), both of which are pronounced karate and indicates the Japanese wished to develop the combat form in Japanese style involving punching, kicking, knee, elbow and open-handed techniques, and in some systems grappling, locks, restraints, throws, and vital point strikes are also taught.  After the Second World War, Okinawa became an important United States military site, and karate became popular among servicemen stationed there.  The martial arts films 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 as well as those seeking a deeper study of the art.

Shigeru Egami, Chief Instructor of Shotokan karate, was of the opinion the majority of followers of karate in overseas countries pursued karate only for its fighting techniques.  Films and television depicted karate as a mysterious way of fighting, capable of causing death or injury with a single blow, and the mass media presented a pseudo art far from the real thing.  Shoshin Nagamine    stated karate may be considered as the conflict within oneself or as a life-long marathon that can be won only through self-discipline, hard training, and one's own creative efforts.  For many practitioners, karate is a deeply philosophical practice that teaches ethical principles, and can have spiritual significance to its adherents. Gichin Funakoshi, considered to be the father of modern karate, titled his autobiography Karate-Do: My Way of Life in recognition of the transforming nature of karate study.  Today karate is practiced for self-perfection, cultural reasons, self-defence, and also as a sport.  In 2005, in the 117th International Olympic Committee voting, karate did not receive the necessary two thirds majority vote to become an Olympic sport despite claims there are 50 million karate practitioners worldwide. 

Karate began as a common fighting system known as ‘te’ among the Pechin class of the Ryukyuans.  After trade relationships were established with the Ming dynasty of China by King Satto of Chūzan in 1372, some forms of Chinese martial arts were introduced to the Ryukyu Islands by visitors from China, particularly Fujian Province.  A large group of Chinese families moved to Okinawa around 1392 for the purpose of cultural exchange, where they established the community of Kumemura and shared their knowledge of a wide variety of Chinese arts and sciences, including Chinese martial arts. The political centralization of Okinawa by King Shō Hashi in 1429 and the 'Policy of Banning Weapons' enforced in Okinawa after the invasion of the Shimazu clan in 1609, are also factors that furthered the development of unarmed combat techniques in Okinawa.  There were few formal styles of 'te', but rather many practitioners with their own methods.  One surviving example is the Motobu-ryū school passed down from the Motobu family by Seikichi Uehara.  Early styles of karate are often generalized as Shari-te, Naha-te, and Tomari-te, named after the three cities from which they emerged, and each area and its teachers had particular kata, techniques, and principles that distinguished their local version of 'te' from the others.  Members of the Okinawan upper classes were sent to China regularly to study various political and practical disciplines. The incorporation of empty-handed Chinese Kung Fu into Okinawan martial arts occurred partly because of these exchanges and partly because of growing legal restrictions on the use of weaponry. Traditional karate kata bear a strong resemblance to the forms found in Fujian martial arts such as Fujian White Crane, Five Ancestors, and Gangrou-quan, and further influence came from Southeast Asia, particularly Sumatra, Java, and Melaka.  Many Okinawan weapons such as the sai, tonfa, and nunchaku may also have originated in and around Southeast Asia. 

Sakukawa Kanga (1782–1838) is reported to have studied pugilism and staff (bo) fighting in China under the guidance of Kosokun, originator of kusanku kata.  In 1806 he began teaching a fighting art in the city of Shari called Rudi Sakukawa meaning Sakukawa of China Hand, and is the first known recorded reference to the art of "Rudi, written as 唐手.  Around the 1820s Sakukawa's most significant student Matsumura Sōkon (1809–1899) taught a synthesis of te (Shuri-te and Tomari-te) and Shaolin (Chinese 少林), a style that later became Shōrin-ryū karate.  Matsumura taught his art to Itosu Ankō (1831–1915) among others and Itosu adapted the two forms kusanku and chiang nan that he had learned from Matsumura.  He created the ping'an forms "pinan" in Japanese, which are simplified kata for beginners, and helped to get karate introduced into Okinawa's public schools, and these forms were taught to children at elementary school level.  The influence of Itosu, sometimes referred to as the grandfather of modern karate, is now widespread; the forms he created are common across nearly all styles of karate, and his students became some of the most well known karate masters, including Gichin Funakoshi, Kenwa Mabuni, and Motobu Chōki. 

In addition to the three early ‘te’ styles of karate a fourth Okinawan influence is that of Kanbun Uechi (1877-1948), who at the age of 20 went to Fuzhou in the Chinese Fujian Province to escape Japanese military conscription.  Whilst there he studied under Shushiwa, a leading figure of Chinese Nanpa Shorin-ken at that time.  He later developed his own style of Uechi-ryū karate based on the Sanchin, Seisan, and Sanseiryu kata that he had studied in China.  In 1881 Higaonna Kanryō returned from China after years of instruction and founded what would become Naha-te.  One of his students was Chōjun Miyagi, the founder of Gojū-ryū karate that taught such well-known karateka as Seko Higa who also trained with Higaonna, Meitoku Yagi, Miyazato Ei'ichi, and Seikichi Toguchi, and for a very brief time near the end of his life, the renown instructor An'ichi Miyagi.

Gichin Funakoshi, founder of Shotokan karate, is generally credited with having introduced and popularized karate on the main islands of Japan.  In addition, many Okinawans were actively teaching, and are therefore also responsible for the development of karate on the main islands. Funakoshi was a student of both Asato Ankō and Itosu Ankō who had worked to introduce karate to the Okinawa Prefectural School System in 1902.  During this turbulent period in the history of the region, prominent teachers who also influenced the spread of karate in Japan included Kenwa Mabuni, Chōjun Miyagi, Motobu Chōki, Kanken Tōyama, and Kanbun Uechi.  It was a time that included Japan's annexation of the Okinawan island group in 1872, the First Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895), the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), the annexation of Korea, and the rise of Japanese militarism (1905-1945).  Japan was invading China at the time, and Funakoshi knew the art of Tang (China hand) would not be accepted, and the name was changed to karate-dō, meaning the way of the empty hand.  The dō suffix implies that it is a path to self knowledge, not just a study of the technical aspects of fighting.  Like most martial arts practiced in Japan, karate made its transition from ‘jutsu’ to ‘dō’ around the beginning of the 20th century. The "dō" in "karate-dō" sets it apart from karate-jutsu, as aikido is distinguished from aikijutsu, judo from jujutsu, kendo from kenjutsu and iaido from iaijutsu. 

Funakoshi changed the names of many kata and the name of the art itself in order to get karate accepted by the Japanese budō organization Dai Nippon Butoku Kai.  He also gave Japanese names to many of the kata, and the five ‘pinan’ forms became known as ‘heian’, the three ‘naihanchi’ forms became known as ‘tekki’, ‘seisan’ as ‘hangetsu’, ‘chintō’ as ‘gankaku’, ‘wanshu’ as ‘empi’, and so on.  These were mostly political changes, rather than changes to the content of the forms, although Funakoshi did introduce some such changes.  He had trained in two of the popular branches of Okinawan karate of the time, Shorin-ryū and Shōrei-ryū, and in Japan was influenced by kendo, incorporating some ideas about distancing and timing into his style.  He always referred to what he taught as simply karate, but in 1936 he built a dojo in Tokyo and the style he left behind is usually called Shotokan named after this dojo.  The modernization and systemization of karate in Japan also included the adoption of the white uniform that consisted of the kimono and the dogi or keikogi, now called karategi, and coloured belt ranks.  Both of these innovations were originated and popularized by Jigoro Kano, the founder of judo and one of the men Funakoshi consulted in his efforts to modernize karate. 

In 1924 Gichin Funakoshi adopted the Dan system from Jigoro Kano using a rank scheme with a limited set of belt colours. Other Okinawan teachers also adopted this practice.  In the Kyū/Dan system the beginner grades start with a higher numbered kyū (example 9th Kyū) and progress toward a lower numbered kyū.  The Dan progression continues from 1st Dan (Shodan) to the higher dan grades. Kyū-grade karateka are referred to as coloured belts or mudansha (ones without Dan grade).  Dan grade karateka are referred to as yudansha (holders of Dan grade) that typically wear a black belt.  Requirements of rank differ among styles, organizations, and schools.  Kyū grades stress stance, balance, and coordination, and speed and power are added at higher grades.  Minimum age and time in rank are factors affecting promotion, and testing consists of demonstration of techniques before a panel of examiners.  This will vary by school, but testing may include everything learned at that point, or just new information.  The demonstration is an application for new rank (shinsa) and may include kata, bunkai, self-defence, routines, tameshiwari (breaking), and/or kumite (sparring).  Black belt testing may also include a written examination. 

Funakoshi explained his philosophy of karate in greater detail in the twenty principles called the nijyu kun.  Throughout his life, Master Funakoshi emphasized the importance of spiritual over physical matters, and he believed it was essential for the karate student to understand why, not only for training, but in the way the student lives every moment of his life.  In his book, Karate-do Kyohan, Funakoshi discussed both the positive and negative aspects of karate, warning that karate-do can be misused if misunderstood.  He felt those who wanted to learn karate should understand what karate really is, and what its purpose and ultimate objective, should be.  Only then could a karate student understand how to use karate techniques correctly.  Funakoshi’s ultimate goal was to make peace in the world by helping people develop themselves as individual human beings through karate-do, and he believed it was the duty of every instructor and student to help realize this goal.  The basic principles of the dojo kun are reflected in the principles of the nijyu kun, and the dojo kun is the foundation of the nijyu kun.  The most important thing to any true karate student is to seek perfection of character, and both the dojo kun and the nijyu kunexplain how and what it means to do this, not only in karate training, but in the broader terms of life, generally.  There is no substitute for training, which is the process by which people learn to improve themselves, and training is the path to the spiritual growth that Funakoshi encouraged everyone to attain.  It is important to understand karate is a spiritual endeavour, a way to develop a person as an individual, and if karate students do not understand this basic objective they are not really practicing karate because helping people become the best human beings they can be is what karate is really about.

In 1922 Hironori Otsuka attended the Tokyo Sports Festival, where he saw Funakoshi's karate. Otsuka was so impressed with this that he visited Funakoshi many times during his stay. Funakoshi was, in turn, impressed by Otsuka's enthusiasm and determination to understand karate, and agreed to teach him.  In the following years, Otsuka set up a medical practice dealing with martial arts injuries. His prowess in martial arts led him to become the Chief Instructor of Shindō Yōshin-ryū jujutsu at the age of 30, and an assistant instructor in Funakoshi's dojo.  By 1929 Otsuka was registered as a member of the Japan Martial Arts Federation.  Okinawan karate at this time was only concerned with kata, but Otsuka thought the full spirit of budō, which concentrates on defence and attack, was missing, and that kata techniques did not work in realistic fighting situations so he experimented with other, more combative styles such as judo, kendo, and aikido. He blended the practical and useful elements of Okinawan karate with traditional Japanese martial arts techniques from jujitsu and kendo, which led to the birth of kumite, or free fighting, in karate.  Otsuka thought there was a need for this more dynamic type of karate to be taught, and he decided to leave Funakoshi to concentrate on developing his own style of karate that became Wadō-ryū.  In 1934 Wadō-ryū karate was officially recognized as an independent style of karate, and this recognition meant a departure for Otsuka from his medical practice and the fulfilment of a life's ambition, to become a full-time martial artist.  Otsuka's personalized style of karate was officially registered in 1938 after he was awarded the rank of Renshi-go.  He presented a demonstration of Wadō-ryū karate for the Japan Martial Arts Federation which was so impressed with his style and commitment that they acknowledged him as a high-ranking instructor.  The next year the Japan Martial Arts Federation asked all the different styles to register their names; Otsuka registered the name Wadō-ryū, and in 1944 he was appointed as Japan's Chief Karate Instructor. 

Karate can be practiced as an art, sport, combat sport, or as self-defence training, and traditional karate places emphasis on self-development.  Modern Japanese style training emphasizes the psychological elements incorporated into a proper koori (attitude) such as perseverance, fearlessness, virtue, and leadership skills. Sport karate places emphasis on exercise and competition, and weapons (Kobold) are an important training activity in some styles.  Karate training is commonly divided into kahn (basics or fundamentals), kata (forms), and kumite (sparring), and traditionally ‘kun’ is a set of guidelines for karateka to follow and these apply both in the dojo and everyday life.  Okinawan karate uses supplementary training known as hojo undo, which utilizes simple equipment made of wood and stone.  The makiwara is a striking post, the nigiri is a large jar used for developing grip strength, and these supplementary exercises are designed to increase strength, stamina, speed, and muscle coordination.  Sport Karate emphasises aerobic exercise, anaerobic exercise, power, agility, flexibility, and stress management.  All practices vary depending upon the school and teacher, Gichin Funakoshi was of the opinion there are no contests in karate, and in pre-World War II Okinawa, kumite was not part of karate training.  Shigeru Egami stated in 1940 some karateka were ousted from their dojo because they adopted sparring after having learned it in Tokyo.

In 1930 masters Kanken Toyama, Hironori Otsuka, Takeshi Shimoda, Gichin Funakoshi, Motobu Choki, Kenwa Mabuni, Genwa Nakasone, and Shinken Taira visited Tokyo, and in 1937 Chotoku Kyan, Kentsu Yabu, Como Hanashiro, Chojun Miyagi, Shinoan Shiroma, Choryo Maeshiro, Chosin Chibana, and Genwa Nakasone commemorated the establishment of basic karate-do kata.

*Information taken from Wikipedia: The Bible of Karate (2016).       


Samurai, usually referred to in Japanese as bushi, were the military nobility of medieval and early-modern Japan.  In Chinese, the character for the word was originally a verb meaning to wait upon or accompany persons in the upper ranks of society, and this is also true of the original term saburau in Japanese.  In both countries the terms were nominalized to mean those who serve in close attendance to the nobility.  An early reference to the word ‘samurai’ appears in the Kokin Wakashu (905-914 CE), the first imperial anthology of poems, completed in the first part of the 10thcentury.  By the end of the 12thcentury, samurai became almost entirely synonymous with bushi, and the word was closely associated with the middle and upper echelons of the warrior class. The samurai followed a set of rules that came to be known as bushido, and whilst the samurai numbered less than 10% of Japan's population, their teachings can still be found today in both everyday life and in modern Japanese martial arts.


Shaolin kung fu, also called Shaolin wushu or Shaolin quan, is believed to be the oldest institutionalized style of kung fu.  It is one of the most famous martial arts, it originated and was developed in the Buddhist Shaolin Temple in the Henan province of China, and over 1500 years became one of the largest schools.  Numerous other styles were created, inspired, or based on the Shaolin system that contains various bare-handed and weapon systems, as well as routines for health.  Apart from the core style of the Shaolin temple, the name Shaolin is used as a brand for the so-called external styles of kung fu, and there are many outside the Shaolin temple, mainly in southern and northern China that use, rightly or wrongly, the name Shaolin.

Thang Ta

Thang Ta is an ancient Manipuri martial art developed from the war environment of Manipur and created by the Meitei.  It was also known as Huyen Lallong, which means 'The art of sword and the spear', and played an important role in the geo-political environment of medieval times between India and China when many independent states were at war with each other.  After being prohibited during the period of the colonial raj (1891-1947), Thang Ta became an expressive art form that retained its fighting character at the secret home schools of individual teachers or Gurus.  It survived during the period of Manipur’s integration with the Indian Union in 1949, where the art was shown in festivals and performance platforms abroad.  Thang emphasizes Phidup (coil), lowering of one’s body near to the ground to enable a spring action for expansion and attack, and Ta emphasizes Phanba, an opening out of the body with two forms, ‘Nongphan’ & ‘Leiphal’.  Thang Ta integrates various external weapons including the sword, spear, and dagger, with the internal practice of physical control through soft movements co-ordinated with the rhythms of breathing, and is practised in three different ways.  The first way is as a ritual in nature, related to the 'tantric' practices, the second way consists of a spectacular performance involving sword and spear dances that can be converted into actual fighting practices, and the third way is the actual fighting techniques. 


  Ju-jitsu or jiu-jitsu refers to the Japanese art of ju-jutsu. The word ‘Ju’ can be translated to mean gentle, soft, supple, flexible, pliable, or yielding, and the word ‘jutsu’ can mean art or technique.  Ju-jutsu developed among the samurai of feudal Japan as a method for defeating an armed and armored opponent in which one uses no weapon, or only a short weapon.  As striking against an armored opponent proved ineffective, practitioners learned that the most efficient methods for neutralizing an enemy involved joint locks, and throws, and these techniques were developed around the principle of using the attackers’ energy against themselves rather than directly opposing it.  There are many variations of the art, which leads to a diversity of approaches, and ju-jutsu schools utilize all forms of grappling techniques that include throws, trapping, joint locks, holds, gouging, biting, disengagements, striking, and kicking, in addition to the use of weapons.  Today, the art is practiced in both traditional and modern sport forms that include judo, which derived from several forms of ju-jutsu, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu that in turn originated from earlier versions of Kodokan judo.


Kung fu or gongfu are Chinese terms referring to any study, learning, or practice that requires patience, energy, and time to complete, but are often used to refer to Chinese martial arts, and it was not until the late twentieth century this term was used in relation to Chinese martial arts by the Chinese community.  The original meaning of kung fu refers to any skill achieved through hard work and practice, and not necessarily involving the martial arts.  Gōngfu is a compound of two words, combining ‘gōng’ meaning work, achievement, or merit, and ‘fū’, a word for man or a particle or nominal suffix with diverse meanings.  A first literal interpretation would be achievement of man, whilst the second is often described as work and time or effort.  It is an accomplishment arrived at by great effort of time and energy, and the word gongfu is sometimes applied to more general, non-martial arts usages.  Originally, to practice kung fu involved the process of training, strengthening of the body and the mind, and the learning and perfection of skills.  It referred to excellence achieved through long practice in any endeavor, and this meaning can be traced to classical writings, especially those of Neo-Confucianism, which emphasize the importance of effort in education.  The term kung fu implies skill in any area where hard work is needed for its development, and bad kung fu refers to the absence of commitment in time and effort, or the lack of motivation.  Today, there are hundreds of diverse styles of martial arts claiming to be kung fu.  


Sumo, is a competitive full-contact wrestling sport where attempts are made to force an opponent out of a circular ring, or to touch the ground with anything other than the soles of the feet. The sport originated in Japan, the only country where it is practiced professionally, and generally considered to be a modern Japanese martial art, though this definition is misleading as the sport has a history spanning many centuries.  Many ancient traditions have been preserved in sumo, and even today the sport includes many ritual elements, such as the use of salt purification, from the days when sumo was used in the Shinto religion.  The lives of its practitioners are highly regimented, with rules laid down by the Sumo Association, and most sumo wrestlers are required to live in communal sumo training stables, known in Japanese as heya, where all aspects of their daily lives, from meals to their manner of dress, are dictated by strict tradition.


Kyudo, is the Japanese martial art of archery that originated with the samurai class of feudal Japan, and now practised worldwide in many different schools, some of which descend from the military, and others from ceremonial or contemplative practice, therefore the emphasis is differen as some emphasise aesthetics and others efficiency.  Contemplative schools teach the form as a meditation where in certain schools shooting correctly results inevitably in hitting the desired target.  The supreme goal is the state of ‘shin-zen-bi’, roughly translated as truth, goodness, and beauty, which requires archers to shoot correctly or truthfully with virtuous spirit and attitude towards all persons and things.  Kyudo includes the idea of moral and spiritual development, and today many archers practise it as a sport with marksmanship being paramount.  However, the goal most devotees seek is ‘seisha seichu’, which translates as correct shooting is correct hitting.  The unique action of expansion that results in a natural release is sought through the technique of shooting correctly so the arrow hits the target.  The shooting is the spiritual goal achieved by perfection of both the spirit and shooting technique leading to ‘munen musō’, no thoughts - no illusions.  Since the Second World War kyudo has often been associated with Zen Buddhism but not all kyudo schools include a religious or spiritual component, and many practitioners believe competition, examination, and any opportunity that places the archer in an uncompromising situation is important, whilst others avoid competitions or examinations of any kind.  


Judo, is a modern martial art and combat sport created in Japan in 1882 by Jigoro Kano.  Its most prominent feature is a competitive element, where the objective is to either throw or takedown an opponent to the ground, immobilize or otherwise subdue with a pin, or force an opponent to submit with a joint lock or choke hold.  Strikes and thrusts by hands and feet, as well as weapon defences are included, but only in pre-arranged forms, and are not allowed in competition or free practice.  The philosophy and subsequent pedagogy developed for judo became the model for other modern Japanese martial arts that evolved from traditional schools, and the worldwide spread of judo led to the development of a number of offshoots such as sambo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.


Kendo is a modern Japanese sport martial art descended from swordsmen in Japan that established schools of kenjutsu, the ancestor of kendo, which continued for centuries and formed the basis of kendo practice today.  The formal kendo exercises known as kata were developed several centuries ago as kenjutsu practice for warriors, and they are still studied today, in a modified form.  The introduction of bamboo practice swords and protective armour to training methods is attributed to Naganuma Shirōzaemon Kunisato during the Shotoku Era (1711-1715 CE).  Today, kendo is widely practiced within Japan and many other nations across the world, and it is a physically and mentally challenging activity that combines martial arts practices and values with sport and strenuous physical activity. 


Karate developed from the indigenous martial arts of the Japanese Ryukyu Islands, in what is now Okinawa, under the influence of Chinese martial arts, and in particular the Fujian White Crane system.  It was brought to the Japanese mainland in the early 20th century during a time of cultural exchanges between the Japanese and Chinese, and systematically taught in Japan after the Taisho era.  In 1922 the Japanese Ministry of Education invited  Gichin Funakoshi to Tokyo to give a karate demonstration, in 1924 Keio University established the first university karate club in Japan, and by 1932 most major  Japanese universities had karate clubs.  In this era of escalating Japanese militarism, the name was changed from ‘Chinese hand’ to ‘empty hand’ and indicated the wish to develop the combat form in Japanese style.  It is a striking art using punching, kicking, knee and elbow strikes, and open hand techniques, and in some styles, grappling, throws, joint locks, restraints, and strikes to vital points are taught.  After World War II, Okinawa became an important United States military base, karate became popular with service personnel stationed there, and subsequently schools began appearing across the world, catering to those with casual interest as well as those seeking a deeper study of the art.


Tameshiwari is a martial arts technique used in competitions, demonstrations and tests that involves breaking one or more wooden objects, bricks, glass, or ice and cinder blocks by striking surfaces with the hands, feet, head, toes, fingertips, elbows, knuckles or knees.  However, not all styles of karate practice this and many traditional karate schools place, little emphasis on it.


Kobudo usually relates to the weapon systems of Okinawan martial arts that include the bo, sai, tonfa, kama, nunchaku, tekko, tinbe-rochin, surujin, tambo, jo, hanbo and eku.  It is common belief Okinawan farming tools evolved into weapons due to restrictions placed upon the peasants by the Satsuma samurai clan when the island became part of Japan and forbade the carrying of arms.  Whilst it has been climed this resulted in fighting systems based on the use of traditional farming implements, scholars have been unable to find historical evidence to support this, and that uncovered by various martial historians suggests the Pechin Warrior caste in Okinawa used such weapons, and not commoners.  Although it is true Okinawans under the rule of foreign powers were prohibited from carrying weapons or practicing with them in public, the weapons-based fighting they secretly practiced, and the types of weapons they used, had strong Chinese roots.  Although examples of similar weapons have been found in China, Malaysia, and Indonesia that pre-date Okinawan adaptations, modern kobudo systems were shaped by indigenous Okinawan techniques.  These arose within the noble class, and through imported methods from China and Southeast Asia, the majority of which survived difficult times during and following World War ll,  and were preserved and handed down.


Aikido is a Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba as a synthesis of his martial studies, philosophy, and religious beliefs.  His aim was to create an art that practitioners could use to defend themselves whilst also protecting their attacker from injury, and this is performed by blending with the motion of the attacker and redirecting the force of the attack rather than opposing it.  This requires very little physical strength, as the momentum of attackers is used in entering and turning movements that end with various throws or joint locks.  Aikido derived mainly from the martial art of Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu, but began to diverge from it in the late 1920s, partly due to Ueshiba's involvement with the Omoto-kyo religion.  The surviving documents of early students contain the term ‘aiki-jūjutsu’ and senior students had different approaches to aikido depending partly on when they studied with him.  Whilst today it is found all over the world in a number of styles with broad ranges of interpretation and emphasis, they all share techniques learned from Ueshiba, and most have concern for the well-being of attackers.


Escrima is a term for the traditional martial art of the Philippines that emphasizes weapon-based fighting with sticks, knives, and other bladed and various improvised weapons.  It is also known as Estoque (Spanish for rapier), Estocada (Spanish for thrust or stab), and Garrote (Spanish for club).  In Luzon it may be called Arnis de Mano or Pananandata (use of weapons), in Pampanga, Sinawali (meaning to weave), in Pangasinan, Sitbatan, in the Ilocos region, Didya or Kabaroan, and in Visayas and Mindanao, as Eskrima, Arnis, Kali, Kaliradman, Pagaradman and Kalirongan.  Escrima also includes hand-to-hand combat, joint locks, grappling, and weapon disarming techniques, and although emphasis is put on weapons for these arts, some systems put empty hands as the primary focus, and older systems do not teach weapons at all.


Iaido is associated with the smooth, controlled movements of drawing the sword from its scabbard (saya), striking or cutting an opponent, removing blood from the blade, and replacing it back in the scabbard.  Whilst new practitioners of iaido may start learning with a wooden sword (bokken), depending on the teaching style of a particular instructor, most practitioners use a blunt edged sword (iaito), and a few, more experienced practitioners use a sharp edged sword (shinken).


This is the Japanese art of target test cutting, a practice for testing the quality of Japanese swords that continues today, and has evolved into a martial art that focuses on demonstrating skill with a sword.  Only the most skilled swordsmen were chosen to test swords, so this was not a variable in how well the sword cut. The materials used to test swords varied greatly, and included rice straw (wara), the top layer of tatami mats (goza), bamboo, and thin steel sheets.  In addition, a wide variety of cuts were used on cadavers and occasionally convicted criminals, which included the ankle cut (tabi-gata) and the diagonal cut from shoulder to opposite hip (O-kesa).  The names of the types of cuts on cadavers show exactly where on the body the cut was made, and older swords can still be found today that have inscriptions such as, ‘Five bodies with hip cut (Ryu Gurumat)'.  Such inscriptions, known as a cutting signature (tameshi-mei or saidan-mei), would add greatly to the value of a sword, compensating the owner for the large sums of money typically charged for the test.

Aside from specific cuts made on cadavers, there were the normal cuts of Japanese swordsmanship that included downward diagonal (Kesa-giri), upward diagonal (Kiri-age or Gyaku-kesa), horizontal (Yoko or Tsuihei), and straight downward (Jodan-giri, Happonme, Makko-giri, Shinchoku-giri or Dottan-giri).  In modern times, the practice of tameshigiri has come to focus on testing the abilities of the swordsman, rather than that of the sword.  Practitioners of tameshigiri sometimes use the terms Shito (sword testing) and Shizan (test cutting to distinguish between the historical practice of testing swords and the contemporary practice of testing the cutting ability of a person.  The target most often used is the tatami rush mat.  To be able to cut consecutive times on one target, or to cut multiple targets while moving, requires very great skill.

Targets today are typically made from wara or goza, either bundled or rolled into a tubular shape. They may be soaked in water to add density to the material. This density is to approximate that of flesh, whilst green bamboo is used to approximate bone.  Once the goza target is in this tubular shape, it has a vertical grain pattern when stood vertically on a target stand, or horizontally when placed on a horizontal target stand (dotton or dodan), and this direction of the grain affects the difficulty of the cut.  The difficulty of cuts is a combination of the target material hardness, the direction of the grain of the target, the quality of the sword, the angle of the blade (hasuji) on impact, and the angle of the swing of the sword (tachisuji).  When cutting a straw target that is standing vertically, the easiest cut is the downward diagonal, due to a combination of the angle of impact of the cut against the grain, the downward diagonal angle of the swing, and the ability to use many of the major muscle groups and rotation of the body to aid in the cut.  The next difficult is the upward diagonal cut which has the same angle, but works against gravity and uses slightly different muscles and rotation. The third most difficult is the straight downward cut, not in terms of the grain but in terms of the group of muscles involved, and the most difficult cut of these four basic cuts is the horizontal direction (against a vertical target), which is directly perpendicular to the grain of the target.

Muay Thai

Muay Thai, was originally called by more generic names such as Toi muay or simply muay, and as well as being a practical fighting technique for use in actual warfare, muay became a sport in which opponents fought in front of spectators for entertainment.  These muay contests gradually became an integral part of local festivals and celebrations, especially those held at temples, and eventually the previously bare-fisted fighters started wearing lengths of hemp rope around their hands and forearms.  This type of match was called ‘muay khat chueak’, and kickboxing was a component of military training that gained prominence during the reign of King Naresuan in 1560 CE.  Muay Thai is referred to as the ‘Art of Eight Limbs’ or the ‘Science of Eight Limbs’ because it makes use of punches, kicks, elbows, and knee strikes, therefore, using eight points of contact as opposed to two (fists) in boxing, and four (hands and feet) used in other more regulated combat sports such as kickboxing.


Taekwondo is a Korean martial art combining combat and self-defence techniques with sport and exercise, and was developed by a variety of Korean masters during the 1940s. The name taekwondo was coined by Choi Hong Hi, but it is claimed taekwondo development was a collaborative effort by a council consisting of members from the nine original kwans.  Traditional taekwondo refers to the martial art as it was established in the 1950s and 1960s in the South Korean military, and in various civilian organizations including schools and universities.  Sport taekwondo was developed in the 1950s and has a different focus, especially in terms of its emphasis on speed and competition.  It is subdivided into two main styles, one of which is practiced by the International Taekwondo Federation created in 1955 by Choi Hong Hi, and the other that derived from Kukkiwon, the headquarters of the World Taekwondo Federation founded in 1973 by Dr. Kim Un Yong.  Although there are doctrinal and technical differences between sparring in the two main styles, and among the various organizations, the art in general emphasizes kicks and punches thrown from a mobile stance.  Taekwondo training generally includes a system of blocks, kicks, punches, and open-handed strikes, and may include various take-downs or sweeps, throws, and joint locks.  Pressure points, known as ‘jiapsul’ are used, as well as grappling self-defense techniques borrowed from other martial arts such as Japanes judo, Korean hapkido, and Korean wrestling.


Freestyle semi-contact is a fighting discipline where two opponents engage with the primary goal of scoring greater points using controlled legal techniques with speed and focus. The main characteristics of freestyle semi-contact are delivery, technique and speed, and the competition in this discipline should be executed in its true sense with light and well-controlled contact.  It is a technical discipline with equal emphasis put on hand and foot techniques from an athletic viewpoint, where techniques (punches and kicks) are strictly controlled, and points are awarded for techniques involving permitted strikes to specific targets on the body.


Kickboxing is a group of stand-up combat sports based on kicking and punching, historically developed from karate, Muay Thai and Western boxing, and is practiced for self-defence, general fitness, or as a contact sport.  Japanese kickboxing originated in the 1960s and competitions have been held since then, and American kickboxing originated in the early 1970s.  Historically, kickboxing can be considered a hybrid martial art formed from the combination of elements of various traditional styles.


Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics, and music.  It was developed in Brazil, mainly by African descendants, as a kind of dance in which participants use their feet to kick the head of their opponent.  It is known by quick and complex moves, using mainly power, speed, and leverage for a wide variety of kicks, spins, and highly mobile techniques.  Capoeira used in genuine self-defense situations incorporates many sweeps and low moves, whereas when played as a game there is more emphasis on high moves, demonstrations of acrobatics, full cartwheels for evasion, and  flips or other exotic techniques performed nearly always to traditional Brazilian berimbau music as entertainment for audiences.  There is evidence to suggest the word capoeira originated in Angola where the word ‘kapwera’ is the Bantu verb meaning to fight.  It was practiced by slaves and disguised as a dance in order to prevent punishment or execution for learning how to fight and defend themselves, which was forbidden to those who were legally defined as property. 

Shorinji Kempo

Shorinji Kempo is an esoteric Japanese martial art considered as the modified version of Shaolin Quanfa, and was established in 1947 by Doshin So,, a Japanese martial artist and former military intelligence agent.  It is a system of self-defence training, mental training, and promotion of health, the methods of which are based on the concept that spirit and body are not separable, and it is integral to train both body and spirit.  Through employing a well organized technical training schedule, Shorinji Kempo claims to help practitioners establish themselves, promote mutual comfort, and the philosophy and techniques of the art are outlined in a handbook called Shōrinji-kempō-kyōhan.

Mixed Martial Arts

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a full-contact combat sport that allows the use of both striking and grappling techniques, both standing and on the ground, from a variety of other combat sports and martial arts.  Various mixed-style contests took place throughout Europe, Japan, and the Pacific Rim during the early 1900s, and in 1980 the first regulated MMA league was created in the United States named Super Fighters, and sanctioned ten tournaments in Pennsylvania but in 1983 the sport was prohibited.  The combat sport of vale tudo that had developed in Brazil from the 1920s was brought to the United States by the Gracie family in 1993 with the founding of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). 

The more dangerous vale-tudo-style bouts of the early UFCs were made safer with the implementation of additional rules, leading to the popular regulated form of MMA seen today.  Originally promoted as a competition with the intention of finding the most effective martial arts for real unarmed combat situations, competitors were pitted against each another with few rules.  Later, fighters incorporated multiple martial arts into their style, whilst promoters adopted additional rules aimed at increasing safety for competitors, and to promote mainstream acceptance of the sport.  The first documented use of the name Mixed Martial Arts was in a review by television critic Howard Resenberg in 1993, and the term gained popularity when one of the largest websites covered the sport, hosted, and reprinted the article.  Following changes, the sport has seen increased popularity on television channels a business that rivals boxing and professional wrestling.


Boxing is a combat sport in which two people engage in a contest of strength, speed, reflexes, endurance, and will, by throwing punches with gloved hands against each other.  Amateur boxing is a common fixture in most international games, and it also has its own World Championships.  Boxing is supervised by a referee over a series of rounds, and the result is decided when an opponent is deemed incapable to continue by a referee, is disqualified for breaking a rule, resigns by throwing in a towel, or is pronounced the winner or loser based on the judges' scorecards at the end of the contest.  Whilst people have fought in hand-to-hand combat since before the dawn of history, the origin of boxing as an organized sport may have been its acceptance by the ancient Greeks in 688 BCE.  It evolved from 16th and 18th century prize-fighting, largely in Great Britain, to the forerunner of modern boxing in the 19th century, again initially in Great Britain and later in the United States.


Ninjutsu is the martial art, strategy, and tactics of unconventional and guerrilla warfare, as well as the art of espionage purportedly practiced by the ‘shinobi’, commonly known outside of Japan as ninja.  Ninjutsu was more an art of tricks, than a martial art, and was a separate discipline in some traditional Japanese schools, which integrated study of more conventional martial arts along with shurikenjutsu, kenjutsu, sojutsu, bojutsu, battlefield grappling kumi-uchi, an old form of jujutsu, and others.  Whilst there are several styles of modern ninjitsu, the historical lineage of these is disputed, and some schools and masters claim to be the only legitimate heir of the art, but ninjutsu is not centralized like modernized martial arts such as judo or karate.  Togakure-ryu claims to be the oldest recorded form of ninjutsu, and to have survived since the 16th century.


The science of Yoga has its origins thousands of years ago, long before the advent of the first religion or belief system. According to Yogic lore, Shiva is seen as the first yogi or Adiyogi and the first guru or Adiguru. Thousand years ago, on the banks of Lake Kantisarovar in the Himalayas, Adiyogi poured profound knowledge into the legendary Saptarishis or ’seven sages’. These carried this powerful Yogic science to different parts of the world including Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and South America, and it is interesting modern scholars have noted and marvelled at the close parallels found between ancient cultures in many parts of the world. However, it was in India that the Yogic system found its fullest expression, and Agastya, the Saptarishi who travelled across the Indian sub-continent, crafted this culture around a core Yogic way of life.

Yoga is widely considered as an ‘immortal culture outcome’ of the Indus Saraswati Valley Civilization dating back to 2700 BC, and has proven itself to cater to both the material and spiritual uplift of humanity. A number of seals and fossil remains from the Indus Saraswati Valley Civilization with Yogic motifs and figures performing Yoga sadhana, suggest the presence of Yoga in ancient India, and the seals and idols of a mother Goddess are suggestive of Tantra Yoga. The presence of Yoga is also found in folk traditions, Vedic and Upanishad heritage, Buddhist and Jain traditions, Darshanas, epics of Mahabharata including Bhagavad-Gita and Ramayana, theistic traditions of Shaivas, Vaishnavas, and Tantric traditions. Though Yoga was practiced in the pre-Vedic period, the great sage Maharishi Patanjali systematized and codified the then existing Yogic practices, their meaning and related knowledge through Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.

After Patanjali, many sages and Yoga masters contributed greatly to the preservation and development of the field through well documented practices and literature. Yoga has since spread all over the world through the teachings of eminent Yoga masters from ancient times to the present day, and now everybody has conviction about Yoga practices towards the prevention disease, and the maintenance and promotion of health. Thirty million people across the globe now benefit from the practice of Yoga, which is blossoming and growing more vibrant on a daily basis. 

International Yoga Day

On December 11, 2014 the United Nations General Assembly declared June 21 as the International Day of Yoga. The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his United Nations Address on 27 September 2014 suggested the International Day of Yoga should be on June 21 as this is the longest day of the year (Summer Solstice) in the Northern Hemisphere, and has special significance in many parts of the world. From the perspective of yoga, the Summer Solstice marks the transition to Dakshinayana, the first full moon after Summer Solstice is known as Guru Poormina, and Lord Shiva, the first yoga practitioner (Adi Yogi) is said to have begun imparting the knowledge of yoga to the rest of mankind on this day, and became the first guru (Adi Guru). Dakshinayana is also considered a time when there is natural support for those pursuing spiritual practices. Yoga is an invaluable gift of India's 5,000 year old ancient tradition and embodies unity of mind and body, thought and action, restraint and fulfilment, harmony between man and nature, a holistic approach to health and well-being, and allows practitioners to discover the sense of oneness with the self, the world, and the nature. 

Martial Arts & Animal Influence



For thousands of years civilisations have had a great affinity with birds and animals that greatly influenced the fighting techniques of martial art systems based on their characteristics and combative methods.  Since the beginning of time, humans have been at war, have imitated the fighting spirit of animals in many different ways, and animal influence has been responsible for the formulation of hundreds of health-preserving exercises, combat training methods, and fighting systems.  Unlike humans, wild animals are not guided by their emotions but are focused on their own survival and that of their offspring, which ultimately makes them enviable as fighting machines.

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