Indiana Martial Arts
|dedicated to the cultivation of the martial artist|
Subject: GMA May Newsletter
---------- Break-a-thon Exceeds our Expectations ----------
---------- More Seminar and Event Dates ----------
---------- A note about summer travels ----------
---------- Two students are awarded GMAs highest honor ----------
---------- Congratulations to all of our seniors ----------
----- Misc. -----
----------------- Mr. Siegs Top Ten -----------------
Here is the programs top ten: 1) Shoalin Kung Fu 2) Karate 3) Muay Thai 4) Ninjitsu 5) Juko-Kai 6) Aikido 7) Tae Kwon Do 8) Krav Maga 9) Kali 10) Brazilian jujitsu.
Here are mine:
2. Judo -It is the original 'Do'. All martial arts owe a lot to judo. It was the first discipline to use the term do and promote the virtues we associate with living the martial way todayincluding mutual welfare and benefit of practitioners. Judo was the first to use the belt system that virtually every martial art uses today. It was the first to create a competitive sport aspect (for better or worse) and was the first Olympic martial sport (at least of Asian origin). It was one of the first martial arts to be practiced in the West. It has had the greatest impact on police and military combatives both in Japan and in the West, especially after WWII. Technically, it is a beautiful yet effective art that is based on easy to understand yet profound principles.
3. Karate -It gave us the Karate Kid afterall, forever changing the demographics in martial arts schools. Combining all styles and schools, there is a mass of history and tradition within the art of Karate. Its rich literature provides lots of the stories about great feats of skill by great masters, and an equal amount of philosophy is also present. Karate styles have influenced or spawned several other martial arts, including Tae Kwon Do. When studied with form applications and pressure point techniques, it is a formidable, complete system.
4. Western Fencing and Daito Ryu-Aiki-jujitsu (tie) -Ok, hear me out. Western fencing has influenced a myriad of martial arts: modern boxing, jeet kune do (Bruce Lees brother was an elite fencer), Filipino kali systems, and more. The aristocratic etiquette born out of fencing governed the concepts of fair play and legitimated sport in the West much like the tenets of budo (the martial way) did in the East. Daito Ryu Aiki-jujitsu is one of the most prestigious lines of that discipline and so represents the traditional empty hand systems of Japan. In many ways it is also the parent art of both Aikido and Hapkido, and therefore deserves more prestige than its derivatives, both of whom are prominent martial arts in their own right.
5. Tae Kwon Do -The most popular martial art in the world. It is also the most visible, bringing martial arts and all their benefits into the public eye more than any style. Becoming an Olympic sport also deserves much credit, although there are both pros and cons to the emphasis on sport. Many TKD practitioners have reached new heights in kicking prowess, making TKD famous for their aerial kicking displays.
6. Kung-fu -A rich and varied conglomerate. Kung-fu is a generic term that can describe a host of martial arts systems from China. Some are quite prominent like White Crane and Praying Mantis; others are quite obscure. It is this fragmentation that keeps the martial art low on the list, because not any one style can be said to have that great of an impact. Taken collectively, however, its impact is equaled by its rich and varied techniquefrom animals styles to kicking styles to punching and trapping styles. Unique weapons and weapons routines add to the flavor. Of course, this group also gives us Shaolin Kung-fu and the Shaolin monks, one of the great images and emissaries of Asian Martial Arts. History has romanticized the birthplace of all martial arts being Shaolin temple, so the tradition is a strong one.
7. Aikido -Beautiful and peaceful. While Daito Ryu must be given a lot of credit, Aikido in own right has done much for the martial arts community and has become immensely popular around the world. Its emphasis on peace and harmony and minimizing conflict has resonated throughout the martial arts (not that it unique in this regard, but it does become the poster-child if you will). It is an aesthetically beautiful martial art to watch. Like Tai Chi, its technique are not limited by physical prowess and proficiency can be gained at all stages of life.
8. Kendo -It represents the art of the samurai. The tenets of Bushido and the martial way were forged at a time when the combative versions of Kendo dominated martial arts study in Japan. Much of the literature on martial arts philosophy originated in this genre, such as the Book of Five Rings and the Unfettered Mind. Indeed, much of the spiritual aspects of martial arts training can be attributed to the sword arts. Kendos lack of popularity in the west hurts is its ranking, but all serious students of martial arts have taken lessons from its tradition. 9. Muay Thai -A passionate national sport of Thailand. The traditions are intertwined with the history and culture of its parent country, making the sport a true spectacle. Known to be brutal and punishing, it is unique and very formidable as a ring sport and as a martial art. This led to it being incorporated in many an eclectic martial artists repertoire.
10. Kali and Silat (tie) -Because they are cool. While not as visible or powerful in terms of numbers, impact, or political clout, these styles deserve recognition. They are a great cultural export for their parent countries. Their fighting styles are creative and effective. The weapons (sticks and knives) are crude in manufacture but extremely sophisticated in application. Then there is the just plain crazy stuff like sarong techniques (a traditional piece of clothing). They are jewels of the martial arts world for their uniqueness.
And the moral of the story: There is no ultimate martial art. What matters is that you have fun learning a given style with qualified teachers, in a safe, friendly training environment. In the near future, GMA hopes to offer a martial arts summer camp that will serve as a sampler for a variety of martial arts that we teach and some that we normally do not. It is our hope to give our students more exposure to and appreciation of the martial arts world in general.
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