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Martial Arts Myths & Misconceptions

All Martial Arts Are Ancient

By Jonathan Maberry

Not even close. Though there are indeed ancient arts, such as Varmannie (5000-plus years), kung-fu (3000 years), jujutsu and daito-ryu (1000 years), and so on, there are new martial arts springing up all the time.

Karate, as we know it, is less than a century old, having been introduced in new forms to Japan by Okinawan masters who practiced versions of karate-jutsu that were more deliberately combative. Judo was born in 1882 and Aikido in 1935 (although both were derived from older forms of jujutsu). Taekwondo and Hapkido were introduced in the 1940s and ‘50s, though in part they were based on much older systems (some would argue that both were inspired by Japanese forms of karate taught in Korea by the occupying Japanese). Jeet Kune Do was created in the late 1960s by Bruce Lee. American Kenpo was developed in the latter part of the 20th century (but again inspired by older systems).

Many of today’s most popular martial arts, such as Krav Maga and Sambo, are also blends of older systems. Also, there are many hundreds of amalgam styles (often called “modern” or “eclectic”) that are blends of skills from different arts, many of them founded in the last quarter of the 20th Century.

Although new arts continue to appear, it would be nearly impossible to point to any martial art that is not based at least in part on a much older system or systems.


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About the Author:

Jonathan Maberry is the award-winning author of over 700 articles as well as several books, including Ultimate Jujutsu Principles and Practices and The Martial Arts Student Logbook. He holds an 8th degree black belt in jujutsu and a 5th dan in Hapkido, is a member of the Martial Arts Hall of Fame, and is co-founder of the COP-Safe program. Visit his website here.


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