There are nine main traditional martial arts in Japan. Several of them are now popular and developed as competitions in the world.
In feudal Japan, there were samurai. They used Japanese swords to participate in battles and to maintain security in the city. It is believed that kendo began as a way to practice this art. Especially with the flowering of modern civilization and the prohibition of weapons, kendo became more of a spectacle and was often taken up as a sport among the people.
Judo is a Japanese martial art that is popular around the world and is still worn by police officers and taught in many school physical education classes.
Kyudo is the Japanese style of archery. It is often treated as a coveted martial art in Japan, although it is not as popular as judo or kendo.
Sumo is an ancient Japanese ritual or festival in which wrestlers fight in pairs in the sumo ring, and at the same time, it is a martial art that originated from it. It has the greatest international recognition and is the most popular of the Japanese martial arts. (Although many people only watch the matches.
Naginata is the name of a traditional Japanese weapon. Samurai also preferred to use this part of the body. As a martial art, it is mainly practiced by women, and many people still learn it as a form of self-defense.
Karate is another internationally popular and competitive martial art. It is believed to have originated in Okinawa, an island located in the south of Japan. Some forms of karate are full-contact, while others are contact-free and stop-on-a-chip.
There is a theory that Shorinji Kempo was developed by a certain temple organization with the goal of creating superior character through martial arts. Even today, many people practice it mainly as a self-defense technique.
Aikido is a martial art developed to enable even small Japanese to move their bodies rationally and defeat opponents regardless of their size. It is awe-inspiring to see a master Aikido practitioner easily defeat a large man. Today, many people practice aikido for their health, and it has become a popular martial art in Japan.
It is believed that the Japanese-style bayonet was born from the fusion of the spear-handling techniques that originally existed in Japan and Western-style bayonet techniques. During World War II, students learned this martial art as physical education, and today it is practiced among members of the Self-Defense Forces and others for physical training and mental discipline.
In all of these sports, the goal was to refine the athlete’s mind, technique, and body. The refinement of technique and the refinement of the mind were treated as synonymous and as a path of character building that would enhance moral values and cultivate an attitude of respect for civility.
Some of them are so popular worldwide that they have even become Olympic sports!