What Differentiates Hapkido from Aikido?

Hapkido is a Korean while aikido is a Japanese martial art form, although the names of both of these disciplines are denoted by the same Chinese characters which literally means “the way of harmonious spirit” or “the way of unifying life energy.” This is so because both actually originated from the same source – the teachings of Sokaku Takeda on  “daito-ry? aiki-jujutsu,” a more ancient form of Japanese fighting techniques that make use of an opponent’s aggression and momentum of attack to his disadvantage. Takeda’s students included Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of aikido, and Choi Yong-sool, the founder of hapkido.

Ueshiba enriched the fighting discipline taught by Takeda by incorporating certain philosophical and spiritual elements into it based on his own mystical studies. He also added some elements of judo. He turned the “jutsu,” literally meaning skill or technique, into “do,” which is more akin to the Chinese concept of the “Tao.” Ueshiba’s aikido transformed a set of fighting techniques into a complete and integrated new way of looking at the world. Aikido as a distinct martial art form was developed during the 1940s, earlier than Hapkido by about a decade.

Choi returned to his native Korea following World War II. Back in his native land, he started teaching the fighting techniques he learned in Japan from Takeda. Eventually, he also incorporated other fighting techniques from other Japanese martial arts like judo and karate as well as from Korea’s own taekwondo and tang soo do. He called his discipline hapkido, with “hapki” being the literal Korean translation of the Japanese “aiki.” However, unlike Ueshiba, Choi was less concerned with philosophical and spiritual development than he was with finding and perfecting more efficient ways of striking, grappling and otherwise subduing opponents. Unlike Ueshiba who was aiming for a more unifying way of looking at things, Choi simply wants to give his students a collection of martial arts techiques they can use in real-life situations. After all, most of his early students in post-war Korea then were soldiers, police officers, bodyguards of politicians, and other people who fight for their living.

Like Israel’s Krav Maga, Korea’s hapkido evolved to become a truly eclectic martial arts discipline, adding new fighting techniques as often as needed. In fact, some would even say that hapkido was actually the world’s first, original mixed martial arts system. As presently practiced, hapkido does seek to be a fully comprehensive, contemporary fighting style. As such, it tries to avoid narrow specialization in any particular type of technique or range of fighting. It maintains a wide range of tactics for striking, standing joint locks, throwing, and pinning down opponents. It also incorporates tactics for ground fighting to evade or escape wrestling or submission grappling engagements done by opponents.

Hapkido’s emphasis  on teaching techniques rather than theoretical concepts and abstract philosophy can be seen in the curricular progression scheme for earning hapkido belts. For a 1st degree black belt for instance, a student must prove proficient in Single Kicks, Wrist Seize Defense, Clothing Seize Defense, Punch Defense, Kick Defense, Combination Kicks, Jumping Kicks, Throw Defense, Knife Defense, and Attacking Techniques / Taking the Initiative. To progress to 2nd degree black belt, he must show mastery over Advanced Wrist Grab Defense, Advanced Clothing Grab Defense, Advanced Punch Defense, Advanced Kick Defense, Choke Defense, Advanced Attacking ighting Techniques, and Staff Fighting Techniques. For a 4th degree black belt, he must demonstrate mastery at  Cane Fighting Techniques, Sword Fighting Techniques, and Defense Against Multiple Attackers. For 5th degree black belt, he must prove capable at Techniques Using Opponent’s Force, Rope Techniques, Knife Throwing Techniques, and Revival Techniques.

In aikido, students also get to learn fighting technics and tactics. However, proportionately greater time is spent on taking down lectures about concepts, philosophy, ethiquette and life principles. Typical subjects taught and discussed in an aikido class include Extending Your Mind, Knowing Your Partner’s Mind, Respecting Your Partner’s Ki, Putting Yourself In Your Partner’s Place, and Performing With Confidence. At least five minutes before and five minutes after each lesson, students are also typically made to do some hara breathing exercises in order to better ingrain in them the experience ki.

Despite the differences in empasis, both hapkido and aikido at their core train students to receive attacks with less resistance, moving the force of the attack away from the defender, redirecting it and using it against the attacker. This is a very different approach to most other traditional styles of fighting wherein attacks are usually opposed head-on with a counter-attack. In this manner, the hapkido or aikido defender also makes use of far less energy and force as compared with other martial arts styles. Often, as a result of a hapkido or aikido counter-move, an opponent will be.  put in a state of imbalance that will make him vulnerable to joint locks, take downs or body throws.

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Karate And Judo: Which Is The Better Martial Art?

Karate is a household name in the world of martial arts simply because it was the first one that broke through western pop culture after World War II. Originally from Okinawa, karate was a favorite past time of US servicemen in the island as the occupation of Japan started. Judo on the other hand is also pioneered in Japan and is also widely popular, especially among non-striking martial art disciplines. It has inspired other combat sports such as the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or BJJ.

These combat sports are very different from one another when it comes to fighting style and training details. This makes a comparison between these two very interesting. This comparison can help you decide better which martial art you will choose to train in. This article bares both the weaknesses of judo and karate and also its strengths.

Learning to Balance Well

Ukemi is the technique of falling to the ground safely. This is an innate element in judo training as its fighting is often done in the ground. Throws, locks, and grappling make ukemi necessary in judo. You can expect to be thrown by your opponent in a judo match. Falling “right” is very important as this prevents injury. The main advantage of this technique is that the acquired skill can be used every day. Tripping something on the pavement or slipping in a tiled floor can throw you off balance. Ukemi can help you fall the best way possible so that it would be less painful and cause lesser possibility of injury.

Karate on the other hand does not teach this technique. Karate is a striking martial art so it is not fought on the floor. Falling to the ground is a disadvantage, not a means to engage an opponent. This makes Karate in a disadvantage when dueling with a judoka. When engaged by a throw, a karateka can easily be immobilized by pain, even injury for the lack of understanding of biomechanics as he is slammed to the ground.

Judo Leaves out the Face Open

Judoka are used to leave their face open during a fight. Judo rules do not allow hitting an opponent in the face. This makes judokas vulnerable in a fight where the other is not necessarily playing by the rules of judo. Karate teaches to hit the head in every opportunity because this is the most effective way to disable an opponent.

People who are practicing karate also make it a point to have their faces protected at all times as a normal defensive stance. In a judo-karate match the first one who would likely get injured is the one using the judo discipline. But when the fight transitions to the ground, a karateka has little chance to put up a fight with the extensive grappling techniques a judoka can use against him.

Easy Participation and Integration

Judo can easily integrate a first timer in a judo session to “fight” with others in the dojo. Learning requisite skills in the martial art is not as necessary in judo as it is in karate. In karate, before you can fight others you need to learn the basic skills for you to understand the kind of engagement that is expected from a karateka. In judo even beginners can participate fully in a fight. This is why judo is very attractive to many as it allows them to get into the sport with minimal know-how. The rules and techniques can be fed slowly and in a progressive manner. This allows a judoka to grow in the sport while being actively involved just like everybody else.

Self Defense Attributes

Judo and karate are great martial arts for self defense from kids to adults. Judo and karate do not only teach fighting techniques but also allow people to gain the confidence they need when they find themselves in a situation where they need to fight back. Knowing self defense skills is way different from acquiring the courage to apply it. Kids who are bullied need the confidence boost of a karate or judo training because this gives them the courage to confront bullies or even portray a stance that can deter bullying.

Karate is an ideal self defense tool because it teaches striking and kicking. This makes it a good pre-emptive self defense approach. But judo is also ideal because it focuses on tackling the threat without necessarily causing injury to the other. This is important for kids because it teaches them not to seek out combative retaliation but just opportunities to get away from a situation that may result in injury.

So which is the better martial art? Both are actually ideal and can be a great choice but this will depend on the preference of the person who would pursue either of these martial art disciplines.

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The Key Differences Between Judo And Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Judo is one of the most popular disciplines in the world of martial arts and for a very good reason. It is unique because it does not even teach strikes and its rules are way different from others like karate, taekwondo, or aikido. Judo is all about throws, grappling, and submission. From judo comes a derivative discipline called BJJ or the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It is now one of the most known disciplines in the MMA universe. It is so popular that it is even starting to overshadow judo in many ways although the latter is more recognized with its Olympic inclusion. What are the actual, most obvious differences between the two?

Strategy Differences

Judo and BJJ have very different strategies. Judo is about having a firm grip on the opponent and then throwing him off balance so that when he hits the ground, he will be immobilized. This is a rather straightforward kind of strategy compared to BJJ. This also makes judo a more ideal self defense technique as it strives to neutralize an opponent early on. When both judokas hit the ground at the same time then chokes and submission techniques comes into the picture.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu sees the beginning of the fight when the opponent hits the ground. BJJ focuses on the ground fighting and fighters who are not used to the techniques of BJJ will surely succumb to the many variation of chokes employed in the combat sport. Domination on the ground is the key goal of BJJ.

Rule Differences

Judo can easily decide if a fight is won only by the solid throwing of the opponent to the ground. This is called an “ippon”, a very straightforward means to judge the outcome of a match. In BJJ a throw can only be rewarded points, how high this goes would depend on the quality of the throw. The ultimate resolution of a BJJ match is the submission of the other, either by a choke or a hold that puts a strain to different parts of the body that causes immense pain.

In judo, the engagement on the ground is timed and if there is no submission from both fighters in that time window, both of them would assume their standing position to start another attempt at the sport. A judo match starts immediately as judokas are figuring a way to get the other to the ground.


Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a modern approach to combat sports. The culture of BJJ is to apply a myriad of ways to make sure that the opponent submits. This often means that everything can go as far as applicable techniques are concerned. Even the founder of BJJ, Helio Gracie, underwent a necessary surgery because of a submission incident and he almost died once as he passed out while resisting the urge to tap out of a killer choke. This clearly defines the overall culture of BJJ – it is a more vicious and unforgiving kind of martial art.

Judo on the other hand is built around traditional Japanese martial art philosophy. It operates in the idea of respect so there will always be limits to what you can do while engaging an opponent. This does not mean however that judo does not demand much from its practitioners. Judo is very demanding in some aspects of its training and this includes understanding how to keep your balance best, outmaneuvering the enemy from having a firm grip on any part of your body, and finding a way to get the opponent to the ground in one clear sweep. It can be observed that judo matches are faster and more aggressive compared to BJJ matches. This is because judokas are rushing to get the other to the ground. In the case of BJJ, the opposite is sometimes true – some fighters even allow themselves to be brought down to the ground if this is one of the best ways to position for a submission as they go down.

BJJ and Judo share the same background – Jujutsu. Although there are differences between both combat sports, it is very easy to spot the similarities. It is also obvious that both can complement each other in so many ways so that the mastery of judo can immensely help a BJJ fighter and vice versa. The mechanics of the fight of both are nearly the same and the rules only differ because of the premise of where the actual fight starts.

Which of the two is better? The choice would depend on the preferences and application of the sport to the one who would pursue it. However in the self defense context, Judo would be more practical because of its simpler nature. Its offensive goals are also easier to achieve.

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Celebrities Who Are Passionate About Martial Arts

You turn on the TV and see guys fighting in an octagon ring. Then you see your neighbor in his taekwondo uniform driving to his taekwondo class. And now you hear your eight-year-old child asking you to enroll him to a karate class.

Indeed, martial arts is growing by leaps and bounds in the country. The growing popularity of martial arts is not surprising if you ask the hardcore martial arts guy. He may probably point out that erstwhile U.S. presidents have practiced martial arts. Theodore Roosevelt practiced jiu jitsu and judo while Bill Clinton trained in taekwondo.

In fact he may even point out even celebrities are getting into martial arts training, such as:

1. Christian Bale

The guy best known for his role in the Batman series was into Kung Fu in preparation for his role as the caped crusader. He is also said to have practiced Wing Chun, a close-range martial art that was popularized by the immortal Bruce Lee. Wing Chun is not only known for its close range fighting techniques but also for its deeply meditative aspects.

2. Jessica Alba

Don’t let that angelic face fool you, as the pretty actress known for her roles in the Fantastic Four and Good Luck Chuck practices taekwondo in her spare time. Her training in taekwondo prepares Jessica for her roles, and she is also known to do her own stunts.

3. Jessica Biel

The stunning Jessica Biel, also known as the wife of pop superstar Justin Timberlake, is into martial arts as well. The actress says she has taken martial arts because it gives her a real sense of empowerment, aside from giving her an amazing workout all the time.

4. Robert Downey Jr.

Yes, the highest paid man in Hollywood is into martial arts as well. Best known for his role as Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr. credits Wing Chun for turning his life around. It is said that Downey has been practicing Wing Chun for more than seven years now.

5. Courtney Cox

She is best remembered for her role in the iconic 90s sitcom “Friends.” Cox practices Budokan, a blend of jiu-jitsu, yoga, martial arts and street striking. The actress says she does it to help maintain her ideal body weight and self defense. She has also influenced her Friends co-star Jennifer Aniston to practice martial arts.

6. Sean Connery

One of the best actors to portray James Bond, Sean Connery has a black belt in Kyokushin karate. This is a full contact karate founded by Korean Masutatsu Oyama and which means ‘the ultimate truth’. The martial art underlines a philosophy of self-improvement and hard training, with more than 12 million practitioners worldwide.

7. Prince Albert of Monaco

Even royalty like Prince Albert of Monaco are into martial arts. Prince Albert surprisingly has a black belt in judo, and reportedly employs judo as his main form of exercise.

8. Mick Jagger

Rock stars are into martial arts as well, and the man who does the lead vocals for the legendary band The Rolling Stones was trained in Judo under the guidance of George Kerr. Jagger’s trainer is one of the few Judo practitioners in the west to have reached the level of 9th Dan. In fact many observers believe that some of the dance moves of Jagger were inspired by judo.

9. Jeanne Claude Van Damme

This is really not a surprise as Van Damme has been one of the most bankable action stars for a long time. He’s a black belt in the martial arts, particularly in Shotokan karate, which has helped him in portraying many of his roles in the movies. He is also a fan of kickboxing, which has helped him stay in shape.

10. Forest Whitaker

You have recently seen him in the movie “Taken 3” and this man actually has a black belt in karate. The actor says that karate has been his main form of exercise, and it has taught him a lot about self-discipline. Karate has also helped Whitaker stay in great shape through the years.

11. Wesley Snipes

Another unsurprising entry to the list, Snipes is a well-known action star. Part of his inclination to the action genre may have been due to his training in the martial arts. He has been training martial arts since he was just 12 years old. He is well-versed in different disciplines like capoeira, karate, and kung fu.

12. Sarah Michelle Gellar

For most TV watchers, she is Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Unknown to many, however, she has a black belt in taekwondo. Aside from the martial arts, she is also into kickboxing and boxing.

These are just 12 popular figures who are known to be practicing martial arts. As you can see, a lot of celebrities are into martial arts for reasons such as self defense and keeping themselves fit. So why don’t you give martial arts a try?

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The Best Martial Arts for Women

Let’s face it, women is the weaker of the two sexes. Men can easily overpower women, and this is shown by cases of sexual assault and domestic violence committed against those from the distaff side.

According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), 1 out of every six women in the United States has been a victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. The largest anti-sexual assault organization in the country, RAINN says that there are 17.7 million American women who have been victims of attempted or completed rape. Of course, you may remember the assault cases committed against high profile women like music stars Shakira and Rihanna.

Martial arts can give women the mental and physical skills to protect themselves. There are five martial arts that are ideal for women, such as:


Taekwondo is one of the most popular martial arts in the world, with more than 70 million people practicing it. Originating from Korea, the term means “a way of kicking and punching.”

Why is taekwondo great for women? Well, one is that it emphasis a lot of kicking. Women can effectively counter an attack of men by kicking, combating the strength of male attackers who have better upper body strength than them.

Another reason why taekwondo is ideal for women is that it can be practiced even by pregnant women. In fact, there’s this British woman named Katie Billingham who was able to achieve a black belt while she was pregnant.

Krav Maga

This Israeli martial art has gained a lot of popularity in the past few years. Originally designed for the Israeli Defense Force, Krav Maga teaches its practitioners how to defend against armed and unarmed attackers.

Krav Maga is suited for women as it can help them stop a rape attempt. It can teach them how to use their various body parts like elbows, knees, and shins as weapons against attackers.

Krav Maga is not about fighting back. It’s more for defending and escaping, and women would be able to learn how to repel an attack, punch or kick the attacker if possible, and run away.

The martial art is also easy to learn, which makes it all the more perfect for women. And women don’t need to be strong to be able to perform the Krav Maga techniques, as they would acquire knowledge how to use their body weight so that their kicks and punches would be able to fend off the attack of a bigger man.


Aikido has been around for centuries. It is a Japanese martial art that teaches women how to use throwing and joint locking techniques so they can escape dangerous situations.

Like in the other martial arts apt for women, aikido won’t require women to be strong. The key in aikido is redirecting the force of the attacker and using it against him. So it doesn’t matter how strong a guy is, as a woman would be able to neutralize the attack.

In fact, it is common for aikido classes to have petite women fighting against guys two to three times bigger than them. And these women are able to toss these big guys around with little effort.

Brazilian Jiu-jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-jitsu became popular in the 90s when the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was just starting out. The guy responsible for the popularity of BJJ is Royce Gracie, who was less than 200 pounds but was good enough to win three out of the first four UFC championships.

Gracie wasn’t the biggest guy but he was able to dominate the UFC thanks to Brazilian jiu-jitsu. The same principle that Gracie used to beat bigger guys can be useful for women who are at a disadvantage against stronger men.

Compared to other martial arts like taekwondo and aikido, Brazilian jiu-jitsu is more ground-based. Most cases of rape end up on the ground, so women would be able to resist an attack if they know the basics of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Women would also know how to defend themselves when they are pinned by male attackers.

Jeet Kune Do

Do you remember Bruce Lee, perhaps the most revered and influential martial artist of all-time? Lee founded Jeet Kune Do, a discipline which combines the most effective techniques from various fighting styles like taekwondo and even boxing. In Jeet Kune Do, students are taught how to hit an attacker using an improvised weapon. Jeet Kune Do practitioners learn how to improve their timing, footwork, speed, power, and coordination.

On the surface, Jeet Kune Do may seem complicated. However, it really is not that hard. For example, striking an attacker in the eyes using the fingers is a basic defensive move in Jeet Kune Do.

As you can see, these martial arts are appropriate for women because these disciplines don’t require their practitioners to be strong, and the techniques are relatively easy to learn.

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The Five Best Martial Arts for Police Officers

Police officers are faced with lots of challenges when they are on the field. The men in uniform are expected to make prudent decisions and maintain control of chaotic situations in a matter of seconds. It’s relatively easy to control a chaotic situation when they are holding a gun, but what can police officers do when they don’t have a firearm?

This is where martial arts can come in and assist police officers in the field. Police officers who have some training in the martial arts can defend themselves in situations wherein they don’t have a weapon in their hands. Martial arts can help police officers control a suspect without necessarily hurting him. At the same time, it can give the officer the option to inflict pain and cripple the suspect if the altercation forces him to.

With the numerous martial arts fighting systems that have been developed, police officers have lots of choices. They can study and practice various arts like karate, taekwondo, kung fu, Muay Thai, and jiu-jitsu, among others.

But what are the best martial arts for police officers? Here is a rundown of the five most recommended martial arts for the men in uniform:

1. Muay Thai

Literally translated as Thai boxing, Muay Thai has been around for hundreds of years now. Known for its damaging strikes, it utilizes the hard parts of the human body such as the elbows, shins, and knees for kicking. Kicks to the thighs of a suspect are particularly effectively in ending a confrontation, or closing the distance and stripping the suspect of his weapon.

2. Krav Maga

Krav Maga was actually designed for the Israel Defense Forces. In fact, the name literally translates to “Contact Combat.” The US military has even trained their soldiers in Krav Maga for close quarter hand to hand combat.

In Krav Maga, police officers are taught how to neutralize a threat as quickly as possible. The movements—strikes, holds, and blocks—are also pretty simple. And unlike other martial arts where defensive and offensive moves are separate from each other, Krav Maga teaches how to incorporate counterattacks to every defensive move.

For instance, an attacker goes for the throat of a police officer. The policeman who’s trained in Krav Maga can deflect the attack and simultaneously launch a counterattack by going for the groin, throat, or eyes of the attacker.

In Krav Maga, police officers can also learn how to use virtually any object as a weapon. You name it— pens, belts, keys, chairs, cellphones, and just about anything —can be incorporated into Krav Maga techniques and used as a weapon.

3. Brazilian Jiu-jitsu

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is ideal for police officers because it is effective and easy to learn. Plus, the martial art is great for the men in uniform because it is designed to enable smaller men to overpower stronger and bigger opponents. Police officers don’t need to be strong and powerful to execute Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ).

Brazilian jiu-jitsu techniques put the police officer in a position wherein his attacker cannot strike him. Moreover, the police officer can strike the attacker and temporarily incapacitate the suspect. The techniques are mostly focused on joint locks and carotid restraints, meaning the officer does not have to be stronger than his opponent. The policeman only has to be stronger than the weakest point of his attacker, and this can be done by focusing on body parts like elbows, shoulders, neck, and ankle.

4. Aikido

Aikido has long been utilized by police forces around the world. In fact, one of the best trained police departments in the world—the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department- employs aikido as a defensive tactics system.

Aikido is derived from martial techniques that have been passed on from generations to generations of Japanese samurai fighters. Techniques are battle-tested, so to speak, as Aikido has been practiced for hundreds of years.

In aikido, police officers can learn how to use the force of an opponent against him. The martial art teaches how to take down a bigger opponent, or to counter weapon attacks. Aikido’s advantage as a martial art for police officers is the number of academies and qualified instructors who can teach its basics to policemen. It is also designed for police officers regardless of their age and gender.

5. Combat Hapkido

Some quarters say that combat Hapkido would become the future of law enforcement, as it is the only martial art that includes disarming knife and firearms. It underlines the need for technical know-how, speed, adaptability, and strategies to effectively neutralize an attacker.

As you can see, there are lots of martial arts that should empower policemen who are out in the field. These martial arts can help policemen resist an attack and even control a suspect without the use of a firearm.

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Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Versus Judo: Similarities and Differences

If you’ve been a casual observer of martial arts, you are surely familiar with judo, one of the only two martial arts to be included in the Olympics. And thanks to the exploits of mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters who have become celebrities in their own right, you may have also heard of Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

But do you realize that these two martial arts are in a way connected with each other? Brazilian jiu-jitsu and judo emanated from the traditional Japanese martial art of jujutsu. Jujutsu was the ancient Japanese martial art that taught its practitioners how to defeat an armed opponent without weapon or using only a short weapon. Brazilian jiu-jitsu was also developed out of the ground-fighting phase of judo, where fighters see the initial throw as the start of the fight.

Yet there are also differences between the two martial arts such as in:


Judo traces its origins to the traditional Japanese jujitsu, which was developed in the Asian country during the Feudal period from the 11th century to 16th century A.D. It was known by other names like Yawara and Hakuda. The earliest recorded use of the term ‘jiu-jitsu’ was in 1532 as coined by the Takenouchi Ryu school, although scholars believe that the martial art had been practiced in Japan earlier than that.

Interestingly, jiu-jitsu became rather obsolete with the end of the Feudal period. In lieu of jiu-jitsu, judo was developed in the 19th century by a jujitsu practitioner named Jigoro Kano. Kano is credited for streamlining the highly complicated art of jujutsu and making judo far more effective.

On the other hand, Brazilian jiu-jitsu or BJJ evolved from judo. Mitsuyo Maeda was one of the greatest practitioners in the history of judo and was a student of Jigoro Kano. He toured the world, going to places like the United States, England and Belgium. He would settle in Brazil where he opened a school of jiu-jitsu. There, he trained a young man named Carlos Gracie. After learning from Maeda, Gracie would open his own academy in 1925.

The Gracie family earned notoriety with their “Gracie Challenge” where anyone can come in and fight with them in no-holds-barred fights. The Gracies were virtually unscathed through the years, defeating fighters of different backgrounds.

They would develop strategies and techniques they learned from Maeda, and by the late 1980s the Gracies would introduce BJJ to the rest of the world when Royce Gracie dominated the early UFC events.

Fighting Style

In terms of fighting style, BJJ is more ground-based. It teaches its practitioners how to execute takedowns that are influenced by judo and wrestling. There is very minimal striking involved, most of which is designed simply to make an opponent submit.

It can be said that Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a martial arts that is more into ground fighting, empowering its students to improve their position from the top so they can employ a submission move like a choke or joint lock on their opponents. Moreover it teaches its practitioners how to fight from one’s back. BJJ requires its practitioners to be patient, as they would have to wait for openings and in most cases, slowly move towards them.

Although there are submissions in judo as well, it is primarily a throwing style of martial arts. In judo, practitioners are taught how to use leverage and use their opponents’ force against them with the purpose of taking their adversaries to the ground. The ground phase in judo called ne-waza, where the opponents are immobilized and where submission holds may be employed.

As an Olympic Sport

Judo has been an Olympic sport since 1964, when Tokyo hosted the Summer Games. Curiously the event was not included in the 1968 Olympics held in Mexico City. But it was added again in the Olympic calendar since 1972. Women started participating in judo in 1988 during the Seoul Olympics, and medals were awarded to them at the 1992 games.

Judokas compete in weight classes. In the Olympics, a country may send a maximum of one judoka per weight class. Winners of the single elimination bracket are awarded the gold and silver medals. Interestingly, two bronze medals are awarded in each weight class.

Japan has won the most number of medals in judo at the Olympic games with 72, followed by France and South Korea.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is not an Olympic sport although there have been moves to include it in the Olympics especially with Rio de Janeiro hosting the 2016 games. However, there are reasons why the BJJ is far from being considered for the Olympic Games.

One is that being relatively new, BJJ is not yet as popular as other martial arts like judo and taekwondo. Another reason why BJJ is not an Olympic sport is that there is no single governing body in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

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Key Differences Between Karate and Taekwondo

Karate and Taekwondo are two of the most well-known martial arts from the Far East. Karate is a form of Japanese martial art that was developed from fighting methods from Okinawa, Japan. On the other hand, taekwondo is a Korean martial art and combat sport.

Taekwondo is also an Olympic sport having been recognized as a medal sport in 2000 during the Sydney Games. On the other hand, karate is not considered an Olympic event.

Aside from those very basic differences, taekwondo and karate have a lot of differences. Here are some of the more noticeable differences between karate and taekwondo:


Karate is more of a striking art with a lot of punches, kicks, knee and elbow strikes, and open handed techniques. Grappling, parries, throws, and locks are also taught with equal emphasis.

Loosely translated from Japanese, karate means ‘empty hands’. It actually originated as a form of self-defense which put emphasis on effectively using the unarmed body of a practitioner through blocking or thwarting an attack, and counter-attacking through kicks, punches, and strikes.

On the other hand, taekwondo relies mostly on kicking techniques. The theory behind this approach is that the leg is the part of the body that has the strongest power, and a kick has the greatest potential to perform strikes without successful retaliation.


In karate, ranking would depend on the practitioner’s technical competence and character development. Teaching and dedication are equally important at higher levels. Ranking is used to measure a practitioner’s progress and give him or her feedback as well as incentives in training.

In karate, there are two levels of belts—pre-black belt and black belt. The pre-black belt levels are white belt, orange, yellow, blue, green, purple, high purple, third brown, second brown, and first brown belt.

For a practitioner to achieve a higher rank, he or she would have to go through an examination administered by a panel of judges who look in to the movements, mental discipline, and techniques of the practitioners.

Reaching black belt is considered a new beginning. There are various black belt levels as well, from first degree black belt to tenth degree black belt.

In taekwondo, the ranks are separated into senior, junior, or student and instructor variations. The juniors have belts of different colors, while students begin with the tenth geup and work their way towards the first geup.

Students are to go through promotion tests to advance to the next rank. In these promotion tests, practitioners have to show their proficiency in the different aspects of taekwondo before a panel of judges.

Tests often include breaking of boards, sparring and self defense, demonstration of the use of taekwondo techniques with both power and control, among others. Practitioners are also to answer questions on terminologies, concepts, and history of taekwondo to prove their knowledge and understanding of the martial art.

Seniors have to go through nine ranks that are indicated by the Korean term ‘dan.’ Black belts start at the first dan, and would have to go through the second, third, fourth, and so on. The ninth and final dan is given only to the true master of the art as designated by the International Taekwondo Federation.


Both martial arts trace their origins to thousands of years ago. Karate was said to have started more than 2,000 years ago when the Indian Buddhist monk Bodidharma went to a small forest temple to teach Zen Buddhism. Bodidharma introduced an organized set of exercises that were designed to promote a sound mind and body, and which started the Shaolin style of temple boxing.

Zen Buddhism would become the foundation for the Chinese martial arts. Eventually, the upper class family members in the small Japanese island of Okinawa traveled to China to study the various martial arts disciplines. They would later amalgamated Chinese martial arts to what would become karate.

Taekwondo is also said to be more than two thousand years old. It originated in Korea sometime in 37 B.C. It was based on the principle that every individual as the natural instinct to defend himself against a sudden attack.

The Korean martial arts would eventually fade into obscurity, particularly during the Joseon Dynasty. When the Japanese forced their way to conquer Korea at the turn of the 20th century, the practice of taekwondo was banned. The Japanese wanted the Koreans to learn their culture, including their martial arts. But taekwondo remained popular among Koreans, at least to those who taught the martial art through underground teaching and folk custom.

When the country was liberated from Japanese colonization, new martial art styles suddenly came out of nowhere and became widely practiced. After the Korean war, martial arts schools in the country began to operate. President Syngman Rhee then instructed that all these martial arts schools unify under a single system. Taekwondo was organized as a martial art and combat sport in 1955 and has then become a discipline practiced by more than 180 million people around the globe.

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The Differences of Aikido and Judo

Aikido and Judo are two of the most famous Japanese martial arts in the world today, rivaled only by the likes of Karate and traditional Jiu Jitsu (Jujutsu). Both revolve around tackling, throwing, and getting the opponent on the ground instead of striking with punches and kicks.

Similarities in Appearance

Many of the moves and techniques look the same to people who have never studied either of the two arts. Even their uniforms look the same – differentiating an Aikido gi from a Judo gi isn’t easy for the untrained eye.

The belt system differs from school to school, especially in the west, however in Japan both Aikido belts and Judo belts are given in just two colors: white and black. This makes it even harder to identify which school of fighting a person is practicing.

Similarities in Heritage

Both arts are descendants of ancient Jujutsu techniques so in many ways they look and may even feel somewhat the same. Both Aikido and Judo owe a lot of their philosophies, techniques, and styles to the ancient Jujutsu arts that were practiced by the samurai.

Jujutsu is a collective term for a myriad of ancient fighting arts but all of them focused on one goal: combat styles that a samurai could use during war when they were not in reach of their sword.

The sword was the samurai’s main weapon but in the chance they lose it they should still be able to fight and defeat their enemy. Many Jujutsu styles focused on disarming the opponent, injuring the opponent, and even killing the opponent.

Diversion in History

Judo was formed by Jigoro Kano during 1882 and it fully blossomed during the 1900s. It was the first school of martial arts that used a gi and belt as a uniform and it was the first that focused primarily on competitive sports instead of street combats and war.

Judo takes most of its inspirations from Tenjin Shinyo Ryu as well as Kito Ryu. This turned Judo into a form of Jujutsu that formed on grapples, chokes, and submissions.

Jigoro Kano also befriended Gichen Funakoshi who was the progenitor of Shotokan Karate. He later applied Shotokan striking techniques (known in Judo as Atemi Waza) into his own martial art although these are only taught to black belt Judo students.

Aikido was formed by Morihei Ueshiba during the 1930s and 1940s. He realized that many Jujutsu schools were making their students rude and violent. They only focused on techniques that were commonly used for war and this caused students and others to get injured.

Ueshiba, inspired by the techniques of Daito-Ryu-Aiki-Jutsu (which is also applied in Judo), and integrated a system of philosophy that would later form the art of Aikido.

Aikido’s philosophy focused on martial arts solely for self-defense and that it was a way of life emphasizing on discipline and the desire to cause no harm to others. Aikido is designed to take down an opponent in self-defense but also to make sure that the opponent is not seriously injured.

Difference in Style

Here’s where the two show their differences. Judo is focused entirely on aggressive takedowns and submissions. Practice involves sparring against an opponent doing everything they can to win, allowing their students to put all their skills and knowledge to the test.

This is what made Judo such a popular sport. It’s a sport so it isn’t designed for war but it is still aggressive enough to be used for self-defense and entertainment. A skilled Judo fighter can easily lock and break a person’s joints with the right position and movements.

Aikido uses a much different strategy. It also uses grabs and takedowns but the main focus is to use the enemy’s force and weight against him in order to throw them down and incapacitate them from fighting any further.

This is why Aikido is taught for self-defense instead of focusing as a competitive sport. Women and children can easily learn apply the techniques of Aikido. Shorter men and even people with generally weaker bodies can throw down a much bigger opponent using Aikido.

Judo is a ground-fighting technique where the combatants are struggling to submit each other using joint locks, chokes, and others. Aikido is done standing and the fight stops once one opponent throws down the other.

Both use striking movements but only for measuring distance, distraction, defense, and evasive maneuvers.

Which is More Practical?

Both martial arts are practical for use in the real world but it all depends on preference, body stature, and the circumstances to determine which is better.

A slender woman assaulted by a rapist in an alley would do much better with Aikido. They can use the momentum of their attacker’s strikes to grab them, throw them down, and then run away to safety.

A woman trapped in a small room and is being held at knife-point will be apply to Judo techniques to change positions so that she will have the upper hand. This will allow her to free herself from her captive’s hold and then subdue the attacker with a powerful joint lock or choke.

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Differences Between Kung Fu and Karate

For the uninitiated, Kung Fu and Karate may seem quite the same. Both are Asian martial arts and both are quite popular in movies. However, there are many distinct differences that set one apart from the other – and it’s not just a different of Kung Fu belts being fancier than Karate belts.

As a matter of fact, the aesthetic of their uniforms are just the bare icing on the cake. Even a person untrained in these martial arts can identify one from the other. Their differences go beyond that though as their history and cultural revolutions are both entwined and separated at the same time.

Meaning of Kung Fu and Karate

Kung Fu is a very general term for all Chinese martial arts. There are a myriad of Kung Fu techniques and all of them are different from one another. The word “wushu” is the Chinese term referring to combat arts. Kung Fu or Gong Fu means “to reach enlightment/achievement through hard work”.

Karate is Japanese for “open hand”. This is a direct reference to the style because it primarily focuses on skills of an unarmed fighter. The older term was “kari te” which meant “China hand” and this refers to the history of the art’s Chinese origin.

History of Kung Fu and Karate

Kung Fu is the older of the two martial arts. The earliest forms of Kung Fu are, according to legend, as old as the quasi-mythical Xia Dynasty in China. This would make these original forms around 2,000 years old. They were said to be developed by the Yellow Emperor Huangdi to empower his soldiers at war.

Concrete forms of Kung Fu, which have gone on to form the modern arts used in China today, were developed during the Ming and Qing dynasties (from 1200 AD onward).

Kung Fu wasn’t just used for war. Its origins collide with ancient Chinese philosophies and were often taught to instill peace of mind and tranquility in a person’s life. It was built as a philosophical art as much as it was a physical combat form.

This became apparent when Shaolin monks took up the art and integrated Kung Fu into their daily lives at the monastery.

Karate, on the other hand, originates from the Ryukyu Islands, particularly in the area now known as Okinawa. Legends have it that an Indian Buddhist monk who was trained in Chinese Kung Fu visited the islands and bestowed his skills and knowledge to the locals of Okinawa.

From there, it grew independently from the styles of China and became its very own martial art with very different techniques, philosophies, and forms. Karate has branched out and now includes many sub-styles such as Shotokan, Shorin-ryu Shidokan, and Budokan.

Difference in Style

Kung Fu is often identified through the use of circular, flowing movements. There is often no pause in between technique training – the practitioner continues his flow of movement as he moves from one basic move to the next.

Karate is often identified as a more rigid martial art that utilizes linear strikes and crisp movements. There is a noticeable pause during the practice of Karate kata (movements).

This is why many think of Kung Fu as a soft style while Karate is a hard style. This isn’t a very accurate distinction because there are dozens of Kung Fu styles and all of them are different, so generalizing them into soft or hard categories won’t do them justice.

Difference in Uniform

The Karate gi is very distinguishable and easy to identify. Its origins are connected to the Judo gi since Judo – another Japanese martial art – was the original progenitor of the system wearing a gi and colored belt.

When you see someone wearing a white gi and a black belt, you know they are a practitioner of Japanese martial arts.

Kung Fu uses a very different uniform. Traditional Kung Fu gi is based on the silk and satin clothing of old men in China but it is altered to better fit for combat. Unlike the Japanese gi which uses loose and open sleeves, the Kung Fu gi is tight around the ankles.

Another distinguishing feature is the Kung Fu jacket. Where most Japanese gi are a combat spin-off of the traditional kimono, the Kung Fu gi is a comfortable jacket with frog-clasps that close the jacket down the middle.

Belts are also very different. Karate belts are colored to distinguish rank and skill. They are made from thick wool or cotton. Kung Fu belts are wide, soft, and made from silk or satin. In China they are only meant to close the jacket but in Western Wushu schools they are also used to determine rank and skill.

Which One is Better?

There is no determining which of the two is better. In theory, both martial arts are so different yet somewhat similar that neither has the advantage over the other. It all boils down to the skill and experience of the practitioner as well as their dedication to the martial art of their choice.

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