Tai Chi ChТuan * Wing chun * Aikido * Sumo * Karate * Taekwondo * Judo
The goal of this brief review Ц not analysis of techniques and rules of particular physical contests (it is expounded in the other sections) but review of a few forms of oriental martial arts from the position of female health, beauty and grace - everything that women specifically need.
There are about one and half thousand forms of martial arts in the world. Ages of some of them are measured by millenniums. And although they donТt have too much practical usage for the most of people, millions are practicing them. There are three secrets of their ability to survive: first in their spirituality (training in martial arts is first of all training of conscious that allows to reach harmony of soul), second Ц in the powerful health effect, third Ц in self-defense skills. Women derive their great own benefits from training in martial arts, not less than men do, sometimes even more. Particular features of some martial art forms - grace, smoothness, thrifty, rationality, cunning and beauty Ц make them to be very helpful specifically for women.
Tai Chi ChТuan
Very old and proven martial art. According to the legend, about two thousand years ago Chinese monk Chan San Fen noticed the battle between a crane and a snake. The snake smoothly slipped out and attacked back rhythmically deviating to left and to right while the crane gracefully flied up and grounded trying to press the snake against the ground or toss up. Noticed this, Chan San Fen realized that fighting may be beautiful and found the natural way of becoming healthy and self defendingЕ And he created the martial art that got called Tai Chi ChТuan Ц The Fist of the Great Bounds.
Tai Chi moves are slow and very beautiful. From a distance they may seem to be an unusual and fancy dance. Besides, an uninitiated person might think that the dance is freestyle and arbitrary and everyone can perform it. Of course, itТs wrong because all the moves in Tai Chi must be performed precisely like YogaТs "asans".
By the way, Tai Chi ChТuan is also called Chinese Yoga. As you perform Tai Chi moves invisible life energy (which is called УtsiФ) is moving over invisible energetic meridians making the setting up the entire body in harmonically condition. Right moves regulate breathing, liberate a person from obsessive and unnecessary thoughts.
There are many exercises in tai chi and each one has a nice name: УSunriseФ, УA crane spreads wingsФ, УA beauty open a fanФ, УA snake creeps in grassФ, УA golden rooster over a fenceФЕ Regular execution of just two of them already gives noticeable results. In order to achieve more serious results long exercise is recommended consisting of ten Ц fifteen moves. These moves sometimes are repeated and the exercise time is varying from ten to forty minutes.
Benefits for women:
There is no other martial art where the sense of УcenterФ (or middle УtyanФ) is developed as well as in tai chi. The center locates two fingers lower than a navel and according to the oriental doctrine the major concentration of life energy is there. Ability to move properly and to live with right sense of the center forms an internal pivot that in turn furthers developing of spirit and vital fortitude. If you train tai chi for a quite long time and regularly your problems will be solved as a side effect. For instance, urgent problem with extra weight or vice versa insufficient weight or various gynecological problems. Many body functions and systems are improved: nervous system, cardiovascular system, blood circulation, and alimentary canal. The Yan school is recommended as health improving gymnastics that has been developed specially for the EmperorТs family (there are the other school УChenФ but itТs more known as martial school). In the East they say, "U-shu is when a plowman plows the land whereas Tai Chi is when an Emperor plows the land".
According to one of legends, this martial art style was invented by the Chinese girl named Ng Mui About three hundred years ago there was a cruel tyrant who ruled a Chinese province. He planned to marry her. The idea wasnТt the girlТs liking and she asked three month for thinking, went to mountains where learned martial art from a female monk-hermit Yim Wing Chun. After that she defeated the tyrant in the battle and named her style by the name of her teacher Ц Wing Chun that meant УBlossomed SpringФ. There are other legends though but Wing Chun is one of the most popular self-defense styles in the world.
What are its particular features? First of all Ц speed, rationality, thrift and precise of its moves. Wing Chun is humorously called Уactivity for lazybones - in other words, its for those who donТt like do extra work. In plain words, there are no wide grabs, which look so striking in movies. A fight in wing chun is very real, effective and finishes usually in seconds. Top level wing chun masters are able to deliver up to ten strikes a second.
ItТs interesting that the self-defense system of Wing Chun perfectly matches just women. The thing is that a final strike secret of Wing Chun lies not in physical strength but in the internal energy which women have as much as men do. Besides, Wing Chun is good in close quarters. For example, in an elevator, in case of a maniac attack. In fact when you start training in an internal U-shu style (and Wing-Chun belongs to the internal styles) troubles and dangers simply donТt appear in your life.
The statement of Carlos Castaneda helps to understand Wing Chun: УA warrior is inaccessible. He never stands in the middle of a road waiting for something strikes him dead. He minimizes possibility of unforeseen situations outbreak. ItТs always possible to avoid those things that people call accidents. Usually, such things happen with fools whose whole life is continuous slob. If someone waits for me armed with a powerful gun with optical sight I just wonТt appear thereФ. There is no mystique her at all. Wing Chu training develops sensitiveness. There is the special technique in Wing Chu called Уsticky handФ (Уti-saoФ). Due to this technique you become a peculiar scanner that can read out surrounding vibrations and react correspondingly.
Benefits for women:
ItТs the ideal school for those who worry about self-defense. The Wing Chu exercises are definitely good for your health as well. For instance, one of the basic forms - УMorning prayerФ is perfectly good for meditation concentration; it tunes you to forthcoming deals.
The young martial art form appeared in Japan about fifty years ago. Like Tai Chi ChТuan and Wing Chu, Aikido belongs to internal or УsoftФ martial arts. The basic principals are amenability, non-resistance, following opponentТs strength and control his movements. A person started training Aikido is changing from straight moves based on a square to moves based on a triangle to moves over a circle. This move is like a destructive tornado that possesses the both Ц centrifugal and centripetal forces.
As in Tai Chi, for better understanding of Aikido the image of water is used. On the one hand, water is soft and malleable simply bending around obstacles, on the other hand, it possesses overwhelming strength and itТs able to destroy granite walls. Nowadays, Aikido is one of the most fashionable health improving martial system in the world.
Benefits for women:
Moving over a circle an Aikido master manages to avoid straight clash with an attack. In a real life it allows him or her to reach a desirable result avoiding straightforwardness. A woman is inherently able to overcome superior force. In fact, a short way is not always the best way, especially for physically weaker creatures.
Japanese wrestling style. Athletic sumo competitions are very popular. One of the necessary condition for a sumo athlete Ц more than impressive weight. In order to get it real sumoists follow the special УdietФ. In Japan real sumoists are trained in monasteries. During lessons a sumo teacher often repeats the phrase: УRemember, every second, every fraction of a second samurai must remember about death, then he will live longФ. This is one of samurai code rules which students are taught. In Japan itТs very prestige for a woman to marry a sumoist Ц this is the dream of many Japanese women. Currently, sumo became the popular sport among women and tournaments and championships are held.
Benefits for women:
If you train sumo you can try something completely unknown for you. This form is for women of any body build. A plump woman would find in sumo the most suitable way of physical improvement and self-expression. At the same time, her coarse forms will look quite appropriate and she would use her weight in full measure. Russian sumoist Olesya Kovalenko considers sumo Ц just womenТs wrestling style.
ItТs customary to consider Karate as a Japanese martial art. However, according to the recent historical data it was born three hundred years ago that locates between Japan and Taiwan. Karate seems to be one of the first popular martial art styles, which got to Russia. Although, it was banned for a while. That time people trained karate in basements, forest meadows and in other places - farther from strangersТ eyes.
Contact form of karate definitely belongs to the group of УtoughФ styles and of course more matches men. Though, some brave women actively participate in this martial art. They are not afraid of traumas; they persistently master complex techniques (УkatsФ), managing to make their bodies УironyФ and their strikes Ц crushing. One of the major karate ideas is to shatter an opponent by the first strike. The characteristics of karate are jumps, jerky lunges, punches and kicks as additions to the strength. There are several karate styles. In Russia Kyokushinkai and Shotokan are the most popular ones.
Benefits for women:
Like other martial arts, karate has a set of positive features: health benefits (except possible traumas), self-defense skills, spirit perfecting. There is one distinctive feature though. Unlike Aikido, Tai Chi or Wing Chun, karate more rouses internal aggression rather than suppresses it during first years of training. The aggression gets out on the higher stages of skills. People who changed karate to softer styles tell that in their Уkarate periodФ they more often found themselves in conflict situations. Starting the Уinternal styleФ they noticed that such situations stopped appearing.
When a woman having not a perfect shape starts karate training the positive results appears quickly. After a long training the body adapts to the tasks that she sets for herself. Unfortunately, the specific features of those tasks might cause a body of a well-trained woman not meeting the current beauty standards. According to the karateist Julia Volkova, a woman has to cultivate grain by grain the features which a man already has inherently in order to successfully practice karate.
Literally, taekwondo is translated from Korean as Уway of an arm and a legФ. As a matter of fact, overriding attention is paid to punches and kicks. This martial art form appeared in Korea in 1950s. It was created by Southern Korean general Choy Hong Hi who took the national fist fighting style УKwonpopФ as a starting point adding elements of Chinese and Japanese martial arts.
There are a lot of Taekwondo techniques but stress is made on leg technique including Уkick in flyФ. As early as old Korean masters developed this art in order to knock a horseman out of a saddle. One of the most exotic and original taekwondo tricks is a kick by the both feet on the height higher than 2 meters when a man just folds. For instance, for a taekwondo master itТs quite natural to run up on the wall, split in air and kick by the both legs in different direction, jumps from standing to the height of a manЕ
Despite its complexity, taekwondo is also considered to be very helpful for health and the excellent self-defense system. About forty years ago it went out of Korea and immediately becomes very popular. Currently, one third of taekwondo population is women. A lot of courageous is needed just to bring yourself to taekwondo training which are not easy to put it mildly. For example, warm-up (or mandatory physical background) includes forcing back on fists, squat with leg ejection and jumping up and down, pulling up on a horizontal bar, longitudinal and cross splits, Уgoose-likeФ walking. If you donТt know what is that, just try to squat and walk for a couple of minutes. After training perspiration if flowing as a creek but you feel deep satisfaction because you defeated yourself one more time and came to the gym.
Benefits for women:
Taekwondo is many things in one: shaping, aerobics, acrobatics and the entire gym. Muscles are built up, cellulite disappears, cardiovascular system becomes as well as astronautТs one. Taekwondo is good for women also because it builds up pelvis muscles and gynecology problems go away. Of course there are dangers too - traumas for instant. Many sparring are held in contact, so there might be broken ribs, stretches, injuries (sometimes even quite serious). Besides, there is a possibility that girls might become a little mannish that this martial artТs style contributes to. Nevertheless, girls attend Taekwondo classes and stand that training guarantees them self-confidence, getting rid of complexes and freedom in communication!
Judo ("soft way") has been descended from the centuries-old hand-to-hand fight styles cultivated in different jiu-jitsu schools. It was Kano Jigoro who created Judo Ц multifaceted system of physical training and martial art, which contains features of Samurai traditions and ideas of the sports. Kano was born in 1860. He started to cultivate the new martial art form among women and it was revolutionary action because women participating in martial arts was disruption of the Japanese traditions which didnТt allow women to compete and more over to compete with men. Kano gave a Judo technique examination to his future wife Sumako. Maids in his home, besides house cleaning, also were teaching girls who wished to enter into Judo. The KanoТs experiment to bring women into indigenous menТs activity was successful. First Judo competitions were held in Kodokan. Kano actively called women to come in Judo. He repeatedly said УIf you really want to understand Judo watch a training womanФ. Nevertheless, for a long time in Japan remaining conservative official women Judo competitions werenТt held.
From the end of the nineteenth century women started learning self-defense techniques. At the beginning, boxing was considered as the best self-defense tool but women soon realized that Judo and wrestling matched better their needs. On May 29, 1904 the article УJapanese woman teaches American girls a secret self-defense scienceФ was published in the magazine УNew York WorldФ. It said, УThese women learn a special self-defense art and they has advanced so far that they can easily pick up and throw down a body weighing 200lb. They would knock down a rapidly moving opponent just by one touch of a knee or a hand using his own strength against himФ.
After a while, women began training in Judo not just for self-defense but also for building up health and for body improvement. WomenТs Judo became the first Olympic combative sport. For the first time women demonstrated that not only a few of them could physically compete but many women were able to seriously compete in tournaments on the highest world level - to compete using precise techniques and real strength.
Benefits for women:
Judo training helps to develop strength, flexibility, reaction and self-confidence. At the same time, it installs good self-defense skills Ц Judo techniques are excellent tools for parrying robbery and rape. Yet Judo is a real contact grappling and not all women could be advised to really participate in it.
A woman forms spirit strength in martial arts, so a victory over yourself becomes more important than a victory over an opponent. The aim of each woman in martial arts Ц to stop being a slave of your passions and wishes and to become an owner of your destiny. You must be calm and at the same time forceful in the both areas Ц combat and regular life. In each situation you act without tension but not impetuously. DonТt allow neither your spirit to get under bodyТs control, nor the body under spirit. DonТt allow yourself to fall into dejection but not be too enthusiastic. Excited spirit is weak. Defeated spirit is weak too. But this is the ascent to serious philosophical comprehension of the life. In fact, you may be limited by solving self-defense problems, health and emotional state without the УascentФ. Even these are quite enough.
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