Are there really European martial arts, or Eastern ones? Well, it all depends on what you want to call them. Martial Arts can be from many different disciplines and can be used for many different things. The real question is: What do you want to use it for? And how to know what kind of martial art is best for you?
Let’s start off with the most popular type of martial arts: Thai Boxing. Although the name may be funny, the principles involved are definitely not. Thais use a lot of taekwondo weapons like sais, sticks, and whips and bags. They utilize their body weight and strength to strike with those weapons until the opponent surrenders and allows them to strike them with the weapons. The key is striking them first and then using whatever weapons they have to subdue the other person.
One of the most iconic martial art weapons is the katana. Japanese samurai swords were long, strong, and made of a hard metal called kurumaki (ink plates). These swords were primarily used to cut food, so they could be carried in pockets on their belts. Another famous sword is the Wakizashi, which was a shorter sword that was used in many methods of self defense. In fact, the two katana styles are interchangeable. The katana and the Wakizashi both had the same use in the Japanese martial art: they were used to cut, slash, and thrust at their enemies.
Another martial art used in Asian countries is Kali, which translates to “healer”. In the Far East, Kali incorporated gymnastic techniques to defend themselves from attackers using only their bodies. A variation of the ancient Chinese techniques is Tanto, a weapon used in conjunction with strikes with the legs, arms, and even the head! This combination of weapons used is what makes Kali a highly versatile form of fighting. The techniques do not focus on striking the enemy as much as they focus on healing the enemy and allowing them to escape the combat.
One of the more ancient weapons used by the Japanese was the naginata, or book knife. This weapon had a straight blade and a handle for stability. Naginata was also primarily used for training, although it could be used for many other things such as throwing or re-enacting history plays. Some people believe that the naginata was invented by a Japanese samurai, but this is highly unlikely. The most likely origin of this ancient Japanese weapon is the Dojo of Katsuoka in Japan, which was known for its many combative training.
One of the more popular and commonly used weapons in European Martial Art are the singlestick. Singlestick can be thought of as a cross between a frying pan and a wooden sword. It originated in Japan and was commonly used by martial artists until the 20th Century when it fell out of favor for a variety of reasons. However, it still remains popular amongst martial artists who wish to learn a close, two-handed sword dance weapon.