Top 10 Martial Arts and Their Origins
Developed in Okinawa, Japan, Karate is perhaps one of the most well-known of the striking arts. Combining many styles of combat such as Wado-Ryu and Shotokan, Karate uses mainly punching, kicking, knee and elbow strikes as well as lightening-fast hand techniques like palm-heel strikes and strikes to vital points. The martial art started developing around the 1600s at a time when Japan had banned its citizens from the use of all weaponry, except for the Samurai. This lead to the rapid development of fighting styles which would enable non-Samurai to defend themselves. Even today, the Japanese military and police forces use Karate for their non-armed combat.
This style was developed mainly as a striking art with techniques such as the sidekick, roundhouse kick, and certain submission methods used for knife and gun defense. The lack of close-combat grappling techniques means that fighting multiple opponents is possible but disarming and ultimate submission of opponents is very difficult. Unfortunately Karate is not considered a very diverse martial art because of its lack of close-combat abilities, but it still provides a strong base for the well-rounded martial artist.
Being the Russian answer to Kung Fu, Systema literally means "the system" in Russian and refers to the various systems of the body, namely the nervous system, muscular system, respiratory system, et al. It's a style tailored to the harsh Russian weather conditions and excels in dealing with exotic weapons. When Stalin came to power most every national tradition was suppressed, and Russians studying Sytema were severely punished, leading to the practise becoming a secret art. Once the goverment realized its combat effectiveness they decided to encorporate the fighting style into Russian special forces unit like Alpha, GRU and Vympel.
Having no enforced rules, limitations or even a real structure in its techniques, Systema is designed to boost the fighter's instinctive reactions, individual strengths, and character. Because of this lack of structure Systema is usually complimented with another martial art; in the Russian Special Forces Samba is the preferred choice. Excelling in knife and gun defense strategies, Systema nevertheless lacks a distinctive striking style, relying more on the natural instincts of the fighter.