Opening Asia for Russia

25.06.2018 82 просмотров

Karate is one of the most popular types of martial arts, firmly rooted in the "western" soil. Europeans learned about it relatively recently, in the middle of the 20th century. Spectacular and effective techniques of the ancient martial art with a thousand-year history really amazed the imagination.


Bricks and thick boards split with bare hands, dizzying jump-flights, as if violating the laws of gravity, and, finally, a special world of the elect, initiated into the mysteries of this mysterious art, which was allowed only after many years of study ... & nbsp; It is not surprising that karate quickly won the hearts of fans around the world.

However, let's get back to the origins of karate as a form of martial arts. The first mention of this single combat refers, according to various sources, to the XII-XIII centuries. However, the officially recorded time of the creation of Okinawan karate proper is the end of the 14th century. According to the name, it originated in Okinawa. This island, as well as the entire Ryukyu archipelago to which it belongs, occupies a special place in the history of Japan. The proud inhabitants of the Ryukyu kingdom have always fought for their independence and considered themselves a special people, they even spoke their own dialect, incomprehensible to the inhabitants of other Japanese islands. Over the long history of the Ryukyu archipelago - a tidbit lying at the crossroads of the main trade routes - more than once was subjected to raids by foreign invaders. At different periods, the Ryukyu Islands fell into dependence either on China or on Japan, until, finally, they were finally included in Japan at the end of the 19th century.

Japan. Karate
Chinese martial arts had a great influence on the formation of punching techniques in karate. Photo: Kiyoshi Ota/Reuters


It was on this isolated territory that karate flourished as a martial art. The inhabitants of Okinawan were forced to defend themselves from attacks by either Chinese or Japanese pirates, mastering self-defense without weapons or with improvised means, since the invaders, trying to break the resistance of the local population, introduced all sorts of bans on carrying weapons and severely punished violators with the death penalty. It can be said that karate in Okinawa developed “not thanks to, but in spite of”, the masters of Okinawan martial arts were real underground workers, they organized secret communities in which young fighters were secretly trained.

However, Okinawan karate, which previously had the name okinawa-te ("Okinawan hand", i.e. Okinawan hand-to-hand combat) or to-te ("magic hand") did not appear out of nowhere. Its origins are in China, it is from the Chinese kempo - the system of martial arts of the Middle Kingdom, that the main techniques and terms of karate are taken. In addition, over the centuries, the Okinawan hand-to-hand combat system, like a sponge, has absorbed all the best from the techniques of Japanese hand-to-hand combat, such as jujutsu. However, the influence of China, apparently, was stronger, it was the Chinese who introduced the Okinawans to their martial arts: some residents of the Ryukyu archipelago even went to Chinese monasteries "for an internship", including Shaolin, where they got acquainted with the hand-to-hand combat techniques of the inhabitants of the Celestial Empire. By the way, the style of Shaolin-su quan-fa began to actively develop on the island. Somewhat later, other styles and trends became widespread. 

As a result, a very tough and dynamic style  - Okinawa-te, which translates as Okinawan hand-to-hand combat ("te" means "hand"). Even the fearless Japanese samurai were seriously afraid of the Okinawa-te masters, who tried to bring each fight to its logical end, that is, usually to the death of an opponent. 

Japan. Karate
Karate training in Japan starts from early childhood. Photo: Kim Kyung Hoon/Reuters


This style of karate is a blow, fast, sharp and unexpected. After all, the main task was as quickly as possible & nbsp; incapacitate an armed adversary. Years of hard training turned the hands and feet of Okinawa-te masters into a formidable weapon, with the help of which the fighters easily split the strong helmets and chain mail of their opponents. No less terrible in a real fight were the fingers of Okinawan masters. Their hardening took place in a truly extreme mode: day after day, for months and years, the students, overcoming terrible pain, beat them into buckets filled with hard beans, sand, pebbles ... As a result, the fingertips completely lost sensitivity and were covered with a thick stratum corneum. Having achieved such a result and having mastered, for example, the smashing blow “kan-shu” (which means “hand-spear”), the Okinawa-te masters pierced the living flesh and pulled out the insides of the enemy ...

The fists trained in the same way fighters. "Know-how" of Okinawan masters - makiwara. It is a very tightly woven bundle of straw tied to a plank or pole. With its help, future fighters stuffed "iron" fists, practiced accurate aimed punches and kicks. After several years of hard training, they could break a strong young tree with one blow, which, as you know, is superbly springy. No less attention during the preparation was paid to the development of the shoulder muscles and hands. They were trained with the help of iron weights up to 25 kg - the so-called "chasi", other devices were also used. improvised" means, like a stick, nuntyaku, sai, tonfa and others.

Japan. Karate
Karate is gaining more and more popularity among the "weak" half of humanity.  Photo: Ken Aragaki / TASS


Okinawa was especially developed fight with sticks. Okinawa-te masters were able to masterfully wield "bo" - an almost two-meter stick. There is a whole system of Okinawan kata - exercises with a stick, which are built on precisely coordinated blows with a stick and limbs, combined with spectacular jumps. 

Nuntyaku - two small weighty sticks connected by a strong silk cord - also turned into hands masters into deadly weapons that could choke, split helmets, inflict short, but very effective blows on & nbsp; pain points. One or two nuntyaku - one in each hand - made the Okinawan-te fighter almost invulnerable to the opponent. The most complex system of exercises with nuntyaku was based on their skillful rotation in different planes. Drawing out the "eight" in the air at high speed, the masters created a constant protective field around themselves, which was interrupted only at the moment of striking the enemy. Meanwhile, the nuntyaku originates from an ordinary, agricultural tool used by Okinawan peasants to process rice. 

Tonfa, a half-meter thick stick with a perpendicularly located handle, was also originally a completely harmless lever from a millstone. The handle of the tonfa was taken into a fist, and the long end of the stick was placed exactly along the arm, from the hand to the elbow. In a fight, one or two tonfas, which were, as it were, a natural extension of the fighter’s hands, became an excellent block from the opponent’s blows and made it possible to strike with both the fist and the elbow. Moreover, a sharp throw forward of the arm with a simultaneous turn of the tonfa towards the opponent significantly “lengthened” the arm and made it possible to effectively “get” the opponent with the strongest poke blow.

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Sometimes karate masters also participate in such shows. Photo: Pierre Stevenin/Reuters


Another original weapon of the Okinawa-te masters, the sai, deserves special mention. This peculiar metal trident with a long sharp blade in the middle and two hooks on the sides could serve the owner both for throwing and for skillful fencing. Usually in the arsenal of an Okinawan fighter, there were three such tridents at once. 

For a very long time, Okinawan karate remained a secret behind seven seals for the rest of the world. The training of fighters was carried out in underground societies with a strict hierarchy, any disclosure of the secrets of this type of martial arts was punishable by death. Only by the middle of the 18th century did the gradually changing geopolitical situation bring the interests of Japan and the Ryukyu archipelago closer together. In 1872, Okinawa finally became part of Japan, and its population began to enjoy the same rights as the rest of the Japanese. This time can be considered the period of the birth of modern Okinawan karate. Since 1900, Okinawa-te has even been taught in some schools. A year earlier, this kind of martial arts officially became known as "karate". 

Over the long time of the existence of Okinawan karate, a great many original schools and styles have been created. However, all of them can be divided into two main areas. The first school, which is called Shorei ("Enlightened Soul"), focused on strength, sharp blows, the power of arms and legs. The second training system - Shorin, preached a lighter style with a lot of maneuvers, swinging arms and legs. By the way, the second school did not require great physical strength from the student, its principles were based on deceptive movements in order to confuse the enemy and deliver an unexpected blow to him in an unprotected place. That is why even women could successfully learn the Shorin method.  

In the thirties of the 20th century, the art of Okinawan hand-to-hand combat began to conquer the rest of Japan. Thus, despite the generally accepted opinion, until the beginning of the 20th century, the Japanese knew practically nothing about karate. Naturally, the spread of the art of karate in Japan was helped by the difficult economic situation that prevailed in Okinawa at the very beginning of the same century. Many Okinawans were forced to move to other Japanese islands in search of work. In the 1920s and 30s, after several victories in martial arts competitions by representatives of the Okinawan school, a real boom began among the Japanese: almost everyone without exception wanted to study karate. However, this was no longer the old Okinawan school of combat karate, but a “light”, or, if I may say so, “improving” version. No wonder karate clubs were opened for the most part at universities, and mostly students studied in them. The years of grueling training, which no longer corresponded to the modern rhythms of life, have also remained in the past. 

At the same time, the official authorities of Japan began to say that the art of creating karate belongs to the Japanese nation. It was necessary to urgently bring a certain philosophical base to karate, beneficial to the ruling elite. Thus began the triumphal procession of karate - first in Japan, and then throughout the world. Karate-do, or, in other words, the "path of karate" was chosen by millions of residents of the Land of the Rising Sun, and then other states.
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