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The Styles of Japanese Budo

June 28, 2018

The Styles of Japanese Budo

Japan is well-known for its martial arts, some of which has origins dating back to the region's feudal period. However, Japan has also pioneered newer, more modern martial arts. Typically occurring within the past century or so, these styles have become increasingly popular, with men and from women from across the world seeking to learn them. But if you're thinking about learning a modern Japanese martial art, you should familiarize yourself with budo.

What Is Budo?

Meaning "martial way" or "way of war," budo refers to all styles of modern Japanese martial arts. The actual word "budo" comes from "root bu." According to reports, "root bu" is Japanese philosophy that involves creating propositions and critiquing them to help martial arts practitioners realize them. In the simplest terms, though, budo is any and all styles of modern -- keyword being modern and not traditional -- styles of Japanese martial arts.


Perhaps the most popular style of budo is karate. Even if you're new to the world of Japanese martial arts, you've probably heard of karate. It's believed that karate was brought to Japan around the turn of the 20th century. By the early 1920s, the Japanese Ministry of Education had invited one of karate's founders, Gichin Funakoshi, to teach the style, thereby paving the way for karate in Japan. It's safe to say that karate has since become one of the world's most popular styles of martial arts, with more than 1 million men, women and children from across the world practicing it.


Another common style of budo is judo. Although its true origins remain unknown, it's believed that judo originated in Japan sometime in the late 1800s. As its popularity grew, it later become an official Olympic sport. Karate is a highly competitive style of martial arts in which two practitioners directly engage with each other, typically using moves such as throws and takedowns. Some judo classes also teach practitioners how to defend themselves against certain weapons, adding a new level of complexity to this style.


A lesser known style of budo is kyudo. Kyudo is unique in the sense that it's the only modern Japanese martial art that focuses specifically on the archery. It's based on the art of archery, known as kyudo, which originated in feudal Japan. Back then, samurai warriors were trained on the art of using the bow and arrow. This ultimately led to the creation of kyudo, which is now a common Japanese martial art.

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