The Four Secret African Martial Arts

By: Madison Greene

Martial arts in Africa? Yes, Africa, not Asia. It may seem unbelievable to some, but did you know that many African martial arts systems are actually over 50,000 years old? And today the applications are just as used and respected on the continent as they were when they first originated.

The Styles of African Martial Arts

There are four basic styles of martial arts that are practiced in Africa. They are:
* Hapkido
* Judo
* Ju-Jitsu
* Tai-Chi

Hapkido is a style of martial art that is characterized primarily by kicking without retraction. Hapkido is composed of three primary skills:
* Circular motion to countering and attacking
* Nonresistance when meeting force
* The water principle.

Hapkido emphasizes body and mind coordination. The techniques used here are applied by combining physics, geometry, psychology and physiology. Kicks are most important to learn and are used as defense against opposing kicks as hand techniques are used to defend opposing hand strikes.

The Second African Martial Art: Judo

Judo, also known as the gentle martial art form, is one of the most well recognized African martial arts. It is not used to promote violence, but rather to be able to overcome the attacker and defend either oneself or another.

Judo is a modern type of combat martial art sport in which the most prominent feature is its competitive element. In a Judo sparring match the basic object is to either throw the opponent to the ground or immobilize the opponent.

Ju-Jitsu: The Third Aftrican Martial Art

Ju-Jitsu is a martial art form that specializes in close encounter techniques including:
* Joint locks
* Chokes
* Throws and grappling

Ju-Jitsu students typically learn traditional Ju-Jitsu primarily by observation and imitation as patterned by the prearranged forms. The movements of Ju-Jitsu tend to emphasize circularity and as well capitalize on an opponent's momentum and openings.

Ju-Jitsu is known as a controversial martial art sport because there are some very dangerous techniques, such as throwing an opponent from a standing position while having an arm in a joint lock. This can result in the opponent sustaining serious injuries.

Tai-Chi: The Fourth African Martial Art

Finally there is Tai-Chi, which is another incredibly popular style within the African martial arts. Tai-Chi is practiced with the aim of promoting health and longevity, with its primary focus on breathing, meditation, and defending oneself with out the use of violent force.

As you can see, martial arts have been popular in Africa for centuries. African martial arts are great for anyone to learn as a competitive sport to improve their fitness, health, and mental well-being.

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