I watched both of my sons participating in a little Karate, but I myself have never tried any martial arts. The martial arts align with the Okinawan commitment to daily physical activity for the health benefits and as a means to attain higher goals. Some of the following forms are practiced in Okinawa, some elsewhere:
- Aikido means “the way of all harmony” and is a purely defensive art.
- Jiujitsu is a system of unarmed self-defense.
- Judo means “the gentle way” or “way of flexibility” and was the first martial art to be accepted at the Olympic Games.
- Karate-Do means empty hand and is a method of self-defense that is meant to be weaponless.
- Kung Fu is the English name given to a range of Chinese fighting styles.
- Tae Kwon Do is the “the art of kicking and punching.
- Tae Bo is a Western combination of tae kwon do and boxing performed to dance music that was popularized by Billy Blanks.
Finally, there is Tai Chi which is called a “soft” martial art for all. I believe I have observed many practicing Tai Chi in open spaces and parks when traveling in Asia and a few at neighborhood parks here in the US, but I did not learn what this practice was called until I was completing my WH coach certification training. It shares similarities with traditional Okinawan dance and incorporates slow, deliberate and graceful twisting of the torso along with hand movements. Tai Chi can improve body awareness and enhance strength and coordination while helping one achieve inner peace. Improving all of the above would be important fitness and spiritual goals for me! Try some new ways to move.