Martial arts terminology
KRAV MAGA CZĘSTOCHOWA
Krav Maga is a combat fighting system (in close contact) which was created by Imrzich Lichtenfeld (born in 1910, died in 1998, on the 9th of January) who was a Czech Jude and a pioneer of this system. He was Samuel Lichtenfeld’s son, who was a circus strongman and a wrestler.
Young Imi followed his father’s path and practiced wrestling, boxing and gymnastics with a success. It is believed that he practiced Jujutsu techniques at that time. Conceiving a picture of the treat of the Second World War and fascism in Germany, he organized a self-defense group that tried to withstand aggressive Nazi squads. Thanks to the experience he had gained in real fights, he also developed tactic skills. It helped him create a multi-field system of self-defense and grappling. In 1940 Lichtenfeld bravely escaped to Palestine and four years later he started to teach his martial art in the squads of Haganah. (Haganah was a Jewish paramilitary organization.)
Then, after Israel had been established in 1948, in the forces, military intelligence and uniformed services of this country – especially in the elite special army teams. In the 1960s, he changed is surname to Sde-Or and he still trained the military squads. The system of the combat training was simple and consisted of over a dozen of defensive techniques. With the passing of time the hot wars and secret operations which were led by Israel and the necessity of standing up to terrorist attacks caused the system to expand Krav Maga and add special intervention techniques, including stopping, police arrest, fighting with knife, shooting on the plane board etc. The feeling of danger and the militarization of the Israeli society led to the need of general education. In the 1970s, Krav Maga became available for normal citizens. The Krav Maga Association was founded in Israel in 1978 – its task was to propagate and to promote Krav Maga.
Krav Maga was also developed very dynamically in the USA, which resulted in founding Krav Maga Worldwide Enterprises in 1999 which is in charge of educating trainers. After Imi Lichtenfeld had died, Darren Levine and Eyal Yanilow took the reins in the organization and have been controlling it ever since. Eyal Yanilov often visits Poland with his schooling seminaries. Krav Maga uses various techniques which are based on the natural defense reflexes. Fast combinations of low kicks, hits with knee, elbow, head and short sequences of ground fighting techniques. This system focus on its lack of schemes – just like in Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do. The main aim of krav maga is the ability to switch the stress off in the moment of danger and to make your opponent unable to fight anymore through the most efficient techniques and with the least effort.
MMA – Mixed Martial arts
MMA, in other words: mixed martial arts, is a modern sport discipline which successfully uses sports and martial arts in its methodic and goes beyond the frames of the meaning of „fighting styles”.
Fighting competitors use every possible fighting technique of various sports and martial arts without restrictions, excluding the techniques which may provoke dangerous situation that could lead to life threating or body damaging situations.
The world-wide society believes that the creator of the contemporary form of MMA is Bruce Lee, the pioneer of the free style, where everything is allowed.
Jun Fan was the first person who revolutionized martial arts and he connected and mixed a plethora of fighting styles. He publicly expressed his opinion in mass media that he doesn’t approve the „fighting style” word.
In that period he didn’t gain followers and his speeches shocked the world of martial arts to such degree that the traditional schools of fighting didn’t accept his methods and their masters started to believe that he was a madman. Modern martial arts and international martial arts organizations which were founded by Bruce Lee admired his merits only after he had died.
We can find the roots of MMA in 648 B.C. in Greece where Greeks introduced a sport discipline that was called pankration during the ancient Olympic Championships. Pankration was a mix of wrestling and boxing.
The techniques of the classic Greek type of wrestling and boxing became a very spectacular part of those championships as time was passing. A lighter form of Olympic pankration was organized for young boys. The modern mixed martial arts has a common origin with the Brazilian vale tudo competitions which were held in the 20th century and with the Japanese kakutougi championships. The first official MMA tournament was iniciated on 15th of November, 1993 by Ultimate Fighting Championships. It was based on the free style rules of „gladiator fights” with the presence of various martial arts masters. 1997 was the stormy beginning of this new sport trend in the USA, Brazil and Japan. The so-called entertainment – the presence of televisions, sponsors and the organization of amazing sport shows for spectators – plays an important role since the first tournament till present day. Expect big money, MMA gained more and more representatives of various fighting schools: kickboxing, box, judo, jujutsu, karate, muay thay, K1 and wrestling. They gradually raised the level of sport rivalry. The methodic of teaching in MMA aims at many-sided schooling of competitors. It teaches them how to fight at a distance and use leg techniques, at a half distance and use fist hits and how to skillfully shift into clinch, to the moment when it becomes a ground fighting. Because of it, the most important aspect is so-called cross-training where fighters learn how to smoothly shift between these three distances.
The competitors wear shorts and light gloves (like in Pancrase, RINGS) that are adjusted to grasping and hitting, and they fight barefoot. The rivalry is led on a boxing ring – luboctagon-Octagon, the octagonal fighting field which is made of web. It is informally called “the cage”, so the fights are often told to be led in “cages”. Victories generally take place by knock-out in stand–up or by ground fighting due to chocking, levering or the decision of the sport judges.
Mixed Martial arts had its origin thanks to jujutsu, and especially thanks to the Brazilian representative of jujutsu – Royce Gracie. He took part in the first historic tournament that was organized by Ultimate Fighting Championships and in the two following editions. He won every fight. He is an acclaimed legend of MMA . He beat his opponents during ground fighting and he forced them to surrender. But his greatest deed which is the proof of his mastery and sophistication is the fact that he won against his opponents without harming them in even the smallest way.
Royce Gracie contributed to dissemination of MMA and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, becoming the honorary member of Hall of Fame of UFC. Of course, the new masters of UFC who had many successes and represented various fighting styles also contributed to the development of extreme MMA .
Contact fighting styles, such as muay thai, kickboxing, boxing, Brazilian jujutsu, sambo, grappling and judo, had the best qualities for fighting in „the cage” when the fighting styles were confronted.
Unfortunately, the traditional fighting schools, including aikido, karate and taekwondo, weren’t so successful.
The most important MMA organizations in the world are: UFC, PRIDE FC and HERO’S.
The beginning of Mixed Martial arts in Poland evoked foundations of many organizations: KSW, MMA Attack, Fighters Arena, Profesjonalna Liga MMA (Professional MMA League), Amatorska Liga MMA (Amateur MMA League).
Bruce Lee’s theory and historic statement: „ Man, the living creature, the creating individual, is always more important than any established style or system” sum up with the ranking list of MMA fights.
Muay Thai is a martial art that has its origin in a richer war system – Krabi Krabong Fight-Staff-Sword. It is worth highlighting that Muay Thai is a modified, weaponless version of this system. Tharshanning is an original martial art from Thailand and its history began in the 13th century, during the period of king Ramkamheng’s reigning.
The Ram Thai ceremony is performed before fights and it has a religious-ritual value. The records from the 16th century provide us with proofs about the existence and feats of courage of the Black Prince – Nai Khanom Tom. In 1719 prince Phra Chao Seua allowed for public fights for bets and rewards. Muay Thai has been visibly influenced by Hindi regions and cultural elements with Chinese origins.
We need to mention the difference between Muay Thai and the sport version of Thai boxing that has been affected by the western world. In 1930 the rules of European boxing were adopted – gloves, sport rounds. The sport rules were systematized at the end of 1972. The level of safety was raised – and competitors were safer. Benny The Jet Urquidez was one of the first historic competitors who fought against the representatives of Muay Thai. The duel was held in the full-contact formula, in 1975. It was Urquidez’s first professional fight for the title of the World Professional Kickboxing Master that was finished with his victory. It made him very famous in Thailand and resulted in an array of shows for the royal family of Thailand.
The traditional version (Muay Thai) is a very brutal martial art. Its very destructive elements are powerful hits with knees, head, elbows, and attacks on eyes, neck and joints. Thai boxing also features low circular kicks on thighs. They often appear in Karate Kyokyshin and in the modern K1 formula. This kick is done with a hardened shank and a (almost) straight leg, but differently than in karate. High kicks with knees, hits and defenses with elbows and clinch fighting techniques are characteristic for this style too.
In the modern times the Muay Thai techniques are used in almost every utilitarian fighting system, in trainings of uniformed services and during self-defense courses that are organized by various martial arts schools. The world has admired technical and training values of the traditional martial art – Muay Thai.
In Thailand 10-year-old boys practice Thai boxing. The very difficult, professional boxing training comes within their program. The weather is usually warm in Thailand, so people train in the open air. They use shields, Thai pillows, sacks and simple kits. After the very difficult endurance training the trainer quickly chooses a group of professional young Thai boxers that will fight in duels in their age category. Victories in these duels are rewarded with money. Muay Thai influenced the development of kickboxing. Kickboxing and Thai boxing have the same lineage but there is a lot of theories and speculations. It is a subject of various discussions.
The History of Martial Arts
Martial arts is as old and as entangled as the history of humanity, and their genesis is covered with secrets. The fight-or-die model of life made humans create various ways of self-defense, dealing with and protecting against potential enemies and dangerous animals. The need of hunting food and winning against attackers gave them a new aim – they developed attacking techniques and defensive skills. With the passing time and developing civilizations, martial arts became an interesting weapon in military conflicts. The elite groups liked sport competition, too. Until this day fighting methods are made more and more suitable, not only for military purposes but also for developing bodies and minds.
The oldest material notes about the existence of martial arts are dated to be around 2100 – 2800y B.C. and they are derived from Egyptian hieroglyphs.
In ancient Rome and Greece, where martial arts was formed and advanced, they became highly popular because of gladiator fights.
India is considered to be the place of the origin of systematized martial arts. Their civilization was very well-developed very early, around 3000 years BC. The stormy history and multiple wars created a caste of warriors – khatriya. They are believed to be the creators of Vajramushti martial art (it translates to: the one who clenched his fist is hard). The sources prove that this martial art was used for protection against attackers by Buddhist monks.
The history of Eastern martial arts shows a strong connection with Buddhism and old-Chinese system of fighting, kung fu wu shu. Kung fu means „a high level of development, achieved by long-lasting learning, perfection in something”. Wu shu translates to “warfare”. Buddhist monks developed and improved many methods of neutralizations of opponents in their monasteries during the passing ages. The zen philosophy, practiced by them, added a special character of spiritual development and a special way of the betterment of body and mind that was supposed to lead to self-liberation to martial arts. In the majority of aspect, they had to keep monasteries safe by defense during those times of many wars.
Diligently guarded historical proofs which are unavailable for scientists and unreachable for other people are the main reason why the genesis of martial arts is still influenced by legends. The mystery of fighting methods and deadly hits was taken in such a serious way that people who had revealed it were put to death.
The first proofs of the presence of martial arts in China can be found in the oldest and the largest war tractate „The art of war” which was written by the Chinese general, Sun Tzu, in around 600 years B.C. It speaks about rules and tactics of warfare. The latter sources which prove the existence of the first methodically compiled fighting system are estimated to be 2400-year-old. The military medic, Hua To, who discovered many universal medical facts which are used till now, was the first to compile a set of exercises that was called wuqinxi (it translates to: “Five Animal play”) and were supposed to free the man’s energy – Chi – and get to the higher level his body’s condition. The method was based on an observation of the movements of five animals: tiger, bear, monkey, crane and dragon, and found its mirror in the majority of fighting styles which were enriched with styles of other animals in the following centuries.
The new chapter of the development of Eastern martial arts was opened by Bodhirama, who was a highly skilled in Vajramushti fighting style Hindi monk. Bodhi means “a truth”, and “dharma” means “the law”. He originated from a bloodline of princes. Sughandha, the Hindi king, was his father. He had his name after Pajnatra who was the master that confided in him and revealed the secrets of the Hindi martial art. It was about 525A.C. he traversed to China because he craved for preached Buddha’s teachings. After he had visited the emperor’s court where he hadn’t been received in an acceptable way, Bodhidarma settled in the Shaolin monastery (Shaolin translates to “the young forest” in the district of Honan. His uniqueness is a subject of many historical notes. He led the reform of the monastery, introducing knowledge about hygiene and medicine. It is worth highlighting he was the one who led to spreading the tradition of drinking tea that wasn’t well-known during that time. He started to provide monks with lectures about aiming achieving perfection in mortal life by meditation. Physically weak monks often fell asleep during his lectures and meditations, and it encouraged Bodhidarma to create 18 physical and psychical exercises for developing their condition. At the beginning those exercises were only simple ones that were based on stretching muscles. But as time was passing, they were developed and the techniques of the “Five Animal play”” were included in them. The effect was that they led to expansion of many techniques of hand-to-hand struggle. It has a great impact on the survival of monasteries and the latter mission journeys. Bodhidarma popularized the system of breathing that originated from Hindi yoga methods and united with the form of meditation. It contributed to do perfect and multi-field warrior training. His undoubtedly important merit was a skillful union between traditional Chinese fighting methods and the experience which he had gained in India.
Monks in monasteries practiced the methods of handle-to-handle struggle and techniques of using various weapons. Methods of trainings, meditations, mastery of techniques and efficiency in fighting created the legend of the Shaolin monastery. The Shaolin-ssu-kempo fighting style’s efficiency is proved by the fact that a small group of monks sealed the fate of the war over the reigning in the country during the time of the Tang dynasty. Chuen Yuan, a monk who lived in the 16th century, diversified the traditional fighting method with 170 new techniques that were taken from competitive styles. They became the base of the new school of external styles.
When Yue Fuei, a general who lived na przełomie wieków XI i XII, created Hing-i style, the position of Shaolin became endangered. Another outstanding creator was Cheng Salm Fung, who was a monk in the Wudang monastery in the province of Haber. It is said that he patterned his work after fighting techniques from the Shaolin monastery. He observed a fight of a snake and a crane and he noticed the soft and fluid movements of the snake which allowed it to avoid attacks. It became his inspiration to create T’ai Chi – a new martial art. It was characterized by the use of inner energy, soft and fluid movements and was much less offensive. The internal style laid stress on enhancing three factors: jing – the essence of life, chi – the inner energy and shen – the spirit.
There is one Buddhist monastery that is worth mentioning besides Shaolin and Wudang points of cultivating martial arts. It was placed on Mount Emei and mixed the styles of Shaolin and Wudang.
After the Shaolin monastery had been burned, around 1733 five masters who were called „the Five Elders” flied and started traversing through China, teaching peasants how to fight. The same fate was shared by the Wudang and Emei monasteries. The fugitives modified the styles and founded their own schools to protect the existence of the eternal martial arts and take revenge. Not once did the political situation of the country make them use their skills in practice, so the methods of successful disabling opponents were unceasingly ameliorated.
The north part of China was the country of external styles – Wai Chia that came from the Shaolin monastery. The techniques which were based on the strength of muscles mostly probably were the core of Japanese karate.
And internal styles, Nei Chia, were developed on the southern side of the Yangtze River. Those styles contained more elements of freeing the energy of human body and they also had deep philosophical aspects. Perfectly mastered internal and external styles were equally efficient in neutralization of opponents, but it is worth mentioning that they both had powerfully protected secrets. The hits of vibrating palm which were used in internal styles may be the most mysterious elements. They are based on the concentration of Chi energy and on transferring it to the opponent with an almost impalpable hit. The cumulated energy destroys inner organs of opponents. One of the types is „the delayed hit” – dim dok, which attacks one of the vital points of body, and the effects is delayed – it is visible after days, a month and usually is deadly.
Martial arts reached Japan around the 15th century due to the Japanese who conquered the archipelago that belonged to China. The Japanese martial art – karate (it translates to “empty hands”) – was created on Okinawa Island which is placed near the east coasts of China. It has its roots in the Okinawa martial art which was called to de (it translates to: “the Chinese hand”). Masters from Okinawa were taking classes in China, so we can boldly say that kunf fu is a distant ancestor of karate. The first man who systematized the techniques of karate and showed it to publicity was Gichin Funakoshi. He also started regular and methodical teachings of karate by treating it as the philosophy of life. The literature agrees – he was the father of modern karate.
The migration and trade movements led to spreading martial arts through the entire region of Asia. It resulted in a rapid growth of martial arts and a variety of its types, including ju-jitsu, iaido, kendo, kempo, aikido, muay thai, arnis, eskrima, didya, tang soo do, hapki do, soo bak.
In the middle of the 19th century Old Chinese martial arts stopped being a Chinese secret. It reached Europe and America with the wave of Chinese immigrants but for a very long time it was strictly protected and didn’t leave the borders of Chinese districts. Only when the movies from the film production company from Hong-Kong evoked interest and need of dwelling deeper into the matter of martial arts. Thanks to movies such as “Enter the Dragon” and “The Shaolin Monastery” ceased its taboo status that made them be unavailable for people from the outside world.
Martial artsmostly are seen as a style or a fighting system placed in a strictly defined frames. A full-contact karate (the original kick-boxing name) is not attached to any of fighting styles. It is claimed that it appreciates all martial arts by using their elements. Indeed it is the mixture of all techniques and fighting styles. Such as: boxing, muay thai, karate,kung-fu, taekwondo etc. Owing to that fact the sport and its new training methods and competitions’ leading had a big influence on many traditional methods.
The aim of kickboxing was a confrontation between styles using full-contact. Not many people rose to this challenge. They were mostly people who had been training traditional fighting styles. In that way they were trying to fill the emptiness caused by the lack of competition and rivalry. It is not easy to be a pioneer for that reason only few of them succeed but most failed. A new fighting style and its forerunners had a lot of opponents. Especially among conservative, traditional fighting styles masters, who did not approve breaching of training methods and habits cultivated through centuries.
Kick-Boxing is a broad notion, which is hard to write about. One of he reasons is that there is no only one creator like in aikido or taekwondo. Furthermore it was developing at the same time in few continents: North America, Asia and Europe. That is why a lot of discussions and speculations about the origin of this discipline appeared. But in fact the United States are considered to be the formal home of this modern fighting system.
Important contribution to the development of kickboxing has a world superstar Bruce Lee. He was a forerunner of a free style and the first master who revolutionized traditional martial arts. He broke with stereotypes and in style limitation. ‘When you duplicate classic styles you understand routine, traditions, shadows but you do not understand yourself.’ In sparrings he used the most effective combinations known from various styles and ways of fighting.
He was the first fighter who started to use a full protective equipment: kicks’ shields, helmets, gloves, shin protections. Which is shown in his old photos from shows and his last movies ( ‘The way of the Drgon’,’Enter the Dragon’). Joe Lewis became the first Bruce Lee‘s student. He is the contestant who represents traditional karate.
In February 1968 Jim Harrison organized the first official contest in ‘American Karate‘. According to new Mike Anderson’s rules in full-contact formula (full force strikes). Six contestants took part in theese competitions: Joe Lewis (the winner), Bob Wall (Ohara from Enter the Dragon), Skipper Mullins, J.Pat Burleson, David Moon and Fred Wreh. Lack of padds and full force strikes led to injuries and contusions. However heavy contact ‘American karate‘ met with society’s approval.
At the same time the first professional kickboxing organization was created (PKA – Professional Karate Association). In the result in California (Long Beach Arena) the first professional fight using full protective equipment was organized between Greg Bains and Joe Lewis (the winner). The fight brought a lot of attention in the US and the date is formally claimed as the beginning of Kick-Boxing.
In September 1974 the first World Championship in Kick-Boxing were organized. In theese contests many various fighting styles contestants appeared. The event was a big success.
Most of American karate schools started do modify training systems trying to adapt them to new fighting style rules. In the middle of the eighties kickboxing took the 7th place in he most popular sports in the USA.
The most prominent contestants of the seventies and eighties were: Joe Lewis, Bill Wallace ‘Superfoot’, Benny ‘The Jet’ Urquidez.
Currently Joe Lewis and Bill Wallace ‘Superfoot’ are awarded special and the highest International Title ‘Grand Master’ 10 DAN. Benny ‘The Jet’ Urquidez is the biggest authority in the field of professional fights. He has 57 victorious fights on the professional ring on his account where 49 were finished by knock-out. After he finished his professional career he opened in Van Nuys, near Los Angeles, his own school of fight “The Jet Center”.
Professional Masters various federations contributed to the development and propagating Kick Boxing all over the world.:
Mark Piotrowski “The Punisher” [9th time Champion of the world- our countryman ;)]
Don”The Dragoon”Wilson [ movieparts: “Fiery circle” and “Blackbelt”]
Rob Kaman [ one of the most titled contestants in the world]
Denis Alexio [ movie part: “Blood Sport“]
Rick Roufus [ perfect foot technique]
The most important organizations of kickboxing are:
PKA (Professional of Karate Association)
WAKO (World Association of Kick-boxing Organizations)
ISKA (International Sport Kickboxing Association)
WKA (World Kickboxing /Karate/ Association) in low-kick formula
PKC (Professional of Karate Commission)
The founder and forerunner of kickboxing in Poland is Andrzej Palacz VIII Dan, untiring propagator of this discipline as well as the trainer of many champions (currently chairman of PZKB). The early eighties is rough development of this modern style of fighting. In the 1984, owing to Marek Frycz (the first chairman of PZKB), the first Clubs Council of Kick-Boxing was created in our country. The first Senior Championship of Poland in KickBoxing, semi contact formula, was organized in the same year. The turning point in the history of a new fighting style was cooperation with representants of WAKO (World Association of Kick-Boxing Organizations). 16th of December 1989 in Sosnowiec the first founders meeting that created Polish KickBoxing Association (Polski Związek Kick-Boxingu) was organized.
The first historical board consisted of:
M.Frysz – chairman
A.Palacz – trainer of the national team
A.Czernecki – vice president and head of western zone
W.Kożon – head of eastern zone
M.Głowacki – head of judges
K.Wieczorek – head of committee for instructors training
D.Preiss – head of economic committee
K.Jagodziński – head of disciplinary committee
W.Tomaszewski – doctor
J.Zajączkowski – head of south zone
M.Gąsiorek , C.Podraza , Z.Trzeciak , K.Kasprzak , B.Zakrzewska
In kickboxing binding sporting code enables a real fight keeping fighting contestants’ safety. KickBoxing fights have following formulas:
semi – contact – stopped fight on a mat
light – contact – continuous fight with limited contact on a mat
full – contact – continuous fight with full contact in a ring
low – kick – fight as in full-contact, plus leg attack to thigh
Examinationnorms for training grades in PZKB:
10 – grade- white belt
9 – grade – white belt with yellow tip
8 – grade – yellow belt
7 – grade – yellow belt with orange tip
6 – grade – orange belt
5 – grade – green belt
4 – grade – blue belt
3 – grade – brown belt with blue tip
2 – grade – brown belt
1 – grade – brown belt with black tip