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Martial Arts Heroines
In the 5th and 6th centuries, Zen monks and nuns brought yoga and Indian martial arts similar to modern karate to China from India. These combat techniques were useful in war-torn China. Indeed, learning to fight was as common as learning to cook or pour tea.The survival of men, women, and even children depended on their ability to protect themselves. A good man became a famous warrior.
13-year-old Shuen Guan is a perfect example. Her ability to fight with a sword, spear, and even bare hands earned her the nickname “Little Tigress.”One legend says that she saved a town from an attack by bandits, fought her way through attackers, and fought next to her. returned with his generals and their troops. Her heroism was eventually praised by the Emperor of China.
But not everyone can be as versatile as Shuen Guan. Specialization had a distinct place in war-torn China. After mastering basic fighting skills, they tended to add moves and techniques to suit their specific abilities and body types. , meant throwing a kick to the lower leg.
Specialization has allowed people to become masters of their own style. Mui was so familiar with his style that he demonstrated his moves with the martial arts master himself to prove its effectiveness.
That Mui was a woman is impressive enough. But what makes her extraordinary to the martial arts students who practice her style today is the fact that she was a nun!
One of Ng Mui’s students, Yim Wing Chun, continued the style after Mui’s death. Eventually, this system became known as Wing Chun Kung Fu.
Interestingly, although Wing Chun Kung Fu was developed for women, it has become a style of choice among many men. In fact, this style of kung fu has grown in popularity for centuries, and the late martial artist-turned-actor Bruce, who introduced and popularized the style in the West in the 1960s and his 70s, It’s become my favorite style. If you’re too young to remember, go to a video store that has a wide selection of Bruce Lee movies. It’s a B-grade movie, but worth watching just to observe Lee’s prodigious athleticism.
Judo also has roots specific to women. While kung fu originated in China, judo was the fighting system of feudal Japan, which from his 10th century to his 18th century was filled with highly skilled samurai warriors who often rode horses and fought with bows and arrows and swords. has roots in , and spears.
Early in this era, samurai women shared the battlefield with men and sometimes commanded them. These martial arts patriarchs were often trained in the use of weapons, especially spears and small daggers.
One of the favored weapons among samurai on horseback was the naginata, a 5- to 9-foot long stick with a sword at the end. The naginata, sometimes referred to as the “women’s spear”, was the weapon of choice by Itagaki, a female general who in 1199 led 3000 warriors.
Another famous female warrior of her time was Tomoe. Her name means “circular” or “rotating” and may have been given to her because she has mastered the naginata, which is used in circular motions.
Female warriors continued to fight in one of Japan’s last civil wars. In 1877 a battle was fought with a group of 500 women. Armed with naginata, these women fought against the Japanese government forces.
If you’re lucky enough to be born into a ninja family, you could be taught to be a good athlete from age 5 or 6 if you have siblings. may move to
Ninja was later James Bonds. Not only was he a good fighter, but he was a super agent who was also a master of disguise. Men often dress like women and vice versa.
In the mid-to-late 1800s, women’s influence in martial arts declined as the need for samurai diminished. It was considered scandalous for women to train alongside men in martial arts schools unless they were from military families.
Scandalous or not, many women wanted to practice martial arts.In 1893, Sueko Ashiya became the first female student of Jigoro Kano, the founder of Japanese judo. Shortly after taking on Ashiya, Kano began teaching his wife, daughter, and their female friends.
In the mid-1920s, Kano established a girls’ department at the school, allowing female students to train in a suitable environment. A major breakthrough that guaranteed training opportunities for many women, but today’s Japanese women still only train in the women’s section and are not allowed to train alongside men except in special circumstances. Is not.
But don’t think that old habits die only in the East. Until around 1976, if a female judo practitioner wanted to compete in the national tournament, the belt worn by the female judoka had to have a white stripe running down the middle. The verdict was changed thanks to a few determined women who showed their disapproval of the rule by attending meetings and refusing to wear striped colored sashes.
Consider another rule that prevented women from reaching the same ranks as men. Kano’s original school forbade black belt women to advance above her 5th dan, but men could advance up to her 12th dan. In 1972, the school received letters from women all over the world protesting the rule, calling on the school to promote Keiko Fukuda, one of her leading female students who had earned a fifth black belt in 1953. rice field. Fukuda became the world’s first female 6th dan. Five steps.
Karate also traditionally did not distinguish between men and women. Karate originated in Okinawa as a defense against Japanese invaders who deprived the natives of their weapons. In addition to using their hands and feet, Okinawans used agricultural tools to attack their oppressors. Women and men practiced their skills alone in forests and fields, using sickles and bamboo poles. rice field.
Sport karate became increasingly popular and widespread in the 1940s. The competition was initially confined primarily to men, but women now participate in both sparring and kata tournaments. There is also mixed sparring.
Today, you can find prominent female fighters in every style of martial arts, from kickboxer Kathy Long to karate champion Cynthia Rothrock. These women, and others like them, are the modern-day equivalent of the women warriors of centuries ago. Here is an example.
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