Which style of martial arts is best for you? They are all closely related…you can only kick, move, punch, or take someone down in just a few different methods. When we look at the history of martial arts, we can see how they started to branch off.
It is widely believed that the oldest recorded martial art started among monks in India. At some point, these monks ended up in China, where Shoalin Kung Fu is said to have started. The Chinese introduced it to the Okinawan people, who later introduced it to Japan. Meanwhile, in Korea, the first known martial art was called “Toudi.” The name shows its connection to China because “Toudi” translates to “Chinese Hand.” Later, during the Japanese occupation of Korea, although martial arts were forbidden, they were practiced in secret. In 1945, when the Japanese occupation of Korea ended, General Hong Hi Choi unified all the different styles of martial arts in Korea under the name of Tae Kwon Do, which was heavily influenced by Karate and Kung Fu.
As you can see from the history, the common connection is China. Over the years, the names may have changed, and the styles may have varied, but they all remain very similar. In the end, a punch is a punch, and a kick is a kick.
The major influences for me have been Moo Doo Kwan Tang Soo Do, Tae Kwon Do, Shudokan Karate, Boxing, Wrestling, Jiu Jitsu, and Akido, and I have learned from many others. When tasked to name my school, I named my school KenZen-Do Karate, a Japanese word that translates to “The Way of a Full Health.” It does not really describe a particular style of martial arts, but rather a lifestyle for students who make their practice part of their daily routine.
When looking for where to train, bear in mind that the style of martial arts is not the most important factor, but rather the person teaching it. Seek the best instructor you can find, the one that helps you become a stronger, better person. The most important thing is to keep practicing, keep learning and keep moving!