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Who was Bodhidharma?
An Indian monk, trained from an early age in Kalaripayat ("battlefield training"), an unarmed martial art consisting of 108 movements and special breathing exercises. Bodhidharma brought his sect of Buddhism to China, and found the Shaolin monks there in poor physical condition. He is credited with fusing spiritualism with the martial arts, and the regimen of 108 movements he taught the Shaolin developed over the next 1,000 years into what we recognize now as Chuan Fa or Kung Fu.
Tai Chi Chuan
- Founder: Chang San Feng
- Date: Around 1200 A.D.
- Translation: Ultimate Fist
- Focus: Soft style, Developing bones and muscles, Breath control, Overcoming an opponent at the moment of attack
- Founder: Ng Mui
- Date: 1700s A.D.
- Translation: Beautiful Springtime
- Focus: Centerline principle, Economy of motion
- Founder: Gichen Funakoshi
- Date: 1922 (introduced Okinawa Te to Japan in 1917)
- Translation: The Way of the Empty Hand
- Focus: Hard, external martial art, Strong punches, blocks, and kicks
- Founder: Hisamori Takenouchi
- Date: 1532 A.D.
- Translation: Soft/yielding Technique
- Focus: Close combat techniques, particularly unarmed defense against armed; Striking vital areas, throwing, joint locking, and choking
- Founder: Jigoro Kano
- Date: 1882
- Translation: The Gentle Way
- Focus: Anticipating attack, Throwing opponent with minimal effort, Locks and immobilizations
- Founder: Morihei Uyeshiba
- Date: 1938
- Translation: The Way of Unifying with Life Energy
- Focus: Coordination of mind and body, Harmonizing with and using opponent's weight and strength against him
Viet Vo Dao/Vovinam
- Founder: Nguyen Loc
- Date: About 1940
- Translation: [The Way of] Vietnamese Martial Arts
- Focus: Humanity and harmony, Self-defense and combat based on Yin and Yang co-development (hard and soft)
- Founder: James Figg
- Date: 1719
- Focus: Striking and grappling