Martial Arts Around the World

Okichitaw – Canada

Although Okichitaw was only officially established in 1997 by George J. Lépine, it was based on the Plains Cree First Nations’ fighting techniques. It consists of aggressive movements combining speed and body weight to defeat the opponent.

Okichitaw means “Worth Young Men” and it referred to people in the community with extensive survival and warfare training. Members were only allowed if deemed experts in their skills and were known to be extremely generous, living a life of “reckless bravery.”

T’ai chi ch’uan (Tai Chi) – China

The theories and practice of Tai chi are thought to have been created in the 12th century, based on Taoist and Confucian concepts. It was developed as a form of self-defense, but also to improve one’s health.

Part of the training involves hand routines, breathing and meditation techniques, and self-defense skills. Nowadays, it’s mainly used for its health benefits and some studies indicate — though not conclusively — that the practice is recommended for diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and cancer.

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Gatka – India

Having been practiced for centuries in north India and Pakistan, Gatka is a martial art that uses sticks to simulate swords. It’s performed as a ritual or as a sport where two opponents fight each other, and points are scored when the sticks make contact.

It’s also called shastar vidiyā, which means “the science of weapons” and practitioners believed it was created by the god Shiva. It has defensive and offensive elements, including tactics developed specifically for women and children.

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