Aikido is a Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba (often referred to by his title 'O Sensei' or 'Great Teacher'). On a purely physical level it is an art involving some throws and joint locks that are derived from Jujitsu and some throws and other techniques derived from Kenjutsu. Aikido focuses not on punching or kicking opponents, but rather on using their own energy to gain control of them or to throw them away from you. It is not a static art, but places great emphasis on motion and the dynamics of movement. Upon closer examination, practitioners will find Aikido what they are looking for, whether it is applicable self-defense technique, spiritual enlightenment, physical health or peace of mind. O Sensei emphasized the moral and spiritual aspects of this art, placing greater weight on the development of harmony and peace. "The Way of Harmony of the Spirit" is one way that "Aikido" may be translated into English. This is still true of Aikido today, although different styles emphasize the more spiritual aspects to greater or lesser degrees. Although the idea of a martial discipline striving for peace and harmony may seem paradoxical, it is the most basic tenet of the art.

Wing Chun Kung Fu

      Wing Chun is a concept-based Chinese martial art and form of self-defense utilizing both striking and grappling while specializing in close-range combat. It arose soon after the burning of the Song Shan Shaolin Temple circa 1735. Because of a lack of written historical records, wing chun's origins are still heavily debated.

     One story states that Shaolin monk Zhi Shan and Shaolin hero Hong Xi-guan created a fighting style that could generate punching power even in confined spaces. The style was named wing chun after either the Shaolin Temple's Wing Chun Hall (named for a nun named Wing Chun), or after Hong's wife Fang Wing-chun.

     Another version explains that anti-Ching revolutionary Yim Yee taught his daughter Yim Wing-chun the style taught to him by the art's creator, Wu Mei (Cantonese: Ng Mei). Upon Wing-chun's death, her husband, Leung Bok-chau, named the martial art wing chun in her honor. An alternative version has Wu Mei teaching Yim Wing-chun to defeat a bully.

     Much of today's wing chun popularity stems from the fact that Bruce Lee trained extensively in the style under the late Hong Kong-based master Ip Man


Gary Lam

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