The 10 Japanese Martial Arts + List


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Do you know the martial arts of Japan? In this article we will see the most popular Japanese martial arts that has a long history and extends for hundreds of years throughout Japan.

Historically, Japanese martial arts have been used as a means of defense and attack in war. However, in modern times, they are practiced for their educational, cultural, physical, moral, aesthetic and spiritual value.

Most Japanese martial arts are seen as a sport, with an emphasis on disciplining the mind. As this article is a bit big, let's leave an index to facilitate your navigation below:


Most Japanese martial arts are named according to the weapon or skill applied in the fight. They are usually named ending [道] with what means path or Jutsu [術] meaning art, technique, tricks and method.

The artworks ending in [道] are categorized and called Will be [武 道] which literally means martial path that also has its origins of war as well as the word “martial art”. Although we mention the correct romanization is dou [ど う].

Martial arts finished in jutsu [術] are categorized and called bujutsu [武術] which literally means science of war, craft or martial art. Both buddha and bujutsu words are used to refer to martial arts.

The difference is that bujutsu focuses on the physical part of the fight, how to defeat the enemy, while budou focuses on the mind and how to develop it. Sometimes a simple technique for defeating an enemy can take the name Jutsu, but it does not literally mean a martial art full of its own techniques and rules.

Some Japanese martial arts also end with ryuu [流] meaning path, style, manner, fashion and class.

Judo [柔道] - The path of softness

Its main objectives are to strengthen the physical, mind and spirit in an integrated way, in addition to developing techniques of personal defense. His technique basically uses the strength and balance of the opponent against him.

This body struggle system is a modality of the old jiu-jitsu, its meaning is the path of softness, because its goal is to use the strength and balance of the opponent against himself.

The 10 japanese martial arts + judo list [柔道] - the path of smoothness

Kendo or KENJUTSU [剣 道] - The Path of the Sword

Kendo is based on Japanese fencing techniques and uses a bamboo sword with protective armor. Kendo uniforms are almost always black and his techniques involve screaming to show off his martial spirit.

It is among the most common martial arts offered in public schools in Japan. An estimated 1.66 million people in Japan have some level in Kendo. It is considered very cultural value, and is strongly based on Samurai traditions. Kenjutsu can be considered another name meaning sword art.

The 10 japanese martial arts + kendo or kenjutsu l [剣 道] ist - the sword path

Iaid [居 合 道] ô - Martial sword art

It is the Japanese martial art of the sword's heave. It consists of sets of katas, techniques or movements that allow the practitioner to react appropriately to certain situations. It can also be known as iaijutsu and battōjutsu.

The 10 japanese martial arts + iaido list - [居 合 道] martial art of the sword

Kyudo [弓 道] - The path of the bow

Kyudo is the Japanese art of archery that uses extremely long arches with an asymmetric shape. This is one of the oldest Japanese martial arts and is over 2000 years old.

Its arc is extremely powerful is a little difficult to deal with. As a result, it is considered a sport that requires strength and maturity and is not taught to under-15s in Japan.

The 10 japanese martial arts + kyudo list [弓 道] - the way of the arc

Yabusame [流 鏑 馬] - Target shot on horse

Yabusame is also the art of target shooting, however, mounted on a horse. It's similar to kyudo, but it's much harder to learn. There are only a few academies that teach you that.

Acceptance of a student is considered an honor. If you want to learn Yabusame, it's best to learn Kyudo first. Yabusame involves riding on a galloping horse without his hands.

The 10 japanese martial arts + yabusame list [流 鏑 馬] - target shot on horse

Aikido [合 気 道] - The path of harmony

Aikido is an art with the aim of defending itself from the opponent attack. Aikido is exercised by combining attacking movements, redirecting opposing force, rather than fighting it directly.

The 10 japanese martial arts + aikido lis [合 気 道] t - the way of harmony

Karate (do) [空手道] - The art of empty hands

Karate is a martial art of the islands of Okinawa that is focused on attacks with hands and feet. It became a pop culture phenomenon in the early 1950s with Japanese karate films, not to mention the great demand for American films. 

This led to demand for classes on a global basis. Current estimates of the number of Karate practitioners exceeds 50 million people worldwide.

The 10 japanese martial arts + karate list (do) [空手道] - the art of empty hands

Sumo [相撲] - The art of pushing

Sumo is a total contact fighting sport that is also considered a modern martial art. It originated with rituals and dances in shinto shrines and many of its traditions still show these origins.

Fighters perform a variety of ceremonies when they enter the ring as they purify the saltring that are directly related to Shinto.

Professional sumo wrestlers are required to live a traditional lifestyle and train together in facilities known as sumo stables.

The 10 japanese martial arts + sumo lis [相撲] t - the art of push

Ninjutsu [忍術] - Ninja Martial Art

It is a Japanese martial art that emerged from the need for the use of spies (Ninja) during the medieval Japanese period (6th century). It consisted of a set of techniques that empowered agents to act in all situations on a battlefield.

The 10 japanese martial arts + ninjutsu list [忍術] - ninja martial art

Koryu [古 流] - Japanese Martial Arts of the Edo era

Koryu is a broad category of Japanese martial arts of the Edo era. Martial arts went into a serious decline in Japan after the Samurai were dismantled.

At the time, martial arts were seen as relics of the past that were useless against Western military techniques. In fact, many of Japan's ancient martial arts have been focused on feudal warfare and are very different from the martial arts found today.

The 10 japanese martial arts + ninjutsu list [忍術] - ninja martial art

Other martial arts of Japan

There are thousands of other Japanese martial arts, let's mention a little about these unknown martial arts and then finish the article sharing a list of Japanese martial arts. If you like it, share it!

Bujutsu is a martial art made by farmers and used by samurai that involves using agricultural materials to defend themselves. Sojutsu focuses on the Japanese yari spear. Kobudo are Japanese arts of samurai origin.

Bajutsu is an equestrian martial art involving horse fighting skills and techniques. Bojutsu, Jodo and Jojutsu are techniques focused on battling using a clothesline called jo.

The 10 japanese martial arts + list other martial arts of japan

There is also a Japanese art called hakkoryu that focuses on immobilizing people using a rope or cable. The famous Jiu-jitsu is known in Japanese as Jujutsu. Kenpo is the Japanese name used to refer to Kung Fu.

List of JAPANESE martial arts

Below is a video showing the main Japanese martial arts:

  • Aikido [合 気 道];
  • Aikido [合 気 道 / 合氣道];
  • Araki-ryū [荒木 流];
  • Bajutsu [馬術];
  • Battōjutsu [抜 刀 術];
  • Bujinkan [武神 館];
  • Bōjutsu [棒 術];
  • Chitō-ryū [千 唐 流];
  • Daito-ryu aiki-jujutsu [大 東流];
  • Genbukan, New District
  • Genseiryū [玄 制 流];
  • Goshin Jujitsu [護身 柔 術];
  • Gōjū-ryū [剛柔 流];
  • Hakkō-ryū [八 光 流];
  • Hojōjutsu [捕 縄 術];
  • Hōjutsu [砲 術];
  • Iaido [居 合 道] or Iaijutsu [居 合 術];
  • Isshin-ryu
  • Jinenkan District
  • Jodo or Jojutsu [杖 道 / 杖 術];
  • Judo [柔道];
  • Jujutsu [柔 術];
  • Juttejutsu [十 手術];
  • Jōdō [杖 道];
  • Jūkendō [銃 剣 道];
  • Karate [空手]; - Empty-handed art
  • Kempo [拳法];
  • Kempo or Kenpo [拳法];
  • Kendo [剣 道];
  • Kenjutsu [剣 術];
  • Kenpo [拳法];
  • Kenpo kai [拳法 會];
  • Kobudo [古 武 道];
  • Kosho Shorei Ryū Kempo
  • Kusarigamajutsu [鎖 鎌 術];
  • Kyokushin
  • Kyudo [弓 道] or Kyūjutsu [弓 術];
  • Kūdō [空道];
  • Maniwa Nen-ryū [馬 庭 念 流];
  • Naginata-do [薙刀 道] or Naginatajutsu [薙刀 術];
  • Nakamura Ryu
  • Nanbudo District
  • Ninjutsu [忍術];
  • Ninpo [忍 法];
  • Okinawan kobudō [沖 縄 古 武 道];
  • Seishinkai, New Jersey
  • Shidokan, North District
  • Shindo Yoshin Ryu
  • Shindō jinen-ryū [神道 自然 流];
  • Shinkendo, North.S;
  • Shintaido [新 体 道];
  • Shitō-ryū [糸 東流];
  • Shooto [修 斗];
  • Kempo Shorinji [少林寺 拳法];
  • Shorinji-Ryu
  • Shotokan
  • Shukokai, New District
  • Shurikenjutsu District
  • Shōrin-ryū [少林 流];
  • Shōrinji Kempō [少林寺 拳法];
  • Shōtōkan-ryū [松濤 館 流];
  • Shūdōkan District
  • Shūkōkai District
  • Sojutsu District
  • Suijutsu [水 術];
  • Juice [相撲];
  • Sōjutsu [槍 術];
  • Sōsuishi-ryū [双 水 執 流];
  • Taido [躰 道];
  • Taiho-Jitsu
  • Taijutsu [体 術];
  • Takeda Ryu Nakamura Ha
  • Takenouchi-ryū [竹 内 流];
  • Tantojutsu [短刀 術];
  • Tegumi [手 組];
  • Tessenjutsu [鉄 扇 術];
  • Togakure-ryu
  • Toyama-ryū
  • Uechi-ryū [上 地 流];
  • Wado-ryū [和 道 流];
  • Yabusame [流 鏑 馬];
  • Yagyu Shingan-ryu
  • Yagyū Shingan-ryū [柳生 心眼 流];
  • Yoseikan-ryū [養 正 館 流];

Let's finish leaving a video showing some Japanese martial arts:

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