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Coolest Martial Arts: Hapkido, Japanese Jujitsu, Judo and Silat

January 31st, 2012 · No Comments

Face it, martial arts are cool. All martial arts. That’s why action heroes like Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan are household names. But, as a martial artist myself, there are four arts that I happen to think are the pinnacle of cool:

1. Hapkido

Hapkido is a Korean martial art that is derived from Japanese Jujitsu. It is a joint locking art – meaning that it specializes in manipulating, locking up and breaking the attacker’s wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees, etc. It also has an extensive throwing and striking repertoire. It’s the most thorough and comprehensive martial art I have ever seen.

2. Japanese Jujitsu

There are many styles of Japanese Jujitsu, including Danzan Ryu and Wally Jay’s Small Circle Jujitsu. But I’m thinking in particular of the highly refined styles of Hakko-Ryu and Kokodo Jujitsu. These are pain compliance styles, dealing with extremely painful joint locks and pressure point strikes. Styles like this can be tedious to learn and take many, many years to master. But here’s the thing: in the hands of an expert, they look like magic. Imagine someone grabs your shirt, shoulder or lapel. You lay your hand on top of his, and with no further contact you drop him down onto the ground, face down, shrieking in agony. Sound impossible? It’s not. It’s the coolness of Jujitsu.

3. Judo

Again, a nearly magical Japanese martial art. By learning to sense the energy of your opponent’s movement and harmonize with it, and by learning principles of leverage, you can flip a guy over your hip or shoulder, toss him through the air, and dump him on his head. Great stuff.

4. Silat

Here we’re breaking ranks a bit. The previous arts were all East Asian, but now we’re moving south, to Malaysia and the islands of Indonesia, where we find the most brutal and devastating martial arts ever created: Pencak Silat, or Silat for short. There are hundreds of styles of Silat, but all are viciously efficient. They are close-quarter arts, utilizing elbow strikes, knee strikes, head manipulation (whiplash), and low-line kicks to utterly destroy the enemy. They also focus heavily on blade work, including knife fighting, machete and sword. If you’re looking to fight off predators in the harsh urban environment, you can’t go wrong with the super-cool and super deadly art.

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