Art by art: The meaning of it

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The Independent Online
Taekwondo: Literally "art of kicking and punching", a Korean form of fighting whose trademark is its flying kicks. A system for training both body and mind.

Akido: Founded in Tokyo, akido emphasises defensive techniques over striking and kicking. Designed to improve flexibility and stamina as well as discipline and introspection.

Ju-jitsu: Japanese combat art that emphasises suppleness and flexibility. Uses weapons as well as techniques such as kicking, joint locking and holding.

Judo: Derivative of ju-jitsu (also from Japan), judo uses a variety of throws and grips to turn an opponent's strength against him. Aims to perfect body and mind.

Karate: Originated in Okinawa but has developed rival Japanese styles. Its movements are offensive and defensive, centred on hand and foot techniques.

Kung fu: A Chinese art meaning "skill", kung fu comprises styles which range from strenuous kicking and punching to the nearly static.

Qigong: Chinese exercises that span health, meditation and martial arts. Its "soft" side is designed to relax, energise and restore the balance of the body.

Tai chi chuan: Chinese martial art and exercise method based on Yin and Yang philosophy. Promoted by the Chinese government for health purposes but may utilise weapons.