Japanese martial arts history is among the most influential and mysterious of a never-ending study by humans to thrive in their environment. This study of survival usually involves the use of tools which make achieving these goals easier and as the times change so do the tools. Japan experienced such a sustained period of war within the country that martial techniques were refined to an art.
The martial arts of Japan’s history contain innumerable numbers of styles, variations, and weapons which can best be categorized as koryū (more traditional martial arts that existed before the Meiji Restoration), and gendai budō (more modern martial arts that existed before the Meiji Restoration). Koryū martial arts were mainly used for war purposes while gendai budō was developed without this intention or the use of the many weapons needed pre-Meiji. As the theme of peace came over Japan, it’s martial arts reflected this peaceful integration into a society of aristocrats who’s bodies weren’t accustomed to rugged training like their samurai counterparts. Although this shift changed the teachings of many ryū, some remained unchanged and regarded this new peaceful era as a variation instead of a constant.
source: The Ninja: Ancient Shadow Warriors of Japan by Dr. Kacem Zoughari
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