Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Introduction to Yabusame

Yabusame is one of the hidden treasures of martial arts, not much of us have heard of it before and for some NON-Japanese like myself, it sounds more like noodles more than martial arts.

Yabusame is actually an armed martial art, or should I say archery, originated from Japan, it is performed while riding a horse. It all begins from the Kamakura Period. Where it begins from the military is alarmed that their army or Samurais is not good for a long distance battle, therefore the Samurai were grouped and Yabusame started from there. Although the use of bow in the Japan started from 300BC, but it is officially made as a type of martial/battle art only during the Kamakura Period.

During the Kamakura Period Yabusame was used as a military training exercise to keep samurai prepared for war. Those archers who did poorly might find themselves commanded to commit seppuku.

Yabusame is not the only type of Horseback Archery, but Yabusame is only 1 out of the 3 type of Horseback Archery and I have outlined some details for your easy reference.

-Yabusame is the most well-known form of Horseback Archery, and it is held at shrines as ceremony which shoots on 3 different targets.

-Kasagake has different sizes of targets each of which is set at different height, and the archer shoots both ways.

-Inuoumono is not in practice anymore. In the practice dogs were used as targets, so it was practical and effective practice to sharpen horseback riding skill as well as shooting skill but I think that most of us will agree that this act is a bit brutal therefore we are happy that it was banned!

A Yabusame performance starts with the archer dressed as a traditional warrior gallops down a 255 meter long track at full speed and controlling the horses with his knees and shooting 3 targets on the way down. The arrow that is used are mainly blunt and round but experience archer are allowed to use a v shaped arrow.

Image taken from komei-juku.com

Monday, August 3, 2009

Introduction to Pehlwani

Pehlwani also known as kushti is a form of wrestling that is practiced by people in both India and Pakistan. It was inspired and a mixture between Malla-yuddha which is the Ancient form for wrestling in South Asia together with Shastar Vidiya and Mongolian wrestling traced back all the way to the 5th century BC which form the modern Pehlwani.

No pehlwan (Phelwani Practitioner) have not heard of the name of Great Gama, won the World Wrestling Championship in year 1910 and was remain undefeated with only a draw in his whole entire career as a wrestler and even featured in Shadow Hearts: Covenant.

Not much know about this but during the 1960’s, India was ranked among the top 10 wrestling nations of the world and they even hosted the world wrestling championships in New Delhi in 1967. Pehlwans who compete in wrestling nowadays do train in the grappling aspects of other martial arts such as judo and jujutsu. Legendary wrestlers like Karl Gotch went to India to learn the art of pehlwani and to polish their skills.

Milk and ghee are regarded as the most common diet to the wrestlers, other diet includes almonds, chickpeas, apples, wood-apples, bananas, figs, pomegranates, gooseberries, lemons, and watermelons. Orange juice and green vegetables are also recommended for also not all but some pahalwan do consume a lot of meat for it’s protein to help with muscle building. Other diet discipline includes no sour or spiced foods and no alcohol and tobacco.

Allrite, I’m not going to wrestle! Happy reading

Image Taken from: pakistaniat.com