In the 1970s, martial arts gained a reputation around the world, notably through the big screen. Chinese
American Martial Artist Bruce Lee was ingenious and captivating. The Karate Kid was released in 1984, making for $176,591,618 in the box office. In 2008, children watched as Po and Master Shifu trained together in Kung Fu Panda.
Far before the practices of martial arts reached Hollywood, they were taught for spiritual development and cultural tradition primarily in East Asia. Daoism and Zen Buddhism were of great influence on the expansion of martial art practices, underscoring a common focus on mentality.
Training for these Martial arts varies from armed to unarmed convention. In total, there are approximately 170 martial arts that exist. A great quantity of these come from China, Japan, and Korea.
The Olympic Games added both Judo in 1964 and Tae Kwon Do in 2000 to the list of full-medal sports, creating a sense of competitiveness for the vigorous sport among the nations. The definition of martial arts, however, is ever-changing.
Today, Asian American women and the elderly search for self-defense classes to combat the recent rise in anti-Asian hate crimes since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic. These classes contain mixed martial arts that aim to take techniques from cultural traditions and implement them in order to avoid unsafe situations.
With the newfound essentiality of self-defense, empowerment has been the word that’s planted the seed for a new purpose. Confidence, sharp eye contact, loud words, later followed with action if need be, has been taught to those at risk of attack. Additionally, strong conviction has become a great power for those who live in fear.
Yasmin Tayag, a science journalist and editor, wrote of her experience in a small self-defense lesson for the New York Times. She noted how learning the various skills must come with self-efficacy.
“Together with the other women in the class, I was astonished at the potency of this move — and that I could execute it,” Tayag said.
Edited by Mahitha Mamilla