Like kendo, there are other lesser-known martial arts that enjoy a faithful following. Check out these five options and learn how you can get started:
"The essence of all Aikido techniques is spherical motion around a stable, energized center. Even when the direction appears to be straight forward or backward, close observation reveals the Aikidoist's movements are in fact circular.
"Properly executed, some techniques are spectacular, sending an opponent flying through the air. Others are like sleight-of-hand: small, deft movements that immobilize the aggressor."
• On the Web: http://www.usaikifed.com/info.html">United States Aikido Federation
"Kyudo is an elegant, ceremonial, non-combative method of shooting the traditional Japanese bow and arrow. Kyudo requires, and therefore develops, a balanced body that works in concert with a peaceful mind.
"Kyudo, literally ‘the Way (or Path) of the Bow,' is a path that takes a lifetime to travel."
• On the Web: http://virginiakyudo.com">Virginia Kyudo Renmei
"Naginata is the study of the use of a sword-like weapon, similar to the European halberd or glaive. ...
"There are two types of naginata practice today: modern naginata and classical naginata. ... In both, naginata practice is systemized according to a time-honored tradition consisting of strikes, cuts, and thrusts from left and right to various directions, providing a balanced training with emphasis on form and beauty of movement."
• On the Web: http://www.naginata.org/usnf/usnf.html">United States Naginata Federation
"Jodo is often called ‘The way of the stick.' This martial art uses a short wooden staff, called a ‘jo' or ‘tsue,' to defend oneself against an attacker using a Japanese sword.
"Jojutsu is primarily a defensive martial art.
"It was developed as a means of defeating the attacking swordsman without killing him, a humane goal. ... The swordsman is the aggressor, and the jo responds by effectively defending him/herself. The kata of jojutsu serves as a repository of combat strategy."
• On the Web: http://www.kobujodokai-usa.org/jodo.html">The United States Kobujodokai
"Krav Maga is the official self-defense system of the Israeli Defense Forces and is used by many other elite combat units and law enforcement around the world.
"It is a martial art that anyone can use, regardless of size, strength and fitness, and is the ideal art for use on the street, a place where no rules exsist. Krav Maga emphasizes simple and practical techniques, real-life scenarios and intense training. Practitioners learn to defend themselves against multiple attackers, sticks, knives and guns."
• On the Web: http://www.kravmagainc.com/">Krav Maga Federation