Styles of Martial Arts

Taught Through The Zen Warrior

We teach three different styles of Martial Arts.
Each style has strengths unique to them.

Types of Martial Arts

There are two categories martial art styles can fall under; hard and soft.


Hard types in martial arts terms means, meeting force with an opposing force. Karate and Tae Kwon Do are prime examples of “hard” arts. Hard types typically use a penetrating, linear "external force" where the energy of the technique is mostly absorbed by the opponent.


Soft types in martial arts, signifies a yielding, accepting, or non-resistive approach. Aikido and Tai Chi are great examples of "soft" arts. Soft types usually use a circular, flowing "internal force" where the energy of the technique goes completely through the opponent.

Our Styles of Martial Arts

Here are the 3 styles along with some helpful information.

Shotokan Karate

Master Gichin Funakoshi

(a.k.a The Father of Modern Karate)

Developed by Master Gichin Funakoshi and originating in Okinawa, Japan; Shotokan Karate is known as a “hard” style of martial arts because it emphasizes strong blocks and strikes, long stances, and sparring techniques. 

"The ultimate aim of karate lies not in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of the character of the participant."

- Gichin Funakoshi

Shotokan teaches self-defense through a series of kihon, kata, and kumite.




Kihon is a Japanese term meaning "basics" or "fundamentals." The term refers to the basic techniques that are taught and practiced as the foundation in most Japanese martial arts.




Kata or "form" are prearranged set of moves where you are fighting imaginary attackers. Karate aims for the mastery of kata as they are essential for physical training. They help fine-tune body mechanics, including muscle memory, needed to execute techniques properly. The full mastery of kata lies within the understanding and application of its "bunkai".




Kumite or "sparring" is the nearest thing to a real fight, without actually fighting. Sparring will help you enhance your techniques, increase your speed and reaction time, and teach you control and distance. Remember, sparring is not fighting.

Karate comes from two words: “kara” meaning empty, and “te” meaning hand. This is because karate is a martial art that focuses on hand-to-hand combat rather than the use of weapons.

Prior to Karate making its way to Japan, Karate traces back to Daruma or Bodhidharma, who established Zen Buddhism in Western India. Bodhidharma was an Indian Buddhist monk who traveled to China in around 527 CE. History shares, that he stayed at the Shaolin temple of northern China and shared the philosophies and training methods of the Zen Buddhists. The monks of the Shaolin temple then adopted the new shared knowledge and combined them with their Kung fu. Eventually, the combination of the Zen Buddist, Shaolin Kung fu, the Shokei style of southern China, and the Ryukyuan martial arts left us with the early stages of Karate.


More Karate History

Shotokan is also composed of two different kanji: Shoto, meaning “pine breeze” and kan, meaning “the place”, thus Shotokan means the place of shoto.

Founded in 1928, Shotokan karate is rooted in ancient Okinawan teachings, combined with influences from Chinese martial arts. 

The various belt colors in Karate symbolize the stages of a growing plant:


White – Stands for purity or birth

Yellow – Represents the Sun and the plants’ exposure to the sun 

Blue – Like the beautiful blue skies that plants reach towards

Green – Surrounded by grass and finally sprouting leaves 

Purple – Pedals of a flower and the color of dusk

1st Degree Brown – The return to darkness and the bowing of the flower 

2nd Degree Brown –  Same as the previous brown

Black – Death, the plant dies; but it is ready for a new beginning


The more you train in Karate, the more you’ll grow. 😉

You can achieve your black belt in as little as 3 to 7 years; it all depends on how often and the intensity of your training. 


Founded by Morihei Ueshiba and originating in Japan; Aikido emphasizes redirecting the opponent’s energy, along with joint and wrist locks. Aikido is known as a “soft” style as it does not promote overtly offensive moves but rather how to take control of an attacker with minimal effort.

"The essence of Aikido is to put oneself in tune with the functioning of the universe, to become one with the universe. Those who have grasped the inner meaning of Aikido possess the universe within themselves."

- Morihei Ueshiba

Master Morihei Ueshiba

(Founder of Aikido)

Aikido is often translated as “the way of unifying (with) life energy” or as “the way of harmonious spirit”.


It has three kanji that can be broken down:

    • Ai – joining and unifying
    • Ki – energy and mood
    • Do – the path and the way

Created in the early 1920s, Aikido incorporates several styles of jujitsu for joint locks and throws as well as body movements from sword and spear fighting.


Kano Jigoro Shihan

(Creator of Judo)

Created by Kano Jigoro Shihan originating in Eishoji, Tokyo, Japan; Judo is a known as a “soft” style because it is not about pushing back against an attacker. Instead, Judo advocates for turning the body and keeping balance so that the attacker loses theirs, leaving the practitioner with the advantage.

"Judo in reality is not a mere sport or game. I regard it as a principle of life, art and science. In fact, it is a means for personal cultural attainment."

- Kano Jigoro Shihan

The word judo consists of two Japanese characters, ju, which means “gentle”, and do, which means “the way”. Judo, therefore, literally means the way of gentleness.

Created in 1882, Judo focuses on grappling, joint locks and throws, and is derived from Jujistu.

Benefits of Training

The benefits of training in martial arts goes beyond it just being good for self-defense. Not only are there physical improvements but there are mental and spiritual benefits as well. Balanced martial arts training includes the training of the mind, body, and spirit.




Learning the three styles gives you the ability to combine elements from all the styles providing you with a well-rounded training. With each style, you will learn ways to block, counter, and take down your opponent while defending against street attacks like charging, grabs, chokes, bear-hugs, kicks, strikes, ground attacks, and more!

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