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Style descriptions: C

Some styles of martial arts that begin with the letter C.

Capoeira (Africa)

Capoeira is the common name for the group of African martial arts that came out of West Africa and were modified and mixed in Brazil. These original styles included weapons, grappling and striking, as well as animal forms that became incorporated into different components and sub styles of the popular art. It is highly energetic, acrobatic, and difficult to master.

Capoeira was born in the "senzalas" in the 1500's, the places where African slaves brought from Africa to work in the sugar cane were kept, and developed in the "quilombos", the places where they used to run to when they fled from their enslavers. The slaves developed it out of necessity. They lacked a form of self-defense, so they developed a martial art with the things they had in hand, such as sugar cane knives and three-quarter staffs. To avoid punishment by their superiors, the slaves had to disguise their martial movements as a dance, hence the art's rhythmical nature and musical accompaniment.

In the early 1800s, capoeira was outlawed in Brazil, especially in its "home state" of Bahia, where gangs utilized it as their personal fighting style against police. The law was eventually rescinded and the art continues to grow in popularity as Brazilian masters spread it around the world.

Capoeira is practiced in a stylized dance in a circle called the "roda", with music provided by percussion instruments, such as the "agogo" and the "atabaque," and the "berimbau." Capoeira places a heavy emphasis on using mobility to evade attacks. It relies heavily on kicks and leg sweeps for attacks and dodges for defenses. Since original practitioners had limited physical freedom, defense is accomplished mostly by evasion, not by blocking.

Hand strikes or parrys are seldom taught, though arm positioning for blocks is taught. The "ginga" (swing), which is the footwork of capoeira, consists in changing the basic stance (body facing the adversary, front leg flexed with body weight over it, the other leg stretched backward) from the right leg to the left leg, and vice versa, again and again. When fighting, it is rare to stop in one stance, and in this case, you just "follow" your opponent with your legs, preventing him from getting close, or by preparing a fast-acrobatic move to take advantage when he or she attacks. The rest of the time, you just keep changing stances, feinting, and doing the equivalent of boxing "jabs."

Capoeira includes numerous acrobatic kicks, punches, and flips. Some techniques, such as the cartwheel kick, were created because the slaves often had their wrists bound by chains to prevent escape. Capoeira also puts a heavy emphasis on ground fighting, but not grappling and locks. Instead, it uses a ground stance (from the basic stance, you just fall over your leg stretched back, flexing it, and leaving the front leg stretched ahead), from which you make feints, dodges, kicks, leg sweeps, acrobatics, etc.

Hand positioning is important, but it is used only to block attacks and ensure balance, although street fighting "capoeiristas" use the hands for punches. It incorporates the "maculele," done with blades, and the "maracatu," done with sticks.

During training, standing exercises are done, with emphasis on the "ginga", the footwork characteristic of the art, and on the basic kicks: "bencao" a front-stomping kick; "martelo" a roundhouse kick; "chapa" a side-kick; "meia-lua de frente" a low turning kick; "armada" a high turning kick; and "queixada" an outside-inside crescent kick. Then walking sequences are done, with the introduction of somersaults, backflips, and headstands, in couples and individually. Some more technical training follows, with couples beginning a basic and slow "jogo," and then the whole class forms and goes for "roda" games for at least 30 minutes.

Capoeira conditions and develops the muscles, especially the abdominal muscles. "Regional," a newer, faster, more popular style of capoeira, was created by Mestre (Master) Bimba (who was responsible for the legalization of capoeira and the founder of the first academy). Breakdancing evolved from this style, about 90% of all breakdancing moves came directly from it. This is a faster game, less a fight and more of a showing off. Flourishes, high kicks, and aerial, acrobatic maneuvers are the hallmark of the "regional" game, which is usually played to the beat of the "berimbau," known as sao bento grande.

"Angola" is a more closed, harder style that is closest to the original African systems that came to Brazil. Angola games are generally slow and low to the ground and incorporate a lot of trickery, sweeps and takedowns, and physically grueling movements that require great strength and balance.

"Iuna" is not really a style of capoeira. Rather, it refers to a rhythm of the berimbau that is played when somebody dies or when mestres (masters) play alone. There is no singing when iuna is played, and only masters are allowed to play during iuna.

Celtic wrestling (Europe)

Celtic wrestling is an ancient European wrestling style. Two competitors shake hands, face each other chest-to-chest, wrap their arms around each other and grasp their hands behind the opponent's back. Without releasing the grip behind the opponent's back, each competitor tries to make his or her opponent touch the ground with any body part other than the feet.

Chang-chuan (China)

Chang-chuan is a long fist Chinese boxing style developed by Master Kuo I around the first century CE. It appears to be the origin of many wushu arts. It is characterized by strong stances, high kicks, and a variety of hand techniques. Its movements are so graceful that they have been used by the Chinese opera. It has recently become a popular style in forms competition.

Chayon ryu (United States)

Chayon-ryu (Natural Way) is an eclectic, fairly new martial art founded in 1968 by Kim Soo of Houston, Texas. Taekwondo and shotokan karate contribute kicking techniques, strong stances, and direct, linear strikes and blocks. Okinawa-te movements add techniques with some angularity, and quanfa-gongfu contributes fluid, circular movements. Hapkido adds defenses against chokes, grabs, and armed attacks, as well as various throwing and falling techniques. Students strive to fulfill "The dojang hun" (training hall oath): seek perfection of character, live the way of truth, endeavor, be faithful, respect your seniors, and refrain from violent behavior.

Chebigadga (India)

This is one of the oldest Manipur martial arts that in modern times has evolved into a competitive art. Contestants use a stick "cheibi" encased in leather and about two and a half feet long in combination with a leather shield (three feet in diameter) to represent an actual sword and shield.

The competition takes place on a flat circular surface approximately twenty-one feet in diameter. Within the circle are two lines each approximately three feet long and six feet apart. The winner is the person who scores the most points by skillfully striking his opponent. In ancient practice, actual swords and spears were permitted.

Chiao ti (China)

Ancient Chinese wrestling, where the practitioners both wore horned helmets and tried to gore each other.

Chin-na (China)

The Chinese art of seizing and locking that uses striking and seizing of acupuncture points, grasping of tendons and blood vessels, and the locking of joints, techniques widely incorporated into Chinese fighting arts. Included is a mix of throws, takedowns, kicking, punching, and joint manipulations that parallel techniques in judo, jujutsu, and karate. Techniques are also associated with dim-mak.

Chinese boxing (China)

A generic term for most Chinese martial arts.

Chinese wrestling (Shuai-Jao) (China)

Modern Chinese wrestling, mostly groundwork, but has some flipping and throwing.

Chito-ryu (Japan)

After spending years studying shuri-no-te (now known as shorin-ryu) and naha-no-Te (now known as shorei-ryu), Dr. Tsuyoshi Chitose, also known as Chinen Gua in Okinawa, created chito-ryu by combining the merits of each these styles with his medical knowledge to come up with a healthier alternative. Upon his death in 1984, his son, Yasuhiro Chitose, assumed the name of his father and responsibilities as the new soke.

Cuong-nhu (Vietnam)

Cuong-nhu (pronounced "kung new") is an eclectic, fairly new martial art founded in 1965 in Vietnam by Ngo Dong. The first United States cuong-nhu school opened in Gainesville, FL, in 1971. It is an integrated martial art blending the hard aspects (cuong in Vietnamese) from shotokan karate, wing-chun kung-fu, and American boxing with the soft aspects (nhu in Vietnamese) of judo, aikido, and tai-chi. In addition, it also incorporates vovinam, a Vietnamese martial art that uses both hard and soft techniques.

In keeping with its inclusive nature, cuong-nhu instruction extends beyond the traditionally martial to public speaking, poetry, painting, and philosophy. There is a strong emphasis on developing self-control, modesty, and a non-defeatist attitude. Beginning students focus on the hard, linear arts, mostly modified shotokan karate techniques and patterns. Experienced students add movements from more advanced softer, circular arts such as aikido and taiji. All levels get some exposure to the entire range of styles. Training emphasizes moral and philosophical development, and students discuss the "code of ethics" and selections from cuong-nhu philosophy in class. As with other styles, belt color indicates rank as certified by regional testing.

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