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Martial arts>Styles>Style descriptions: G

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Style descriptions: G

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

Gatka (India)

Gatka is one of the most esoteric martial arts. It is a battle-tested, ancient martial art that survives today as part of the Sikh culture.

Sikhism was founded in the Punjab region of India in the 15th century by Guru Nanak, who started the religion as an alternative to the dominant Hindu and Muslim faiths. Devout Sikhs follow several tenets of the religion, the most visible is the turban worn by Sikh men and women.

Gatka specializes in sword "shaster" and shield fighting, but includes other weapons, including the staff "lathi," the quoit "chakram," and the exotic "chakar," which looks like a wagon wheel with weights at the end of each spoke. The chakram and chakar are weapons unique to gatka. The chakram is basically a flat steel hoop with the outside edge honed to a sharp edge. The chakram is spun around the index finger and let fly to at the target. The chakram is the favorite weapon of television's Xena: Warrior Princess. The chakar is wielded by grasping the center, the hub of the "wagon wheel," and spinning it around, striking opponents with the weights.

Gatka has been used effectively for centuries. Besides the numerous conflicts and wars in Punjab or the famous Sikh regiments of World War II, Sikhs armed with lathi were used as riot police in the rough-and-tumble street of 1930s Shanghai. Although training in gatka may be hard to find for non-Sikhs, the art is exciting to watch in cultural demonstrations.

Glima (Iceland)

Glima is the national sport of Iceland, like wrestling. It is illegal to kick or strike. Each participant wears three leather belts: one around each thigh and one around the waist, each thigh belt is fastened by a strap to the waist belt. These straps are used for gripping the opponent. In a match, the two wrestlers constantly walk around each other and try to bring down the opponent using eight basic techniques. The match ends when one of the wrestlers falls.

Goju-ryu (Okinawa)

Goju-ryu was founded in the 1930's by Miyagi Chojun from Okinawan karate and Chinese kempo techniques. It is a combination of hard "go" and soft "ju" techniques that work together like yin and yang. Linear motion is combined with circular movements. Patterns are practiced slowly with emphasis on breathing.

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