being bored, and scrolling endlessly in redit’s martial arts subreddit. I stumbled upon a martial art I had never heard of before, Taido also commonly referred to as Taido Karate.
Naturally this triggered my curiosity, what is Taido is Taido Karate and Taido the same thing. Have I been totally unaware of a whole martial art lineage. Thankfully I was wrong Taido or Taido Karate are essentially the same thing and they have only been around since 1965.
Since I found this love child of Karate and Capoeira quite fascinating, I assumed you guys would also find it interesting. So I decided to write an article explaining what Taido Karate is all about.
What Is Taido Karate
If someone asked me to briefly describe what Taido Karate is, I would say.
Taido Karate is a japanese martial art, that combines Karate techniques with gymnastic techniques to create a fast paced dynamic combat style similar to that of Capoeira.
I’m going to link a Taido Karate video, so that we all know what we’re dealing with.
I really doubt it’s self-defence effectiveness in a real fight. Though I will have to admit that, Taido looks like a lot of fun to train. We’ll get more into Taido’s Pros and Cons later in the article.
What Does Taido Mean
Taido simply means “way of the body”, but why did Seiken Shukumine the founder call it that.
I would assume that Seiken Shukumine decided to call his martial art “way of the body”, because of the unique, non-static movement Taido Karate incomparates. I mean the main thing that differentiates Taido from other martial arts is the way the body moves. So it makes a lot of sense to name that martial art“way of the body”.
Who Founded Taido Karate
Taido Karate was founded by a man called Seiken Shukumine in 1965. Seiken Shukumine felt that Traditional Okinawan Karate, was simply too static compared to modern martial arts. So he decided to create this really dynamic version of Okinawan Karate.
For those of you unaware of what Okinawan Karate is, I’m going to link a video down below.
To be honest with you guys, I have no idea how Seiken Shukumine created Taido Karate out of Okinawan Karate. They look absolutely nothing alike.
What does Genseiryū have to do with Taido Karate
Genseiryū was the first martial art that Seiken Shukumine had founded in 1953. Though later Seiken Shukumine abandoned Genseiryū in order to start Taido Karate in 1965. There was some backlash by Seiken Shukumine’s students as they did not approve of his decision. This caused some of his students to abandoned his teachings and continue developing Genseiryū on their own.
Essentially all that Genseiryū was, a slightly altered form of Okinawan Karate. It makes sense that Seiken Shukumine decided to get away from all this as it would have most probably just been another copy of Okinawan Karate that goes nowhere. We’ll get into more detail on what Genseiryū was in another blog post, as to not lose track on what this article is about.
Tough it’s safe to say that Genseiryū, didn’t get close to Taido Karate fame. We can simply do the test we did in another blog post to find out what the most popular martial art is. Results show that:
Taido gets 2,400 searches a month while Genseiryū only gets 90 searches a month. Even from the video I’m going to post about Genseiryū so that you guys can see what we’re talking about. It shows that there aren’t as much people interested in the art even though it had 12 years more than Taido Karate to spread its influence. (This is the only HD video I could find of Genseiryū)
Would you recomand Taido Karate for Self Defence
To be absolutely honest, no I wouldn’t recomand someone training Taido Karate for self-defence. Sure you can argue it increases somewhat your fighting ability. Than again there are so many more effective martial arts that are better suited for self-defence.
Not to trash on the Taido Karate but this is how a real fight would most likely end up:
I know the video shows a Capoeira practitioner and not a Taido Karate practitioner. Though I couldn’t find a Taido practitioner fighting an MMA practitioner.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trashing Capoeira. We’ve got video’s of capoeira fighters knocking down MMA fighters within 20 seconds. You can’t really nit pick a video and turn that into a fact.
So what am I trying to say here, I’m not exactly sure, I think I just started arguing with myself. Anyways the reason I think these dynamic moving martial arts aren’t best suited for self-defence is that.
They require a high level of training to become effective. In the ring we’re seeing the best of the best. I don’t believe an average Taido or Capoeira practitioner would be able to execute any of those moves in a real fight. While something like Kickboxing, MMA or Krav Maga, have easier techniques that could be executable in a real fight after a few months of training.
Another point I’d like to rise, regarding why I don’t particularly promote Taido as an effective self-defence martial art. Is that they do not incorporate full contact sparring.
Taido Karate Semi Contact Sparring and Self-Defence
Taido does not incorporate full contact sparring into their training. In my opinion, if there is no full contact sparring integrated within the lesson. Than that martial art can’t compete with other martial arts that include full contact sparring into their lesson, within the self-defence sector.
Taido Karate sparring pretty much goes like this. The first person to execute a proper attack wins the point and the match stops. Here’s a video of 2 Taido practitioners sparring:
I’m not bashing Semi Contact sparring. It’s how the game is played It’s like expecting football players to kick each other or something. Though, you can’t say that this type of sparring can stimulate or even get close to a real fight.
Would you recomand Taido Karate for Martial Arts
Definitely yes, I think Taido is a very interesting martial art actually. Sadly I don’t have any local gyms that teach Taido or a similar dynamic martial art.
It’s got everything a martial art needs:
- Big following
- Multiple variations of competitions world wide
- Great workout
- Martial art lineage
- The atmosphere (gi, belts, katas, etc)
Different Types Of Taido Competitions
There are 5 different types of competitions for Taido practitioners, which are:
- Dantai jissen
- Dantai hokei
Here’s a video of Taido’s Championship 2017 highlights, sorry that’s the latest I could find. Though you can pretty much see all these different competitions piled up into one video. With a hint of Taido anxiety and excitement.
Taido Karate – Jissen
Jissen is what Taido practitioners call a one on one match by most martial arts. Though there quite a few rules one needs to abide by. Typically semi-contact sparring matches have more rules than that of full contact sparring. Let’s skim through some of these rules.
How to win a Jissen Taido Match
The winner of a Taido Match is the person who first collects a full point, or has the most points before the timer runs out.
How are points distributed in a Jissen Taido Match
Points are given to the Taido practitioner that manages to execute a Taido technique on an opponent.
Depending on how perfectly the Taido technique was executed, determines the amount of points given to the Taido practitioner. Typically there are only 3 points:
- Ippon – Full point
- Wazari – Half a point
- Yuko – Quarter of a point
Ippon is awarded to someone who executes the technique perfectly, while the other two points depend on how well the Taido technique was executed.
Things not to do in a Jissen Taido Match
You are not allowed to target a foes head, or cause physical damage to an opponent.
How are weight classes divided in a Jissen Taido Match
I found this quite interesting, apparently there are none. Reasoning for this is that you should be able to fight anyone big or small. Not sure about the fairness in this, but they kinda do have a point.
Taido Karate – Hokei
The Taido Hokei is essentially a set of pre-set techniques that Taido practitioners implement into there training regime to improve:
- Eye Contact
- Fighting Rhythms
That’s the main purpose of the Hokei. Though than the Taido Federation decided to make that into a competition. The person that better performs the Hokei wins. Taido practitioners can also tweak a Hokei to make it slightly harder, as long as the main concept of the Hokei stays the same. Here’s a video of multiple Taido practitioners competing for the best Hokei.
Taido Karate – Dantai Jissen
Essentially all this is, a 5 man team spar. The same rules for single sparring (Jissen) also apply for team sparring (Dantai Jissen). I will admit at first I was like, not so impressed but thinking about it seems like a lot of fun. The more I read about this martial art the more I think that this martial arts true purpose, was for us to have some fun. The winner of the Dantai Jissen is the team that manages to get the most points.
It’s cool to think about traveling with 4 other friends competing in these Taido Matches. What an adventure.
Taido Karate – Dantai Hokei
Same thing with the Dantai Jissen, all that Dantai Hokei is, a 5 man team Hokei. Team Hokei will have the additional difficulty that all participants of the team have to do the Hokei as synchronized with each other as possible.
Taido Karate – Tenkai
This is another fun thing Taido does, it’s basically a different themed Hokei. Where in Hokei the 5 members are moving in synchrony. In Taido Tenkai it’s a 6 man team, where one of the members is chosen to be the hero.
The hero must than defeat his 5 opponents on a fight that the team would have already practiced beforehand.
This is a really artistic competition I would say. Having a 6 man team, all working together to create this 25 to 30 second demonstration.
Than depending on the:
- Realism of the techniques
- How the hero finished off the 5 ‘wakiyaku‘
- If it finished before 25 seconds or took over 30 seconds
The team that scores the highest mark is chosen as the winner.
Concluding Taido & Taido Karate Are They Just Capoeira Rip-Offs
My answer would be no, there not really a Capoeira rip-off. Sure the style is similar but Taido has quite a lot to offer as well. I really hope that it gets more recognition and maybe we start seeing some Taido practitioners in the UFC.