hose folks old enough will remember trying to find a style club was almost impossible. Many clubs been trained in backstreet gyms and halls, were often just a small group of friends. If you knew someone training kids martial arts classes already, it was easy to get in, in the event that you didn’t, well, it had been virtually impossible. Fast forward to the early 70’s. It was at this time that the ‘Bruce Lee Phenomenon’ hit the West. Enter The Dragon, a significant Hollywood backed film, hit the silver screens. It had been explosive, here was a guy who could do almost magical things, at blistering speeds, and so, as a direct result of that film, so was born the modern age of martial arts in the West. Clubs began to sprout everywhere, people flocked to learn so they could be like Bruce martial arts for kids Lee! The truth of this was somewhat harsher! Soon, may realised that to attain even a fraction of Lee’s ability required years of painstaking practise! The first martial art to really explode as a result of Lee’s film was Karate. With schools already well established in the united kingdom, they capitalised on the phenomenon by appearing out of the back streets and in to the school and church halls etc. Adverts sprang up, and suddenly, you could find a club to train at! Karate is perhaps one of the well known of all the martial arts, with a rich history and tradition spanning centuries. Therefore Karate clubs started to boom, along with other martial art styles, which begun to gain interest from a Western culture suddenly smitten with the lure of Eastern mysticism and legends. Inevitably, this boom faded, people left because it was too hard, that to obtain anywhere was a lifelong commitment, not something achieved in just a matter of weeks or months, but years of hard graft. Therefore, clubs lost members, however, not to the extreme levels they disappeared back to the dingy training halls of earlier years. Many thrived with a reliable upsurge in students, losing others on the way, but retaining sufficient to keep going. Then, much like the Bruce Lee films, along came another Hollywood Blockbuster that has been to push martial arts back into the general public domain…Karate Kid. The film was simple, a young lad being picked on by a band of Karate school bullies, boy results in a Japanese janitor, who just is undoubtedly a master in Karate….Mr Myagi. It had been a wonderfully simplistic film, where, I am certain most of us remember, the young lad, ‘Daniel san’ was taught the rudimentaries of Karate through washing an automobile! ‘Wax on, wax off’…..marvelously clever analogy, from which he learnt everything he needed to do Karate! Of course, it isn’t that easy in reality, but here we’d a film, which spawned 2 sequels, that suddenly showed that training was not only hard work, but could possibly be fun as well! And, what this film did that no other film before it had done, it attracted Children to the fighting techinques! It was a classic catalyst in the meteoric rise of fighting techinques clubs around the world, with parents rushing to sign up their kids to learn about this wonderful way of caring for yourself, of learning respect and discipline, and making their children better people for if they finally enter the world as Adults. Karate was the main benefactor of the boom, obviously I guess given the film’s title, but the knock on effects were felt right across the various martial art styles. Popularity rose through more films, with stars such as for example Jackie Chan, who, with his unique mixture of undoubted skills and comedy, made Chinese fighting techinques seem fun to learn. And so there we have it, a very brief history of the rise in popularity…But! Here we are in 2008, and despite all the publicity, are you aware which style is which? I hope the following offers you some guidance: Karate – Probably one probably the most recognised. There are various styles, which I won’t elaborate too much on here, suffice to state that each does have it’s differences, but each also has a lot of the same characteristics, namely a focus on traditional etiquette, discipline and hard work. Karate (meaning Empty Hand) is an extremely traditional martial art, where you’ll certainly learn respect for others. The main styles are Shotokan, Wado Ryu, Goju Ryu, and Shitu Ryu,