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Kinomichi, Baton Francais, and Gouren

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Kinomichi is a grappling martial arts training system from France believed to have originated from aikido, and was created by Masamichi Noro, a disciple of aikido’s founder Morihei Ueshiba, in Paris in 1979. The art emphasizes the natural order and flow of “qi” and key elements are the link between man, heaven, and earth. The ultimate aim is to realize and achieve a sense of harmonious peace through the codified practice of fighting.

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Baton Francais

Baton francais, also known as French stick fighting, is a historical fencing discipline that utilizes a 4 ft (1.2 m) long pole. Although the origins of the art form are unclear, the system’s techniques resemble those found in other European stick-fighting systems, such as jogo do pau and juego del palo, quarterstaff, and long-sword fighting arts. Codified in the early 1800s, many French savate boxers still train with the baton today.

Gouren

Gouren is a barefoot wrestling form from Brittany that dates back to the 4th century. It is thought to have been practiced as a way of enhancing chivalry between people of noble descent and, in particular, the Bretons, a distinct ethnic group located in Brittany, France, who originally came from Britain. The sport remained popular until the early 20th century, but declined with the growth of interest in new sports, such as soccer and cycling.

Back in the public eye

The re-emergence in interest in European martial arts has seen Gouren federations spring up across Europe with the championships now being held every 2 years. Matches often take place alongside music and dance, and players typically wear white shirts with short, black pants tied around the waist with a belt. Bouts start with the fighters swearing an oath, and victory is achieved by throwing an opponent cleanly to the ground so that they land on their back.


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