The Development of Martial Arts in Poland. From Reception of Physical Techniques to Deep Cultural Reflection
In Poland, the tradition of being in contact with Asian cultures through the experience related to martial arts coming from this region is over one hundred years old. We assume that the first contacts of Polish people with Japanese martial arts can be traced back to the Russian- Japanese War (1904–1905). After the First World War, in free Poland, jujutsu was practiced as an element of body building classes and army training for students of secondary schools. From 1945 to 1955, close combat, based on wrestling, boxing and jujutsu elements, was promoted only within the framework of army and militia training. At this time, sport sections of judo and self-defence called jujutsu started to develop rapidly in the academic environment. In the 1970s and 1980s, jujutsu became a chance for continuation of careers of former judo competitors or army instructors of self-defence. In the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s, karate was gaining popularity in Poland apart from judo that had already had a strong position. At the same time, Polish kung fu styles turned out to be great success and were brought to an unprecedented international level.
The 1980s was the golden age of martial arts and sports in Poland. However, later, in the 1990s and in the beginning of the twenty first century, many different commercial types of martial arts and sports came to Poland. As they were far from those practiced in Asian cultures, it was somewhat a new experience. Hundreds of books imported by Ars Polonia were then translated and many specialist periodicals were published. Now, as far as this field is concerned, there is a great niche on the Polish market.
In Poland, Asian Martial Arts have become an effective and highly estimated tool of education because many parents whose active children practice Asian Martial Arts see the positive changes after a very short time of training. Training Asian Martial Arts brings many benefits to people’s everyday life. It improves their health and, what is more, its strategies can be applied in business, contacts or negotiations.