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Nippon Kempo is a Japanese martial art that engages in full-contact bouts using a full range of techniques wearing specially developed protective gear (bogu kumite).
Developed in 1932 by Muneomi Sawayama the art places an equal emphasis on striking techniques using hands and feet, immobilization and controls, projections and take-downs. Nippon Kempo is a defensive art that does not restrict students in methodology. It has gradually developed through the years and has become widely known and popular – especially in Japan and Europe.
From a technical point of view, Nippon Kempo is a martial art system based on techniques of striking and kicking, (atemi-waza), blocking (uke-waza), throwing (nage-waza), reverse joint locks (kansetsu-gyakutori-waza) and ground combat (ne-waza). It also uses techniques derived from other arts, including judo, jujutsu, aikido, karate, and wrestling.
Practitioners fight and practice these techniques with protective gear, as the art is full-contact and therefore men (headgear), do (chest protector), kurobu (gloves), and a mate ate (groin protector) are used. Since protection is used, Nippon Kempo allows many techniques that cannot be performed in other styles of competitive sparring. Grabbing a kick, a punch, or locking a joint is allowed, as are knees and elbows to the body or to the face score points. Headhunting is a common practice in Nippon Kempo and so practitioners aim to learn and develop head and body movements to avoid, deflect or counter many punching and kicking combinations. In Japan, Nippon Kempo is practiced in over 100 universities and is part of the training in many police forces.