Imua Shantung KunTao (From now just called Imua) is alledgedly one of the oldest
martial arts in the world
Imua - Hawaiian word meaning "to go forward with spirit"
Shantung - means "silk" and refers to the fluid motions of this
The earliest forms of Imua were developed in China approximately 2700 BCE.
Under the Tang Dynasty (600-900 CE), Kung Fu developed, and branched out,
with the different branches getting more emphasis on particular things.
From China, Imua was "exported" to Indonesia. When fighting in
the tight vegetation of Indonesian jungles, one cannot "afford"
the large sweeping movenements, or the evasive motions used in most other
martial arts to avoid stikes and kicks.
Otto VanDerGroen - a talented fighter born in Indonesia in 1941 - has a
major role in introducing Imua to the western world (see his bio for more
From this, Imua has gradually developed into one of the nastiest styles of
Imua is a technique that includes all the regular forms of attacks punches,
kicks, throws etc. However, because of its history, Imua developed to
have a very tight, fighting range. Whereas most martial arts are either best
at long range (Karate, Tae Kwon Do, most Kung Fu styles) or short range
(Jitsu, Judo, Aikido), Imua is one of those rare styles that are specially
developed for something in between.
Because of this, fighting somebody who is good at the Imua style can be difficult
- the practitioners are always too close to get in a good kick to the head,
and always too far away to get in a good wristlock or throw.
Imua is not a sport, but more of a a defense system - all training is focused
on eliminating your opponents as fast as possible (just like Krav Maga)
in a horribly brutal way. Because of this, several law enforcement agencies
have started using Imua in their training. (rumor has it that CIA train their special agents in Imua)
Currently, there are Kun Tao clubs in most countries around the world.