Origins of Asian martial arts

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Asian martial arts (origins))
Jump to: navigation, search

The origin of Asian martial arts comes from various regions of Asia.

Pre-History[edit]

The evolution of the martial arts has been described by historians in the context of countless historical battles. Building on the work of Laughlin (1956, 1961), Rudgley (2000) argues that the martial arts of the Chinese, Japanese and Aleut peoples, Mongolian wrestling all have "roots in the prehistoric era and to a common Mongoloid ancestral people who inhabited north-eastern Asia."[1][2][3]

India[edit]

Further information: Indian martial arts
The Nataraja dance pose.

Dhanurveda, a section found in the Vedas (1700 BCE - 1100 BCE) contains references to martial arts.[4][5] Around the 3rd century BC, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali taught how to meditate single-mindedly on points located inside one's body, which was later used in martial arts, while various mudra finger movements were taught in Yogacara Buddhism. These elements of yoga, as well as finger movements in the nata dances, were later incorporated into various martial arts.[6][7][8]

Indian martial arts were an important influence in the development of a number of modern Asian martial arts, particularly within the Indian cultural sphere (countries outside India influenced by Indian culture and religion) of Southeast Asia. Examples include Indo-Malay silat,[9] Burmese banshay, naban and bando,[10] Filipino escrima and kali,[11] Thai krabi krabong[12] and Cambodian bokator. Indian martial arts also lightly influenced the various forms of Indochinese kickboxing, namely Muay Thai from Thailand, Muay Lao from Laos, Tomoi from Malaysia, Pradal Serey from Cambodia and Lethwei from Myanmar.[12]

China[edit]

Main article: Chinese martial arts

Chinese boxing can be reliably traced back to the Zhou dynasty (1122-255 BCE).[13] During the Spring and Autumn Period, the literature mentions displays of archery, fencing and wrestling by nobles. Warfare between rival states was conducted according to Confucian chivalry (deference to rank, attacking in turn, food sent to hungry enemies). During the Warring States period, warfare grew bloodier and common men were expected to have skill in personal attack (chi-chi).[13]

Shaolin monastery records state that two of its very first monks, Huiguang and Sengchou, were expert in the martial arts years before the arrival of Bodhidharma.[14] The martial arts Shuāi Jiāo and Sun Bin Quan predate the establishment of the Shaolin Monastery by centuries.[15]

Indian martial arts may have spread to China via the transmission of Buddhism in the early 5th or 6th centuries of the common era and thus influenced Shaolinquan. Elements from Indian philosophy, like the Nāga, Rakshasa, and the fierce Yaksha were syncretized into protectors of Dharma; these mythical figures from the Dharmic religions figure prominently in Shaolin boxing, Chang boxing and staff fighting.[16] The religious figures from Dharmic religions also figure in the movement and fighting techniques of Chinese martial arts.[17] Various styles of kung fu are known to contain movements that are identical to the Mudra hand positions used in Hinduism and Buddhism, both of which derived from India.[18] Similarly, the 108 pressure points in Chinese martial arts are believed by some to be based on the marmam points of Indian varmakalai.[19][20]

The predominant telling of the diffusion of the martial arts from India to China involves a 5th-century prince-turned-monk named Bodhidharma who is said to have traveled to Shaolin, sharing his chuan style and thus creating Shaolinquan.[21] According to Wong Kiew Kit, the Monk's creation of Shaolin arts "...marked a watershed in the history of kungfu, because it led to a change of course, as kungfu became institutionalized. Before this, martial arts were known only in general sense."[22]

Main gate of the Shaolin temple in Henan.

The association of Bodhidharma with martial arts is attributed to Bodhidharma's own Yi Jin Jing, though its authorship has been disputed by several modern historians such as Tang Hao,[23] Xu Zhen and Matsuda Ryuchi.[24] The oldest known available copy of the Yi Jin Jing was published in 1827[24] and the composition of the text itself has been dated to 1624. According to Matsuda, none of the contemporary texts written about the Shaolin martial arts before the 19th century, such as Cheng Zongyou's Exposition of the Original Shaolin Staff Method or Zhang Kongzhao's Boxing Classic: Essential Boxing Methods, mention Bodhidharma or credit him with the creation of the Shaolin martial arts. The association of Bodhidharma with the martial arts only became widespread after the 1904–1907 serialization of the novel The Travels of Lao Ts'an in Illustrated Fiction Magazine.[25]

The discovery of arms caches in the monasteries of Chang'an during government raids in 446 AD suggests that Chinese monks practiced martial arts prior to the establishment of the Shaolin Monastery in 497.[26] Moreover, Chinese monasteries, not unlike those of Europe, in many ways were effectively large landed estates, that is, sources of considerable wealth which required protection that had to be supplied by the monasteries' own manpower.[26]

Japan[edit]

Main article: Japanese martial arts

The historical origin of Japanese martial arts can be found in the warrior traditions of the samurai and the caste system that restricted the use of weapons by members of the non-warrior classes. Originally, samurai were expected to be proficient in many weapons, as well as unarmed combat, and attain the highest possible mastery of combat skills, for the purpose of glorifying either themselves or their lord. Over time, this purpose gave way to a philosophy of achieving spiritual goals by striving to perfect their martial skills.[citation needed]

Korea[edit]

Main article: Korean martial arts

Wrestling, called Ssireum, and Taekkyeon are the oldest forms of unarmed fighting in Korea. Besides being used to train soldiers, these were also popular among villagers during festivals, for dancing, mask performance and sport-fighting. The ancient Koreans did develop their own comprehensive system of unarmed weapon-based combat, but they had a preference for bows and arrows. It appears that during the Goguryeo dynasty, (37 BC – 668 AD) subak (empty-handed fighting), swordsmanship, bow and arrow, spear-fighting and horse riding were practiced.

In 1593, Korea received help from China to win back Pyongyang from the Japanese. During one of the battles, the Koreans learned about a martial art manual titled Ji Xiao Xin Shu (紀效新書), written by the Chinese military strategist Qi Jiguang. King Seonjo (1567–1608) took a personal interest in the book, and ordered his court to study the book. This led to the creation of the Muyejebo (무예제보, Hanja: 武藝諸譜) in 1599 by Han Gyo, who had studied the use of several weapons with the Chinese army. Soon this book was revised in the Muyejebo Seokjib and in 1759, the book was revised and published at the Muyesinbo (Hangul: 무예신보, Hanja: 武藝新譜).[27]

In 1790, these two books formed the basis, together with other Korean, Chinese, and Japanese martial art manuals, of the richly illustrated Muyedobotongji (Hangul: 무예도보통지, Hanja: 武藝圖譜通志). The book does not refer to taekkyeon, but shows influences from Chinese and Japanese fighting systems. It deals mostly with armed combat like sword fighting, double-sword fighting, spear fighting, stick fighting, and so on.

Vietnam[edit]

Flying scissors to the neck. The opponent is forced to the ground with a twist of the body.

Vietnamese martial arts are influenced by efforts to defend the country from foreign threats and also by the people whom Vietnam conquered (Champa). The most influential in the country's martial arts is China with its thousand-year occupation of Vietnam. But through thousands of years of internal, civil strife: dynastic changes (dynasties), foreign conquests, warlordism and guerrilla tactics, the Vietnamese martial artists used what they learned from their neighbors and evolved a unique form of martial arts.

The martial arts were used by Vietnamese kings to train their troops and to defend the country against enemies. In addition to the army, family clans and Buddhist temples cultivated a variety of styles to defend themselves in national disputes.[citation needed]

Philippines[edit]

Main article: Filipino martial arts

Filipino martial arts are considered hybrid systems which incorporates elements from both western and eastern martial arts. Its origins are Asian and come from a period wherein the various prehispanic Philippine states; Rajahnates, Kingdoms, Sultanates and Lakanates warred with each other, therefore producing a rich martial tradition with hundreds of schools as numerous as there are Filipino ethnic groups. It then incorporated Western elements when the Spaniards arrived from Mexico and they unified these prehispanic states unto one Filipino identity and thus, infused the Filipino martial arts with European and Latino-American styles of combat.

During the Spanish period, Chinese and Japanese converts[28] to Christianity who fled to the Philippines away from their homeland's persecution, also enriched Filipino martial arts with their own styles. The British Occupation of Manila (Launched from India) and the Moro Wars also shaped Filipino martial arts up to a certain extent. Although the martial arts fell into disuse during the artillery-intensive Philippine Revolution and Philippine-American War, it became practical again during the Japanese occupation especially to Guerillas.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rudgley, Richard (2000) [1999]. The Lost Civilizations of the Stone Age. Simon & Schuster. [unreliable source?]
  2. ^ Laughlin, William S. (1961). "Acquisition of Anatomical Knowledge by Ancient Man". In Washburn, Sherwood L. Social Life of Early Man. London: Routledge (published 2004). pp. 150–175. .
  3. ^ Marsh, Gordon H.; Laughlin, William S. (1956). "Human Anatomical Knowledge among the Aleutian Islanders". Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 12 (1). pp. 38–78. 
  4. ^ Phillip B. Zarrilli, Peter Hulton. Psychophysical Acting: An Intercultural Approach After Stanislavski. Routledge. p. 66. 
  5. ^ Denise Cush, Catherine A. Robinson, Michael York. Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Psychology press. p. 182. 
  6. ^ J. R. Svinth (2002). A Chronological History of the Martial Arts and Combative Sports. Electronic Journals of Martial Arts and Sciences.
  7. ^ The Bodhisattva Warriors : The Origin, Inner Philosophy, History, and Symbolism of the Buddhist Martial Art within India and China, by Terence Dukes (1994). Publisher: Yorkindo Beach, Me. ISBN 0877287856
  8. ^ The Spiritual Legacy of Shaolin Temple: Buddhism, Daoism, and the Energetic Arts - Page 78 by Andy James. Published 2004. Wisdom Publications. 179 pages. ISBN 0861713524
  9. ^ Draeger, Donn F. (1992). Weapons and Fighting Arts of Indonesia. pg 23. Tuttle Publishing
  10. ^ Draeger, Donn F. (1981). Comprehensive Asian Fighting Arts pg 155. Kodansha International.
  11. ^ Mark V. Wiley (1994). Filipino Martial Arts: Serrada Escrima pg21. Tuttle Publishing
  12. ^ a b Draeger, Donn F. (1981). Comprehensive Asian Fighting Arts. Kodansha International.
  13. ^ a b Draeger & Smith (1969). Comprehensive Asian Fighting Arts. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-87011-436-6. 
  14. ^ Canzonieri, Salvatore (February–March 1998). "History of Chinese Martial Arts: Jin Dynasty to the Period of Disunity". Han Wei Wushu 3 (9). 
  15. ^ Canzonieri, Salvatore. "The Emergence of the Chinese Martial Arts". Han Wei Wushu (23). 
  16. ^ Wells, Marnix, and Naizhou Chang. Scholar Boxer: Chang Naizhou's Theory of Internal Martial Arts and the Evolution of Taijiquan. Berkeley, Calif: North Atlantic Books, 2004, p. 23
  17. ^ Wells, Scholar Boxer, p. 200
  18. ^ Johnson, Nathan J. Barefoot Zen: The Shaolin Roots of Kung Fu and Karate. York Beach, Me: S. Weiser, 2000, p. 48
  19. ^ Subramaniam Phd., P., (general editors) Dr. Shu Hikosaka, Asst. Prof. Norinaga Shimizu, & Dr. G. John Samuel, (translator) Dr. M. Radhika (1994). Varma Cuttiram வர்ம சுத்திரம்: A Tamil Text on Martial Art from Palm-Leaf Manuscript. Madras: Institute of Asian Studies. pp. 90 & 91. 
  20. ^ Reid Phd., Howard, Michael Croucher (1991). The Way of the Warrior: The Paradox of the Martial Arts. New York: Outlook Press. pp. 58–85. ISBN 0879514337. 
  21. ^ Cephas, Shawn (Winter 1994). "The Root of Warrior Priests in the Martial Arts". Kungfu Magazine. 
  22. ^ Wong, Kiew Kit. The Art of Shaolin Kung Fu: The Secrets of Kung Fu for Self-Defense Health and Enlightenment. Tuttle martial arts. Boston, Mass: Tuttle, 2002, p. 13
  23. ^ Tang Hao 唐豪 (1968) [1930]. Shàolín Wǔdāng kǎo 少林武當考 (in Chinese). Hong Kong 香港: Qílín tushu. 
  24. ^ a b Matsuda Ryuchi 松田隆智 (1986). Zhōngguó wǔshù shǐlüè 中國武術史略 (in Chinese). Taipei 臺北: Danqing tushu. 
  25. ^ Henning, Stanley (1994). "Ignorance, Legend and Taijiquan" (PDF). Journal of the Chenstyle Taijiquan Research Association of Hawaii 2 (3): 1–7. .
  26. ^ a b Henning, Stanley (1999b). "Martial Arts Myths of Shaolin Monastery, Part I: The Giant with the Flaming Staff". Journal of the Chenstyle Taijiquan Research Association of Hawaii 5 (1). 
  27. ^ Kim, Wee-hyun. "Muyedobo T'ongji: Illustrated Survey of the Martial arts." Korea Journal 26:8 (August 1986): 42-54.
  28. ^ http://www.asianews.it/news-en/The-Japanese-Church-ready-to-celebrate-Takayama-Ukon,-samurai-of-Christ-28785.html