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Martial Arts and Violence

Martial Arts and Violence

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Martial Arts and Violence

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  1. Martial Arts and Violence • The Boxers are comprised of many experts of Chinese martial arts • Many of them died when fighting against the Ally’s Expeditionary forces, • They were ignorant of the killing power of Western weapons, rifles, shot guns, machine guns, explosives such as grenades, cannons… • Some of the survivors became masters of martial arts after the war • They began to run private martial arts training academies/institutes, establishing their own “schools” known for a special “style” • Competitions among these schools resulted in collective violence

  2. Myths of the Martial Arts • While it is true that the martial arts constitute an important aspect of Chinese physical culture, general understanding of the Chinese martial arts tradition is based on two myths • Myths: Their origins are attributed to • Bodhidharma, an Indian monk who is said to have come to China in the 6th century and resided in the famous Shaolin Monastery around 525 AD • Taiji quan (T’ai-chi ch’uan) allegedly created by Zhang Sanfeng, a mythical Taoist master believed to have lived in the Song, Yuan, or Ming dynasty (1368-1644)

  3. History of Martial Arts • Relation between martial arts and the Confucian tradition • Early Confucian curriculum consisted of six subjects • Rites • Music (with dance) • Archery • Charioting • Calligraphy • Mathematics • Archery and charioting are related to martial arts • Music and dance were often military-related: • Military (war) music • Military (war) dance

  4. Elements of the Martial Arts in Dance • Sword • Sword dancing was common in the Warring States Period • Popular in the Han, the Three Kingdoms, the Wei, and the Tang dynasties • In the end of the Qing, King Chu’s concubine performed sword dance regularly and before she bade farewell to King Chu • Tang society was full of martial spirit-- many officials practiced sword dance • Calligraphers learned calligraphic skills by observing sword dances • Broad knife • halberd

  5. Martial Arts and Military Writings • Martial arts constituted one of four categories under the heading of “military writings” in traditional Chinese book catalogues • Defined as “skills” or “techniques”, which included • Archery, fencing, boxing, ancient football game • Boxing was interpreted as a combat skill • The examination system that began in the Tang consisted of the examination for recruiting men as officials in military offices

  6. Manual for Training Martial Arts • New Book of Effective Discipline (1561) • By Qi Jiguang, a famous Ming dynasty general • Last chapter is about boxing • Regarded as basic skill for all the weapons techniques • A 32-form set of combat skills are still practiced today, as evidenced by the Chen style and the Yang style taiji quan • Also lists well-known boxing styles and weapons techniques of his day

  7. Shaolin Warrior Monks • Known in the Tang because they helped Li Shimin to quell his enemy, facilitating Li family’s unification of China • Li Shimin became the second emperor of the Tang dynasty • Shaolin warrior monks were awarded and Shaolin martial arts became well known • Their best-known combat skills included the use of staff, sword, whip, halberd, in addition to boxing

  8. Internal and External Boxing Schools • Private biographical account indicates the existence of two boxing schools, although its historicity is hard to determine • ‘external” school, represented by Shaolin • “internal” school, allegedly developed by Zhang Sanfeng, the mythical founder of the Wudang Taoist tradition, who invented Taiji quan. • During the mid-Qing, secret societies and religious sects promoted martial arts • Professional martial artists ran private protecting agency (biaoju) to escort transported goods and to protect the homes of the wealthy • Martial arts styles multiplied • Many claimed to trace their origins to either Shaolin or Wudang

  9. Current Image of Shaolin • Boxing Manuals refer Shaolin Monastery as origin of Chinese boxing • Members of secret societies tended to associate themselves with Shaolin • Martial art stories and the “Roving Swordsman” novels formed an anti-Manchu image of Shaolin warrior monks and Shaolin myths: • Northern Shaolin, Mt. Song, Henan Province • Southern Shaolin, Putian, Fujian Province • Their martial art skills came from that handed down by Bodhidhama, the first patriarch of Chinese Chan tradition • Known as the originator of Muscle Change Classic (Yijin jing), Mallow Cleasing Classic (Xisui jing), Eighteen Lohan exercises….

  10. Martial Arts under the Qing • Promotion of physical culture based on Shaolin and Taiji quan came from masters at popular level • To participate in the anti-Manchu movement • Therefore, Qing emperors ordered the teaching of “boxing and staff” (quan zhang) be prohibited. • And private accounts of anti-Manchu nature were burnt • As part of overall effort to strengthen national resolve against imperialistic incursions into China • Taiji quan and Shaolin boxing competed each other for popularity and supremacy, as authors who favored one over the other wrote about either of them • The Travels of Laocan mentioned Bodhidhama as the originator of Shaolin boxing • Shaolin School Methods (aka. Secrets of Shaolin Boxing) also expanded on Bodhidhama story

  11. Promotion of Martial Arts • Collective memory of the past trauma prompted China’s Nationalist government to begin the promotion of martial arts • To develop martial spirit in the people so as to change the image of “sick man of Asia,” an appellation derived from late Qing military failure • Both Shaolin martial arts and Taiji quan were promoted • Popular myths of Shaolin martial arts as a integral part of the Chinese martial art tradition continued to exert influence, despite scholars’ efforts to demythologize them • Anti-Manchu and anti-Japanese sentiments in the 20-century martial arts institutes continue to exert their impacts

  12. Martial Arts in End of the Qing • The Boxers revealed the pervasiveness of traditional martial arts in Chinese society, despite early Qing prohibition • Shanghai in 1909 saw the establishment of the first physical culture and sports organization, which in 1910 took the name of Jingwu Tiyu hui, or Martial Excellence Physical Culture Association • Martial Arts teacher Huo Yuanjia and his disciple, Liu Zhensheng, were most famous

  13. Bruce Lee (Lee Xiaolong) andViolence • Bruce Lee was a very violent man, but he was a hero in many Asians’ eyes. The Time Magazine named him “the hero and idol of the 20th century.” Why? • A symbol of • Perfection in martial arts, gongfu (kung-fu) • Creativity—he synthesized various martial arts techniques to create his own unique style called Jeet-kune do (Jiequan dao, the way of the intercepting fist) • Patriotism, dignity, and self-esteem • Anti-racism • Successful revenge

  14. Bruce Lee and the Boxers • Bruce Lee believes that good and right martial-arts training can produce martial-arts techniques to overcome fiercest adversary • Reminiscence of the Boxers in 1900, who thought that martial-arts training made them immune to bullets • He turned his body into a weapon that could kill