Chinese Martial Arts

Publishdate date: 2017-03-14
ISBN: 978-7-5522-1681-3
Price: 52.1RMB


About The Book

Chinese wushu, also called Chinese kung fu and formerly known as guoshu (Chinese martial arts) or wuyi (wushu skill), is an art of selfdefense and fighting developed and passed on by the Chinese people from ancient times. Wushu, the distillation of the applied means of survival of the ancient Chinese people and the comprehensive embodiment of traditional Chinese philosophy, has played a prominent role throughout Chinese history and has evolved into a splendid cultural system. In this sense, wushu is a microcosm of Chinese civilization. Historically, wushu was a skill used in war. However, as time went on, the military function of Chinese wushu gradually lessened, but it then became a popular way to keep fit and cultivate our natural origins. Apart from those who practice wushu by following their parents’ dictates or by lucky coincidence, it has gradually receded from our life, becoming a lingering and somewhat mysterious memento of the Chinese nation as well as the inspirational muse of novelists.


Chapter 1
Martial Arts and Their History

Section 1 Origin of Martial Arts
Section 2 The Transition from Military to Civil Society
Section 3 Coexistence of Civil and Martial Factions in Administration
Chapter 2
Martial Arts and Culture

Section 1 The Warlike Confucius
Section 2 Taoist Thought and Martial Arts
Section 3 Origins of Buddhism and Martial Arts
Chapter 3
Representation of Martial Arts

Section 1 Evolution of Weapons
Section 2 Weapon Categories
Section 3 Martial Art Schools
Section 4 Neijia and Waijia
Chapter 4
Shaolin and Wudang

Section 1 Northern Shaolin
Section 2 Southern Wudang
Chapter 5
Martial Arts in the Modern Era

Section 1 Martial Arts and Folk Customs
Section 2 Chinese Chivalry through Martial Arts
Section 3 Kungfu Superstars
Author's Note
A Brief Chronology of Chinese History

About The Author

Li Yindong, born in 1968, is associate professor and master tutor of Beijing Sport University. He has engaged in a number of researches in National Sports General Administration of Sports Management Center. His works include The Concept of Wushu Research, On the Origin of Wushu and Wushu Culture, On the Construction of a Harmonious Society, Martial Arts Sports, On Wushu Culture Spirit and Contemporary Value and so on.


Evolving for Survival
The beginnings of wushu started long before recorded history.
Martial techniques were discovered or created during the long epoch of
continuous struggles for food, self-defense against attacks by men and
animals, and out of preparation for wars and combat between different
tribes of humans. In primitive society, hunting was one of the important
means of production and subsistence. Apart from some simple tools,
primordial people used to catch and kill beasts bare-handed.
About six or seven thousand years ago, with the development of
productive forces and the transformation of modes of economic and
social activity, the primitive agricultural civilization gradually came into
existence in regions with favorable natural conditions. Some clans along
the Yellow River valley began to enter the middle period of the Neolithic
Age with tools including stone axes, stone knives, stone hoes, and stone

(Fig. 1-1), which were widely made and used.
Fig. 1-1 Stone Arrowheads
The arrowhead, called “zu” or “di” in the Han Dynasty, refers to the sharp point of
the arrow. In the later period of the Paleolithic Age, the ancient Chinese people adopted
projectile weapons. The earliest arrowheads could be dated back to more than 28,000 years
ago. In the Neolithic Age, stone arrowheads, bone arrowheads and mussel arrowheads
were available. The shape and structure of arrowheads were diversified, some in the shapes
of twin blades, some trigonal, tetragonal, flat leaf-shaped, cylindrical rod, etc.
These tools were used not only for fishing and hunting but also as
weapons for defensive purposes. Numerous historic records have been
found concerning fighting over mates, means of production, chieftainship
as well as spheres of influence and territory. The Historical Stories on the
Art of War by Wei Xi of the Qing Dynasty states that, “People vied with
each other for means of production and subsistence, hence emerged
wushu.” According to Master Lü’s Spring and Autumn Annals, “Before
Chiyou, people fought each other with wood and sticks at any time and
in any place…” Taibai Yinjing records that wood was used for weapons
in Fuxi’s time and was replaced by stone weapons in Shennong’s time. It
is not difficult to detect from these records that most of the conflicts that
took place between individuals and featured small scale interpersonal
combat, which gave rise to the first appearance of fighting weapons in
primitive forms.
Afterwards, the onward development of productive forces resulted
in a ramified social division of labor and increased productivity and slow
advances in technology enabled people to produce more than what
they needed for survival, coupled with the appearance of a greater
concentration of wealth and power as a result of exploitation. After
human beings became enmeshed in a class-based society, war took on
a somewhat class-oppressive nature. Wars were, more often than not,
waged for plunder and expropriation of land, manpower and resources.
With the expansion of tribes in scale and the accumulation of private
property owned by authoritative chieftains, armed intertribal conflicts
developed gradually into intertribal wars for the purpose of the further and
ongoing plundering of wealth.(Fig. 1-2) During the battles utilizing primitive
weaponry, individual combat skills were the keys to victory or defeat.
Often, those who were of strong build and adept in combat skills were
elevated to become tribal chiefs. Once the young grew up, the elderly
would teach every single combat skill they possessed to them, which
laid a solid foundation for the accumulation and dissemination of wushu

Fig. 1-2 Rock painting at the Yinshan Mountains
This is a vivid expedition painting which depicts a
battle with dagger-axes and arrows between the tribes of
remote antiquity. It is a clear depiction of both sides of the
battle. The soldiers of the winning side, well armed with
armor and weapons, are drawing strong bows and attacking
both in front and in the rear of the enemy. All of them have
two braids, some with long feather on their heads (seemingly
they are war-chiefs). In contrast, the losers are mostly
baldheaded, some of them have been baldheaded, and some
are escaping. The whole picture presents a sharp contrast
between the winners and the losers. It was likely engraved
by some tribe to commemorate their victory in a battle.
skills. Such accumulation and transmission of wushu skills in this way
constitutes the immediate origin of wushu.
On the other hand, as farm tools with blades were far from adequate
to meet the needs of combat in battles, tools custom-designed for the
purpose of fighting—weapons—came into existence. The use of wushu
and weapons was not only the material prerequisite for tribes to defeat
their rivals and to win spheres of influence, but also the basic deterrence
of invasion and means of race continuation. At that time, weapons were
mostly made of stone, bones, wood or bamboo(Fig. 1-3), with hooks and
blades by imitating animals’ horns, claws, teeth and beaks. Weapons
of this kind feature better offensive functions than those used both for
farming and combat.
Legend has it that the Chinese nation came into being from tribal
wars of this kind, coupled with the invention and use of weapons. At that




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