Chinese Martial Art, A National Heritage
Chinese Martial Art
Due to its ancient history, widespread influence and prominent cultural, sports, historic significance, China martial art is honored as “National Art”.
The origination of Chinese martial art can be traced back to the primitive society. To fight back animals, the primitive men accumulated precious defense and attack tactics—the forerunner to the Chinese Martial Art. During thousands of years it has developed into a comprehensive system embracing numerous sects, schools and disciplines rare seen in the world. Generally speaking, Chinese martial art splits into External(外家拳) which focuses on improving muscle and cardiovascular fitness and Internal(内家拳) which emphasizes on Qi manipulation roughly. It can also be classified into Northern Style(北拳) and Southern Style(南拳) according to different areas. You can see their difference in movie Nan quan bei tui(Secret Rivals).Northern style centers on Yellow River area, it can be compared to a hurricane featuring fast and strong attacks, high jumps and quick movement. Attacking enemies by long legs is Northern Style’s most distinctive feature. While Southern Style is characterized by the combination of skills and wisdom such as use soft technique to overcome the hard technique and turn it into nothing. Shorter in figure, south Chinese adopt wisdom and tactics to overcome this disadvantage: they develop the boxing skills to the ultimate level and focus on agility and flexibility. Besides, South Style exerted much more influence on Chinese Martial Art both on skills and concepts and it enriches and upgrades the spiritual content of martial art.
Taining Procedure of Chinese Martial Art
Basics: Bacics training of various sects of martial art is basically the same, one need to practice stance(such as horse-riding stances), jumping, turning, tumbling, stretching, running to prepare the body for advanced study. Nowadays, as long as you are strong enough, you can enter the stage of practice Taolu directly.
Internal training(内功) aims to strengthen the heart, improve breathing skills (also known as Qi Gong),cultivate the mind and improve the attack and defense skills. One important item of internal training is Qi Gong, one needs to practice breathes in and breathes out properly, supplemented by a serial of body movements to improve the attack and defense skills.
Daoism has exerted strong influence to Chinese society since ancient times and it puts forward that there is an universe inside our body which is connected to the outside world and these two can influence each other. Qi, the flow of inner energy in our body, can be trained and balanced with outside world to enhance our body. Traditional Chinese medicine based on the theory of Jingluo has similar saying: Jingluo is the channels of Qi (inner energy flow) inside of our body, thus practice Qi Gong will be good for strengthen our inner organs. Though hard to be explained by science, top martial art masters can use Qi to heal themselves even cure others.
Qi Gong can be divided into Donggong (Motion Power) and Jinggong (Meditation Power). Practice the former, one needs to perform a serial of movement accompanied by proper breathing and meditation to realize the enhancement and push of inner energy flow, Qi. Taichiquan is a good example of it. Practice the later, one mainly depends on proper breathing and meditation. Most people practice Qigong to maintain and enhance health.
External training(外功) strives to heal and strengthen our body include muscles, bones, hands, eyes, feet, stances to enhance attack and defense abilities. In many cases traditional medicines are used as supplement. To improve the endurance to attacks and to enhance the attack power, external training practitioners need to be hit by solid objects repeatedly and vice versa. In public shows, we usually see martial art practitioners hit by bricks hard in the heads and they suffer no damages at all.
Forms of taolu: Taolu can be divided into two kinds: one is by hands and the other is by weapons. For starters, they need to practice boxing first from the simple ones to sophisticated ones. When time is mature, they can begin to practice martial art with various weapons from primitive level to advanced level. In the end, they can pick a partner or join a group to practice.
Cultural Content of Chinese Martial Art
Different with the aggressive and brutal western boxing based on the value of individualism, the unique Island-flavored karate in Japan, the bloody Thai Boxing in Thailand, Chinese martial art advocates the philosophy of hardness and softness, the perfect blending of strong and healthy body, outstanding skills as well as peaceful and noble inner world. It is more than a fighting technique, or simply a combination of strength and skills. It is imbued with Chinese people’s unique perspective on fighting, profound culture and philosophy includes Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism, thus forming a comprehensive and unique system. Through it the ancient philosophy finds the fullest expression. —Lu Cao(陆草)
The Chinese character“武”(martial art) comprises of two characters: “止”(stop) and “戈”(an ancient weapon), which indicate the essence of martial art is not to fight, but to maintain peace. —Zhichao(佘志超)
Chinese martial art has taken root in the traditional culture since ancient times, and it embodies almost every aspect of Chinese culture thus has become one of its symbol. Thus, many foreigners study it not only for a skill but also to experience the culture. —Qiao Fengjie(乔凤杰)
Morality & Features
Chinese martial art morality comprises two parts:(1) morality of deed: To prepare the practitioners to build harmonious social relationships, merits include humility, sincerity, courtesy, morality and trust are greatly valued (2 )Morality of mind: in order to help practitioners to balance between emotional mind and the wisdom mind and build a harmonious inner world, courage, patience, endurance, perserverance and strong will are advocated.
Features of Chinese martial art: First, Chinese martial art boasts extremely high flexibility concerning its most diversified forms and rich contents. People of all ages and genders can find the right one to practice. Besides, it is not subject to the limitations of time, equipments, seasons or fields. Main benefits of practicing martial art include maintain and improve health, cultivate mind and learn an effective defense and attack skill.Second, Chinese martial art emphasizes on the integration of outstanding skills and the cultivation of a peaceful and powerful inner world meanwhile. the essential spirit of Five Animals Gymnastics, an ancient practice which mimics the gestures of tiger, deer, bear, monkey and birds, is to maintain tranquil inner mind amid the chaos of fighting, to cherish hard technique and soft technique meanwhile, to practice martial art skills and cultivate inner world. For all sects of Chinese martial art, external training and external training are valued greatly as two indispensible aspects no exceptionally.
Main Historical Sites of Chinese martial art
Shaolin Monastery (少林寺): Also known as Shaolin Temple: It is located in Henan Province. If you are into Chinese Kung Fu, Shaolin Kungfu will be your priority choice. Four Sects of Chinese martial art are Shaolin Sect, Wudang Sect, Emei Sect and Kunlun Sect. Since ancient times, there is a saying goes, one has to study martial art in Shaolin Temple in the North and Wadang Mountain in the South.
Shaolin Sect of Chinese Martial Art
Wudang Sect of Chinese Martial Art
Emei Sect of Chinese Martial Art
Kunlun Sect of Chinese Martial Art
Wudang Mountain (武当山): Located in Hubei Province, Wudang Mountain is famous for Daoism culture and especially, the Wudang Kung Fu. Shaolin and Wudang represent two major styles of Chinese Kung Fu: external and internal, respectively. Popular fictions or action movies often illustrate a Wudang kungfu practitioner as being able to fly over the bottomless cliffs like a crane, floating like a cloud, running like a wind, and staying static like a stone.
Mount Hua (华山): Mount Hua, or Huashan, is located in Shan Xi province. Besides the most enchanting natural scenery composed of steep mountains and bizarre rocks, profound Daoism and Buddhism culture, it is equally famous for swordsmanship. A famous martial art writer called Jin Yong, devoted many words to describe the time-honored martial art culture in Mt Huashan. Martial Art & Cultural Association of Hua Mountain, a non-government organization, is composed of martial art enthusiastic fans and experts aiming to study and improve marital art together.
Mount Emei (峨眉山) : Over the past thousands of years, monks and Daoists in Mount Emei practice martial art and gradually form the famous Emei Sect which is imbued with the Buddhism and Daoism philosophy. It combines the External of Shaolin Sect and the Internal of Wudang Sect and their merits such as the hard technique of Shaolin and the soft technique of Wudang meanwhile. Emei Sect is an independent sect in the kingdom of Chinese martial art which combines Donggong(movement power) and Jinggong(meditation power) and supplemented by boxing and vasious weapons. The Famous “Emei Twelf Stance”(峨眉十二桩) is divided into Donggong with 12 forms and Jinggong with 6 skills. Emei sect is good at using the power of “five peaks”(head, shoulder, elbow, hip and knee) and six elbows(upper elbow, lower elbow, left elbow, ect.) it defensive skills feature the agility of hands and feet. Besides, Emei Sect attaches great importance to morality. The practitioner needs to be a upright and kind person.
Kunlun Mountains (昆仑山): Located in western China, Kunlun Mountains is inhabited by the Hui minority whose marital art is symbolized by Mount Kunlun, and is named as Kunlun Sect. they are skilled and creative at Chinese Boxing(拳术), weapons and partner practice. Swordsmanship, gun shooting, Tangping Boxing, 18 Elbows Attacks, and Bound Kick are its most famous skills.
Top 10 Chinese Martial Art Movies
The Chinese Connection(1972).Directed by Lo Wei and starring Bruce Lee. It is about a kung fu master avenges the death of his martial arts instructor. This is one of Bruce Lee's classic works.
|Enter the Dragon(1973).Directed by Robert Clouse and starring Bruce Lee, Jim Kelly and John Saxon. This was Bruce Lee's final film appearance and his most popular movie.|
|Drunken Master(1978). Directed by Yuen Woo-Ping and starring Jackie Chan. It is a Hong Kong martial arts action comedy which made Jackie Chan a star.||The Shaolin Temple(1982). Directed by Chang Hsin-Yen and starring Jet Li.This is Jet Li's first debut. It is about a boy adopted by Shaolin Temple's revenge.|
|Snake in the Monkey's Shadow(1982). Directed by Sum Cheung and starring John Chang.The best martial arts movie on the drunken technique,monkey form, snake form, as well as tiger claw and Mantis-fist.||Shaolin Master Killer(1983). Directed by Lau Kar-Leung and starring Gordon Liu. It is one of the most outstanding martial arts films.|
|Supercop(1992). Directed by Stanley Tong and starring Jackie Chan, Michelle Yeoh.The film displays Chan's dual mastery of physical comedy and martial arts. It is about two good friends became policemen and a serial things happened to them. Plenty of tricks.||Fist of Legend(1994). Directed by Gordon Chan and starring Jet Li. It is the best masterpiece by Jet Li. Real martial art performance was used rather than stunt. One famous line is "you have to learn endure the attack from others before you attack them".|
|The Legend of Drunken Master(1994). Directed by Lau Kar-Leung and starring Jackie Chan.This is Jackie Chan's best martial arts movie. The crazy and funny"drunken boxing" was used to defeat his enemies. It is a true action masterpiece featuring some of the most intense fighting sequences ever filmed.||Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon(1999). Directed by Ang Lee and starring Michelle Khan, Chang Chen, Zhang Ziyi, Chow Yun-Fat.It won the 73rd Annual Academy Award and was honored as the best in Foreign Language, Music (Score), Art Direction and Cinematography.|
Places to Learn Chinese Martial Art(Notice: it is up to you to choose the right one.)
Five Wheel House,Chaoyang Branch(五轮馆,朝阳道场分店). Location: Room 212,Unit D,Fundun Center, No58,Dong San Huan Road,Chaoyang District(朝阳区东三环南路58号富顿中心D座212室)
Wing Chun Quan Sub(咏春拳学总会(优士阁店)分店. Locations:Room 10, Unit A, Youshige, No 8,Guangqumenwai Avenue,Chaoyang District( 朝阳区广渠门外大街8号优士阁A座12B10室)
Sanlin Wushu Academy(三林武术院). Location:4th floor,Shangwu Building, No 3886,Shangnan Road,Pudong New District(浦东新区上南路3886号尚武楼北4楼)
Yingwu Kung Fu House,Zhongshan Park Subbranch(英武功夫馆中山公园馆分店). Location: the First floor,Shangjie Club, No 546,Changning Road,Changning District(长宁区长宁路546号尚街会馆1楼)
Zhongtai Wushu Academy(中泰武术学校). Location:Bajiao Pavilion,Yuhang District,Hangzhou City,Zhejiang Province(浙江省杭州市余杭区中泰八角亭)
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