Chinese Martial Arts; how can you learn? Please find out the most famous Chinese martial arts and whether it is worth starting to train strictly according to oriental martial art. Various self-defense systems have emerged mainly in East Asia. They developed as a means of unarmed combat. Today, they are often practiced as sports exercises, but their purpose is for mental and physical improvement. It should recognize that some Chinese martial arts involve the ability to use various weapons, considered an extension of the hand.
There are also martial arts, which initially focused on fighting with weapons. Now on the Internet, you can find a lot of information about various Chinese martial arts, but not all are true. Many myths are very deeply rooted in the minds of the masses. Today we will try to eliminate the most popular among them.
Chinese martial arts: the most famous legends
Wushu is a Chinese gymnast.
“wushu” is translated into Russian as “martial arts.” This concept in the Heavenly Empire unites all martial arts in this country. But in the last century, the government decided to create new sports based on ancient art. In a short time, they started teaching in schools and continued not only at home but also abroad. It is with this that the statement that wushu is gymnastics is related.
Wushu and Kung Fu are two types of Chinese martial arts.
In practice, everything turned out to be much simpler, and “kung fu” is just a distorted name for the term “gong fu.” The Celestial Empire will use it for all businesses where a person can improve their skills. It suggests that martial arts can be called gong fu, singing, or cooking.
Wise men with high morals only used martial arts.
In ancient times the ability to fight without weapons made survival possible. Back then, few people thought about health and not winning the Olympics. Back then, life was much more complicated than modern life. However, today they often talk about frequent stress and bad ecology.
Let’s try to find out what categories of people could have access to studying Chinese martial arts. The military immediately comes to mind, and this is true, but only partially. We must take into account the location of the events taking place, as well as the period. There is evidence of Russian military commanders traveling through China in the nineteenth-century recording Wushu lessons.
But one should also remember the times in the history of the Heavenly Empire when criminals were drafted into the army, and it is obvious that they did not undergo serious training. Suppose the military does not take part in hostilities for a long time. In that case, the processes of moral decay begin in it. The famous Chinese writer Lao She spoke eloquently about this fact.
Who else could have practiced martial arts? They could be border dwellers and travelers who robbers often attacked. Besides, such people could be the caravan’s guards and the robbers, who needed something to oppose the protection. Do you believe that most of these people have high morals?
Moreover, there is evidence that among the masters of various wushu styles, at different times, there were unnecessary robbers, and some of them are even included in the genealogy of the class. There is written evidence that a robber created one branch of the almond style. The famous master Liu Dekuan studied the secrets of martial art from him. You should not rewrite history alone, but it is better to perceive it as it was. It will allow you to avoid mistakes in the future.
The martial arts were primarily monks.
From this statement, it can conclude that primarily taught Chinese martial arts are in spiritual abodes. In any country, regardless of religion, a monastery is a place to retreat from the hustle and bustle of worldly life and serve for religious practice. In action films, we are often shown unhurried monks capable of dealing with a dozen opponents.
It would help if you didn’t take everything the movie shows seriously. We all know about the Shaolin Monastery, although not all monks studied martial arts there. The area where this spiritual abode was located was remote, and many bandits hid in the mountains. They often attacked the monastery, and its abbot had to start training his guards.
Often these “monastic armies” included people who had studied Chinese martial arts before being tonsured. Suppose you carefully review the history of wushu practiced in Shaolin. In that case, you can trace the sharp skills of the monks after “fresh blood” appeared in their ranks. For example, this happened after the establishment of Jueyuan (in the Song dynasty), the “72 techniques” known today, and the five-step training system. A similar situation occurred during the reign of the Yuan Dynasty when the Fuju Patriarchate invited 18 wushu masters to Shaolin to teach monks.
Studied a particular style of wushu in Shaolin
And again, it was not without filming. In Songshan, Shaolin studied not one style but several. There have always been many martial arts masters in this spiritual abode, who all passed on their skills to the monks. Of course, these styles were closely related throughout history, but no one tried to create a single martial art.
There were two Shaolin monasteries.
The chronicles mention ten spiritual abodes with this name. Today we can speak with complete certainty about the existence of Northern Shaolin, which still exists today. You can also hear about the presence of the Southern Monastery, but everything is not so simple here. One famous Chinese historian, Tang Hao, has spent much time researching this issue in the last century.
According to the legends, Southern Shaolin was located in Fujian Province. He visited the area and found that hundreds of kilometers separated all the geographical landmarks mentioned in the tales. Some of them were in the neighboring provinces.
A long-term study of surviving county records also did not shed light on the existence of Southern Shaolin. Further research showed that the legends resemble the events of a novel written in the Middle Ages. Therefore, Tang Hao claimed that the southern part of Shaolin had never existed, and the legends were only retelling a story written in the eighteenth century. It was trendy among farmers and was passed down orally from generation to generation.
Most of the Wushu styles are imitations.
To dispel this myth, it is worth at least a careful study of reference books on Chinese martial arts, for example, The Great Dictionary of Chinese Wushu. If you write several dozen known styles, there will not even be 10 imitations. Today, we have reviewed cinemas more than once and are forced to do it again.
As mentioned above, the main task of all Chinese martial arts, without exception, is to defeat opponents. Only those movements are used in a real fight to help achieve the goal. A simile based on this position is relegated to a secondary role. Of course, to better understand the training technique, it could be described as a comparison to the movements of an animal or an insect, but this did not have a significant meaning.
For example, the style of the prayer stick already discussed, as conceived by its author, allowed for constant offensive action and simultaneous defense with both hands. The praying mantis clings to its prey with its paws, which was the reason for the comparison. In this case, the insect moves slowly, which is unacceptable on the battlefield. At the same time, the wushu style we are considering involves lightning-fast movements, which have already been compared to monkeys.
For example, Xingyiquan has methods compared to bear, crocodile, and snake. However, this only applies to a specific exercise and not to the whole style. It did not primarily name the type of the tiger because of the mimicry of this predator in terms of the movements it performed. It was about the violent attacks that the tiger makes. Wushu uses many acrobatic elements that involve frequent falls and ascents. Thus was born “Drunk Man’s Style.”
Jackie Chan is a master of all wushu styles.
To begin with, this famous Chinese film actor was trained in an acting school where he was taught the art of stage combat. He didn’t learn authentic martial arts at all. If you don’t believe it, read Jackie Chan’s autobiography, which has been translated into many languages.
The greatest fighter of all time – Bruce Lee
Suppose you analyze the actor’s biography with an open mind. In that case, it will become clear that the image of Bruce Lee as a fighter is greatly exaggerated. What many call “a lot of street fighting” turned out to be a simple brawl between boys. Another example of the validity of our statement is the so-called fight of Bruce Lee with representatives of the triad.
According to this legend, Bruce objected to being forced to stop acting so as not to reveal the secrets of Chinese martial arts to outsiders. The actor’s opponent in this fight was Wong Jak Man, who is still alive today. He claims he was not representing anyone but was only responding to a challenge from Bruce Lee, who claimed he was invincible.
Only Bruce Lee’s wife tells us about the movie star’s victory in that battle. The rest of the witnesses are inclined to conclude the confrontation. We also did not find confirmation that the actor has multiple styles of wushu. It is known that during his stay in Hong Kong, he took several lessons from a master of the almond style. However, his knowledge of this style is far from perfect.
But almost no one doubts his unique physical abilities. However, there are many such people on earth. Bruce Lee’s buzz is easily explained by the fact that in the 1960s, the Celestial Empire needed a national hero, which he became. It should also remember that the wushu hobby began in America through Bruce Lee’s films. But how can you call someone the greatest fighter of all time who hasn’t even competed in a domestic tournament?
Many legends are associated with Chinese martial arts, and today we talked about only the most popular ones.