China and Chinese Territories
Martial Arts

What is the history of Chinese martial arts?

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2017-08-12 01:28:54

The modern "Kung Fu" (an term for all Chinese martial arts)

began in the Ming Dynasty (1368 AD-1644 AD); and Chinese historical

writings regard Equitation (skill with horses) and Archery as "Kung


Chinese historians believe that "Kung Fu" began as tools for

survival such as hunting and war with different tribes. The

earliest mention of a distinct style of hand-to-hand combat was

around 2700 B.C. where a fighting technique called "Jiao Li" (角力),

where the practitioner uses horned helmets to gore enemies to

death. "Jiao Li" was a grappling form with strikes, blocks, and

joint locks later added to it to form "Shuai Jiao" (摔跤, or摔角),

which is translated into Chinese Wrestling. "Jiao Li" was developed

during the Zhou Dynasty (1045 BC-256 BC), and became an official

part of the Zhou military training program. "Shuai Jiao" was used

by the Qin army and became a sport under the Qin Dynasty (221


During the "Spring and Autumn Period" (770 BC-746 BC),

swordsmanship became wide spread, many of Confucius's students were

described to be skilled swordsman. During this time period,

punching techniques, called Boxing in modern terms, also improved a

great deal.

During the Qin Dynasty, as mentioned before, strikes, blocks,

and joint locks were added to "Jiao Li" to form "Shuai Jiao".

Immediately after the Qing Dynasty, during the Han Dynasty (206 BC-

220 AD) many "Kung Fu" manuals were written, describing

hand-to-hand unarmed combat techniques of the time, showing a vast

increment of techniques from before the Han Dynasty. Toward the Han

Dynasty, passages from books describe methods for an unarmed

combatant to disarm an armed opponent. These records show that the

basis for Chinese "Boxing" and its philosophy: <Far use feet to

kick, Close use hand to punch, Next to body use joint locks and


Han Dynasty also saw rise to weapons "Kung Fu", where sword, dao

(saber), dagger-axe, and sword-shield combination techniques.

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