The invention of martial arts

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The invention of martial arts

Postby GrahamB on Mon Feb 08, 2021 6:44 am

Good video by Paul Bowman

https://youtu.be/IOyAllbfYsM

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Re: The invention of martial arts

Postby Bhassler on Mon Feb 08, 2021 11:17 am

What did you like about it?

I thought the title was misleading, as it really should have been something like "The emergence of martial arts in contemporary British popular culture". Aside from omitting the context in the title, he never justifies use of the term 'invention', which would imply that what was created was somehow new and different than what had gone before. I believe an argument can be convincingly made for that, but he really doesn't touch on it at all in his presentation.
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Re: The invention of martial arts

Postby GrahamB on Mon Feb 08, 2021 11:44 am

Really? It's like you didn't watch the video at all.
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Re: The invention of martial arts

Postby Bhassler on Mon Feb 08, 2021 1:25 pm

Wow. Good response. Very insightful.

He says he's going to talk about some of those things, but apparently you have to buy the book for that. What he does talk about is a fairly arbitrary set of events that he has determined by unknown means to be socially significant, while generalizing all of those things to be equally significant in North America as they reputedly were in the UK. That's all well and good, as it is in part just the nature of the beast, but there was nothing particularly compelling about any of it that would lead one to think that the book or the rest of the talk would be especially insightful or interesting. He suggests that it's meaningful in how it relates to the broader cultural awareness of martial arts as a discrete entity, but doesn't say why it would matter to either the martial artist or the populace at large.

That's my opinion. I asked for yours, as apparently you did find something good in it.
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Re: The invention of martial arts

Postby GrahamB on Mon Feb 08, 2021 1:38 pm

I thought he rather nicely articulated the emergence of the concept of ‘martial arts’ into the public’s consciousness in the UK (no mention of the US), starting in early 1900s all the way up to the present day, and how it’s mixed in with concepts of orientalism and stereotype. His main point being that until the early 70s, martial arts were not in the popular consciousness at all.

(I would however take issue with the assertion that the Wu Tang Clan were the pinnacle of rap music, but it’s not really my area.)

The video is well made, entertaining and allows you to entertain ideas you may not have had before. Also known as expanding your mind. But most of all I liked that he was a refreshing change to the usual blowhard, negative, martial arts people who populate discussion forums, despite not knowing how to either watch a video or read and article, and demand to know other people’s opinions as if they’re entitled to them.

Have a great day!
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Re: The invention of martial arts

Postby Bhassler on Mon Feb 08, 2021 6:52 pm

Silly me. Here I thought that criticism and discourse were essential to scholarship. Or that someone posting something on a discussion forum would wish to discuss it. And that the usual way to get someone's take on a thing was to ask them for it. Boy, was I wrong! Thanks for expanding my mind...

FWIW, he does generalize to all Anglophonic culture, and specifically includes North America. You're right, though, he probably just meant the English speaking parts of Canada.

With regards to Orientalism and stereotypes, this is an article I read back in 1999 that hits it on more of an individual level. I thought was pretty good when I read it, and still do: https://kodokanboston.files.wordpress.c ... onment.pdf
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Re: The invention of martial arts

Postby robert on Mon Feb 08, 2021 6:56 pm

GrahamB wrote:His main point being that until the early 70s, martial arts were not in the popular consciousness at all.

Wait! What? Was I the only person who noticed Cato doing MAs with Inspector Clouseau in the early Pink Panther movies? Didn't anyone else see James Bond using MAs? And what about Emma Peel in the Avengers? Has my life been a dream? ;)
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Re: The invention of martial arts

Postby Tom on Mon Feb 08, 2021 7:06 pm

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Re: The invention of martial arts

Postby zrm on Mon Feb 08, 2021 7:18 pm

Interesting talk. Thanks.

He discusses The Avengers at 11 minutes 50 seconds. I think when he uses the term "martial arts" he has a specific definition in mind, as opposed to just learning self defence techniques or just kicking arse and taking names.
Last edited by zrm on Mon Feb 08, 2021 7:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The invention of martial arts

Postby Bao on Mon Feb 08, 2021 11:06 pm

Oh... The name of the video is a bit misrepresentative. It’s about when different martial arts ideas become mainstream in the U.K. This is when Uncle Bill, a factory worker in a small town who’s only interest has been watching soccer and reading about cricket starts to notice the word kung fu and ninja in the morning paper.

What he speaks about is not representative of any other country in the world, not of Europe and not even of the US. It’s all about the GB.

Apparently the public knowledge on martial arts in GB is at least ten years behind the US, which is of course something he doesn’t say, but is really the only interesting conclusion I can make out from watching this.
...He takes himself a little bit to seriously which made it a bit hard to watch...
Last edited by Bao on Mon Feb 08, 2021 11:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The invention of martial arts

Postby Bao on Mon Feb 08, 2021 11:33 pm

Here is an interesting article (link to PDF download) about how Kung Fu spread to the West. Starting from page 17 you can read about how my teacher Mr Hu introduced the term Kung Fu to America in 1962.

https://d1wqtxts1xzle7.cloudfront.net/3 ... GGSLRBV4ZA
Last edited by Bao on Mon Feb 08, 2021 11:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The invention of martial arts

Postby GrahamB on Tue Feb 09, 2021 1:08 am

robert wrote:
GrahamB wrote:His main point being that until the early 70s, martial arts were not in the popular consciousness at all.

Wait! What? Was I the only person who noticed Cato doing MAs with Inspector Clouseau in the early Pink Panther movies? Didn't anyone else see James Bond using MAs? And what about Emma Peel in the Avengers? Has my life been a dream? ;)


Oh, the sweet the folly of commenting before you've watched what it is you're commentating on.....
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Re: The invention of martial arts

Postby Trick on Tue Feb 09, 2021 1:14 am

robert wrote:
GrahamB wrote:His main point being that until the early 70s, martial arts were not in the popular consciousness at all.

Wait! What? Was I the only person who noticed Cato doing MAs with Inspector Clouseau in the early Pink Panther movies? Didn't anyone else see James Bond using MAs? And what about Emma Peel in the Avengers? Has my life been a dream? ;)

And for the all the readers of kiosk literature- Sherlock Holmes with his Baritsu that was inspired from the newly back then invented martial art Bartitsu...early 1900
Last edited by Trick on Tue Feb 09, 2021 1:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The invention of martial arts

Postby denchen on Tue Feb 09, 2021 5:05 am

It is a rather patronising title, seeing as the arts already existed in their own right.

He is talking about the nascent emergence of the concept as part of popular consciousness, the 'invention' is his academic construct.

Pop culture is by its' nature a shallow, disposable and continually evolving synthesis of all it consumes, I'm not sure if there is a point to
his observations ? ( other than as material for his book/conventions etc. )
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Re: The invention of martial arts

Postby marvin8 on Tue Feb 09, 2021 8:36 am

Bao wrote:Here is an interesting article (link to PDF download) about how Kung Fu spread to the West. Starting from page 17 you can read about how my teacher Mr Hu introduced the term Kung Fu to America in 1962.

https://d1wqtxts1xzle7.cloudfront.net/3 ... GGSLRBV4ZA

Broken link. Here is a working one: "Inventing Kung Fu" by Benjamin Judkins.

I met your teacher when buying his book, Chinese Lion Dance Explained, for my nephew.
Last edited by marvin8 on Tue Feb 09, 2021 8:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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