The invention of martial arts

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Re: The invention of martial arts

Postby Bao on Tue Feb 09, 2021 8:55 am

marvin8 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.

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


Thanks!

I met your teacher when buying his book, "Chinese Lion Dance Explained" for my nephew.


Oh my, I have been looking for it for ages. I am extremely unhappy that I didn't buy it when I could, now it's impossible. I hope he understand how lucky he is and what a treasure it is. A marvellous piece of work. Must have been about 20 years ago?

Back then, after finishing that book, he was working on a book about Tai Chi history. He recited a short part of what he had written, it was extremely detailed. Sad that it won't happen.
Last edited by Bao on Tue Feb 09, 2021 8:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The invention of martial arts

Postby marvin8 on Tue Feb 09, 2021 2:12 pm

Bao wrote:
I met your teacher when buying his book, "Chinese Lion Dance Explained" for my nephew.


Oh my, I have been looking for it for ages. I am extremely unhappy that I didn't buy it when I could, now it's impossible. I hope he understand how lucky he is and what a treasure it is. A marvellous piece of work. Must have been about 20 years ago?

25 years ago. Either mail and pay for shipping or pick it up. William was at the Gift Center, in San Francisco.

We talked and he mentioned the book cost him money. It's such a specialized book catering to a small market, at the time. But, it was his contribution to the Chinese culture.
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Re: The invention of martial arts

Postby Finny on Tue Feb 09, 2021 3:57 pm

GrahamB wrote:
(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.)

...

Have a great day!


How dare you. Wu Tang is for the children.

May ODB sour your cereal milk.
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Re: The invention of martial arts

Postby Steve James on Tue Feb 09, 2021 4:58 pm

I think his timeline is about right when it comes to the contemporary idea of martial arts in English (and probably European) popular culture. I also think that he's talking about how the term was applied specifically to Asian martial practices as totality. Did the English wrestlers who worked with Japanese practitioners consider what they did a martial art? Why was it asked whether boxing or wrestling were martial arts or not? Or, when and why was this difference invented?

Did someone mention orientalism a while back? Was it a New Age thing?
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Re: The invention of martial arts

Postby Trick on Tue Feb 09, 2021 11:23 pm

Two WW’s roamed the globe in 1900’s first half, people had no time to muse on martial arts, they where fighting for their lives..So quite logical reasoning that the public MA’s for recreation came around in the 1960’s/70’s when the world began to get back on its feet again....
However before the WW’s I’ll guess there was an upswing in the west(Europe) of public interest of MA’s practice, judo/jujutsukas from Japan performing in public, people had heard of the boxers in China.....Barton Wright operated an successful MA’s school basing much of his teaching on Judo/Jujutsu.....
Even in the small Sweden there where the early Jujutsu pioneer Viking Cronholm who’s teachings became popular with his book -Jiu-Jitsu tricks published in 1908
Last edited by Trick on Tue Feb 09, 2021 11:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The invention of martial arts

Postby Trick on Tue Feb 09, 2021 11:51 pm

. Why was it asked whether boxing or wrestling were martial arts or not? Or, when and why was this difference invented?
Martial arts.. the “art” may refer to what by many is seen as an sort of performance art -kata , taolu......Which western Boxing and wrestling do not have..So perhaps the name “martial art” came along by westerners when the East Asian combat practice methods where introduced to westerners....? Maybe the “art” came along with the popularity of Japanes combat methods which has a more “ceremonial” way to it, at least before and after the actual fighting happen...
However the Chinese Boxers where just called boxers by the westerners during the boxer rebellions...So probably Chinese MA’s was originally just called Boxing too
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Re: The invention of martial arts

Postby Bao on Wed Feb 10, 2021 1:36 am

Trick wrote:
. Why was it asked whether boxing or wrestling were martial arts or not? Or, when and why was this difference invented?
Martial arts.. the “art” may refer to what by many is seen as an sort of performance art -kata , taolu......Which western Boxing and wrestling do not have..So perhaps the name “martial art” came along by westerners when the East Asian combat practice methods where introduced to westerners....?


You (both of you) forget the expression "The Noble Art of Boxing." How old this is I don't know exactly. But from what I have found, it is mentioned in print, in English books dating as early as 1755. I have also found a sign on a door mentioned in a history book that is supposed to have been dated from about the 1720s with the inscription: "The Academy of the noble art of boxing."

There is also the expression that boxing is the "noble art of self-defence". The concept of "art" might come from french fencing and/or duelling.

The "nobility" of fighting arts and considering fighting arts "noble" has a very long history and found in the old Greece.
Last edited by Bao on Wed Feb 10, 2021 1:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The invention of martial arts

Postby Trick on Wed Feb 10, 2021 2:45 am

Bao wrote:
Trick wrote:
. Why was it asked whether boxing or wrestling were martial arts or not? Or, when and why was this difference invented?
Martial arts.. the “art” may refer to what by many is seen as an sort of performance art -kata , taolu......Which western Boxing and wrestling do not have..So perhaps the name “martial art” came along by westerners when the East Asian combat practice methods where introduced to westerners....?


You (both of you) forget the expression "The Noble Art of Boxing." How old this is I don't know exactly. But from what I have found, it is mentioned in print, in English books dating as early as 1755. I have also found a sign on a door mentioned in a history book that is supposed to have been dated from about the 1720s with the inscription: "The Academy of the noble art of boxing."

There is also the expression that boxing is the "noble art of self-defence". The concept of "art" might come from french fencing and/or duelling.

The "nobility" of fighting arts and considering fighting arts "noble" has a very long history and found in the old Greece.
Ah yes, it’s actually “the noble art of self Defence” so in that light, when referred to self Defence rather than sport it may be called an Art
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Re: The invention of martial arts

Postby Steve James on Wed Feb 10, 2021 6:44 am

Silly. My question was whether boxers and wrestlers thought they were practicing a "martial art," and did they call what they were doing martial arts. The question is not whether boxing or wrestling "were" martial arts. Yet, I can remember when that question began to be asked. It wasn't always so.

I tend to agree that the contemporary concept of "martial art" in the west was invented to apply to Asian cultural practices. Every society that has warred has had martial training systems. What differentiates Asian mas seems to be the use of costumes and dance-like choreography.

During the Middle Ages, the English had the art of archery. The French, Spanish, Italians, and Germans wrote loads of books describing the sword arts. Didn't Suntzi write the "Art of War"? Otoh, the Chinese Opera has no comparison in the west, does it?

Anyway, imo, it's an interesting question of cultural terminology and why terms go in and out of fashion. That's what I feel can be invented. I.e., there is a specific time when, place where, and reason why people in the west started to use the term "martial art" to describe karate, judo, taiji, pankration, boxing, etc.. It wasn't always the case.
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Re: The invention of martial arts

Postby Trick on Wed Feb 10, 2021 7:02 am

Don’t know the terminology of the matter in other European languages, but in Swedish we have two expressions for this stuff- Kamp Konst och Kamp Sport - first translate as Martial Art and the latter Martial Sport. Most today use Kamp sport to define all pugilistic/wrestling dueling activities Asian and western alike, I think of the likes(pugilist/wrestling) only Aikido still is referred to Kamp Konst......Taijiquan by general population is probably referred to neither.....
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Re: The invention of martial arts

Postby Steve James on Wed Feb 10, 2021 7:20 am

Yeah, but what did the Norsemen call their "martial art"? Better yet, how about the Anglo-Saxons? Linguistically, 'martial' comes from the Latin languages, and simply means related to war (actually their god of war). But, all tournaments and competitions were dedicated to Mars, and that's the relation to sport --aopt to training.

Average people were often not allowed to "study" war and have weapons. But, they had to fight, so means of self-defense had to exist, and usage would inevitably lead to some form of systemization. Irish stick fighting or Haitian machete fighting are examples. However, imo, the reason we call them martial arts nowadays is because they're being acknowledged in comparison to Asian martial arts post 1960s.

It's also true that there are "martial arts" practiced today where there is no war, competition, or sport. I.e., some would say they are just dancing; others would say that they're done for health.
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Re: The invention of martial arts

Postby Bao on Wed Feb 10, 2021 8:14 am

Steve James wrote:Yeah, but what did the Norsemen call their "martial art"? Better yet, how about the Anglo-Saxons? Linguistically, 'martial' comes from the Latin languages, and simply means related to war (actually their god of war). But, all tournaments and competitions were dedicated to Mars, and that's the relation to sport --aopt to training.

Average people were often not allowed to "study" war and have weapons. But, they had to fight, so means of self-defense had to exist, and usage would inevitably lead to some form of systemization. Irish stick fighting or Haitian machete fighting are examples. However, imo, the reason we call them martial arts nowadays is because they're being acknowledged in comparison to Asian martial arts post 1960s.

It's also true that there are "martial arts" practiced today where there is no war, competition, or sport. I.e., some would say they are just dancing; others would say that they're done for health.



The word "Martial Arts" is also found in 18th century literature.
"An Universal History, from the Earliest Account of Time: Asiatic history to the time of Alexander the Great" 1747. Maybe the passage can give some clue to what you were asking for?"

Image


Trick wrote: Ah yes, it’s actually “the noble art of self Defence” so in that light, when referred to self Defence rather than sport it may be called an Art


Nope, the original expression is in fact "The noble art of boxing", this at least as old as the first half of the 18th century. "The noble art of self Defence" however is a late 19th century expression, invented at the turn of the century.


"Self defence" however is found in literature from at least as old as from the second half of the 15th century.
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Re: The invention of martial arts

Postby Steve James on Wed Feb 10, 2021 8:34 am

The word "Martial Arts" is also found in 18th century literature.
"An Universal History, from the Earliest Account of Time: Asiatic history to the time of Alexander the Great" 1747. Maybe the passage can give some clue to what you were asking for?"

Image


It's a fine example, and the subject illustrates the point that martial arts are created of necessity. But, that doesn't really answer the question of whether what people mean by martial arts today is what was meant in the 17th century.

The main reason I ask is because people started asking whether boxing was a martial art the same way muay thai and taiji are martial arts. When I was coming up, martial arts were distinguished by kicks. Boxing and wrestling were simply called sports. I agree with the idea that considering them martial arts (like karate) was invented in the late 60s and early 70s. I'd even argue that the further away activities were from actual warfare, the more likely they were to be considered martial arts.

Some soldiers are learning bjj nowadays. But, bjj didn't develop out of the military. The same was true in the 30s and 40s with judo.
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Re: The invention of martial arts

Postby GrahamB on Wed Feb 10, 2021 9:39 am

Yes, exactly Steve - you get what he's trying to say.

When it comes to what "vikings" called their art - that's an interesting subject and we have to discuss Glima, which is full of it's own sorts of problems....

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Re: The invention of martial arts

Postby Steve James on Wed Feb 10, 2021 11:27 am

"The Egyptians carved Scandinavian wrestling techniques" in their tombs.:)

Arguably, Bruce Lee had something to do with the nationalistic impetus in martial arts. Japanese arts were the most well known until Lee distinguished Chinese "gong fu" from Japanese systems. Around then was the rise of access to and interest in HK movies. But, then, through the UFC people began to see Brazilian, Thai, Russian, and other mas. People began looking for their own nation's "traditional" ma.
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