By Peter A. Lorge

Within the worldwide global of the twenty-first century, martial arts are practiced for self-defense and carrying reasons purely. in spite of the fact that, for millions of years, they have been a vital function of army perform in China and crucial for the graceful functioning of society. people who have been adept in utilizing guns have been very hot, now not easily as warriors but additionally as tacticians and performers. This e-book, which opens with an exciting account of the first actual woman martial artist, charts the background of strive against and combating concepts in China from the Bronze Age to the current. This huge landscape presents interesting glimpses into the transformation of martial talents, suggestions, and weaponry opposed to the history of chinese language historical past, the increase and fall of empires, their governments, and their armies. Quotations from literature and poetry, and the tales of person warriors, infuse the narrative, delivering own reflections on prowess within the battlefield and methods of engagement. this is often a fascinating and readable advent to the genuine heritage of chinese language martial arts.

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Extra info for Chinese Martial Arts: From Antiquity to the Twenty-First Century

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High-quality iron swords were initially thought to come from the states of Chu, Han, and Yan. Lower-quality swords were available in other places, but the highest-quality arms were made in very particular places. Swordsmanship presumably followed the same course as swords, with the art developing alongside the weapon, and then spreading 38 The Warring States Period as it was adopted across China. At this early stage we hear of places famed for their swords, but no famous swordsmen. Most famous martial artists in the Warring States period were archers.

Obviously, the scope and frequency of violence had to be diminished, but in the process the function of warfare and violence also changed. Technological changes in weaponry, including changes in individual martial skills and unit tactics, prevented any reconstitution of the aristocratic class, and permanently altered the relationship of commoner society to the martial arts. 4 Warring States thinkers were, with the possible exception of Mozi, members of the knightly class, and some, like Hanfeizi, were of even more elevated background.

13 Over time, it changed from a prestige item that functioned as a command platform (in the Shang) to a central vehicle of battle (in the Western Zhou) and then declined until it became a clumsy anachronism. Shang oracle bones record far more instances of enemies using chariots against the Shang than Shang forces using chariots themselves. The Shang adoption of chariots was therefore an adaptation of a foreign technology, whether as a necessary response to defend against chariots or simply to take advantage of a new Chariots 23 device.

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