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Chinese Martial Arts History

China became the center of the martial arts universe in 2600 B.C. In 2000 B.C., Emperor Huang Di was noted to be a shuai jiao (wrestling) and pole-fighting expert and had his troops learn martial arts. Mongolian tribesmen introduced a violent style of skull-bashing wrestling to China around 770 B.C.; this art is believed to be the progenitor of sumo. During the Han and Qin dynasties (256 B.C.-A.D. 220), this wrestling style was combined with kemari (a kicking game designed to strengthen one’s feet for war) to create shubaku. Sun Tsu (544-496 B.C.) wrote The Art of War, emphasizing the importance of martial arts for living and fighting. Early records also indicate that Chinese martial arts spread into Europe, India and Asia Minor (Middle East) via the Silk Road in 500 B.C.

Yet the origin of today’s martial arts began in 527 A.D. when Indian monk Ta Mo arrived at the Shaolin Temple in the Henan province and taught the monks the 18 Buddhist Fists, which evolved into the Five Animal Styles of Shaolin. While Tao Mo’s influence has inspired many Chinese and non-Chinese martial arts, others have evolved independently.

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  1. History of Chinese Martial Arts: Bucksam Kong’s Lifetime Journey in Hung Gar Kung Fu (Part 2)

    History of Chinese Martial Arts: Bucksam Kong’s Lifetime Journey in Hung Gar Kung Fu (Part 2)

    BlackBeltMag.com’s interview-profile of hung gar kung fu master Bucksam Kong concludes with his later years as a pioneer teaching the art in America.
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  2. History of Chinese Martial Arts: Bucksam Kong’s Lifetime Journey in Hung Gar Kung Fu (Part 1)

    History of Chinese Martial Arts: Bucksam Kong’s Lifetime Journey in Hung Gar Kung Fu (Part 1)

    Bucksam Kong started studying eagle claw kung fu at 6 with his mother as a means to ward off colds and fevers. Today he is a master of hung gar kung fu and runs the Sil Lum Pai Gung Fu Association. BlackBeltMag.com explores his path.
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  3. Ted Wong and William Cheung on Wing Chun History and Jeet Kune Do Origins (Part 3)

    Ted Wong and William Cheung on Wing Chun History and Jeet Kune Do Origins (Part 3)

    Two martial arts legends conclude their thoughts on the history (and future) of Bruce Lee’s jeet kune do in part 3 of this adapted excerpt from their rare book, Wing Chun Kung Fu / Jeet Kune Do: A Comparison Vol. 1.
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  4. Ted Wong and William Cheung on Wing Chun History and Jeet Kune Do Origins (Part 2)

    Ted Wong and William Cheung on Wing Chun History and Jeet Kune Do Origins (Part 2)

    Two martial arts legends expound upon the origins of Bruce Lee’s jeet kune do in Part 2 of an adapted excerpt from their rare book, Wing Chun Kung Fu / Jeet Kune Do: A Comparison Vol. 1.
    Read More »

  5. Ted Wong and William Cheung on Wing Chun History and Jeet Kune Do Origins (Part 1)

    Ted Wong and William Cheung on Wing Chun History and Jeet Kune Do Origins (Part 1)

    Two martial arts legends expound upon the origins of their respective martial arts in Part 1 of an adapted excerpt from their rare book, Wing Chun Kung Fu / Jeet Kune Do: A Comparison Vol. 1.
    Read More »

  6. The Man Behind Bruce Lee’s Tao of Jeet Kune Do: Gilbert Johnson

    The Man Behind Bruce Lee’s Tao of Jeet Kune Do: Gilbert Johnson

    On the eve of Tao of Jeet Kune Do’s release, public awareness will be awakened again to the legendary man who wrote this book: Bruce Lee.  As a child, I used to call him “Uncle Bruce.”  But there was another special human being who I regard just as warmly.  And when
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  7. Wing Chun Kung Fu Grandmaster William Cheung Shows You How to Deal With Low Kicks From a Muay Thai Fighter!

    Wing Chun Kung Fu Grandmaster William Cheung Shows You How to Deal With Low Kicks From a Muay Thai Fighter!

    Learn how martial arts legend William Cheung defeated a muay Thai fighter in his new DVD, Street Fighting Applications of Wing Chun! WATCH PREVIEW!
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  8. Vintage Jet Li Films: Fearless

    Vintage Jet Li Films: Fearless

    Now that Hollywood has almost ruined the conceptual approach of Hong Kong’s evolution of stylized martial arts fight choreography, there’s one film left this year that’s a welcome sight for fight-film fans. After a four-year absence from the kind of movies that made Jet Li famous, he’s come out of
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  9. An Empress and the Warriors vs. Battle of the Warriors

    An Empress and the Warriors vs. Battle of the Warriors

    It’s funny how every few years, two movies based on the same topic come out almost simultaneously. It’s even funnier how one film usually aspires to be sophisticated art while the other only pretends to be.

    There were competing Truman Capote films of mid-decade (Capote and Infamous), the killer-asteroid flicks of
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  10. Tai Chi Training for Middle-Aged Martial Artists Who Refuse to Quit

    Tai Chi Training for Middle-Aged Martial Artists Who Refuse to Quit

    On our walk down the martial path, we will find that we cannot rely on our martial arts training as we did when we were younger. That head-high kick gets harder and harder to deliver effectively. The power in that once-awesome reverse punch seems to slip, regardless of how much
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