How old are internal martial arts?

Discuss Taijiquan or other soft styles. Theory, practice and applications. Please stay on topic.

Moderators: Dvivid, Inga, nyang, taiqiman

How old are internal martial arts?

Postby John the Monkey mind » Tue Jul 06, 2010 4:31 pm

I know about the coming of Da Mo to China but I am thinking more on a global scale. India, Tibet or even ancient Greece. I know relativity little is known about ancient fighting arts however I also know that in ancient times high mysteries and religious/mystic truths were protected on pain of death at least in Greece and so deeper teachings were lost.

I know a few people out there have tried investigating this I just wonder about their findings. Early Greek boxing (pre hand wrapping) was very sophisticated with a variety of open and strikes and kicks but there is little evidence except on pottery and a few lines of text. They did visualise opponents in shadow boxing, use punch bags and practice martial dances like kata. Also they used sophisticated progressive training very similar in method to kung fu force training. And one dialogue from the Roman period about a Greek boxer claimed he spent literally 24 hours in stance at times and used to win matched without throwing a punch just by out lasting the opponent in the heat (no time limit), so amazing defence and endurance. So a lot going on and probably a hole bunch unrecorded.
John the Monkey mind
Forum ÜberGuru
 
Posts: 473
Joined: Mon Nov 16, 2009 6:15 am

Postby Dvivid » Wed Jul 07, 2010 8:05 am

Da Mo, who is the 28th patriarch, or 28th recognized master, of Buddhism, arrived at Shaolin Temple from India to teach Buddhism in about 500 AD. The monks at Shaolin Temple did already have martial arts techniques, for self defense; however, Da Mo emphasized the internal aspects of training. He brought with him knowlegde of prana yoga, ancient Buddhist techniques of internal cultivation (ie - embryonic breathing), and he WAS a martial artist, as was Siddhartha Gautama, likely in the style of Kalarippayat.

"Kalari" is an arena for combat, "payat" stands for a system of combat in Sanskrit. Similar to both Taijiquan and Shaolin Kung Fu, with elements of traditional herbal medicine, the style is based upon achieving spiritual transcendence. Kalarippayat stretches the body to its limits, and then repairs the damage with massage and medication. Very few schools exist now keeping this martial tradition alive. It is probably from pre-Buddhist times.

Kalarippayat includes wrestling and hand to hand combat. It also involves daily massage along the meridians, similar to Thai massage. Students undergo a process of softening and strengthening the body simultaneously.

I personally believe this internal style was prevalent between India, Rome, and into China.

Tibet imported Chinese and Indian Buddhism and martial arts, but they also had their own qigong-like practices and fighting arts.

Or so I have read.
"Avoid Prejudice, Be Objective in Your Judgement, Be Scientific, Be Logical and Make Sense, Do Not Ignore Prior Experience." - Dr. Yang

http://www.ymaa.com/publishing
Dvivid
Forum God
 
Posts: 1672
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2003 9:48 am
Location: Boston, MA

Postby John the Monkey mind » Wed Jul 07, 2010 9:14 am

I know for a fact that after the Greek/Macedonian invasion of India in the 300's BC there was a lot of cultural interaction both ways. You find Greek dedications to Vishnu for example. It is very possible and likely marital arts and yogic practices got exchanged. Alexander was accompanied by many Indian holy men on his travels as he admired their philosophy. Also Alexander personally came under heavy criticism for his forced mixing of Greeks and conquered people. Homer recorded events of around 1250 BC and it seems Greek martial arts were well developed by then. Interestingly Achilles manifests his power so strongly after the death of his friend he is described as having fire like light above his head and body when standing naked above the Trojan army at night, his roar and the manifestation of his power turned the enemy away from the Greek ships. Sounds a lot like huge chi and the famed Lions Roar. I know a lot is down to poetic license but their is an exact description given.
John the Monkey mind
Forum ÜberGuru
 
Posts: 473
Joined: Mon Nov 16, 2009 6:15 am

Postby John the Monkey mind » Wed Jul 07, 2010 2:53 pm

"The charioteers were dumbfounded as they saw the unwearied dangerous fire that played above the head of the great-hearted Peleion
blazing, and kindled by the goddess grey-eyed Athene.
Three times across the ditch brilliant Achilleus gave his cry,
and three times the Trojans and their renowned companions were routed."

(Iliad, 17, 225-229)

Similar event in the three kingdoms books during the rout that led to the Red Cliff engagement but over a river, same effect through but no fire. And it is often given as an example of Lions Roar skill.
John the Monkey mind
Forum ÜberGuru
 
Posts: 473
Joined: Mon Nov 16, 2009 6:15 am

Postby John the Monkey mind » Wed Jul 07, 2010 3:10 pm

(Zhang Fei watched the rear lines of Cao Cao's army shuffling about. He lifted his spear and bellowed: "What's it to be? Don't want to fight? Don't want to leave?" The mighty voice still commanded the air when Xiahou Jie, right beside Cao Cao, collapsed and fell from his saddle, panic-stricken.)

(Three Kingdoms, Volume II, Chapter 42)

Interestingly it is also the third time he shouted (same number as Achilleus' cry) and it leads to the army of Cao Cao withdrawing. Zhang Fei is the other side of a small river bridge. This has as I previously posted been used as an example of the Lions Roar. A useful skill requiring grate internal strength.

:)
John the Monkey mind
Forum ÜberGuru
 
Posts: 473
Joined: Mon Nov 16, 2009 6:15 am

Postby Dvivid » Thu Jul 08, 2010 9:01 am

Very cool.

Yes, I find these roman shields dated 400AD interesting. Note a couple w yin/yang symbol:

Image
"Avoid Prejudice, Be Objective in Your Judgement, Be Scientific, Be Logical and Make Sense, Do Not Ignore Prior Experience." - Dr. Yang

http://www.ymaa.com/publishing
Dvivid
Forum God
 
Posts: 1672
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2003 9:48 am
Location: Boston, MA

Postby John the Monkey mind » Thu Jul 08, 2010 3:09 pm

I like the shields, interesting proof of early exchange of ideas from China to to the west or vice versa :)
John the Monkey mind
Forum ÜberGuru
 
Posts: 473
Joined: Mon Nov 16, 2009 6:15 am

Postby John the Monkey mind » Thu Jul 08, 2010 3:39 pm

Don't think me anti Christian but the rise of Christianity really put walls up against ideas moving from east to west. You have to remember how philosophically advanced the west was, especially after Rome overran the Hellenised world. Ancient Persia (the post Seleucid) was also very advanced, but that was knocked out by the rise of Islam.

You then end with a stagnation of ideas in the west that only gives way to scientific methods after around 1000 years.

Almost all of the earlier knowledge was deliberately destroyed during the later Roman Empire in the western Empire and the rain of the Emperor Julian in the east. The shutting of the academy in Athens, the burning of the library in Alexandria and the banning of the unchristian sports of wrestling and athletics.

We know from references in surviving works, the names of grate writers and thinkers who's texts have been lost for 1000 years, sadly they were the majority, what we have left is mostly popular material from the time like Homer. Also unbroken mystic traditions of over 1000-5000 years history were destroyed on pain of being burnt alive or stoned to death, think of ancient Egypt and Greece, the Greeks kept their deeper mysterys under a Vail of secrecy. A lot of the Egyptian material we have is from the walls of tombs but this can hardly be all of what they practised.
John the Monkey mind
Forum ÜberGuru
 
Posts: 473
Joined: Mon Nov 16, 2009 6:15 am

Postby taiwandeutscher » Sun Jul 11, 2010 8:43 pm

There is no real proof that Da Mo brought any fighting skills to Shaolin. In fact, even the Yijinjing is very likley not from him.
taiwandeutscher
Forum User
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon May 25, 2009 1:45 am
Location: Qishan, Southern Taiwan

Postby Dvivid » Mon Jul 12, 2010 7:41 am

taiwandeutscher wrote:There is no real proof that Da Mo brought any fighting skills to Shaolin. In fact, even the Yijinjing is very likley not from him.


I have heard this online a lot, usually from pro-China revisionists.

Its true, there are only a few written records about Bodhidharma's trip to China.

But to say it is "unlikely" that the qigong attributed to be from Da Mo is not his, also seems false, since you also don't know. The internal arts are attributed to Da Mo because of his great impact as a teacher when he arrived at Shaolin.

From the written records available, scholars have determined:

Dàoxuān wrote that Bodhidharma was "of South Indian Brahman stock," Broughton (1999:2) notes that Bodhidharma's royal pedigree implies that he was of the Kshatriya warrior caste. Mahajan (1972:705–707) argued that the Pallava dynasty was a Tamilian dynasty and Zvelebil (1987) proposed that Bodhidharma was born a prince of the Pallava dynasty in their capital of Kanchipuram. Some other scholars have a view that Bodhidharma was a kalaripayattu master from the Malabar region .



Anyway, Read his own words, in transcripts of sermons while at shaolin, and you'll see he was quite brilliant

http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com/Buddhis ... DHARMA.htm
"Avoid Prejudice, Be Objective in Your Judgement, Be Scientific, Be Logical and Make Sense, Do Not Ignore Prior Experience." - Dr. Yang

http://www.ymaa.com/publishing
Dvivid
Forum God
 
Posts: 1672
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2003 9:48 am
Location: Boston, MA

Shaolin and Qigong History: All Chinese Origins

Postby Cotton Over Steel » Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:42 pm

I went to http://www.kalarippayat.com/ and clicked on their photo gallery.

Kalarippayat is not Qigong, nor is it Shaolin; although there are similarities.

I looked on Youtube with the same results.

North America was inhabited long before Columbus, and both Chinese and Vikings had landed and settled with the locals also, yet many still say Columbus discovered America. Perhaps Da Mo’s popularizing Shaolin and Qigong is viewed in a similar manner.

The Shaolin Temple existed 122 years before Dat Mor (Damo) arrived. According to history, in the book The Travels of Wen Hsiang, Emperor Su Wen of the Wei of Northern Dynasty ordered the erection of the Shaolin Temple in honor of Buddhist Master Bhadra in 495 AD. This is also recorded in the book, The History of the Wei Dynasty, Chapter of Annals of Buddhism and Taoism,

Anyway when Bhadra died, Master Chou Kung succeeded as Head master..etc

What Damo did when he got to Shaolin 122 years later was that he popularized the doctrine of Zen Buddhism.

****
Dvivid wrote:Da Mo, who is the 28th patriarch, or 28th recognized master, of Buddhism, arrived at Shaolin Temple from India to teach Buddhism in about 500 AD. The monks at Shaolin Temple did already have martial arts techniques, for self defense; however, Da Mo emphasized the internal aspects of training. He brought with him knowlegde of prana yoga, ancient Buddhist techniques of internal cultivation (ie - embryonic breathing), and he WAS a martial artist, as was Siddhartha Gautama, likely in the style of Kalarippayat.

"Kalari" is an arena for combat, "payat" stands for a system of combat in Sanskrit. Similar to both Taijiquan and Shaolin Kung Fu, with elements of traditional herbal medicine, the style is based upon achieving spiritual transcendence. Kalarippayat stretches the body to its limits, and then repairs the damage with massage and medication. Very few schools exist now keeping this martial tradition alive. It is probably from pre-Buddhist times.

Kalarippayat includes wrestling and hand to hand combat. It also involves daily massage along the meridians, similar to Thai massage. Students undergo a process of softening and strengthening the body simultaneously.

I personally believe this internal style was prevalent between India, Rome, and into China.

Tibet imported Chinese and Indian Buddhism and martial arts, but they also had their own qigong-like practices and fighting arts.

Or so I have read.
Cotton Over Steel
Forum Contributor
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2011 4:27 pm
Location: Juneau and Admirilty Island, Alaska

Re: How old are internal martial arts?

Postby yeniseri » Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:57 pm

I am still not sure what internal martial arts are since external and internal can be thought of as levels of internalization of skill or lack thereof. From what I have heard, I am guessing that taijiquan, baquazhang/quan. xingi and other lesser known systems are called IMA today! :roll:

At best, 500 years. I am starting at 1500AD and acknowledge base arts of Chen shi taijiquan came from other origins and was synthesized by Chen and Li family style.
Sal Canzonieri and a few others have done alot of research in this area!
yeniseri
Forum ÜberGuru
 
Posts: 491
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2005 3:18 pm
Location: USA

Re: How old are internal martial arts?

Postby Dvivid » Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:05 pm

Yes, those internal styles you mention are the core of IMA today, but there are many other lesser-known Chinese styles.

Kalarippayat is hindu or pre-hindu. In fact, there are many references in pre-Buddhist history to Aryan fighters, such as the vajra...but that's a whole 'nother msytery. No, Kalarippayat is not Chinese qigong or from Shaolin. But, it is likely that the Buddhist martial artists Sidddhartha, and 28 generations later Da Mo, trained this Indian martial art style. It is a soft-hard style, by Chinese martial arts standards, and a "complete" system that involves fighting, and weapons, but also herbal use and massage.

It is commonly thought that this style and yoga were influences on the development of Chinese martial arts. Not the root.

Regarding Da Mo:
Shaolin was/is a Buddhist temple, founded in 479 C.E.. Although Buddhism had arrived in China a couple hundred years earlier, Batuo was the Hindu monk who first taught Mahayana Buddhism in China. Chinese martial arts already existed at this time. Batuo's last disciple before his death was the first warrior monk at Shaolin, Sengchou.
http://www.shanli.org/the_discovery.htm

Bodhidharma (Da Mo) was sent by his teacher to China to teach Dhayana (Chan) Buddhism (which later went to Japan as is known as Zen), to "correct" Batuo's teaching approach which focused on rituals and not on mind itself. Batuo rejected him at first. After his "nine years facing the wall" and writing his sutras, Da Mo was allowed into Shaolin, and Batuo accepted him as mentor.

It is important to know that, although Chinese martial arts history is shrouded in mystery, because so few people could write, Buddhist history has a very detailed description of each "patriarch" and his life activities. Da Mo's story is well documented. He is not the founder of Shaolin, or the inventor of internal arts or qigong, but he was the first to write this internal theory down comprehensively, and teach it in China.
Dvivid
Forum God
 
Posts: 1672
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2003 9:48 am
Location: Boston, MA

Re: How old are internal martial arts?

Postby Josh Young » Tue Dec 06, 2011 10:57 am

There is some interesting mythology in India and China regarding martial arts.
Shiva is as nataraja a martial artist and a dancer. The classic nataraja statues do seem to illustrate an energy like peng, likewise there is a standard posture for a statue of Krishna dancing upon the serpent he defeated that is quite reminiscent of some of the postures of taijiquan. Additionally the numbers of the Shiva postures that are relative to martial arts, dance and yoga are 108. They are called Karanas.

Legend has it that Rama who bears the axe, Parashu-Rama was a statue maker and helped found temples as well. He is considered an avatar of Vishnu and is interestingly a martial artist, a saint, and an immortal. He is basically a legendary wandering figure said to have traveled and taught extensively. According to some legends he is still around...

It is this figure that is said to have heavily influenced Indian martial arts and dance, however he is not regarded a Hindu, rather according to the legend he is far older and has seen multiple bottlenecks in the human population, aka major dieoffs. Legend also has it that he will survive to see the end where Kalki, the pale horse rider final avatar of the Kali Yuga appears.

In Indian mythology the vajra is the weapon of Indra, Arjuna the famous warrior martial artist is said to have stayed with Indra and been taught weapons by him, and at this same time he was taught dance. Again according to Indian mythology the martial arts that were said to be passed down come from someone (Indra) who is not hindu, much like Parashurama, who again in not Hindu by birth. So according to these traditions the martial arts of India with some internal type teachings are themselves introduced to India. They may have come from the East in what is now China or some other adjacent nation and there is a claim that Buddhism was influenced by Tao and that the immortal Taoist saints were martial artists as well as wanderers. It is interesting that these martial arts focus heavily upon Asana, which is posture and Prana, which is energy and air and breath, much like qi...

If there is even a bit of truth to the legends, and perhaps there is more than that, then much of the internal refinement aspects of martial arts are indefinitely ancient, going back into obscurity.
Polynesian dance, interestingly enough, often has martial content, which was said by several cultures to be taught to them by a God of War who visited them. Maybe immortals have time to get around...
Josh Young
Forum DemiGod
 
Posts: 720
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 12:03 pm


Return to Taijiquan / Tai Chi Chuan

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 1 guest

©2013 YMAA | About YMAA | Privacy Policy |Terms of Use | Permissions | Contact Us