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Martial arts and History

Martial arts is simply defined as the arts of warfare (de Castro, Orpeza & Rhodes, 1993; Ross, 1999). For example, in Japan, while samurai were engaged in swordplay, karate-do ("way of the empty hand,") was secretly taught to weaponless peasants for self-defense (de Castro, et. al., 1993). Tae kyon ("push shoulder") in Korea, as well as Kali in the Philippines, were outlawed by conquering nations desiring a defenseless population (1993). In fact, General MacArthur outlawed the Greater Japanese Martial Arts Association and banned martial arts in Japanese schools at the conclusion of WWII (Neide, 1995). Such deliberate prohibition assumes that the study of the martial arts is synonymous with combat training.

A closer look, however, reveals an art that has a philosophy based in an elaborate blend of ancient codes of conduct, ethics and a spirituality that appears to be a fusion of Daoism, Zen Buddhism, and Confucianism (Ross, 1999; Holcombe, 1993). Indeed, some of elements involved in Sun Tzu's Art of War require the generals to make sure that in all things there is "right conduct" (Griffith, 1971). Often, the respect and right conduct of Confucianist thought balances out the "Doing/Not Doing" or living in the moment aspect of Daoism and Zen Buddhism (Ross, 1999). Making the leap from East to West, this merge of physical and spiritual mastery has become a booming industry in the U.S. (de Castro, et. al., 1993) as well as capturing the imagination of the film and television industry. As will be demonstrated in the following paper, this has resulted in action films and T.V. shows that, besides being a series of highly choreographed fight scenes, also conveys ethical messages, codes of conduct, and spiritual direction.

The study of the martial arts, as military strategy and also as a philosophy, evolved into being so much a part of the Chinese culture that it came to occupy an important place in Chinese theater (Kei, Chu & Foe...

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Martial arts and History. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 20:09, May 26, 2020, from