THE ‘CULTURE’ OF MARTIAL ARTS

Neal Zephyrin

Part II

Chinese martial arts, or Chinese Kung-Fu Wu-Su, continued to influence Asian countries like Okinawa, Japan. Karate-do or Karate (empty-hand) was born out of Kung-Fu Wu-Su. Another Asian country that hasn’t received its rightful attention when it comes to martial arts is India. India is home to a variety of fighting styles. Collectively, in Sanskrit, these fighting styles are known as “Dhanurveda”. There are wall paintings at the Shaolin Temple in China, depicting Chinese and Indian Monks training and enjoying themselves together.

kalaripayat1
Indian Kalaripayat

India’s fighting arts are diverse in nature. They include empty hand combat, the art of vital points, wrestling, way of the arena (Kalaripayat), weapons fighting, and many more. The theories behind yoga, prana (chi), tantra, and chakra are all present in the Indian fighting systems. India’s influences on other Asian Martial Arts are evident in Southeast Asia. Examples include Indon-Malay Silat, Filipino Escrima and Kali, Thai Krabi Krabong (a Thai weapons-based martial art), and Cambodian Bokator (a Cambodian martial art that includes close hand-to-hand combat, ground techniques and weapons). Indian martial arts also influenced the various forms of Indochinese kickboxing such as Muay Thai from Thailand. Modern styles such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu credit India as one of the founding influence on their fighting principles.

After the establishment of British colonial rule in the 19th century and the introduction of the firearm, Indian martial arts went through a period of decline. The British colonial government banned Kalaripayat in 1804 in response to a series of revolts. The resurgence of interest in these martial arts began in the 1920s as part of a rediscovery of India’s traditional arts and culture, and growing reaction against British colonial rule. Today Indian martial arts are enjoying a resurgence and interest that is well deserved and respected throughout the world.

In the next installment we will venture into African Martial arts and their influence on the world of martial arts as a whole. And finally we will conclude with the impact of martial arts on western culture.

2 Responses to “THE ‘CULTURE’ OF MARTIAL ARTS”

  1. Lacey says:

    MXvcvb I’m not easily impressed. . . but that’s impressing me! :)