Jul 29, 2011, 11:46 AM
As the correct origin of Martial Arts cannot be traced, many people believe that martial arts are fighting skills developed for the purpose of warfare. This is not true. In comparison to the skills of the martial artist, warfare is crude and relies in great measure upon strength. In fact, martial arts probably had their earliest roots in individuals learning methods of defending themselves from attack by animals and other humans.
Over many centuries these primitive defensive skills were explored, refined and systematised. Groups of people exploited this knowledge to protect themselves and their endeavours. In the process of developing the martial arts, ideas about longevity and the nature of our existence became entwined with the martial arts.
Many people think of the martial arts as having ancient roots, but a few understand the actual course when the development of the arts took place. The history of martial arts is as old as civilisation itself. Scholarly investigations of the origins of martial arts have revealed evidence of the practice of techniques in the area of
As the martial arts developed so too did the secrecy associated with them. People understood the value of this knowledge and tried to conceal it from others. As a result, there is much about the development of martial arts that is unknown. We do know that the religion of Buddhism developed in
There Bodhidharma, whose Chinese name was Ta-Mo, introduced the monks to what was to become Zen Buddhism. Zen Buddhists practice long periods of static meditation in order to achieve enlightenment. It is said that Ta-Mo himself meditated continuously in a cave for nine years "listening to the ants scream." To help the monks sustain their physical health he taught them exercises that were fundamentally martial arts. Thus we see that the legend really portrays the introduction of martial arts as a component of health, philosophy, and religion.
Over the centuries that followed, martial arts in
Just as mankind had invented and developed concepts like language and government since civilization began, so too has he developed the martial arts. The martial arts are not the property of any one people - they belong to all of us - and they will continue to develop in the future.
Join us in future issues as we continue our explorations into the mysterious world of martial arts.
To be Continued.