Myths and reality

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Philosophy of life

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All the martial arts have an ancient history and traditions. They served first of all for self-defense and victory over enemy, but they as well were part of their culture including various achievements in different fields, mostly studying human, inner and spiritual being.

Probably the fact of Chinese martial arts beginning had been never officially noted down. Fight techniques were developing during long period in fights either between people and animals or different tribes. Experience was collected through years and various techniques passed through generations.

Fight fragment

The fragment of a battle...

Martial arts schools with their traditions just recently, in 16-17 centuries, took their beginning in China, Korea and Japan. But then martial technique, tactic and training methods were not that important: “A true man first, then true knowledge”. Every movement, every set or martial complex was sort of human raising up instrument. Through complicated technique names, philosophy of changes and clear movement comprehension and experience new mind is forming.

Terracotta warriors in Sian

Terracotta warriors in Sian.

Practice of martial tradition passing was established first in China, Japan and then in Far East countries because of their historical and cultural peculiarities. Secret methods of fighting were held in clan and family schools and passed from father to son, from master to follower.


The philosophical Taoists.

Taoism greatly influenced Chinese martial arts. Following Dao laws and living in harmony with nature, taoist hermits studied flora and fauna. Many wushu styles had animal and bird’s imitation as their foundation.

The famous Shaolin Temple

The famous Shaolin Temple.

Emperor Xiao Wen, who was famous for Buddhist temples, built a famous Shaolin Temple for the Chan (Zen) monk Ba Tuo in 495 A.D. Shaolin means “a temple set in open forest”, but sometimes it is interpreted as young forest assuming something flexible, new and young. The Temple, a motherland of Buddhism, is a martial arts center.

Da Mo (Bodhidharma)

Da Mo (Bodhidharma) .

Da Mo writings emphasized the necessity of “inner enlightening”, but not external forms and rituals. A legend says that Bodhidharma had been sitting in a cave and gazing into wall during 9 years. The practice of concentrated internal work and absolution from ideas and attitudes became the base of Buddhism. But meditation is not the only mean of psychophysical training. It can be added by many other psychological methods of influence.

Hardships of wushu developing nowadays

Growing popularity all over the world, the highest rating of wushu-taolu and wushu-sanda championships and staging exhibition during coming Olympic games simply draw our attention to this heritage of Chinese culture which contain not only fighting but various methods of health improvement. Socioeconomic status of our country now has a negative impact on our sport field. Decreasing funding of sport programs, commercialization of many sport clubs and centers lead to less people engaged in sport activities. As a result, a crime wave, growing drug addiction and a lack of any moral and ethic principles take place.

It’s no secret that many Karate, Taekwondo, Aikido and other martial schools became a mere show because of fancy foreign funding. There are different kinds of wushu though… We should keep in mind that during many years under the mask of wushu first in China and then in Russia we had only imitation of real wushu, a sort of styled gymnastic lately called wushu-taolu. Chinese government made away with true wushu masters, some of them didn’t want to share wushu secrets. And majority of wushu schools were clan and family type allowing no strangers. So with the death of “secret keepers” these same secrets and traditions were lost forever. Original martial arts were replaced by sport type of wushu (gymnastic). The newfangled “arts” were developing in China and then in Russia.

Sport wushu became very popular in Russia in 80s. Its requirements were “open breast and straight back” which interfere with natural circulation of energy and harm people’s health. As a result wushu transformed into "something like a sport". At last it turned out that the sportsmen who were training at that period even did not know wushu techniques at all. The aim of training was only the outward appearance – formal complexes and beauty of movements. And at the end so-called wushu usually transformed into “the false way” as it is called in China.

It must be emphasized again that wushu is “martial arts”. To replace it with gymnastic or sport competition means to destroy its inner meaning and to make away with real wushu spirit. Professor Ma Menta, who was invited to Moscow in the beginning of the 90-s, demonstrated his family Tongbei. Seeing enthusiasm and desire of Russian wushu fans, he decided to revive his family style… in Russia. The best masters, his closest students, who are the members of Ma clan have been to Moscow many times sharing their knowledge and experience with Russian colleges.

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