Chinese Martial Arts Training Manuals: A Historical Survey

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North Atlantic Books, 2005 - Sports & Recreation - 328 pages
Chinese martial arts masters of the past created special training manuals with text and images—sometimes appearing in the illustrations themselves—and these manuals now provide an invaluable glimpse back in time that allow readers to see how various martial arts were practiced. Covering the Ming Dynasty, the Qing Dynasty, and the Republican Period, this in-depth survey presents 30 masters and their books, placing them in the context of Chinese culture and history. Along with biographical portraits of these masters, the book covers the history of the manuals, Chinese martial arts historians, the history of Taiwanese martial arts, how Chinese martial artists made their livings, the Imperial military exams, the place of the Shaolin Temple in Chinese martial arts history, and much more. Illustrated with hundreds of photographs and drawings from the manuals themselves, the book offers a multifaceted portrait of Chinese martial arts and their place in Chinese culture.

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This book is an interesting read but is somewhat scattered. The first half of the book covers different random pieces of Chinese martiala rt history and commentary. The second half which deals specifically with actual training manuals deals almost exclusively wiht those of the Republican era (ie early 20th century).
Furthermore, the authors have a couple very strong biases. As residents of Taiwan they overemphasize that location and its significance. Also Xing-yi receives a gross over emphasis throughout the book, leading me to guess at least one of the authors practices this art.
Throughout, both authors take a stance of academic superiority, consistently trashing any element of supernatural or discussion of mythic roots of the arts. Their blanket condemnation of any mythology of martial arts and those who propagate it misses one of the one of the elements that makes it so quintessentially Chinese.


Sources for Chinese Martial Arts
A Caveat about Chinese Martial Arts History
Westerners Researching Chinese Martial Arts History
Imperial Military Examinations
Professor Kang Ge Wus Top Twelve Chinese
Authorship Various Editions Content of Training
Keeping the Traditions Alive
How Did Chinese Martial Artists Make a Living?
Sun Lu Tang 18611933
Jiang Rong Qiao 18911974
Xie Dien Gao Zhi Jen Chiang Xin Shan
Shaolin monk Xuan Ji 3f Iſà original author
Jin Yi Ming EH
Yan De Hua ÉÉ
Chen Ting Rui ºfttranslator and commentator

Taiwan Martial Arts History
A Note on Sources

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About the author (2005)

Brian Kennedy, an attorney, has practiced Chinese martial arts since 1976. His previous books, published in Chinese, include Witness Examination Skills and American Legal Ethics. This is his first martial arts book.

Elizabeth Nai-Jia Guo is a professional translator and practitioner of qi gong and hatha yoga. She has translated a wide range of books into Chinese. Together, Guo and Kennedy write a regular column for the magazine Classical Fighting Arts.

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