Conceptualizing the Asian Martial Arts: Ancient Origins, Social Institutions and Leung Jan’s Wing Chun.
Youth engaged in militia training outside of Guangzhou in the 1850s. Note the long thin blade being held behind the rattan shield by the kneeling individual. The individual with the spear appears to also be armed with a matchlock handgun. source http://www.swordsantiqueweapons.com.
No assertion is more fervently advanced on behalf of the traditional Asian martial arts than assurances of their great antiquity. The relative ages of these systems seems to have become a matter of increased discussion and competition in the early 20th century. Since that time their various creation myths have given way to a veritable antiquarian arms-race.
Some schools of Japanese swordsmanship and unarmed fighting can trace their histories back for hundreds of years through surprisingly well preserved written records. Of course much of their nature and purpose has changed during the course of this history.
I recently read a discussion of modern competitive kickboxing…
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