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Chinese Martial Arts: From Antiquity to the Twenty-First Century Hardcover – December 5, 2011
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This book differs markedly from other more popular texts in that Professor Lorge, from beginning seeks to ground his arguments in solid textual and archaeological evidence and aims to deflate some of the myths regarding Chinese martial arts. And in the early centuries from the Shang Dynasty up to the Han, this approach is highly effective as he is able to put together a convincing case for the development of CMA which parallels the development of weapons on the battlefield, such as the evolution of the sword and longsword, and the replacement of the halberd by the spear on the battlefield.
From an archaeological perspective, he traces how there is a period of great variety and innovation when a new weapon type is introduced, as the military and martial artists come to grips with the strength and weaknesses of the weapon, followed by a period of mass standardization, and finally by a period of personalized customization where the weapons are again tailored to the attributes of the user, spawning many variants.Read more ›
One thing that seems to distinguish Chinese martial arts is their role as entertainment. It seemed to go well beyond anything similar in Europe, and though this is not the focus of the book it certainly could be the subject of a book itself. Even though weapons training for stage and cinema have always existed in the West, it doesn't seem to be as systematized and named as in China ( at least until recently ). Another difference is that even though gun powder weapons were used in China even before Europe, they didn't completely displace mechanical weapons as quickly as in the West. Thus there is more of a living tradition of weapons training to draw off in Chinese and other asian martial arts than in Europe.
As in the West, the most popular form of unarmed martial arts for most of Chinese history was wrestling. There isn't much detail about wrestling styles, but there is more about the origins of specific schools and styles of striking techniques, most of which seemed to be secondary to weapons training until modern times. Yes the Shaolin temple was at times associated with martial arts, much in the same way large medieval estates owned by the Catholic church would have had men at arms of some sort to police and defend them.Read more ›
But other than wanting more, I thought the book was awesome.
The book is organized according to dynastic history, up to recent history. There is no Chinese glossary, hence the book may be more geared towards a general readership.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
just got started reading...already breezed through it and checked out many section....it is a great book. Read morePublished 18 months ago by John Hancock
Lorge has filled a major gap for the English reading public and scholars by offering a history of the evolution of Chinese martial arts which is thoroughly grounded in a... Read morePublished 21 months ago by B. J. Smith
The cover photo is nice, but doesn't really reflect what this book is about. The photos or pictures are sparse and are spread out. Read morePublished on August 1, 2013 by Iggy
This is a great book for those who loves martial arts from China and History. It is mandatory for anyone interested in knowing more about Chinese martial arts free of bias and with... Read morePublished on March 16, 2013 by Jacobson