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Chinese Martial Arts

Photographer: Roman Pilipey


First rule: ‘Before you learn martial skills you must first learn to be human.’


The roots of Chinese martial arts can be traced back to the Xia dynasty more than 4,000 years ago. In ancient China martial arts had been attributed to military training, self-defense and hunting.


Chinese martial arts, also named Kung fu or Wushu, have hundreds of different styles developed over the centuries with their own ideas and techniques. From the beginning, martial arts have been incorporating different philosophies expanding the goal from self-defense to health maintenance and self-cultivation.


A proper Chinese martial arts training provides such components as basics, applications, forms, weapons, ethics, philosophy and medical practice. Some martial arts are more about fighting, some focus on fitness, breathing techniques and the spiritual side of movements.


Also foreigners are interested to study martial arts in China. Some of them practice for many years to become a master. Others rather appreciate the health aspect, while some try to use their skills to make their way into movies. 'I came to China seeking adventure and finding martial arts companions that were destined to spread the philosophy of martial arts with me by creating beautiful films that can be enjoyed by anyone', says Troy Sandford from Australia, creator of 'Troy’s Team’, a group of martial artists and athletes who work in the film industry. And some became world-renowned: Actor Bruce Lee made Chinese martial arts popular worldwide in the 1970s, with his own variations called Jeet Kune Do.


Nowadays, some martial arts schools are being criticized for focusing only on acrobatic skills during competitions and exhibitions. People often doubt that traditional martial arts can help in a fight. But the main idea is not to defeat someone rather than to be able to protect themselves and trying to avoid a fight.