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Thread: Chinese Archery-lost martial art

  1. #1

    archery

    How come you never hear about Chinese archery? At least the Japanese preserved their archery arts as Kyudo. Are there any distinct forms of Chinese archery? Anyone still practicing it in the world?
    ...don't think you are, know you are...

  2. #2
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    don't hear much about cma that are purely weapon related at all.

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    You also don't hear that much about archery in general. Basically, I hear about kyudo and... well, plain old archery (whatever that means).

    Yes, you might here about technologies in archery. The welsh longbow. The magyar (is that right?) short bow. Etc. But in terms of actual style, the only one I can think of that doesn't constitute just 'archery' is kyudo. And that is probably due to a combination of things. The unique design of the japanese longbow (handle closer to the bottom than the top). The practice of shooting from horseback (hardly unique to the Japanese though). The variety of arrowheads (frog crotch, whistling bulb, etc.). And the mystique of the zen practices attached to kyudo. (Hell, how many archers would espouse that hitting the target is less important than X?)

    Oh, kyudo uses a different grip on the string to most archers as well. But honestly, I doubt people would find that all that fascinating in and of itself.

    In short, with one exception, people don't really dig on the archery all that much. Not from a stylistic standpoint.


    Stuart B.
    When you assume, you make an ass out of... pretty much just you, really.

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    Yeah what apoweyn said.


    The reason that the Japanese keep things around that would die out elsewhere is that they turn them into a "way" or "do" whereby the act is less important than benafit to the individual of practising somthing intensively with focus.

    The Chinese were more practicle and so anything that did not put food on the plate or help in doing so in the long run was lost

    Having said that is there not a little country in the himalayas that still has archary as a national sport and sends a team to the olyimpics? I was reading about them a while back and at the time I thought that they were at least as Chinese as Tibet!


    On a side note apoweyn, talking of the Welsh long bow: I have a friend who is great with a trad long bow and used to go out into snowdonia and hunt fox with it. Even cooler is that he used a golden eagle to hunt with as well!
    LOL.. really, what else did you hear?.. did you hear that he was voted Man of the Year by Kung-Fu Magizine?

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    My parents both hunt deer with bows (as well as muzzleloaders). They tend to prefer compound bows now, just for the reduction of work that they allow, but I learned on a traditional recurve bow.
    Cut the tiny testicles off of both of these rich, out-of-touch sumbiches, crush kill and destroy the Electoral College, wipe clean from the Earth the stain of our corrupt politicians, and elect me as the new president. --Vash

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    Liokault,

    On a side note apoweyn, talking of the Welsh long bow: I have a friend who is great with a trad long bow and used to go out into snowdonia and hunt fox with it. Even cooler is that he used a golden eagle to hunt with as well!
    My God, that's a hell of an image. I can't begin to imagine what that must be like. That's awesome.

    Nevermind the skill it must take to hit a flipping fox with a longbow.

    Nice point about how the Japanese 'do' everything, by the way. Has a way of adding value back into something that, practically speaking, no longer has any. I guess part of that revalueing (sp?) is intrinsically tied to zen ideals. And zen was most influential in Japan, yeah?


    Stuart B.
    When you assume, you make an ass out of... pretty much just you, really.

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    I recall seeing some museum pieces od several Mandarin long and Mongolian short bows. They had some impressive recurves to them, the Mongolian bows were shorter so they could shoot from horseback.
    At a boy Luther!!!!

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    Originally posted by Taomonkey
    I recall seeing some museum pieces od several Mandarin long and Mongolian short bows. They had some impressive recurves to them, the Mongolian bows were shorter so they could shoot from horseback.
    That's what I mean. We dig on archery technology. Just not necessarily on the style. Perhaps because, stylistically, archery just doesn't vary that much from one culture to another. Point and shoot.

    You think?
    When you assume, you make an ass out of... pretty much just you, really.

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    Arrow drawing and stringing techniques, point, shoot. Thats about all there is.
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    Chinese Archery-lost martial art

    For the Unitiated, read Chinese Archery by Stephen Selby

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...books&n=507846

    basic facts about the history of Chinese archery listed by eras

    late neolithic/early bronze age (Xia, Shang dynsaties)

    1. Chinese archery is as old as Chinese history itself. late neolithic and early bronze age Chinese religions often based around archery shaman cults like that of Yi the archer
    2. the composite recurve bow is thought to have been invented in China since Shang pictographs offer the first written evidence for this type of bow. Composite bows have existed before Shang China but a composite bow of recurve design does not show up outside of China until the first millenium B.C
    3. Chinese recruve bows of this era were asymetrical, long (over 55 inches) and had extremely heavy draw weights up to 160 pounds. Chinese recurve bows will be known for their incredible draw weight until the Ming dynasty. bow weights were meant to fascilitate the ability to penetrate 7 layers of toughened leather from 90 yards away
    4. made from horn, woodcore (usually bamboo or mulberry) and sinew with fish glue. this is the way pretty much all composite recurve bows are made up of.

    Feudal age up to warring states era(western and eastern zhou)
    1. Invention of the crossbow
    2. Archery is considered the 6 arts of the Jun Zi(gentleman). Emphasized by Kong Zi (most likely an archery instructor himself at one point in his life). ritual archery is created
    3. via Confucian principles and the warrior nobility that has existed since China's beginnings, the Wu Shi (warrior gentleman or "knight") class develops. archery is considered the most important skill.
    4. Horse archery is adapted from the Xiong Nu nomads by King Wujiang of Zhao. Soon all the warring states adopt it. it will be considered among the most important (if not the most important) military skill up until the late Qing dynasty

    Early Imperial (Qin, Han,Three kingdoms,Wei-Jin, Age of fragmentation, Sui, Tang)

    1. ritual archery reaches its peak of popularity during early Han dynasty.
    2. Emperor Han Wu Di makes cavalry the main striking force in the Chinese military making Horse archery skills even more important
    3. crossbow declines in popularity during the North-South dynasties due to popularity of heavy cavalry
    4. ritual archery vanishes by age of fragmentation slowly replaced by sport archery
    5. Emperor Tang Tai Zong allows archery practice to occur right in his palace(hundreds being trained right in his palace). He joins them frequently
    6. Empress Wu ZeTian formalizes archery examinations (mounted, standing, sitting)
    7. sport archery becomes China's most popular sport during Tang
    8. Wang Ju's famous archery manual is written. archery instruction in the form of poems

    late Imperial (5 dynasties ten kingdoms, Song, Jin/Liao.Xi Xia, Yuan, Ming, Qing)

    1. crossbow becomes popular again
    2. automatic crossbow and divine siege crossbow invented in Song
    3. constant incursions of people skilled with bow like the Qidan and NuZhen during Song make archery skills even more important
    4. after Mongol conquest. the traditional Chinese recurve bow is re-evaluated and adapted to Mongol style. shorter bow length, lower draw weight enabling faster shooting as well as the string bridge
    5. by the Ming dynasty, 200 schools of archery styles exists
    6. Manchus re-introduce popularity of long heavy draw weight bows
    7. by 20th century, Chinese archery dies.


    now i proudly display my own bows

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...azulbow008.jpg
    this one above is a typical Ming Chinese/Mongol bow. 60 pound draw weight

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...azulbow001.jpg
    this one above is more typical of pre-Yuan era Chinese bows. long length and heavy draw weight. this one is 110 pounds of draw (shown unstrung)
    Last edited by YangLiCheng; 07-06-2005 at 08:39 PM.

  11. #11
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    oh, forgot to mention

    famous Chinese archers or those known for archery skills

    1. Yi the archer, Kong Zi(Confucious), Yang Youji, General Li Guang, Emperor Tang Tai Zong, Wang Ju, Lu Bu, Qi Ji Guang, Yu Dayou, General Yue Fei, King Wuling of Zhao, Li Chengfen, Gao Ying...and soon

    myself
    Last edited by YangLiCheng; 07-06-2005 at 08:57 PM.

  12. #12
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    Asian (to call it chinese covers to much area) archery has not died out totaly. There is at least one country that still valuse skill with a bow, its just that I cant remember who they are.

    I saw a documentory on them a while back. They send a guy to the olympics with an old fashioned "normal" type bow.
    LOL.. really, what else did you hear?.. did you hear that he was voted Man of the Year by Kung-Fu Magizine?

  13. #13
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    cant remember who they are

    YangLiCheng is right - China has an extraordinary archery heritage, but the only place you'll see it nowadays, for the most part, is in the sale of jadeite and nephrite archer rings at Chinese tourist and 'antique' stores. It's too bad really. I'm not sure why it's not more popular in China. I hear that some of the minorities still practice archery, but that's a pandora's box when it comes to CMA research. China did capture two silvers in archery at the Olympics, Li Lingjuan 1984 and He Yang in 1996.

    As for other Asian nations that still practice archery, Japan has taken kyudo to a unique Zen practice. South Korea has an exemplary archery tradition - in fact, they've dominated Olympic archery for years.
    Gene Ching
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    Im thinking hyper trad, Like in Bhutan etc....ill look latter.
    LOL.. really, what else did you hear?.. did you hear that he was voted Man of the Year by Kung-Fu Magizine?

  15. #15
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    YLC, sweet bows !!!

    Did you make them or buy them?

    Thanks for the info. I shot a bunch as a kid/teen and taught basic archery to Scouts.

    Been looking to get back into.
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