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Thread: Chinese Martial Arts before the JingWu

  1. #1

    Chinese Martial Arts before the JingWu

    So I feel like stirring the pot today and in the spirit of Shaolin - let us discuss how the Jing Wu affected and created our perception of the post modern TCMA movement. First, some reading assignments: http://chinesemartialstudies.com/201...-martial-arts/

    We know that certain brands did spread quickly in the late 19th and early 20th century. Taiji Quan and Bagua are classic examples of this, but so are White Crane and Hung Gar in the south. Jingwu, the “Pure Martial” movement out of Shanghai, modeled in some ways on the YMCA, was the first really successful “national brand.” It managed to establish itself throughout all of the major cities of eastern and southern China, and much of the South East Asian diaspora as well.

    Jingwu (which was actually run by a group of intelligent you businessmen) carefully observed and learned from the experience of previous groups. Rather than relying passively on newspaper stories and martial arts novels they actively cultivated new ways of using the press and advertising in magazines in an attempt to spread their message of national salvation. The Nationalist Government studied these efforts in detail and appropriated them in the creation of their own martial brand, the highly politicized “Central Guoshu Institute.”
    http://chinesemartialstudies.com/201...ed-without-it/

    The popularity of traditional forms of hand combat reached a low point after the Boxer Uprising and many middle class urban intellectuals actively questioned whether the Chinese martial arts should even continue to exist. They seemed too factional, too backwards and too unscientific to be part of the modern society that the May 4th reformers imagined. Many students of physical education were more than happy to toss hand combat on the scrapheap of history and replace it with something truly modern and scientific, like Prussian military drills, or American ballgames.

    Gratefully that did not happen. In fact, just when the predictions of Kung Fu’s imminent demise reached their loudest crescendo a new actor appeared on the scene in the form of the Jingwu (Pure Martial) association. Jingwu had a new and unique approach to teaching the martial arts. They began by collecting forms and synthesizing a number of popular northern styles to create a truly unified and modern boxing curriculum. They then developed instructional techniques based on large classes and the use of line exercises that would allow a single instructor to teach many students rapidly.
    Discuss.
    Last edited by MightyB; 06-20-2013 at 05:47 AM.

  2. #2

    Sub E Lo Tom Toy (spelling?) number 4
    This is a pic that the author used to show a typical line drill for a large group. He highlights the matching uniform and the single instructor that we see in a lot of styles of martial arts.
    Last edited by MightyB; 06-20-2013 at 05:55 AM.

  3. #3
    Since the curriculum was always the same it was relatively easy to set up a franchise system and the quality of the product produced was predictable and reproducible across China’s vast expanses. Further, whereas traditional instructors might demand decades of a student’s life, it was possible to master the Jingwu system and become an instructor in about five years. Pretty much anyone who really applied themselves could do it. Their training methods were safe, hygienic and really improved fitness. In short, where many of the traditional methods of instruction had resembled a guild system, designed to restrict access to knowledge (and therefore economic competition from new schools) Jingwu became a factory for producing the next generation of reform-minded martial arts instructors.
    These individuals had made their fortunes selling products in China’s rapidly growing commercial marketplace, and they realized that martial instruction was just like any other product. It could be systematized, branded, advertised and sold. So they advertised and sold it on a massive scale.
    They were no longer selling boxing lessons, their product was now nothing less than national salvation. Of course to achieve the salvation that Jingwu promised the reach of the traditional arts (as interpreted and understood by their specially trained instructors) would have to be broadened.
    Jingwu, through its appeals to nationalism and modernism was for the first time able to attract large numbers of middle class urban professionals to the martial arts.
    ..........

  4. #4
    so now for my part of the discussion.

    IMO I think a lot of the practices we rebel against as wannabe fighters started in the JingWu... maybe not intentionally, but nevertheless, they're there.

    What are those practices specifically? Well to me I think the notion of accumulating forms as a symbol of rank started at the JingWu. Also, to appeal to the modern urban Chinese of the post Boxer uprising, they had to sanitize Kung Fu. They did this by focusing less on the physical aspect of fighting, and more on the cultural and health aspects of Wu De.

  5. #5
    Brian Kennedy sometimes posts here, but if anyone can give an informed opinion on the effects of the Jing Wu on TCMA, it's Brian.

  6. #6
    My interest is in

    What were the Chinese martial arts like before the Jing Wu?

    How did they practice when the expectation of the practitioners was that they'd use the skills to fight? - since they were usually practiced by peasants looking for a better job as a guard or bandit, or they were practiced by professional soldiers.

    Do some of those traditional methods survive today?

    What can we learn about combat efficacy by looking at the pre Jing Wu era?
    Last edited by MightyB; 06-20-2013 at 06:31 AM.

  7. #7
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    LKFMDC has made this argument about 1,000 times already.
    He most honors my style who learns under it to destroy the teacher. -- Walt Whitman

    Quote Originally Posted by David Jamieson View Post
    As a mod, I don't have to explain myself to you.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by MasterKiller View Post
    LKFMDC has made this argument about 1,000 times already.
    I don't care about the argument, I would like to discuss and learn...

    What were the Chinese martial arts like before the Jing Wu?

    How did they practice when the expectation of the practitioners was that they'd use the skills to fight? - since they were usually practiced by peasants looking for a better job as a guard or bandit, or they were practiced by professional soldiers.

    Do some of those traditional methods survive today?

    What can we learn about combat efficacy by looking at the pre Jing Wu era?

  9. #9
    thanks for asking question that people answered 5000 times. I would love to answer it again.
    Last edited by bawang; 06-20-2013 at 06:50 AM.

    25th generation inner door disciple of Chen Style Practical Wombat Method
    Officially certified by Ethiopian Orthodox patriarch Abune Mathias
    grandmaster instructor of Wombat Combat™®LLC Practical Wombat Method. international academy retreat

  10. #10
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    I would say that Jing Wu was a response to "the sick man of asia" being the western eye on China in many respects. it had to do more with the overall health and ability of the citizenry, but at the same time was implemented to create different optics about Chinese peoples to the western military and merchants who were getting involved in the economy of China and not to mention, pushing the opium trade.

    I think Jing Wu wasn't necessarily contaminated by the crazy religious nonsense that the peasant army of boxers suffered from and instead was an institution of martial arts and health more associated with lifting the people up and out from the disparaging eyes of foreigner and of course, themselves.

    I think the biggest hurdle is the cultural aspect fro a lot of people. There are admittedly many who think that doing chinese martial arts ha smore to do with mimcing an idea of what chinese is and chinese martial arts are. Movies and wuxia tales have indeed tainted reality.

    Having said that, there have always been fighters. they come and go and I believe the Jing Wu even arranged lei tai etc.

    Kung Fu before the Jing Wu was still a lot of different styles and a lot of different methods.

    People can argue all day long about what they think of one training methodology over another. It's moot to complain about a time you never even existed in. Truth is, the Jing Wu exists NOW today and is all over. There are many variants of what and how it is practiced and taught in each especially since a great many of these jing wu schools have merely co-opted the name to derive a connection, possibly to ride on reputation or maybe just out of typical ignorance akin to mashing kanji and traditional chinese characters together etc etc.

    Still pictures of people doing line drills isn't much different from disciplined training in military ranks. This type of training in large groups has to follow a military model in many respects and so, it does.

    I think disparaging views of Kung Fu based on vague reckonings of what one personally likes or dislikes is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Kung fu was not so different really. It still had a wide variety of ways of being taught before the Jing Wu came on the scene.
    Kung Fu is good for you.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by MightyB View Post
    so now for my part of the discussion.

    IMO I think a lot of the practices we rebel against as wannabe fighters started in the JingWu... maybe not intentionally, but nevertheless, they're there.
    Agreed, the large class-line style training, systematized form curriculum, branding and franchising, all lead to the modern Mc Dojo.
    Quote Originally Posted by YouKnowWho View Post
    This is 100% TCMA principle. It may be used in non-TCMA also. Since I did learn it from TCMA, I have to say it's TCMA principle.
    Quote Originally Posted by YouKnowWho View Post
    We should not use "TCMA is more than combat" as excuse for not "evolving".

    You can have Kung Fu in cooking, it really has nothing to do with fighting!

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Kellen Bassette View Post
    Agreed, the large class-line style training, systematized form curriculum, branding and franchising, all lead to the modern Mc Dojo.
    jingwu and the guoshu program couldn't succeed because the hardline traditional styles refused to participate after the boxer rebellion. jingwu was a collection of street performers.

    25th generation inner door disciple of Chen Style Practical Wombat Method
    Officially certified by Ethiopian Orthodox patriarch Abune Mathias
    grandmaster instructor of Wombat Combat™®LLC Practical Wombat Method. international academy retreat

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by bawang View Post
    jingwu and the guoshu program couldn't succeed because the hardline traditional styles refused to participate after the boxer rebellion. jingwu was a collection of street performers.
    But it seems they did succeed in some regards. Their model is now standard for TMA, Chinese or otherwise.
    Quote Originally Posted by YouKnowWho View Post
    This is 100% TCMA principle. It may be used in non-TCMA also. Since I did learn it from TCMA, I have to say it's TCMA principle.
    Quote Originally Posted by YouKnowWho View Post
    We should not use "TCMA is more than combat" as excuse for not "evolving".

    You can have Kung Fu in cooking, it really has nothing to do with fighting!

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Kellen Bassette View Post
    But it seems they did succeed in some regards. Their model is now standard for TMA, Chinese or otherwise.
    I don't see how its susccessful. nobody trains kungfu today, in china or America.

    25th generation inner door disciple of Chen Style Practical Wombat Method
    Officially certified by Ethiopian Orthodox patriarch Abune Mathias
    grandmaster instructor of Wombat Combat™®LLC Practical Wombat Method. international academy retreat

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by bawang View Post
    I don't see how its susccessful. the kung fu business model rises and collapses in about 10 years. the mentality is not sustainable. in America 70-80s, in china 80s-90s.
    Interesting...like some sort if Gong Fu pyramid scheme....
    Quote Originally Posted by YouKnowWho View Post
    This is 100% TCMA principle. It may be used in non-TCMA also. Since I did learn it from TCMA, I have to say it's TCMA principle.
    Quote Originally Posted by YouKnowWho View Post
    We should not use "TCMA is more than combat" as excuse for not "evolving".

    You can have Kung Fu in cooking, it really has nothing to do with fighting!

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