Essay on Martial Arts: Religion, Foundation and Movements

1529 Words 7 Pages
The moment one hears of Asian culture, martial arts may be the first idea to come to

mind. In a general sense, many view martial arts as a sport that involves hurting one another. On

the contrary to this belief, martial arts has had a rich history in a religious aspect as well. One

may think religion and martial arts are two contradictory of each other, how can they mix?

Religion plays an important factor in belief, but most of all in way of life. Religion highly

contributed to the structure and fundamentals of Asian martial arts, also not only in foundations

but display of religious ideas and movements outside of Asia. Specifically, the early religions of

Buddhism, Daoism and Confucianism provide the basis for
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Where his eyelids were disposed grew tea bushes

(Ashkenazi).

Within martial arts, legend states that Bohdidharma founded the Shaolin Temple, thus

Shaolin kung fu was born (Davis). During Bohdidharma’s time of teaching at the Shaolin temple,

he not only taught the practice of Zen meditation but physical routines as well. The monks of the

monastery were in poor condition, and enlightenment required both physical and mental strength.

In Bohdidharma’s teachings, he integrated a combined regimen of yoga, deep meditation and

physical exercise (Fundukian 1436). Out of Shaolin kung fu came many styles and forms, as

kung fu refers to the wide variety and schools of Chinese martial arts. With the base of kung fu,

martial arts in other countries developed as well (Fundukian 1437). From the Japanese

perspective as Daruma, the art of kenpo was developed. Disciples of his teachings were unable to

find enlightenment and physical punishment followed. His development of kenpo helped others

to reach enlightenment faster (Ashkenazi). It is from Bohdidharma’s codes of conduct in which

many martial arts take root. With the practice of meditation in Buddhism, the exercise involved

to benefit the body is almost tantric. Later on, the ideas of Buddhism, as well as Shaolin martial

arts, influence the beginnings of other martial arts.

Remaining in the country of China, the religion of Daoism comes and takes

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