Why Chinese swordsmanship?

Discussion of Chinese historical swordsmanship from all styles.

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Dan Pasek
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Re: Why Chinese swordsmanship?

Post by Dan Pasek » Tue Aug 18, 2009 11:17 am

jaime_g wrote:When we talk about internal and external, do you think that it gets reduced to chinese styles? What must show a western style to be considered as internal?
This a difficult question to answer briefly on a forum like this, but here are non-Chinese martial arts that many consider to be ‘internal’ (neijia), with Japanese Aikido perhaps being the most well known.

I really like how Zhang Yun addresses the issue of ‘internal’ vs. ‘external’ and you can read his article here:

http://www.ycgf.org/Articles/Neijia-Waijia/arti_NW.htm

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Re: Why Chinese swordsmanship?

Post by Michael » Tue Aug 18, 2009 12:03 pm

I think that when it comes to distinctions like internal vs. external, we should remember that these are artificial labels. I don't think that it's important for Western styles to be labeled one way or another. The distinction should be blurred at high levels anyway. Paths leading up the same mountain and whatnot.
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Re: Why Chinese swordsmanship?

Post by J HepworthYoung » Wed Aug 19, 2009 11:20 am

I have the opinion, perhaps mistaken, that no amount of external work will lead to internal development or comprehension of the principals entailed. This is a primary reason I enjoy taijiquan, its qualities are those which seem counter-intuitive and yet are profoundly effective once developed.

While the labels seem artificial it could be said that the arts themselves are created and thus an artificial label is apt. It is not as if the arts existed on their own and then the term internal was applied to them like a taxonomic revision.

A western style, if it is internal, should conform to the principals of internal art. For example the use of muscular force as a way to generate power cannot be a primary emphasis of an internal art.

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Re: Why Chinese swordsmanship?

Post by Michael » Wed Aug 19, 2009 11:55 am

J HepworthYoung wrote:I have the opinion, perhaps mistaken, that no amount of external work will lead to internal development or comprehension of the principals entailed. This is a primary reason I enjoy taijiquan, its qualities are those which seem counter-intuitive and yet are profoundly effective once developed.

While the labels seem artificial it could be said that the arts themselves are created and thus an artificial label is apt. It is not as if the arts existed on their own and then the term internal was applied to them like a taxonomic revision.

A western style, if it is internal, should conform to the principals of internal art. For example the use of muscular force as a way to generate power cannot be a primary emphasis of an internal art.
This may be a discussion for another thread, but I've read a number of interviews with high-level practitioners of internal arts, and a common sentiment that they expressed was that at the higher levels, the external arts should develop an internal element, whereas the internal arts develop an external element, and at that point there is no difference. I don't have the experience with internal martial arts to weigh in, but this explanation makes sense to me.

That aside, I think martial arts are natural, but it is systematization and labeling that is imposed on top of them. I would say that this system is created, the martial art is just a collection of natural principles which is reflected (albeit imperfectly) in the practitioner.
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Re: Why Chinese swordsmanship?

Post by jaime_g » Wed Aug 19, 2009 4:18 pm

A western style, if it is internal, should conform to the principals of internal art. For example the use of muscular force as a way to generate power cannot be a primary emphasis of an internal art.
I like this definition, but... what about internal fencing vs external fencing? Very few styles recommended muscular force

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Re: Why Chinese swordsmanship?

Post by J HepworthYoung » Wed Aug 19, 2009 6:29 pm

what about internal fencing vs external fencing?
An external style would focus on the weapon being moved.
An internal style would focus on the body moving, with the weapon as a part of it.
This is why the basis of CMA swordsmanship is the unarmed movements/principals, not the sword itself.

In this manner an external style of swordmanship would focus on the movement and position of the sword,regardless of if it is recognized that the sword acts as an extension of the body, while an internal style of swordsmanship would focus on the movement of the body, despite of the awareness of the position of the sword. As for the jing of the art, if the sword is not being moved by the body, being moved by the dantien, being moved by the qi, being moved by the mind, then it cannot be internal jing, even if no emphasis is placed on a lack of muscular force. And of course is there is no listening jing or stick/adhere follow, then it cannot be taiji, even if all the basic cuts and internal energies are present.

Often external styles and internal styles employ aspects of the other, however such inclusion does not make one the other so to speak. I have read man times the claim that internal arts move to external and the reverse claim as well. I cannot say I believe it, nor can I say I know enough to be able to form a conclusive opinion of it.

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Re: Why Chinese swordsmanship?

Post by jonpalombi » Wed Aug 19, 2009 9:20 pm

jaime_g wrote:
A western style, if it is internal, should conform to the principals of internal art. For example the use of muscular force as a way to generate power cannot be a primary emphasis of an internal art.
I like this definition, but... what about internal fencing vs external fencing? Very few styles recommended muscular force
Good Evening Folks,

For most of us, the repository of our knowledge has been passed down from master to pupil, guided by the system/lineage of our fore-fathers (as it has been for millenniums). This repository contains many of the elements, held within the spectrum of what has been termed, the "martial arts". Something significant is surely imparted throughout these many methodologies? Each path leads to the summit? Nowhere is this more evident than in the study of swordsmanship. From an intellectual standpoint, "internal" and "external" fencing/swordsmanship are as diversified as one would expect they could possibly be. The difference has been elucidated over for centuries, yet the debate echoes on. From the viewpoint of the observer, highly-skilled internal arts and equally-skilled external arts, embody the very same fundamental elements of good swordsmanship. I.E. the aforementioned qualities: flexibility, fitness, explosiveness, good sense of timing and distance, proper foot-work, keen listening/an intuition of one's opponent's movements, a seasoned level of strategy, adequate resources of offensive & defensive techniques and the insightt to think 2 and even 3 movements ahead in time. I'm guessing, the fundamental reason one art is labeled "Internal" and another "external", is more based on the direct origin or source generating said force. While they are but mirrored images of the other, their distinctions become obvious, based specifically on the origin of their movement (how the force is generated). Whether power is issued from one's center (dantian, or what might be considered internal transference of energy from within) outwards or the opposite, what might be seen as self-reliance on one's own external/physical strength or will-power (as J. elucidated above). Despite divergence in approach, excellence will always claim the victory. As we have learned, for the Chinese, the term "kung fu" is reserved for a specific degree of development/attainment (be it martial, civil or artistic). Such a commitment to study/training yields the expected end-result, the advanced development of skill. We all have our own paths and I have found mine along the flowing way of the internal arts. Ultimately, we are talking about honing a heightened degree of attunement in our jianfa & daofa, irregardless of style or lineage. The greatest challenge is often within our own mind and positive-assertion/willingness to spend the countless hours, necessary in training. Nothing is achieved through contemplation, alone. In the doing is growth achieved. So too, in conversation is communication achieved and I have enjoyed this conversation, thus far. Thank you all.

Ciao, Jon
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Re: Why Chinese swordsmanship?

Post by Michael » Wed Aug 19, 2009 9:28 pm

J HepworthYoung wrote:what about internal fencing vs external fencing?
An external style would focus on the weapon being moved.
An internal style would focus on the body moving, with the weapon as a part of it.
This is why the basis of CMA swordsmanship is the unarmed movements/principals, not the sword itself.
I see this as a false dichotomy. What you're suggesting is that an external martial art ignores(i.e. does not focus on) the movements of the body, or somehow doesn't recognize them as being linked to the movements of the sword. If a school of swordsmanship did not pay attention to the actions of the sword, that would be ridiculous. It would also be ridiculous if it did not pay attention to the body motions which support those actions. So in your description, you're suggesting that internal styles are complete, whereas external styles are sorely lacking a major element of martial arts.

I expect that what you might have meant is that internal "emphasizes" one over the other, and external emphasizes the opposite. But I think that when we get into discussions about which one is "primary" or "secondary," which one is emphasized more, and so on, this also doesn't make a convincing distinction for two reasons. First, that's just the manner in which it is taught. Sure, you could argue that the manner of teaching is critical to whether it is an internal vs. external martial art, but then we're narrowing the distinction even further and placing it in the hands of every teacher. That would be a legitimate point of view. But secondly, I think the idea of primary and secondary emphases is missing the point, because they are both necessary. For example, I need both food and water to survive. Which one do I place more importance on? The question is irrelevant, because without either one, I will die.

I don't discount the difference between internal and external martial arts. Nor would I discount the difference between "soft" and "hard" martial arts, or any number of different classifications. But these are very superficial classifications that are most accurate at the beginning level of training, and when we get hung up on them, we draw barriers between arts and inflate differences to be more than they really are.

As for internal Western martial arts, I have a teacher who believes that the Western style he teaches might constitute an internal approach. But it becomes much more difficult to define once we strip away some of the culturally-defined commonalities within Eastern martial arts. For example, Qi is a particularly difficult concept for which to find equivalents. Many Japanese arts express similar ideas through Ki, and I wouldn't be surprised if other Eastern cultures which have come under Chinese influence would also find equivalent concepts. But if, for example, your definition of an internal martial art is "one that heavily emphasizes Qi work," then internal martial arts can only really be Eastern, as Qi comes loaded with all sorts of cultural baggage.

I'm sure that I've written something in the previous paragraph which undermines my point, so let me put it in terms of generalities a bit more. Some definitions of internal martial arts seem to be anchored to culturally-specific ideas which do not find direct equivalents in other continents. Again, I believe this is merely a failure of labels and definitions.
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Re: Why Chinese swordsmanship?

Post by J HepworthYoung » Wed Aug 19, 2009 10:11 pm

What you're suggesting is that an external martial art ignores(i.e. does not focus on) the movements of the body, or somehow doesn't recognize them as being linked to the movements of the sword.
I think it is silly to suggest that by pointing out an emphatic difference that there is a suggestion that things outside the emphasis are ignored.

If a school of swordsmanship did not pay attention to the actions of the sword, that would be ridiculous. It would also be ridiculous if it did not pay attention to the body motions which support those actions. So in your description, you're suggesting that internal styles are complete, whereas external styles are sorely lacking a major element of martial arts.

No, that is your description of my description and it requires that you add words to my original and claim they suggest or imply what I neither stated nor intended. However from the point of view of the western analytical approach of fencing found in various books on the topic the emphasis is clearly upon the position of the sword, however my point seems to be missed. My point is that CMA swordsmanship is not swordsmanship the way that western swordsmanship is. It is martial art system, not a system of swordsmanship. The emphasis is not the sword, even when there is a sword present, this cannot be said of western fencing. However I have no problem with the conjecture that western sword styles are not complete martial art systems in the sense that the eastern versions are. What would be foolish is for me to conflate completeness of a system with a value judgment or a test of a system. That eastern martial art systems are complete systems, which include sword, does not make them superior sword systems to the western sword systems that do not include myriad other weapon and skill sets. Classically the martial arts of China included archery for example, that would make them more complete than a system that lacks this, but that does not mean that they are better or worse as far as another weapon is concerned. So differences can exist and be profound and a system can have what another lacks, and it is not a value judgment, rather it is an observation. Perhaps I am wrong.

I think the idea of primary and secondary emphases is missing the point, because they are both necessary. For example, I need both food and water to survive. Which one do I place more importance on? The question is irrelevant, because without either one, I will die.
Apples and oranges.

I don't discount the difference between internal and external martial arts.

Then by all means please explain this difference.

But these are very superficial classifications that are most accurate at the beginning level of training, and when we get hung up on them, we draw barriers between arts and inflate differences to be more than they really are.
Unless you are mistaken. It may be the case that the differences are underestimated far more than they should be.

if, for example, your definition of an internal martial art is "one that heavily emphasizes Qi work," then internal martial arts can only really be Eastern, as Qi comes loaded with all sorts of cultural baggage.
Interesting opinion. I do not share it. Qi work is found in numerous practices and cultures. Perhaps you are conflating working with qi to be the employment of the term itself? The term has nothing to do with the reality, this is as internal and external too, it doesn't matter what you call it, the distinctions precede terms, they do not originate in them.

. Again, I believe this is merely a failure of labels and definitions.
I agree, the failure for me is the idea that the terms and labels create the distinctions between the arts.

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Re: Why Chinese swordsmanship?

Post by Michael » Thu Aug 20, 2009 1:14 am

J HepworthYoung wrote: What you're suggesting is that an external martial art ignores(i.e. does not focus on) the movements of the body, or somehow doesn't recognize them as being linked to the movements of the sword.
I think it is silly to suggest that by pointing out an emphatic difference that there is a suggestion that things outside the emphasis are ignored.
What it seemed like to me is that you said: "External arts are those that focus on A. Internal arts are those that focus on B and A," with the implication that B is outside of the realm of external arts. I'm sure that you didn't mean it to be taken to that extreme, but it sounds like the conclusion one would draw from this statement is that external arts are thus missing an integral part of the art(B) while internal arts can have their cake and eat it too. If this were true, there would be a clear relationship of inferior and superior, which I think we can all agree is not the case.
J HepworthYoung wrote:However from the point of view of the western analytical approach of fencing found in various books on the topic the emphasis is clearly upon the position of the sword
Well there's a few issues with this. First, they're not all analytical, not by a long shot. If we're talking about, say, 17th century rapier masters, then we see a lot of more analytical approaches which competed with each other for popularity by justifying themselves on logic and mathematics. There are plenty of masters who do not take this approach. Additionally, we have to keep in mind that we only have direct knowledge of those systems which were written down, usually in instructional manuals. So the extant manuals show certain biases toward literacy, toward what might be popular among the patronage, toward contemporary trends, etc.

[Edit: It should be noted that some of the time, the analytical approach can be attributed to the modern teachers of Western martial arts]

As for whether the emphasis is on the position of the sword, this is the problem that I was getting at earlier. Many masters give detailed information on blade position. They also give detailed information on body mechanics, relative position of different swordsmen, etc, often for multiple kinds of weapons. So while they often spent a lot of time talking about the subtleties of moving the sword, that doesn't mean that it came at the expense of other aspects of the art.
J HepworthYoung wrote: My point is that CMA swordsmanship is not swordsmanship the way that western swordsmanship is. It is martial art system, not a system of swordsmanship. The emphasis is not the sword, even when there is a sword present, this cannot be said of western fencing. However I have no problem with the conjecture that western sword styles are not complete martial art systems in the sense that the eastern versions are. What would be foolish is for me to conflate completeness of a system with a value judgment or a test of a system. That eastern martial art systems are complete systems, which include sword, does not make them superior sword systems to the western sword systems that do not include myriad other weapon and skill sets. Classically the martial arts of China included archery for example, that would make them more complete than a system that lacks this, but that does not mean that they are better or worse as far as another weapon is concerned. So differences can exist and be profound and a system can have what another lacks, and it is not a value judgment, rather it is an observation. Perhaps I am wrong.
Well I'm glad that we're not getting into value judgments, but I think you're inflating the differences between the arts. There are plenty of Western martial arts which are much more "complete," as you put it. For example, Bolognase swordsmanship(i.e. important 16th century school centered around Bologna, Italy) incorporates, single sword, sword and buckler, longsword, dagger, unarmed vs. unarmed, unarmed vs. dagger, possibly polearms, and so on, depending on which master(s) you look at. Within each of the extant texts, and sometimes between them, these different sections are theoretically consistent and work along the same principles. Sometimes there is a "central" weapon of focus(the Bolognase tend to like sword & buckler). But they've clearly demonstrated their ability to extend principles throughout complete systems, and the Bolognase school is far from the only example.
An interesting thread on the subject can be found on SwordForum here, with a lot of people who know more than I do: http://forums.swordforum.com/showthread.php?t=97218
J HepworthYoung wrote: I think the idea of primary and secondary emphases is missing the point, because they are both necessary. For example, I need both food and water to survive. Which one do I place more importance on? The question is irrelevant, because without either one, I will die.
Apples and oranges.
That's right. The question is irrelevant because the premise is flawed. Another way of putting it might be "Which is more important, inhaling or exhaling?" There's no point in one without having the other.
J HepworthYoung wrote: I don't discount the difference between internal and external martial arts.
Then by all means please explain this difference.
This mentality is exactly the problem that I'm getting at. At the beginning levels of a martial art, when it is most apparent, it is easy to tell them apart. We know it when we see it. But when the distinction gets blurred, then it gets harder to tell and we all start to argue about where we draw the line. What I'm trying to say is that the difference only matters when there is a large gap, and when it's unclear, who cares? At that point, it's a small distinction anyway. Martial arts are all reflections of natural principles, filtered through the perceptions and experiences of each practitioner in the lineage. Each may choose a different set of principles to work with, but they're all based on the same foundation, and you don't just go and make up new ones.
J HepworthYoung wrote: But these are very superficial classifications that are most accurate at the beginning level of training, and when we get hung up on them, we draw barriers between arts and inflate differences to be more than they really are.
Unless you are mistaken. It may be the case that the differences are underestimated far more than they should be.
I find that unlikely. Remember that we're all humans, the same laws of physics apply to everybody, and people of every culture have been fighting for thousands of years. There are innumerable examples of multiple cultures developing remarkably similar approaches to martial arts with no evidence of cross-cultural contact. There are differences between the arts, but martial arts principles do not belong to any one group, and are free to be discovered by or shared with anyone else. Effective approaches to fighting do not stay in one place, and more often than not they have been developed independently by more than one group of people.
J HepworthYoung wrote: if, for example, your definition of an internal martial art is "one that heavily emphasizes Qi work," then internal martial arts can only really be Eastern, as Qi comes loaded with all sorts of cultural baggage.
Interesting opinion. I do not share it. Qi work is found in numerous practices and cultures. Perhaps you are conflating working with qi to be the employment of the term itself? The term has nothing to do with the reality, this is as internal and external too, it doesn't matter what you call it, the distinctions precede terms, they do not originate in them.
I'm not assigning one particular meaning to Qi. I was giving an example of a poor way of defining "internal martial arts." Let me try and restate it:
Qi has all sorts of subtleties and cultural baggage which are specific to China and its surrounding cultures. Even in Japan, which certainly is culturally distinct, you can see the influence of Chinese ideas about Qi. Qi is difficult to translate in English because it has more than one connotation, as well as those cultural associations that I mentioned. So if we define "internal martial arts" as a martial art which emphasizes Qi work, using all of the culturally-rich meanings of the word Qi, then we won't find an internal martial art outside of the Far East. Of course, if our definition of Qi is not so culturally dependent, this isn't true.

To flip this around, let's say that we study Western European martial arts, and we want to define what a "knightly" martial art is. A broad definition might include anything practiced by a professional fighting class, regardless of culture. Any of Japan's koryu bujutsu might fall into that category. But if we define a "knightly" martial art as a martial art practiced by a Christian professional soldier who consistently obeys the traditional Western European concept of chivalry, fighting on behalf of his feudal lord, then we will never find a "knightly" art outside of Western Europe. This tells us nothing about martial arts from other regions, but simply speaks to the culturally specific nature of our labels and definitions. This is the problem we run into when we try to apply cross-cultural labels.
J HepworthYoung wrote: . Again, I believe this is merely a failure of labels and definitions.
I agree, the failure for me is the idea that the terms and labels create the distinctions between the arts.
There is a saying "The students disagree on almost everything, while the masters agree on almost everything." I do believe that the distinctions are real, but they seem greater than they are at the beginning, and through relentless subdivision and systematization, we make these differences out to be more than they are. The labels are just a descriptive tool, and I don't think they should be used any further than they are useful. One could divide the European rapier-based systems with Chinese jianfa and be perfectly reasonable. Then I could take the former and tell you that you have an Italian school and a Spanish school. Well, that's fine. But then I divide the Spanish school into Carranza and Narvaez and Thibault, all of whom practice incredibly similar arts in the scheme of things, and it could probably be divided even further than that. When we take a step back, we can see that these labels are not pointless, but they are divisive.
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Re: Why Chinese swordsmanship?

Post by J HepworthYoung » Thu Aug 20, 2009 10:27 am

Good reply.

I am inclined to believe that much of the modern claims of the similarities of internal and external arts are merely apologetic rationalizations. I am also skeptical of modern masters, who tend to be masters in title, but not in technique. So when they say that their internal or external style moves from one emphasis to the other, I cannot take their word for it. Nor have I ever been of the disposition to take peoples words for things in general, perhaps that is a flaw of my personality?

While some western sword sword systems incorporate many weapons, like cloak and dagger, rapier, etc, they tend to lack things like climbing and scaling walls, swimming (in armor), mastery and use of poisons and explosive/combustible materials etc. In classic eastern arts these things were often included, but not today of course. If we look at the systems in an inclusive view the similarities exist only in very narrow ranges of practice and broad differences appear, at least to my limited perspective.


I do not mean to devalue any martial art, for the vast majority of them you get out of them what you put into them.

But to address the topic at hand again: Why Chinese Swordsmanship:
Because it informs lifestyle and philosophy, it is a metaphor for existence and conflict and harmony.
The energies of the art are not merely physical but are as much mental as they are physical. One can even employ the energies in different ways in online conversation, using the same jings but in a non-physical way. So in a way I can say that I prefer the Chinese swordsmanship because when it comes down to it, it is neither about swordsmanship or Chinese culture. It is about life and death, conflict and peace. This may be true for western martial arts too, but I cannot find the same connections in them that I have found hidden in the CMA systems, for example the relationship of Taijiquan to Taoism, though the subject of much controversy is something I find genuine and profound.

In the abstract analogy I would say that Internal arts focus on B, but include A by necessity, and external arts focus on A and include B by necessity, so in the end both achieve their targeted proficiency in terms of both A and B, but to me that does not mean that they are equivalent or that they arrive in the same place in terms of proficiency. Perhaps for me the greatest sign of this is found in the non-physical manifestations of training, including mental.

Still I am not convinced that there is not a connection between western systems and eastern systems.
Look at Italy for example, they have evidence of profound influence of Chinese culture, including culinary examples. Given evidence of such cultural contact am I to believe that no exchange of martial knowledge occurred? I think that the spice trade included risks that warranted martial services as a means to ensure protection and that this was true for both sides of the trade. So I believe that long ago the sword styles of Europe were influenced by Chinese sword styles. Not that I think the Chinese invented all of their martial arts. For example I will note that while it is often noted that the Japanese arts are decended from Chinese and often Taoist influence, the older scrolls of Japanese families are written in Sanskrit, which is not Chinese. The preservation of vedic literary tradition in systems clearly influenced by China provides yet another form of evidence that the Chinese arts themselves are developments, not inventions, in most cases.

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Re: Why Chinese swordsmanship?

Post by jaime_g » Thu Aug 20, 2009 5:56 pm

I cannot find the same connections in them that I have found hidden in the CMA systems, for example the relationship of Taijiquan to Taoism, though the subject of much controversy is something I find genuine and profound.
Many european styles were linked mainly to saint thomas aquinas,scholasticism,euclid,aristotle...
While some western sword sword systems incorporate many weapons, like cloak and dagger, rapier, etc, they tend to lack things like climbing and scaling walls, swimming (in armor), mastery and use of poisons and explosive/combustible materials etc. In classic eastern arts these things were often included, but not today of course


Well, european fencing isn't ninjutsu :)
So I believe that long ago the sword styles of Europe were influenced by Chinese sword styles.
When?

Greek warriors hate asian cultures.Macedonian took greek culture to asia.Romans adopted greek culture and christianity.Barbarians adopted roman culture.Medievals adopted arabian culture. Renaissances recovered greco-roman culture...

Medieval fencing is christianity.Renaissance fencing is greco-roman+christianity....Chinese...where?

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Re: Why Chinese swordsmanship?

Post by J HepworthYoung » Thu Aug 20, 2009 7:15 pm

When?
No idea.

Greek warriors hate asian cultures.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greco-Buddhist_monasticism
Menander I is also relevant.
Clearly not all greeks hates asiatic culture. Why would the warriors?

I find it hard to believe that the italians adopted chinese noodles and silk and spices, but paid no attention to sword arts.

Renaissance fencing is greco-roman+christianity
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism_a ... oman_world

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silk_trade
The Silk Routes (collectively known as the 'Silk Road') were not only conduits for silk, but also for many other products. They were very important paths for cultural and technological transmission that linked traders, merchants, pilgrims, missionaries, soldiers, nomads and urban dwellers among China, India, Persia and Mediterranean countries for almost 3,000 years
You might think this is of no consequence as far as exchange of martial knowledge, but I do not.
Moreover those trade routes were used on occasion to ship steel and weapons, would the interest of Europe in Damascus and wootz steel not include an interest in sword techniques of other cultures?

This topic is too big to discuss here at this site, but what we know about old cultural exchange is vastly dwarfed by what we do not know.


Many european styles were linked mainly to saint thomas aquinas,scholasticism,euclid,aristotle...

Not one of these compares to Tao, unless you count tao folk religion, which I do not.

Well, european fencing isn't ninjutsu

Nor is it martial art systems, rather it is fencing systems.
But ninpo has Vedic and Chinese origins. The old scrolls were in sanskrit. Ashoka becomes relative here again, who introduced buddhism to Rome, Greece, and parts of Asia. Buddhism included martial elements initially that were lost in most sects over time. Moreover there is a more profound cultural connection between various cultures, including native american and polynesian where specific stone tools known from every continent are refereed to be equivalent names, on every continent. I am not giving all that info up yet though because it is one of the things I plan on writing about. Needless to say that this topic has far more to it than modern consensus is currently aware.

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Re: Why Chinese swordsmanship?

Post by Michael » Fri Aug 21, 2009 1:32 am

J HepworthYoung wrote: I find it hard to believe that the italians adopted chinese noodles and silk and spices, but paid no attention to sword arts.
I think both are you are dealing in a lot of speculation that isn't going to get us anywhere. I don't know of any solid evidence of cross-cultural martial arts exchange between Europe and Asia, but it certainly can't be ruled out.
J HepworthYoung wrote:Well, european fencing isn't ninjutsu
Nor is it martial art systems, rather it is fencing systems.
You're suggesting that swordsmanship is not a martial art? Or are you suggesting that any of the armed and unarmed systems of Europe aren't martial arts? In either case, I strongly disagree. Please explain your distinction.
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jaime_g
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Re: Why Chinese swordsmanship?

Post by jaime_g » Fri Aug 21, 2009 7:58 am

Why would the warriors?
When romans invade greece,macedonia,etc they found hellenistic soldiers,90% the same warriors who used alexander the great...

Spanish were a culture very influenced by East,but, in a spanish fencing book, you find these names (greco-roman+christians+jews:

Hippocrates,Galenus,Rabi moses,Pedro gregorio,Philostrato,Plato,Socrates,Pythagoras,Virgil,Aristotle,euclid,saint thomas,Leusippo,rabi abrahan,marcilio ficino,philon,juan damasceno,manilio,lucrecio,vitelion,gabrias,terencio,Cicero,...

No chinese...

These buddhist contacts are interesting, but i don't know any european sword system with buddhist influences
I find it hard to believe that the italians adopted chinese noodles and silk and spices, but paid no attention to sword arts
I find really hard to believe that a ming age chinese swordmaster decided teach europeans..
Not one of these compares to Tao
why?
Well, european fencing isn't ninjutsu
Nor is it martial art systems, rather it is fencing systems.
In a german fencing book of s.XVI you find wrestling, wrestling with armour,early rapier,early rapier+dagger, falchion, falchion + dagger, only dagger,longsword, short staff, staff,long pole,spear,sickle,scythe,club,sword & buckler, halberd...

No martial art system..??

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