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Thread: Chinese wulin *before* the founding of the Shaolin Temple?

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    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Default Chinese wulin *before* the founding of the Shaolin Temple?

    It's often said that all Chinese martial arts are derived from Shaolin martial arts. Though that's likely hyperbole (or even outright untruth), it's commonly accepted as wulin lore.

    Buddhism arrived in China around 200 BCE, during the Han Dynasty. The Shaolin Temple itself was not established until the 5th Century CE, during the chaotic period between the Han and Tang eras. Chinese civilization was already many millennia old by that point, however, and it's doubtful that NO Chinese martial arts or martial society existed before that point. No wuxia stories I know of, however, are set in the pre-Shaolin era. What do you imagine the pre-Shaolin period of Chinese wulin was like?

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    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
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    I guess LOCH period is the closest we have to a pre Shaolin wulin.

    The great monestary was never mentioned nor were any of its fighters particularly prominent.

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    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Default Chinese wulin before the founding of the Shaolin Temple

    In many wuxia stories, members of wulin revere Shaolin as the oldest of wulin sects and the one from which all other sects were either directly or indirectly derived. Historically, the Shaolin Temple was founded by Batuo in CE 497 (during the Six Dynasties era following the fall of the Han Dynasty) and Damo arrived at Shaolin in CE 526, beginning the development of Shaolin martial arts. It seems improbable, however, that Chinese martial arts and wulin society did not exist until the Six Dynasties era...that no wulin existed during the Zhou, Qin, or Han Dynasty eras.

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    There should be. But, maybe in small forms - like village schools, temples, family unit, recluse. It is not as institutionalized like Shaolin.

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    Senior Member CC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    It's often said that all Chinese martial arts are derived from Shaolin martial arts. Though that's likely hyperbole (or even outright untruth), it's commonly accepted as wulin lore.

    Buddhism arrived in China around 200 BCE, during the Han Dynasty. The Shaolin Temple itself was not established until the 5th Century CE, during the chaotic period between the Han and Tang eras. Chinese civilization was already many millennia old by that point, however, and it's doubtful that NO Chinese martial arts or martial society existed before that point. No wuxia stories I know of, however, are set in the pre-Shaolin era. What do you imagine the pre-Shaolin period of Chinese wulin was like?
    Why not? You can think of it like before Damo came, kung fu was like IRL, you have external forms but none of that set wood ablaze with kinfe hand! blast people from 10 feet away! freeze people with a middle finger! stuff.

    Think of it like before Damo, martial arts was at level 2, he came with his YJJ and moved the bar to 10.
    Its BIxie Jianfa Gawdammit you guys!!!!

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    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
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    If we are talking historically then China had a very long tradition of martial arts way before Shaolin was even founded. As far back as the Warring States period there were already established martial arts schools in fencing, archery, wrestling and even fighting on horseback. Noblemen would often employ famous fighters as "sword-guests", like Jing Ku the would be assassin of the First Emperor.

    What Damo/Shaolin brought was the element of spirituality.

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    Senior Member Snafu3721's Avatar
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    This thread peaked my interest so I started researching it

    Martial arts was around way before Shaolin. There were records of martial tournaments and legendary stories before Shaolin temple. And I'm sure all emperors had warriors trained to protect them (as well as assasins trained to kill the emperors).

    But the concept of Wulin seems to be developed around Song dynasty. It may have to do with what others said about institutionalization of large sects. And the consolidation of power within a fragmented martial society. Somewhere along the line the society of martial artists seem to drift from military affliation to common practioners.

    This may be true for Japan as well... it seems like slowly, the code of samurai and bushido was formed and a japanese "wulin" came to be when practioners were no longer concentrated in the military.

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    I'm not sure about this but isn't there a poem from the start of Ode to Gallantry the novel version not the Drama TV series.....

    The starting poem talk something about Heroic Sword Masters from before Emperor Qin became Qin Shi Huang Emperor?

    Sword Masters like Lian Jin and Luo Kai from A Step into the Past.....



    I'm not sure if you would consider that to be part of WuXia Jiang Hu Martial Art Heroes or whatever but what would be the reason for Jin Lao Qian Bei to write that into his novel?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    It's often said that all Chinese martial arts are derived from Shaolin martial arts. Though that's likely hyperbole (or even outright untruth), it's commonly accepted as wulin lore.

    Buddhism arrived in China around 200 BCE, during the Han Dynasty. The Shaolin Temple itself was not established until the 5th Century CE, during the chaotic period between the Han and Tang eras. Chinese civilization was already many millennia old by that point, however, and it's doubtful that NO Chinese martial arts or martial society existed before that point. No wuxia stories I know of, however, are set in the pre-Shaolin era. What do you imagine the pre-Shaolin period of Chinese wulin was like?
    I'm imagining Sun Wukong running havoc.

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    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stance View Post
    I'm imagining Sun Wukong running havoc.
    That's supernatural phenomena, though, not wuxia.

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