Chinese Martial Arts: From Antiquity to the Twenty-First Century

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In the global world of the twenty-first century, martial arts are practiced for self-defense and sporting purposes only. However, for thousands of years, they were a central feature of military practice in China and essential for the smooth functioning of society. Individuals who were adept in using weapons were highly regarded, not simply as warriors but also as tacticians and performers. This book, which opens with an intriguing account of the very first female martial artist, charts the history of combat and fighting techniques in China from the Bronze Age to the present. This broad panorama affords fascinating glimpses into the transformation of martial skills, techniques, and weaponry against the background of Chinese history, the rise and fall of empires, their governments, and their armies. Quotations from literature and poetry, and the stories of individual warriors, infuse the narrative, offering personal reflections on prowess in the battlefield and techniques of engagement. This is an engaging and readable introduction to the authentic history of Chinese martial arts.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521878814
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/31/2011
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 696,321
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter A. Lorge is a Senior Lecturer of History at Vanderbilt University. He is the author of War, Politics and Society in Early Modern China, 900–1795 (2005) and The Asian Military Revolution: From Gunpowder to the Bomb (2008).
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Table of Contents

1. From the Stone Age to the end of the Spring and Autumn Period; 2. The Warring States period; 3. The Qin and Han dynasties; 4. The six dynasties; 5. The Sui and Tang dynasties; 6. The five dynasties and ten kingdoms and the Song dynasty; 7. The Yuan dynasty; 8. The Ming dynasty (1368–1644); 9. The Qing dynasty (1644–1911); 10. Post-imperial China.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2015

    Correction to the statement below.

    There are a couple of types of martial arts. Kung fu (which is what i take), and karate.karate originates from japan and is self defense which means that it involves many blocks. Kung fu oringinates from china and is not self defense it involves more attacking movements. Kung fu is also very very fun. It involves weapons like chainwhip, rope dart, and shang gua(which is a sword with a hook on the end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2013



    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2012

    Straight History

    A while back I had wanted to read a straight history book of Chinese martial arts. Having been around the martial arts for a lot of years, I'd heard a lot of the stories and myths. I like listening to those and think they are important, but I really did want something where someone did the research, looked at primary sources, and made a solid historical analysis. This book did that. It talked about the stories and myths, but also stuck to what was provable and what was available (which is a lot more than people think). There's a place for story and myth, but there's also a place for straight history. This book wasn't the easiest read, but it was well worth the effort. I appreciate the stories and myths more (not less) because I can put them into the context that they were created in. All serious martial artists could benefit from reading this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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