Thursday, March 02, 2006

Kung-Fu and Karate Originated in India!

Browsing at the bookstore, I came across the book:

"The Bodhisattva Warriors : The Origin, Inner Philosophy, History and Symbolism of the Buddhist Martial Art within India and China". (The author, by the way, is Shifu
Nagaboshi Tomio, a.k.a Terence Dukes. He is "an ordained teacher and initiate of the Ryushinji Temple in Okinawa, Japan). This was very intriguing. Perhaps some of you have heard of the Buddhist martial arts in India, but I hadn't. I had thought that these had a purely far-Eastern origin.

I flip through the pages, and see Figure 105. Modern Indian Nata dancer (a Kathakali dancer). The movements of Chuan Fa are still clearly visible.

"The Tang Chinese equivalent for the title "Vajramukti", Chuan Fa (Japanese : Kempo) was a nominal approximation used by monks for that section of the Buddhist Vajramukti
art concerned with ritualized movement practices which contained the principles of health preservation, weaponless self-defense and meditative insight.

The term Chuan Fa was commonly used from the Tang dynasty onward [AD 618-907 according to an appendix] to represent in general those aspects of the Vajramukti practices which missionary monks imported from India. Much later it was exported to offshore islands such as Taiwan and the Ryukyus, where the title was pronounced "Kempo". "


A few pages earlier (sorry if this upsets anyone's notions) :

First, a little intro:
According to our author, "Vajramukti" is the name given to the art of unarmed combat. "Vajramukti was practiced in peacetime by means of regular training sessions and these utilized sequences of attack and defense technically termed in Sanskrit "nata"."

We must now look briefly at the historical development in India in order to appreciate the social environment into which the "nata" emerged. After this we will consider the nata further, for it was their sequences which were taken by monks into China and developed into a native form, which, in turn, gave rise to many of the Buddhist physical meditation arts.

(Brief overview of Buddhist monarchs)
Harsha, revitalized the Sanskrit language and Indian cultural arts. He sponsored sculptures, temples, art, drama and Buddhist nata in all their forms. It is only from this dynasty that the Hindu nata can be dated.

In ancient Hinduism, nata was acknowledged as a spiritual study and conferred a ruling deity, Nataraja, representing the awakening of wisdom through physical and mental concentration. However, after the Muslim invasion of India and its brutal destruction of Buddhist and Hindu culture and religion, the Ksatreya art of nata was dispersed and many of its teachers slain. Due to these invasions, subsequent traditions of nata which arose within Hindu India drew inspiration from sources such as the southern Indian (Dravidian) folk dance and developed very different orientations from its original form. These different sources resulted in the nata becoming a popular performance art of mime and dance, reflecting mainly the myths and
legends of the Hindu religious past, rather than the energetic, body-oriented form of the Ksatreya spiritual warrior training. It is only in these Dravidian areas of India that indigenous martial arts, under the name of Kalari exist nowadays.

When Buddhism came to influence India (circa 500 B.C.) the Deity Nataraja was converted to become one of the four protectors of Buddhism, and was renamed Nar(y)ayana Deva (Chinese : Na Lo Yen Tien). He is said to be a protector of the Eastern hemisphere of the mandala.

The Muslim invasions and subsequent slaughter of Buddhist monks and nuns caused many to flee into Southern India, China, and elsewhere. Because of this, much of what we know concerning nata within Indian Buddhism comes to us via Chinese tradition and Buddhist writing. Refugees carried with them living knowledge, not only of Buddhist spiritual teaching, but also of its cultural arts and skillful means of teaching.The Gupta and Pala Dynasty nata would have been among these, and doubtless continued to be developed by subsequent Buddhist masters.

Although modern Sanskritists usually represent the term nata as one describing the Indian classical art of representing events and characters in the Hindu scriptures by means of highly stylized dance, mime and acting, this is not the meaning of the term evidenced with the Buddhist sutras. The term nata in Mahayana Buddhism described "body nourishing movement sequences" of "a demanding nature" performed by one who was "vigorous and determined." It referred not to a spectator-oriented activity of entertainment or pleasure (as were the Hindu nata) but to the practice of warriors."

-a lot more later (for example, there seems to be other evidence that "nata" was kshatriya martial art). arun gupta

According to Shifu Nagaboshi Tomio, "nata" was martial art (mostly armed) practiced by Kshtriyas from Vedic times.

Other fascinating claims : Tiger Striking (Sanskrit: Vyaghraja) was a technique of unarmed combat.

"In addition to the Indian and North Chinese accounts there is a legend, preserved in both the Ryukyuan "Kempo Hishu", the "Itosuchi", and other Japanese manuscripts, that the technique of Vyaghraja in Chuan Fu developed from teachings contained in an account brought from India, via a Tibetan monastery, into China which recorded the hand-to-hand combat held between two deities. Their names are given phonetically as "Ka-shi-ma" and "Ka-chu-ri". The account is said to describe theri movements and practices and says they used these techniques to "control and restrain their followers". The manuscript is usually named in Japanese Ju Jitsu schools as the "Ta-ka-no-kabi". I was even told this story while sitting by a mountainside of the Motobu peninsula of Okinawa with an old Karate master.

Here we have a fascinating record of a living tradition passed down from generation to generation among people who don't really understand its constituents, but who nevertheless still retain accurate elements of an earlier Chinese tradition. The word "Taka no Kabi", literally means "the giving and receiving of the high(er) places" (Chinese: Kao Cha Li) actually represents the Sanskrit term "Devaloka dana
adana", meaning "The heavenly realm of those who give and those who receive" a meaning almost the same. The names Kashimi and Kachuri probably represent Chinese transliterations of the Sanskrit Buddhist term "Ksatre(ya) ksetra". This means "the place - or land - of the Ksatreya." It is both a synonym for the land of India and a place where warriors train and exercise control.

The whole name seems likely to represent a literal Sarvastivada source orignally called something like the "Devloka danadana Ksatreya ksetra", and which, if tradition is accurate, passed from the Vikramasila monastery of India, for it was to here the Tibetans mainly came to be taught Buddhist teachings. It may be a coincidence, but the area in India which contained the most Sarvastivada/Mahasanghika monasteries was named "Danakataka", a word which can be translated fancifully as the "gift of the closed hand". One furhter, as yet unnamed method of the Vajramukti was said to
have arrived in Southern China via Sri Lanka, but this awaits further research."

13 Comments:

Blogger Implicate Order said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:27 PM  
Blogger Implicate Order said...


Will Indian Martial Arts survive?


I'd written this essay a while back -- for those who are interested. Please feel free to write back to me with opinions (I am looking to research further for a follow-up)...

4:29 PM  
Blogger asianfighter said...

more lies by THE IDIOT AUTHOR RAHMAN...
you should consult with chinese martial arts historians before you start publishing perverted anti chinese historical distortians made by a JAPANESE racist punk!
KUNG FU CAME FROM CHINA AND NOT INDIA...THE HISTORY OF CHINESE KUNG FU IS FROM CHINA FROM IT'S VERY BEGINNING 6000 YRS AGO. IT IS A MYTH MADE BY LIARS AND PSYCHOTIC IDIOTS LIKE WHITE RACIST FROM ENGLAND AND JAPAN INCLUDING SOME IN INDIA MAKING SUCH LIES.
I READ NO WHERE IN CHINESE MARTIAL ARTS HISTORY BY CHINESE HISOTRIANS OF THEIR ART ORIGINATING OUSIDE CHINA. ONLY ENEMIES OF CHINESE WRITE SUCH FOOLISH AND RACIST BASTARDIZED FALSE HISTORY!
GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT AND STOP PUBLISHING LIES LIKE THE ONE ON GRACIE JIU JITSU WHICH IS THE BIGGEST FRAUD IN THE HISTORY OF MARTIAL ARTS. TRY YOUR GRACIE JIU JITSU ON ME, A REAL ASIAN, AND ANY OF YOUR GRACIE GAY BUDDIES, THEY WOULD BE ANNIHILATED!

THIS IS AN IDIOTIC BLOG YOU IDIOTS FORMED...SORRY BUNCH OF FALSE MARTIAL ARTISTS...I HAVE 38 YRS IN MY BELT...KISS MY ASS!

4:36 AM  
Blogger Xuan Qong said...

Ha Ha Ha!! Well done Mujibur :) You obviously rattled mister Asian Fighter's cage who it seems has very little control over his own venum and hatred, let alone his ignorance and desire to brag.

It is obvious to any historian that martial arts are derived from many origins however it is even more obvious that any 'Buddhist' martial art (to which Shifu Nagaboshi is referring not simply Kung Fu) has origins in India or it would not be a Buddhist martial art! Of course given China's size and position on the world stage it is patently obviousthat Chinese martial arts have had many cultural influences, Buddhism most definatley being one of the most prollific.

Also given that the year 221 BC is commonly used as the date when China became unified it is difficult to know what culture Asian Fighter is referring to when he says that 'Kung Fu is from China from its very beginnings 6000 years ago' Especially as the cultural history of the region only really begins to be identified properly with the finding of turtle shells with ancient Chinese writing from the Shang Dynasty (??) having been carbon dated to around 1500 BC. You have to ask the question of what kind of blinkered history poor Asian Fighter is 'emotionally' tied to.

It is also patently obvious that his words are corrupt by the way he libels people like Terry Dukes (Shifu Nagaboshi Tomio) and others who he has never met. From what I have read by Nagaboshi Tomio his research recorded in his books and essays over a period of more than 40 years highlighted the Buddhist underpinnings to many present day martial arts. He was never blinkered (like this Asian Fighter) to make an assumption that all martial arts in China or elsewhere in the world had one single source.

However it is quite obvious from many historical texts that Chinese martial arts (who have affiliations to Buddhism) have origins in India. The most popular records are those of of Bodhidharma the 28th Patriarch of Buddhism in India, and the first Patriarch in China. Bodhidharma is traditionally held to be the founder of the Chaan school of Buddhism (known in Japan and the West as Zen), and the Shaolin school of Chinese martial arts. Bodhidharma is well known for teaching the ailing monks of Shaolin the moving arts, having also like the Buddha been taught the warrior arts of the Kshatrya caste in his home country of India.

The earliest reliable evidence of Buddhist monks engaging in military action, and therefore possibly using martial arts skills, is the celebrated attack on Wang Shih-ch'ung's forces, in support of the Tang forces of Li Shill-min, in 621 CE. Memorial tablets recording this and other military exploits of Shaolin monks are still preserved today. (DEMIEVILLE 1973, pp. 275-79)

Terry Dukes' sensible observation that many martial arts movements in China, Korea and Japan are derived from Buddhist 'mudra' (signs of the hand) are clearly not just his own fanciful ideas (as some like to suggest) as these mudras can be seen all over China in surviving Buddhist paintings and statues of Buddhas. Evidence is even greater in Buddhist temple guardians who are traditionally depicted in warrior like poses performing mudras which are easily recognised as martial arts movements. Just to give a coupleof examples: the well known Buddhist mudra 'abhaya mudra', the 'mudra of fearlessness' which the Buddha is recorded as using to subdue a charging elephant, can be seen in many martial arts as it is a type of inner circling knife hand. 'Bhumisparsa mudra' the mudra of calling the earth to witness is depicted in images of temple guardians as a gesture of surpressing enemies of Buddhism. However these examples are just two of many that can be uncovered by any discerning martial arts enquirer.

Many of these images and statues date back to the early insurgence of Buddhist Culture into China through the silk Road which opened in the Second Century BC so there is absolutely no historical dispute that Indian Buddhism had a massive impact on Chinese Culture from this date onwards. In fact Zhang Qian a Chinese explorer and imperial envoy of the 2nd century BCE, is recorded as the first official diplomat to bring back reliable information about Central Asia to the Chinese imperial court, then under Emperor Wu of Han. Zhang Qian is also credited with the translation of many important Buddhist texts (sutras) which layed down the foundations for Buddhism which was to rival and often dominate Taoism in the Chinese imperial court.

Indian Buddhism was of course so widespread that it managed to reach the shores of Japan, and as we know very well was whole heartedly adopted by the Japanese, dramatically influencing Japanese culture and arts from the 7th Century to the present day.

There is a fundemental difference of course between Japan and China in that Japan had no forign intervention or civil wars which resulted in the suppression of Buddhism. In China however Taoism and Buddhism vied for acceptance as the imperial courts religion and so inevitably Buddhism at different periods in Chinese history was outlawed and inevitably had to be taught secretly. To escape detection by the authorities Buddhism was easily codified into hand movements and dances (form, kata or hsing) where it has been passed down through some martial practices to the present day. Evidence of this codification of mudras in Buddhist practice is still existant in the practices of Chen Yen monks of China, Shingon Monks of Japan and Vajryana lamas of Tibet who still ritually perform hand movements to accompany verbal and meditational practices. Of course as in Buddhist Chuan Fa the mudra these monks use are not just simply mundane 'hand signs' but a 'phsyco-physical' gesture which (as this term suggests) involves not just the body but also the mind of the practitoner. The practice of unifying mind and body within a physical training is well used within martial arts systems and this Buddhist (yogacara) tradition as Shifu Nagaboshi correctly identifies is most certainly one of the roots of this practice.

6:09 AM  
Blogger Erik Mann said...

another great blog from you guys. i'd point you to mine but it isn't yet the way I'd like it. i do have a website that I think is cool, kind of almost about martial art supply store

1:47 PM  
Blogger Erik Mann said...

great post, i'll come visit again soon...erik

6:50 AM  
Blogger Kurt A. Tasche said...

You have a great site here on club karate. I also run a club karate site that you and your visitors may find interesting.

6:50 PM  
Blogger MARKS said...

Hi,

The Greeks took there form of fighting to India via Alexander the great. It was pankration. This helped the Indiand create there fighting systems. In a sense karate and kung fu were created by them. But then where did the greeks get it from you may ask? End of the day, fighting has been around forever, its just been called different names.martial arts, brawling, street fighting, karate, kung fu, whatever. Good post though well done.

6:27 AM  
Blogger I. Remember said...

And guess who perfected the martial arts?

I. Remember

http://fightinghistory.blogspot.com/

7:27 PM  
Blogger Sna said...

There are thousands of people from all the countries of the world which have one thing in common in modern times..They have been to USA and/or live in USA.
The same was with India in ancient times as all of the worlds trade and wealth was here..so its no big deal if martial arts of China have Indian influence.India is a world in itself.
But if anyone does it right is those Shaolin monks.

2:40 PM  
Blogger MARTIAL said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:23 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

great post thanks for sharing such informative post. for more just visit: Martial Arts Supplies

1:58 AM  
Blogger stud_robo said...

Amazing capabilities of Ninja warriors…
Information Exchange..: The true legend of Ninjas..

9:38 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home