The Lost History of Islamic Martial Arts

With regards to the Shaolin fighting system, the oldest evidence of Shaolin participation in combat is a stele from 728 AD that attests to two occasions: a defense of the Shaolin Monastery from bandits around 610 AD, and their subsequent role in the defeat of Wang Shichong at the Battle of Hulao in 621 AD.

Shaolin Temple, Si Lum in Chinese, one of the most famous religious establishments in all China, is situated near Mt. Songshan, 15 kilometress northwest of Dengfeng County town in Henan Province. It was built in 495 CE, on the orders of Emperor Hsiao Wen of the Northern Dynasty (386-534 CE) in honour of a visiting monk, Batuo (Fu Tuo in Chinese) from India.10

An enigmatic legendary figure Bodhidharma (P’u-t’i-ta-mo in Chinese or Daruma Daishi in Japanese), third son of the Brahman king and twenty-eighth patriarch, left Southern India and voyaged to Guangzhou, where he was granted audience by Emperor Wu Ti of the Liang Dynasty (502-577 CE). When Bodhidharma finally arrived at the Shaolin temple, in his search for spiritual enlightenment, he began to preach Ch’an Buddhism to his disciples, along with various breathing techniques and exercises to improve their ability to withstand long periods of static meditation. Such training exercises are believed to have been the foundation of modern martial arts, and his Buddhist teachings formed the basis of a new school of Buddhist philosophy recognized as “Ch’an” in China and “Zen” in Japan.

Adapted From: 1001 YEARS OF MISSING MARTIAL ARTS by Master Mohammed Khamouch

1001 Years Of Missing Islamic Martial Arts

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