The autumn leaves are falling like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are always two cups at my table.

T’ang Dynasty poem

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Top Chinese Martial Arts Website of 2012

Here is a link to another thought provoking post at Kung Fu Tea. In it the author selects what he considered to be the top website for Chinese Martial Arts and why. Below is an excerpt.

Introduction

New Years is a great time to reflect on where we have been, as well as where we are going.  As such, we would like to announce our pick for the “Top Chinese Martial Arts Webpage of the Year 2012.”

To be eligible for selection a webpage must have been active in the year 2012 and it must promote the study and understanding of some critical aspect of Chinese martial culture. It must also make a substantial original contribution in either its research, journalism, art or creative writing.  Finally, the webpage must be available on the open internet (e.g., you should not have to be a member of an exclusive social media community to access it).

Beyond that everything can get quite subjective.  “Chinese martial culture” is a huge research area with lots of different branches.  Better still, there are a great many individuals devoting their time and resources to researching and spreading this information.  Collectively our community turned out some great work in 2012.  Picking “the best” webpage was literally impossible.  There was just an embarrassment of riches and too many “apples to oranges” comparisons.

As a result we decided that the winner would be the webpage that best captured the spirit of the year and responded to both the challenges and opportunities that 2012 presented.  What sorts of issues were these?  You can read more about them here and here.

The Winner!

So, without further ado, the winner of the first annual Kung Fu Tea Webpage of the Year Award goes to chineselongsword.com.  This webpage is a must read for anyone interested in reconstructing the traditional battlefield techniques recorded in Ming and Qing era fighting manuals.  In fact, chineselongsword.com has translated a number of historic and important works into English, vastly expanding the audience that can now read and interact with these texts.

Anyone who has been involved in the reconstruction of historic fighting systems can tell you that translation is not even half of the battle.  Figuring out how to bring the various illustrations and instructions to life in a historically accurate manner is a real challenge.  Yet increasingly this seems to be a challenge that martial artists are eager to accept.  The founders to this web-resource offer a number of videos and blog entries detailing their own reconstruction of the ancient fighting texts, and of course readers are free to come up with their own.

Chineselongsword.com is located in Singapore.  You can read more about the young individuals behind this project in this interview.  We believe this sort of project is very suggestive of a number of important trends in the Chinese martial arts today.  To begin with, we like the fact that these individuals are drawing on a broad range of martial and academic skills as they attempt to solve historical problems.  We also like the fact that they are willing to subject their reconstructions to experimentation to see what works under a variety of conditions.

It is also very interesting to us that the types of research they are currently carrying out happens outside of the strictures of a traditional martial arts school.  At the same time, they generate a huge amount of insight and information that might be helpful to a number of different schools.

2 comments:

Jonathan Bluestein said...

Horrible choice. The people behind this website make some of the worst videos I have ever seen of traditional weaponry. They taught themselves martial arts from books and haven't a clue as to how to handle these weapons. Were I you Rick I'd have deleted that post. It's just helping ignorance spread. People would start believing they can learn martial arts from books, and that the awful performances seen in these videos have something to do with traditional Chinese martial arts. I believe these guys certainly have good intentions, but the end result is not favourable and is damaging the martial arts community as a whole.

Rick said...

Everyone is welcome to forms their own opinions. I don't follow Chineselongsword so it doesn't apply to me.

Kung Fu Tea continues to produce interesting and thought provoking posts time and time again. I'm certain that Ben would welcome the debate from the difference of opinion.