2023, Volume 19
How post-1840s’ governments oversaw martial arts in China
1School of Sports, Huaibei Normal University, Huaibei, China
Author for correspondence: An Lu; School of Sports, Huaibei Normal University, Huaibei, China; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Background and Study Aim: Chinese martial arts (CMA) originated in Chinese culture and was already characterized in ancient China. However, since 1840, CMA has been changing with the shift in governments in order to meet the needs of their respective periods. This study aimed at in depth knowledge about the Chinese martial arts during nearly 200 years of social change and from the perspective of the role that governments should play in promoting this centuries-old tradition.
Material and Methods: The basis of the analysis of source materials is Michel's Foucault's theories on 'power-knowledge' and the 'political technology of the body'. In the article there are references to 68 publications related to the purpose of this theoretical research
Results: Primarily, post-1840s China saw three governments. These three governments used martial arts for their respective socio-political intentions and governed it in vastly different ways. The late Qing government deserted civilian martial arts but maintained their own official military martial arts training to continue the Manchu ruling position. The Republican government rejuvenated it to empower the collapsing country and its people. The government of the People’s Republic of China has been transforming and growing martial arts to meet the varying needs of the times, e.g. maintaining social stability in 1950-60’, establishing international image in 1970-90’ and building cultural confidence after the millennium. Globally, the wushu policies of the Chinese governments, especially the wushu policies of the People's Republic of China, did not produce a satisfactory result on the way of traditional martial arts modernization as those of Japan and the Republic of Korea governments.
Conclusions: The martial arts in post-1840s China evolved in a highly abnormal way, and its evolution should follow the martial arts nature per se rather than the governments’ political intention alone.
Key words: Michel Foucault, kuoshu, CMA (Chinese martial arts), political power, sanda, taolu, wushu