An exploration of the origins of Tai Chi, Kung Fu, Sword Art and their movements.

If you're visiting this website then you've probably seen many martial arts films and will recognise the following theme only too well...

"The senior students looked anxiously around the table at each other. Not only had the Master been murdered, but the secret training manual had been stolen. That manual, which had been passed down from master to senior diciple for more than five hundred years, contained the key ideas that gave the school's techniques their frightening efficacy. The manual had to be retrieved and the Master's murder avenged, no matter what the cost."

That's the opening paragraph of a book called "Chinese Martial Arts Training Manuals"[1] and the book goes on to explain that while many movie plots are based on pure fantasy there's a certain element of truth this time. Historical martial arts training manuals do exist and can give us a wonderful insights into the real history of arts such as Tai Chi and Kung Fu.

The Daolin Historical Kung Fu Society uses these primary pieces of eveidence along with an understanding of modern systems and historical enquiry to excavate authentic movements from China's martial heritage.

The resarch methodology is not to ask specific questions, such as "Who invented Tai Chi?" as that leads down routes of trying to make evidence fit a purpose. This is where a lot of popular martial arts reasearch is done, practicioners of a particular style atempting to prove theirs is the true lineage. Here there is often too little evidence to make any resonable claims of fact.

This project instead examines the evidence in comparison to where we are today and tries to find correlations that indicate shared common ancestry of movements, stances, philosophies, strategies and martial techniques that form our modern styles.

[1]Kennedy, B. and Guo, E. "Chinese Martial Arts Training Manuals, A Historical Survey", 2005, North Atlantic Books.

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