[New publication] Zhouxiang Lu (2018) Politics and Identity in Chinese Martial Arts

Politics and Identity in Chinese Martial Arts

Zhouxiang Lu


About this book: Chinese martial arts is considered by many to symbolise the strength of the Chinese and their pride in their history, and has long been regarded as an important element of Chinese culture and national identity. Politics and Identity in Chinese Martial Arts comprehensively examines the development of Chinese martial arts in the context of history and politics, and highlights its role in nation building and identity construction over the past two centuries.

This book explores how the development of Chinese martial arts was influenced by the ruling regimes’ political and military policies, as well as the social and economic environment. It also discusses the transformation of Chinese martial arts into its modern form as a competitive sport, a sport for all and a performing art, considering the effect of the rapid transformation of Chinese society in the 20th century and the influence of Western sports. The text concludes by examining the current prominence of Chinese martial arts on a global scale and the bright future of the sport as a unique cultural icon and national symbol of China in an era of globalisation.

Politics and Identity in Chinese Martial Arts is important reading for researchers, students and scholars working in the areas of Chinese studies, Chinese history, political science and sports studies. It is also a valuable read for anyone with a special interest in Chinese martial arts.


Table of contents:

List of figures vii
Acknowledgements ix
List of abbreviations x

1 Introduction 1

2 From Shang to Yuan dynasties 6
The Shang and Zhou dynasties 6
The Qin and Han dynasties 11
The Jin and the Northern and Southern dynasties 19
The Sui and Tang dynasties 22
The Song and Yuan dynasties 27
Conclusion 35

3 The Ming and Qing dynasties 45
The Ming golden age 45
The rise of various schools of martial arts 61
The ban on martial arts 71
The Tiandihui, the Boxer Rebellion and the Nationalist Revolution 73
Conclusion 82

4 The Republic of China era 97
Nationalism, militarism and martial arts 98
Chinese martial arts publications 111
The debate 116
The rise of wuxia novels and movies 119
Conclusion 124
vi Contents

5 The Mao era 136
Surviving socialist reforms 137
Revolutionary wushu 146
Recovering from the Cultural Revolution 149
Wuxia novels and movies: blending martial arts and nationalism 152
Conclusion 158

6 The era of reform and opening up 169
Restoring the cultural tradition 169
Transforming wushu into a competitive sport 172
Developing wushu as a sport for all 176
Wuxia movies: projecting the ‘Chineseness’ 189
Wushu goes global 196
Conclusion 202

7 Conclusion 217
Chinese martial arts: history, politics and national identity 217
Modern vs tradition 221

Index 227

About the author: Lu Zhouxiang is Lecturer in Chinese Studies within the School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures at the National University of Ireland Maynooth, Ireland.