Divine Roots of Chinese Martial Arts


Chinese people believe that their culture has divine origins.

[Longfei Yang, NTD Martial Arts Competition Judge]:
“China has a divinely inspired culture. No matter whether it’s Chinese medicine, martial arts, writing, or feng shui, they are all passed down by gods.”

Longfei Yang is a master of the Shanxi style Praying Mantis Kung Fu and a judge for NTD Television’s International Chinese Martial Arts Competition.

Yang says Chinese martial arts go far deeper than just fighting techniques.

[Longfei Yang, NTD Martial Arts Competition Judge]:
“In martial arts, apart from training the body, raising one’s moral character is essential. It is only when your morality is high that you can develop external techniques and innate abilities. Just making your body physically very strong doesn’t mean that you’re a true martial artist.”

This sense of morality in martial arts shows the deep connection of Chinese Kung Fu with religion.

[Longfei Yang, NTD Martial Arts Competition Judge]:
“No matter whether it’s the Shaolin temple or the Taoist Wudang Mountain, they all have within their spiritual cultivation sets of martial arts techniques. From these, come many amazing stories. There’re also martial arts stories from society and they all have a link to Buddhism or Taoism.”

Many of these stories are still told today…stories like the Indian monk Da Mo crossing a river floating on a reed stalk, and then meditating in a cave for nine years, before teaching Kung Fu exercises to the monks at the Shaolin temple.

Or the story of the creator of Tai chi boxing, Zhang Sanfeng—said to have lived for around 200 years—due to the healing effect of his martial art.

Even the Chinese characters for martial arts contain deep inner meanings.

[Longfei Yang, NTD Martial Arts Competition Judge]:
“Since ancient times, the character for ‘martial’ in Chinese has been made up of two components. The lower part means stop. The upper part is Ge, which is a type of weapon in ancient times. So, it actually means, ‘stop fighting and stop having conflicts’… So, martial arts are about raising one’s moral character—not about fighting with somebody, or contending with others.”

Yang used to practice external martial arts that did not emphasize moral cultivation—until he met a master of the Shanxi Style soft Praying Mantis system in China. That was in 1997.

[Longfei Yang, NTD Martial Arts Competition Judge]:
“At the time, the master was already 62 years old. I looked at his age and his physical capabilities. Being in my 20’s, I didn’t take it to be anything special. I used my quick punches and kicks to spar with him but I discovered that whenever I got close to him, his movements immediately changed direction and my attacks just hit empty space. Within a short time, I exhausted all my energy. All my movements and techniques were not equal to this old man. I realized I was missing the true teachings.”

So Yang studied diligently with this master.

[Longfei Yang, NTD Martial Arts Competition Judge]:
“I discovered that in the structure of the body and in practicing the techniques, you’ve to relax. Once you’re relaxed, you can become tranquil in your breath and your heart. … Only then will there be huge changes in the essential movements—the structure of the body and the transitions between movements. This is the essence of Chinese martial arts.”

Yang hopes to revive this essence and to allow the public experience China’s divinely inspired culture, via NTD Television’s Chinese Martial Arts Competition.


Date: May 17, 2020

5 thoughts on “Divine Roots of Chinese Martial Arts

  1. I like your videos! It can improve my English a lot. I knew there is a script in the description but i think if you can add English subtitle along with the video will be better!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *