A brief history of Damo and the origins of the Chinese Martial Arts

I was just looking at some old blog posts and found this one that I wrote in 2013 about the origins of the Chinese martial arts….

White Crane Academy


The Chinese Martial Arts have a long, colourful history that is almost as fascinating to learn about as performing the arts themselves but the history/legend of the origins of the martial arts in China all lead back to one common source, the Indian monk Damo (also known by his Indian name Bodhidarma), who travelled from India to China in approximately the 5th Century BC.

After travelling through southern China to the Shaolin temple in the Chinese kingdom of Wei, Damo was appalled at the physical condition of the monks and he retired to a cave to meditate on their physical state.

Legend has it that Damo spent nine years meditating facing a wall in the cave. At one point he fell asleep but on awaking was so angry with himself that he cut off his own eyelids to ensure he did not fall asleep again. It is said that…

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