Kung-Fu and Karate Originated in India!
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From: firstname.lastname@example.org. (GUEST-Arun Gupta(CUTS))
Subject: The origins of the martial arts
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Date: Sun, 20 Nov 1994 22:26:06 GMT
Xref: icaen soc.culture.indian:185116 rec.music.indian.classical:9026
[posted to rec.music.indian.classical only to draw attention
of those interested in the classical arts of India. Further
posting to soc.culture.indian, only, please]
Browsing at the bookstore, I came across the book
"The Bodhisattva Warriors : The Origin, Inner Philosophy,
History and Symbolism of the Buddhist Martial Art within
India and China". (The author, by the way, is Shifu
Nagaboshi Tomio, a.k.a Terence Dukes. He is "an ordained
teacher and initiate of the Ryushinji Temple in Okinawa,
This was very intriguing. Perhaps some of you have heard of
the Buddhist martial arts in India, but I hadn't. I had
thought that these had a purely far-Eastern origin.
I flip through the pages, and see Figure 105. Modern Indian
Nata dancer (a Kathakali dancer). The movements of Chuan
Fa are still clearly visible.
"The Tang Chinese equivalent for the title "Vajramukti",
Chuan Fa (Japanese : Kempo) was a nominal approximation
used by monks for that section of the Buddhist Vajramukti
art concerned with ritualized movement practices which
contained the principles of health preservation, weaponless
self-defense and meditative insight.
The term Chuan Fa was commonly used from the Tang dynasty onward
[AD 618-907 according to an appendix] to represent in general
those aspects of the Vajramukti practices which missionary
monks imported from India. Much later it was exported to offshore
islands such as Taiwan and the Ryukyus, where the title was
pronounced "Kempo". "
A few pages earlier (sorry if this upsets anyone's notions) :
First, a little intro:
According to our author, "Vajramukti" is the name given to
the art of unarmed combat. "Vajramukti was practiced in peacetime
by means of regular training sessions and these utilized sequences
of attack and defense technically termed in Sanskrit "nata"."
.....We must now look briefly at the historical development in India in
order to appreciate the social environment into which the "nata" emerged.
After this we will consider the nata further, for it was their sequences
which were taken by monks into China and developed into a native form,
which, in turn, gave rise to many of the Buddhist physical meditation
(Brief overview of Buddhist monarchs)
....Harsha, revitalized the Sanskrit language and Indian cultural arts.
He sponsored sculptures, temples, art, drama and Buddhist nata in all
their forms. It is only from this dynasty that the Hindu nata can be dated.
In ancient Hinduism, nata was acknowledged as a spiritual study and
conferred a ruling deity, Nataraja, representing the awakening of wisdom
through physical and mental concentration. However, after the Muslim
invasion of India and its brutal destruction of Buddhist and Hindu culture
and religion, the Ksatreya art of nata was dispersed and many of its teachers
slain. Due to these invasions, subsequent traditions of nata which arose
within Hindu India drew inspiration from sources such as the southern Indian
(Dravidian) folk dance and developed very different orientations from its
original form. These different sources resulted in the nata becoming a
popular performance art of mime and dance, reflecting mainly the myths and
legends of the Hindu religious past, rather than the energetic, body-oriented
form of the Ksatreya spiritual warrior training. It is only in these
Dravidian areas of India that indigenous martial arts, under the name of
Kalari exist nowadays.
When Buddhism came to influence India (circa 500 B.C.) the Deity Nataraja
was converted to become one of the four protectors of Buddhism, and was
renamed Nar(y)ayana Deva (Chinese : Na Lo Yen Tien). He is said to be
a protector of the Eastern hemisphere of the mandala.
The Muslim invasions and subsequent slaughter of Buddhist monks and nuns
caused many to flee into Southern India, China, and elsewhere. Because of
this, much of what we know concerning nata within Indian Buddhism comes
to us via Chinese tradition and Buddhist writing. Refugees carried with
them living knowledge, not only of Buddhist spiritual teaching, but also
of its cultural arts and skillful means of teaching.The Gupta and Pala
Dynasty nata would have been among these, and doubtless continued to be
developed by subsequent Buddhist masters.
Although modern Sanskritists usually represent the term nata as one
describing the Indian classical art of representing events and characters
in the Hindu scriptures by means of highly stylized dance, mime and acting,
this is not the meaning of the term evidenced with the Buddhist sutras.
The term nata in Mahayana Buddhism described "body nourishing movement
sequences" of "a demanding nature" performed by one who was "vigorous and
determined." It referred not to a spectator-oriented activity of
entertainment or pleasure (as were the Hindu nata) but to the practice of
-a lot more later (for example, there seems to be other evidence that
"nata" was kshatriya martial art).
According to Shifu Nagaboshi Tomio, "nata" was martial art (mostly
armed) practiced by Kshtriyas from Vedic times.
Other fascinating claims : Tiger Striking (Sanskrit: Vyaghraja)
was a technique of unarmed combat.
"In addition to the Indian and North Chinese accounts there is
a legend, preserved in both the Ryukyuan "Kempo Hishu", the
"Itosuchi", and other Japanese manuscripts, that the technique
of Vyaghraja in Chuan Fu developed from teachings contained in an
account brought from India, via a Tibetan monastery, into China
which recorded the hand-to-hand combat held between two deities.
Their names are given phonetically as "Ka-shi-ma" and "Ka-chu-ri".
The account is said to describe theri movements and practices and
says they used these techniques to "control and restrain their
followers". The manuscript is usually named in Japanese Ju Jitsu
schools as the "Ta-ka-no-kabi". I was even told this story while
sitting by a mountainside of the Motobu peninsula of Okinawa with
an old Karate master.
Here we have a fascinating record of a living tradition passed down
from generation to generation among people who don't really understand
its constituents, but who nevertheless still retain accurate elements
of an earlier Chinese tradition. The word "Taka no Kabi", literally
means "the giving and receiving of the high(er) places" (Chinese
: Kao Cha Li) actually represents the Sanskrit term "Devaloka dana
adana", meaning "The heavenly realm of those who give and those who
receive" a meaning almost the same. The names Kashimi and Kachuri
probably represent Chinese transliterations of the Sanskrit Buddhist
term "Ksatre(ya) ksetra". This means "the place - or land - of the
Ksatreya." It is both a synonym for the land of India and a place
where warriors train and exercise control.
The whole name seems likely to represent a literal Sarvastivada
source orignally called something like the "Devloka danadana
Ksatreya ksetra", and which, if tradition is accurate, passed from
the Vikramasila monastery of India, for it was to here the Tibetans
mainly came to be taught Buddhist teachings. It may be a
coincidence, but the area in India which contained the most
Sarvastivada/Mahasanghika monasteries was named "Danakataka", a word
which can be translated fancifully as the "gift of the closed hand".
One furhter, as yet unnamed method of the Vajramukti was said to
have arrived in Southern China via Sri Lanka, but this awaits further