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Martial Arts: Religion, Foundation and Movements Essay

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The moment one hears of Asian culture, martial arts may be the first idea to come to

mind. In a general sense, many view martial arts as a sport that involves hurting one another. On

the contrary to this belief, martial arts has had a rich history in a religious aspect as well. One

may think religion and martial arts are two contradictory of each other, how can they mix?

Religion plays an important factor in belief, but most of all in way of life. Religion highly

contributed to the structure and fundamentals of Asian martial arts, also not only in foundations

but display of religious ideas and movements outside of Asia. Specifically, the early religions of

Buddhism, Daoism and Confucianism provide the basis for a majority of eastern religions.

The primary, and much older, contributor to the start of martial arts was the religion of

Buddhism. Branching out of Hinduism, Buddhism stresses the idea of meditation. Buddhist

meditation, though can be used in other branches, is most emphasized in the Chan (Zen)

Buddhist sect. According to legends, the founder of Zen Buddhism was an Indian monk named

Bohdidharma who traveled throughout China. He is also known as Da Mo in China, or Daruma

in Japanese culture (Irons). In his travels, he desired to reach enlightenment through intense

meditation. Zazen, or seated meditation, is a significant practice of the Zen Buddhist belief.

Legends state that, like Siddhartha Gautama, Bohdidharma took extensive amounts of time to

meditate. Within his nine years of meditation, he too suffered physical declines with the

weakening of his legs. It is very iconic to see Bohdidharma sitting down, as daruma dolls in

Japan are used to depict...


... middle of paper ...


...ale , 2011. Print. 6 vols.
Irons, Edward A. “Bohdidharma.” ABC-CLIO eBook Collection. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2012. .
Newcombe, Suzanne. “Cosmic energy.” ABC-CLIO eBook Collection. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2012. .
Pendergast, Sara, and Tom Pendergast. St. James Encyclopedia of Pop Culture . Vol. 3. Detroit: Gale, 2000. Print. 5 vols.
Siegler, Elijah. “Daoism.” ABC-CLIO eBook Collection. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2012. .
- - -. “Taoist Tai Chi Society .” ABC-CLIO eBook Collection. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2012. .


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