Martial Arts Holidays: China

Nearly every country in the world has some tradition of martial arts. In fact all martial arts developed as a form of training for soldiers and sailors from ancient times right up to the modern day. One of the earliest martial arts is yoga and developed in India’s pre-history and was tailor-made to meet the needs of ancient Indias soldiers. On the other end of the spectrum one finds Krav Maga, an Israeli form of martial arts developed in the 20th century specifically by and for the Israeli Defence Forces. But there are few regions in the world more closely associated with martial arts than China.

The history of marital arts in China goes back thousands and thousands of years, well into pre-history much like yoga in India. As methods of warfare changes, so too did the martial arts, and also as different religions and philosophies took hold in the regions that we now call China, they had an impact on the various forms of marital arts there.

If you want a rewarding holiday and want to learn more about martial arts—both their practice and also their history—China is the place that you’ll want to go. Each region of China has its own unique form of martial arts with its own history and culture. In the west we often picture China as a singularity, but the truth is that the region is larger than Europe and has at least as many cultures—many more in fact if one includes the now dead cultures.

But for the first time visitor to China there’s probably nothing better than visiting the Shaolin Monasteries. Nearly two thousand years old these monasteries are the home of Kung Fu and have had centuries to perfect their deadly art—an art that is always taught to be practised only in self-defence.

While one can spend a lifetime getting to know China and its history, even a visit of a couple of weeks will provide you with enough stimulating experiences to make the visit one that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. If you do go, be sure to check in with some of the ancient monasteries as they often have courses for tourists.