Hong Kong Martial Arts Movies
This article appeared originally in the all-Hong Kong issue of Bright Lights #13 (1994). Based on research by Sek Kei. Edited, with additional material, by Rolanda Chu and Grant Foerster
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Hong Kong’s martial arts madness in legend, history, and, oh yeah, the movies
Martial Arts: A Little Background
The use of Chinese martial arts for military strategy and as a subject for scholarship dates back at least as far as the Zhuzi Baijia (the various schools of thought from pre-Qin to early Han Dynasty), and is recorded in military texts of the Warring States period.
Traditional Chinese theories of natural science and religion, along with legends, customs, and pictographic symbols, have been incorporated into Chinese martial arts, extending their range beyond mere military or self-defense purposes into a form of knowledge.
Throughout the evolution of martial arts, emphasis has been placed on self-strengthening, therapeutic exercise, and performance. Music, dance, and acrobatics combined with martial arts occupy an important place in Chinese theater. Even non–martial arts actors have been required to train in martial arts in order to develop and refine their body movements. The martial arts have also been adapted into ceremonial Chinese celebrations, such as lion dancing and dragon dancing, and are common elements in street theater performance.
Chinese Historical Eras
BC 1500-1100: Shang or Yin Kingdom
» 1100-722: Early Chou Period
» 722-481: Ch’un Ch’iu Period
» 481-221: Warring States Period
» 221-206: Ch’in Dynasty
AD 206-BC 221 AD: Han Dynasty
» 221-265: Three Kingdoms (San Kuo)
» 265-315: Tsin Dynasty
» 316-589: Northern and Southern Empires (Nan Pei Chao)
» 589-618: Sui Dynasty
» 618-907: T’ang Dynasty
» 907-960: Five Dynasty Period (Wu Tai)
» 960-1127: Sung Dynasty
» 1127-1280: Kin and Southern Sung Dynasties
» 1280-1368: Yuan (Mongol) Dynasty