The Brill Dictionary of Religion

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Martial Arts
(1,166 words)

1. Martial arts, today's generic name for an entire series of Far Eastern disciplines, are centuries old in their origin, and in China and Japan were an important aspect of a comprehensive and transcendent vision of human development. Originally, it was a matter of techniques (in Jap., jutsu) of the duel and self-defense, unarmed, as some form of chi gong (in China, something like ‘elaborating of energy,’ a fundamental, multiplex system of bodily-spiritual exercises), such as kung-fu (properly shaolin-chuan, a fisticuffs…

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Schaefer, Michael, “Martial Arts”, in: The Brill Dictionary of Religion, Edited by Kocku von Stuckrad. Consulted online on 17 November 2019 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004124332, 20051223

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