Timeline

To help put everything in perspective, we'll start with a brief timeline of the martial arts and related history. items marked with an asterisk (*) are mythical or legendary. Some contain elements of truth while some verifiable entries are colored by legend - read the entry! For more on the individual styles mentioned, see Chapter 5.

*2697 B.C. - According to later documents, Yellow Emperor Huang Di ruled China and invented wrestling, swordsmanship, archery, and Taoism. Huang Di probably existed, but claims of his inventions are of early 20th-century origin.

*c. 2000 B.C. - According to legend, the now 700-year-old Yellow Emperor of China defeats a fabulous monster in a head-butting contest. Similar head-butting games continue into the modern era. c. 1950 B.C. - Tomb friezes in Beni Hasan, Egypt depict the first wrestling manual, showing over 400 holds and counters.

c. 1520 B.C. - Wall frescos in Thera show boys boxing. *c. 1500 B.C. - According to the Bible, the Hebrew Jacob wrestles a spirit at the ford of jabbok and defeats it. *c. 1250 B.C. - According to the legend of the Argonauts, Polydeukes (a Spartan) defeats the foreign boxer Amykos. Amykos uses brute strength while Polydeukes uses his skill to avoid Amykos' blows and pound him into submission. *c. 1200 B.C. - Fall of Troy. Later accounts of Greek funeral games mention boxing, wrestling, and pankration. 1160 B.C. - Egyptian tomb friezes depict wrestling and stick-

fighting matches for the pharaoh's coronation. *1123 B.C. - Traditional date for the writing of the I Ching. Its three-line trigrams form the basis of Pa Kua Chuan (pp. 187-188), developed much later.

*776 B.C. - Traditional date of the first Panhellenic games at Olympia, Greece.

722-481 B.C. - Spring and Autumn Period in China. According to chronicles attributed to Confucius, this period was the heyday of the xia (p. 8).

628 B.C. - First statue of an Olympic wrestling champion erected.

544 B.C. - First statue of an Olympic boxing champion erected.

*544 B.C. - Buddha, himself a champion wrestler and archer, achieves enlightenment. Buddhism goes on to inform many martial-arts styles.

536 B.C. - First statue of an Olympic pankration champion erected.

c. 440 B.C. - Spartans practice the pyrrhiche, a war-dance involving shields and swords. The dancers executed blocks and strikes, and learned to fight in rhythm with their companions.

348 B.C. - Plato's Laws describes boxers and pankrationists wrapping their hands with padded gloves and thongs in order to strike at full force "without injury" (presumably to their hands) during practice - and using shadow-boxing and punching bags when no partner was available.

264 B.C. - First recorded Roman gladiatorial matches: three pairs of slaves fight to the death at a funeral.

209 B.C. - Emperor Qin Shi Huang of China is buried in a massive underground tomb filled with terra-cotta statues of warriors, horses, chariots, and more. Some warriors are depicted in unarmed-combat poses that match traditional kung fu postures.

22 B.C. - Emperor Augustus of Rome bans the use of gladiators as private bodyguards.

*141 - Birth of Hua Duo, a Chinese physician later credited with inventing Wu Chin Hsi or "Five Animals Play," exercises based on animals' movements. Performing them supposedly strengthened the body and improved health, giving long life.

c. 400 - Kama Sutra is written. Among other things, it advises women to practice stickfighting, staff, archery, and sword in order to win the affections of men.

*530 - The monk Bodhidharma comes to China from India and teaches the Shaolin monks exercises to strengthen them for their long meditation. This is said to be the basis of all kung fu. (Realistically, even if Bodhidharma did introduce these skills, combative martial arts predated his arrival by more than a millennium!)

747 - Traditional date of the first sumo match. Early matches permitted striking and many holds not used in later matches.

778 - Frankish knight Roland and his companions are defeated by the Moors, according to a 12th-century manuscript. This battle played an important role in the development of romantic chivalric ideals.

780 - Charlemagne, king of the Franks and later the first Holy Roman Emperor, grants lands to his subjects in return for oaths of loyalty, marking a crucial development in European chivalry.

792 - Government of Japan begins to rely more on feudal cavalry armed with bows than on conscript infantry. This leads to the rise of feudal lords - and the samurai.

960 - Chinese emperor T'ai Tsu sponsors a martial art known as "long boxing." The details are long lost, but it's often claimed as the origin of modern kung fu forms.

10th century - Japanese kyuba no michi or "bow and horse path" takes form. This would later become the code of bushido.

Late 10th century - Normans adopt high-backed saddles that allow the use of couched lances, as well as kite-shaped shields to protect their legs during mounted fighting.

1066 - Battle of Hastings. Saxon King Harold Godwinson is killed, perhaps by an arrow in the eye. The Normans conquer England, bringing with them their feudal system and martial styles.

c. 1300 - An unknown German author pens the manuscript later known as the "Tower Fechtbuch" (after the Tower of London, where it was kept) - the earliest surviving manual of European swordsmanship.

1346 - Battle of Crecy. The English slaughter the French, a victory attributed to the power and distance of the English longbow.

1443 - Hans Talhoffer produces his Fechtbuch ("Book of Fighting"), which depicts a variety of armed and unarmed fighting techniques. Its name is eventually applied to all earlier and later books of its type.

1478 - According to tradition, King Sho Shin of Okinawa bans the possession and use of weapons by civilians. Unarmed combat forms flourish and techniques for fighting with household tools appear. Modern historical research points to the decree being not a ban on weapons but an order to stockpile them.

1521 - An overwhelming force of Filipinos attacks Magellan's expedition on the island of Cebu. After a fierce fight, they drive off the Spaniards and kill Magellan. Modern Filipino martial artists often credit this victory to the strength of local escrimadors, but arrows, spears, and machetes were the weapons of the day.

1540 - Former soldier Ignatius of Loyola founds the Jesuits, whose exercises include fencing and meditation. Henry VIII of England incorporates the Masters of Defence of England, giving them royal patronage.

1543 - Portuguese merchant adventurers introduce guns into Japan. They're soon in mass production.

1559 - King Henry II of France dies of a lance wound received in a tournament joust, simultaneously reducing the popularity of the sport and showing that even the King took his chances with potentially lethal matches.

*1560s - Selected Chinese soldiers are sent to the Shaolin Temple to learn unarmed and staff-fighting arts. Some scholars suggest that certain troops received training in other Chinese martial arts and even in Japanese swordsmanship.

1568 - Camillo Agrippa of Milan publishes his fencing manual, Trattato di scientia d'arme ("Treatise on the Science of Arms"). This work advocates the thrust over the slash, the use of the sword as the primary defense, and a more side-facing stance with one hand held back and high.

1576 - Rocco Bonetti opens a rapier school in Oxford, sparking both an immediate rivalry with local Masters of Defence and a fashionable trend toward rapier fencing.

1578 - Japanese warlord Oda Nobunaga organizes a major sumo tournament, or basho. First use of the tatami-edged clay ring (dohyo) and the beginning of modern sumo.

1609 - Japan conquers Okinawa, disarms the population, and bans unarmed fighting techniques. This drives training underground. Teachers instruct selected pupils in secret.

1721 - James Figg starts holding fighting exhibitions in England. Brawling, weapon play, and wrestling were already popular entertainment; Figg added women's boxing, arranged international bouts, and vigorously promoted the fights.

1728 - Donald McBane - soldier, pimp, gambler, and fencing master - publishes The Expert Sword-man's Companion; or the True Art of Self-Defence. This smallsword manual gives advice on how to use and counter dirty tricks, and deal with treacherous duelists.

1735 - A government army crushes the Shaolin Temple.

*1767 - According to legend, Thai prisoner Nai Khanom Tom earns his freedom by beating several Burmese kickboxers in succession. (Modern Thailand marks March 17 as Nai Khanom Tom Day.)

1777 - In China, White Lotus rebels - relying on martial arts, breathing techniques, and magical incantations to protect them from bullets - fight Manchu soldiers. The troops use guns to crush the rebels, but many kung fu practitioners continue to believe that their art can make them invulnerable to bullets.

1827 - Jim Bowie uses his eponymous knife to kill Norris Wright at Sandbar, Mississippi. Newspapers widely report the fight, making the bowie knife famous.

1835 - New Jersey outlaws prizefighting. Other states follow. Arranging prizefights becomes an exercise in bribery, secret locations, and last-minute publicity.

1859 - Sir Richard Francis Burton publishes his booklet on bayonet fighting. Aided by his combat experience and language skills, Burton recorded details about the many weapons and fighting arts he encountered, making him one of the first hoplologists.

1900 - Uyenishi Sadakazu arrives in England and begins teaching Jujutsu (pp. 166-168). One of his students, Hans Köck, goes on to introduce the art to Vienna in 1905.

1904 - Greco-Roman Wrestling (p. 205) becomes a modern Olympic sport.

1920s - Chinese immigrants open Chinese-only kung fu schools in Hawaii.

1930s - Judo (p. 166) clubs exist all over Europe, America, and Australia - including U.S. Army Air Force teams. Kendo (p. 175) spreads from Japan to the U.S. and Europe. Japanese students routinely receive training in both sports to "build character" and encourage physical development.

1940s - Allied commandos learn a stripped-down fighting style based on Eastern martial arts, taught by W.E. Fairbairn. German commandos learn an equivalent style.

1946 - First Karate (pp. 169-172) school on the U.S. mainland is established in Phoenix, Arizona.

1961 - Korean government orders the unification of all Tae Kwon Do (p. 200) schools. Three years later, TKD becomes an official Korean national sport.

1972 - Judo becomes an official Olympic sport.

1990 - Tae Kwon Do becomes an official Olympic sport.

1993 - In the U.S., the first Ultimate Fighting Championship pits different martial-arts stylists against one another with minimal rules, triggering the rise of modern "mixed martial arts" in the U.S. Jiu-jitsu practitioners from Brazil's Gracie family dominate.

2005 - City of Mostar, Bosnia unveils a statue of Bruce Lee as a symbol of peace.

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