Essay on Martial Arts in Asian Theatre

Essay on Martial Arts in Asian Theatre

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The Asian Theatre features many rich and beautiful traditions. The realm of Asian Theatre encompasses certain Eastern Traditions which often stem from Buddhism and Taoist practices or beliefs. Martial Arts and acrobatics are frequently utilized in the Noh Theatre, Kabuki, and the Beijing Opera. Karate and Kung Fu were a few of the styles actors applied to the Art of Asian Theatre. The Beijing Opera has been a very popular art form in China for over two-hundred years. The Beijing Opera utilizes various elements such as singing, mime, acrobatics/contortion, and martial arts. Performers in the Beijing Opera begin their training at an early age, therefore, carrying on the family vocation. The children are often sent away to a school to train under a master. Beijing Opera performers believe “All fight routines used in Chinese theatre express total exploration of the concept of roundness” (1). Every movement/ block, punch, or kick in Chinese theatre is in some way balanced, therefore, exhibiting the notion of Ying/Yang. Many of the Martial Art aspects found in the Beijing Opera/Chinese theatre derive from the ancient art of Kung Fu. Many scholars believe that Kung Fu was originally developed and used by the military in 2600 B.C and was known the militants as Chiou Ti. In 2698 B.C., Emperor Huangdi began to formalize the art of Kung Fu by inventing a form of wrestling that was taught to soldiers.
(1) Riley, Jo. Chinese Theatre and Actor in Performance. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge UP, 1997. Print.

This specific style soon became known as Jiao Di, and over the years, Jiao Di masters began to include joint locks, strikes, and blocks. This style also became a popular sport during the Qin Dynasty in 221 B.C. Many Masters/Sinus created their...


... middle of paper ...


... to statues. In conclusion, the Asian Theatre as a whole carries a beautiful history and utilizes traditions and techniques that are thousands of years old. Over the years, Kabuki, Noh, and the Beijing Opera have turned to various Martial Arts for inspiration, therefore, adding a sense of mystery and excitement to each performance.



Works Cited

Minick, Michael. The Wisdom of Kung Fu. New York: Morrow, 1974. Print.

The Art of Kabuki. Berkeley: University of California, 1979. Print.

Carruthers, Ian, and Takahashi Yasunari. The Theatre of Suzuki Tadashi. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP, 2004. Print.

Riley, Jo. Chinese Theatre and the Actor in Performance. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge UP, 1997. Print.

"Martial Arts and Acting Arts." JTC :Turse. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2013

"Eighteen Arms of Wushu." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 24 Nov. 2013. Web. 25 Nov. 2013.

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