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Books on Shaolin Temple, Wushu, PRC

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  • Books on Shaolin Temple, Wushu, PRC

    Hello, fellow forumers!

    As some of you might know, I'm a student of Chinese language and culture in the Helsinki university. This semester is my third one, and I'm moving ahead in my studies to gradually start preparing for my thesis. Although I still have a LOT of studying to do before I get there, in the Finnish university system for every student there are typically three big essays before the thesis. These are meant to help improve skills in research and scientific writing.

    Right now I'm starting work on my first big essay (pro-seminar essay), for which I've chosen a subject: I wish to examine the evolution of the traditional Chinese arts and people's perception of them - especially the esoteric and fighting arts - by concentrating on the destruction and rebuilding of the Shaolin temple in the 20th century; what kind of circumstances affected this; how were the traditional arts affected in practice and in people's perception of them; what were the reasons and circumstances behind Chinese government's promotion of modern Wushu and rebuilding of the temple; what were the overall effects of this etc. etc.

    I know this is a vast subject, but I'm hoping to focus in different aspects of it in later essays of the same subject (the same subject matter for successive essays is encouraged in our school).

    As I'm gathering research material right now, I'd like to ask your help in finding the right titles. Do you know any good books on the following subjects:

    - Both (or either) of the Shaolin temples. History, traditions, different periods, influence, evolution etc.

    - The history and origin of modern wushu.

    - The new-found promotion of different facets of Chinese tradition after the cultural revolution in China.

    - Actions and attitudes towards the Shaolin temples by the Qing dynasty, Chinese national government and the People's Republic of China, and vice versa.

    - The changing of the traditional arts in mainland China, and the changes in people's attitudes towards them

    Obviously Sifu's books and writings will contribute immensely to my essay, but I'd like to find as much written material on the subject as possible. Books in english (or Finnish ) are preferrable, because my Chinese is not yet good enough to enable me to fluently go through research material in original language. However, any contributions are greatly appreciated! Also, if you have any ideas or suggestions I welcome them warmly.

    Thank you! I wish everyone good heath and happiness for the year 2005!
    Markus Kahila
    Shaolin Nordic Finland

  • #2
    Hi there Markus

    I do have a suggestion, unfortunately, the book is in Chinese

    The title is
    《国术概论》 by 吴图南 (publisher unknown, date circa 1930 - 1940)

    It is said by many to be the last word on the development of Chinese martial arts (no just wushu or kungfu) in China. The author spent years travelling throughout China and visited the various sites of origin, such as Chen village for Taijiquan, Wudang Shan, and I believe Shaolin Temple. Until he passed away at 108, he was known as the greatest living expert on Taijiquan (his grandmaster was Yang Luchan himself).

    I would send it to you but it is not even available in my country. I have been looking high and low for it myself.

    Oh and here are some other sources:

    An Selected English Bibliography

    Draeger D. F. & Smith R. W. (1969). Comprehensive Asian Fighting Arts. Tokyo: Kodansha International Ltd (1980 reprint). ISBN 0-87011-436-0.

    Smith R. W. (1974). Chinese Boxing - Masters And Methods. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books (1990 reprint), ISBN 1-55643-085-x.

    (from : Peter Lim's homepage at
    Last edited by Zhang Wuji; 4 January 2005, 01:40 AM.
    Persevere in correct practice


    • #3
      Dear Brothers and Sisters,
      I've been looking for that book myself and I was wondering if anyone had any luck finding it.



      I pay homage to all the great masters of the past and the present


      • #4
        Dear Markus Siheng,

        Good luck with your research; I read a book recently, Tales of the Shaolin Monastery, but I have forgotten the editor now. I cannot say that it was very authoritative--it seemed like a collection of folk tales, but it may give you something to work with.

        With All,
        Charles David Chalmers
        Brunei Darussalam


        • #5

          Sounds very interesting. I can't help you with any info/books on that subject but would be very interested in the future if one of your subjects was the effects PRC etc had on Chinese Medicine and acupuncture.

          Kind Regards
          Paschal McSweeney
          Acupuncture & Acupressure Practitioner
          The Cork Clinic Of Chinese Medicine
          Cork, Ireland


          • #6
            Books on Shaolin Temple, Wushu, PRC

            Thank you everybody for your information here!
            I wonder if the book: 国术概论 by 吴图南 (publisher unknown, date circa 1930 - 1940) had been writen by this Master Tunan Wu ? Because in altavista translations I get that name when translated 吴图南 !


            Any way here is another book that it could be another good book(s)!Maybe some one had read them?!:


            Or else I belive the best one would be this one(that is recommended by Sifu too! in Sifu's books!:
            History of Chinese Martial Arts by Xi Yun Tai, People's Physical Education Publications, Beijing, 1985

            Have a nice day ~

            Last edited by HugoDarien; 20 August 2007, 09:51 AM.