In 1909, because of their ties with the failed Boxer Rebellion and the rise of modern weaponry, Chinese martial arts were in serious danger of extinction. The Jingwu Association was formed to keep these ancient arts alive. Jingwu: The School That Transformed Kung Fu tells the story of this seminal institution. Extensively researched, the book shows Jingwu as the first public martial arts training school and the first to teach kung fu as recreation, not simply as a form of combat. It was also the first to incorporate women’s programs with men’s, and the first to use popular media to promote Chinese martial arts as both sport and entertainment. Through these efforts, the Jingwu Association helped guarantee Chinese martial arts would survive the transition from traditional to modern China.
This lively history covers the school’s tumultuous beginnings; the four historical phases of Chinese martial arts that inform it; profiles of important practitioners like Huo Yuanjia; those elements, such as the integration of women, that have made Jingwu distinctive and enduring; individual branches and practices within the larger system; and more. Rare historical documents and vintage photographs take the reader directly into one of the most fascinating and important stories in martial arts.