M A R T I A L A R T S F O R W O M E N
body. He taught them a series of exercises to enable them to meditate for long periods of time. Over the next thousand years, these simple techniques were developed into the Shaolin lohan fighting system. In 1674, the Ch’ing Emperor, K’ ang Hsi, fearing that the monks had become too powerful, ordered that the Shaolin temple be destroyed and its monks slaughtered. Only five monks and nuns managed to escape
the destruction, and each went on to found their own styles of Shaolin kung fu.
It is only in the Western world that women have been consid- ered helpless victims, incapable of defending themselves. Asian women, by contrast (though they have the reputation of be- ing submissive), have fought alongside their men, using many of the same fighting arts. In fact, women have created sev- eral martial arts, including wing chun in China and pentjak-silat in Indonesia. A woman named Yim Wing Chun created the wing chun style. After the destruction of the
Najinata players in action. In Japan, the wives of samurai learned to fight with the sword, staff, and spear, just like their husbands.
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