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When Technology and Martial Arts Collide

July 8, 2010

Martial Arts has been practiced for thousands upon thousands of years by dedicated students attempting to train their bodies, minds, and spirits while simultaneously keeping tradition alive.  As the years have progressed newer forms of martial arts have been introduced and new ways of studying these arts have come into being.  The Jingwu school of Kung Fu for example, lead the way in major change by: teaching martial arts as a form of recreation, teaching women on an equal level as men, and even by using technologies such as magazines and movies to promote martial arts.  The Jingwu association, esablished in Shanghai in 1909, was years ahead of their time and accomodated sports, cerebral activities, and even a social focus into their curriculum designed to enhance martial arts.  This new school of thinking has been transformed through the years by technology to create the ultimate entertainment system for social, physical, and cerebral development. That computerized system is known today as the Wii and is one of the leading units in promoting new age martial arts for all to enjoy.

This semi-new system of technology has revolutionized gaming, giving us the chance to both virtually and physically interact with the system.  In terms of martial arts, this means that the player can physically practice their moves and routines in their own homes.  Games like Wii Fit Plus, All Star Karate, and The Circle: Martial Arts Fighter allows the player to fight virtually using their entire body to play the games.  The ability to practice and train in a safe and stress-free environment is a key attribute for martial arts, and the Wii makes this both possible and fun.  Martial arts students, like those practicing at the Jingwu school of Kung Fu, would have loved the opportunity to have resources like the Wii system to tone their skills.  The Jingwu academy in particular promotes martial arts as both a form of sport and entertainment, which ties in very nicely to the Wii entertainment system and its martial arts related entertainment software.  The Jingwu’s sports association can be seen in a variety of different ways including their love for tennis, basketball, and even table tennis, all of which can be played on the Wii system.

Although some feel that the Wii is not a suitable substitute for actual hands on martial arts practice, others believe that it can greatly help.  I personally feel as though the Wii is a brilliant way to practice martial arts and that if used frequently and correctly, has the potential to teach and train any student.  Do you feel as though it is necessary to actually train at a martial arts dojo, or do you feel as though the Wii system has what it takes to fill in as a substitute?

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If you are interested in learning more about the Jingwu or Kung Fu, then check out Jingwu: The School That Transformed Kung Fu.  In this book, authors Brian Kennedy and Elizabeth Guo discuss the Jingwu association and how it has impacted Kung Fu and martial arts.

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