Tang Dynasty soldiers
We’ve been building up to this episode of the Heretics podcast for a while, but we’ve finally got there. Here it is, the history of Xingyi, part 1.
Damon heads back to the Tang Dynasty to dig into the historical conditions that gave rise to the Song Dynasty and influenced the eventual creation of Xingyi, specifically the An Lushan Rebellion (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/An_Lushan_Rebellion) and its disastrous consequences (some scholars have estimated that we lost a 6th of the world’s population! Although that figure remains controversial) and the subsequent rise of the Wen and Li traditions in the new Song Dynasty, and how this was going to influence the mother of a certain young commoner who hadn’t even been born yet, but whose name would come to be known throughout all of China – Yue Fei.
This is probably starting a lot further back than most people would imagine a history of Xingyi would begin, but we’re not in a rush – we’re going to do it right, placing everything in its historical context. Lots of detail and lots of depth.
I’ll update this post with each new episode.
Here’s the picture by Fan Kuan ‘Travelers amongst mountains and streams’ which gets a mention often:
Just a quick heads-up. If you want to be notified when a new episode of the Heretics podcast is out I’ve created a Facebook page that you can follow. I think it will act as the ‘Homepage’ for the podcast until we get a website sorted.
So far we’ve managed a new episode every week since we started. The next one will be on… Xingyi.
A new Heretics podcast episode is up that covers martial arts – specifically Mongolian Wrestling – which I thought you might like.
We cover Mongolian wrestling, culture, writing, language, rivalry with the Chinese, wrestling techniques, Sumo, the three ‘manly’ arts (which are also practiced by women) and female wrestlers.
“Mongolian Wrestling is one of the three warrior arts of the Naadam that originated from Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire. In this episode we explore the history, techniques and links with Shamanism of this surprisingly extensive and complex art which has produced both Sumo grand champions and Judo gold medalists.”
Here are some videos that go with the episode:
Mongolian Wrestling highlights:
Asashoryu, the famous Mongolian Sumo wrestler we mention:
Mongolia’s first gold medal in Judo at the Olympics from Naidangiin Tüvshinbayar, Beijing 2008:
D. Sumiya has won a gold medal in the 2017 World Judo Championships in Budapest, Hungary, becoming the first Mongolian female gold medalist at world judo championships:
Let’s explore the Mongolian national wrestling with Stephen Pera:
My Heretics podcast has done 3 episodes now on the history of ancient China. We’ve started with the Zhou, then into the warring states period that leads up to the formation of the Qin Dynasty. This is where you start to see a physical map of a Dynasty that actually looks like modern China.
Animated map of the warring states period from Wikipedia:
Despite ambitions to reign for a thousand years, the Qin Dynasty ended up being very short, but dramatic and introduced the key rulership idea of Chinese Legalism. The Qin Emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi, was buried in a huge tomb which contained the now-famous Terracotta Warrior pictured above.
Here’s the episode:
The man who invented China
While Qin Shi Huangdi created China, he wasn’t liked by the people. The hardline approach of Legalism didn’t have what it took to hold a geographic area of that size together and his dynasty ended pretty quickly after his death. The next dynasty, the Han Dynasty lead China into its golden age, introducing modern economics in the process. One of the reasons for the success of the Han that it changed government style, introducing something called the Han Synthesis, which enabled people to practice different religious or philosophical traditions at the same time.
The Han Dynasty saw several conflicts with the invading Xiongnu from the North, in the area we call Mongolia now.
Here are the episodes:
The Han dynasty (part 1)
The Han dynasty (part 2)
I’ve written a guest blog post about my Heretics podcast and our history of Japanese martial arts series for Holistic Budo, a blog run by my friend Robert Van Valkenburgh.
Here’s a quote:
After the Tokugawa-era ended with the bloody Boshin war followed by the Meiji Restoration (1868), Japan slowly opened up to the outside world. In fact, it was forced open by the British and Americans using violent gunboat diplomacy, but eventually the new era was embraced by the new rulers and also reflected in a new spirit of openness within the martial arts. Aliveness was back in fashion and innovators like Jigoro Kano breathed new life into the martial arts they inherited using the practice of randori (free sparring). His approach was so effective that Kano went from never having trained martial arts at all, to founding his own style in less than 6 years. Ultimately Kano’s Judo would outshine all the other styles of Jiujitsu and change the course of martial arts in Japan entirely, not to mention the rest of the world.
Check out the whole post here.
The latest episode of the Heretics podcast is out!
In part 4 we examine the time period between 1960 and 1980 in Japan, and discuss topics such as martial arts marketing and the different ways in which the Japanese created and promoted a wide range of new martial arts.
Here are a few links to videos of the things we talk about this time:
Gracie vs. Kimura – October 23, 1951 (Maracanã Stadium – Rio de Janeiro, Brasil)
Gracies vs bullies on beach:
Rikidozan vs Masahiko Kimura (1954 – Part 2/2)
PRIDE 25: Kazushi Sakuraba vs Antonio “Elvis” Schembri
Muhammed Ali vs Antonio Inoki Boxer vs MMA Fighter 1976
Mas Oyama vs “bull”:
TV show about Iwama and Aikido, Ibaraki Prefecture (茨城県, Ibaraki-ken) Japan featuring the late Morihiro Saito Sensei.
And part 3 of our History of Jiujitsu and Kempo is out! This time we have Bartitsu, the truth about Ninjas, the British connection, the controversial origins of the BJJ belt system and the birth of pro wrestling in Japan.
I know. I had you at “the truth about Ninjas”.
Listen to “#3 The Origins of Jiu Jitsu and Kempo (part 3)” on Spreaker.
Episode 2 of the history of Kempo and Jiujitsu is out!
Starts in 1850. Extensive discussion of Kano Jigoro, the evolution of Judo and beyond. Plus a lot on the political-cultural situation of Japan at the time. Plenty of martial arts Heresy as always 😉
If you found the first episode too history-heavy this one, while still having a bucket-load of history in it, is more conversational and has some lighter-weight elements, talking about BJJ, Chuck Lidell and other things. We take a slightly controversial listener question at the end.
Just wanted to give my readers a quick heads-up. I’m starting a new podcast!
Since I appeared on Ken Gullette’s Internal Fighting Arts podcast a couple of weeks ago I’ve been contacted by various people about different things and one of them was my old XingYi teacher Damon Smith who runs the Woven Energy podcast. He wanted to see if I’d like to help him out with his new Heretics Podcast.
The Woven Energy podcast is about Shamanism and contains frequent calls to action, so they give ideas you might like to try out and techniques. In contrast, the Heretics podcast is going to be a place where subjects that don’t fall under the banner of Shamanism can be discussed, like, say, martial arts. There will also be no call to action.
The name is in reference to the origins of the concept of heresy, back in Gnostic Christianity, and the fact that we will probably be talking about things that are against society’s commonly held beliefs. Starting with martial arts.
In the first episode, I make the mistake of asking Damon, ‘what is the history of Jiujitsu?’
Covers: Kempo, Jiujitsu, Japan-China trade, Yakuza, Samurai, Shoguns and much more….
Anyway, expect the first episode…. soon…