Barry Allen
McMaster University
The now-global phenomenon of Asian martial arts traces back to something that began in China. The idea the Chinese communicated was the dual cultivation of the spiritual and the martial, each perfected in the other, with the proof of perfection being an effortless mastery of violence. I look at one phase of the interaction between Asian martial arts and Chinese thought, with a reading of the Zhuangzi 莊子 and the Daodejing 道德經 from a martial arts perspective. I do not claim that the authors knew about martial arts. It was not Daoist masters who took up martial arts, but martial arts masters who, at a specific time, turned to Daoism to explain the significance of their art. Today, though, Daoist concepts are ubiquitous in martial arts literature, and a reading of these classics from a martial arts perspective shows how they lend themselves to philosophical thinking about this practice
Keywords Daoism  Asian martial arts  the Zhuangzi  the Daodejing
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11712-014-9371-4
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,307
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Zen in the Art of Archery.Eugen Herrigel & R. F. C. Hull - 1955 - Philosophy East and West 5 (3):263-264.

View all 14 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Play of Champions: Toward a Theory of Skill in eSport.Lasse Juel Larsen - 2020 - Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 16 (1):130-152.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Is Proprioceptive Art Possible?Markus Schrenk - 2014 - In Graham George Priest & Damon Young (eds.), Philosophy and the Martial Arts. New York: Routledge. pp. 101-116.
Zen, Yoga, And Sports: Eastern Philosophy For Western Athletes.Spencer K. Wertz - 1977 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 4 (1):68-82.
Games of Sport, Works of Art, and the Striking Beauty of Asian Martial Arts.Barry Allen - 2013 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 40 (2):241 - 254.
Wu Shu Zhe Xue =.Fengjie Qiao - 2007 - She Hui Ke Xue Wen Xian Chu Ban She.
Jhoon Rhee Martial Arts: Philosophy & Life Skills.Jhoon Rhee - 2000 - Jhoon Rhee Foundation for International Leadership.
From the Iron Rice Bowl to the Beggar's Bowl: What Good Is (Chinese) Literature?Haiyan Lee - 2010 - Telos: Critical Theory of the Contemporary 2010 (151):129-149.
Aristotelian Dialectic.H. Hamner Hill & Michael Kagan - 1995 - Informal Logic 17 (1).
The Zen Way to the Martial Arts.S. K. Wertz - 1984 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 11 (1):94-103.


Added to PP index

Total views
103 ( #113,860 of 2,507,860 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
9 ( #79,765 of 2,507,860 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes