Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Education Studies: Experience and Innovation (ICESEI 2022)

Study of Modern Martial Arts Education Thought and Contemporary Values
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The Chinese martial arts have a long history, following the development of the entire Chinese civilization, and are rich in traditional culture, philosophical thought and humanism.


To learn from history is to know the rise and fall. The historical practice of martial arts education thought is closely linked to the political, economic, cultural and other social contexts of the country at the time. The tracing of martial arts education ideas from different periods is all about the refinement and innovation of martial arts in a new era, tracing the development process of modern martial arts education in China and clarifying the development of martial arts education ideas from the turnover of martial arts education.

Military national educationism was an important educational idea prevalent in the late Qing Dynasty and early Republican period, which referred to the ideological and educational movement that aimed to defend the country against foreign invasion, enrich the country and strengthen the army by providing military training and education in the spirit of martial arts to students and all nationals, in order to improve the physical fitness of the nation and make students and all nationals have military character and ability [1]. The martial arts culture of this period coincided with the national education and martial arts education of the time, and some schools in big cities added martial arts classes to their physical education classes, or carried out extracurricular martial arts activities. In 1915, traditional Chinese martial arts were formally introduced into school education and became part of the school physical education curriculum, changing the mode of teaching martial arts from oral to mental and from teacher to apprentice, as well as broadening the popularity of martial arts. After the founding of New China, with the change in the nature of the country, martial arts and martial arts education also began a new chapter. At the preparatory meeting of the All-China Sports Federation, Zhu De, Vice-Chairman of the Central People's Government, proposed that many of the original forms of folk sports should be widely adopted. Feng Wenbin also pointed out that martial arts activities should be carried out, martial arts were liberated from the old education system, to promote martial arts folk forms of sports performance and competition assemblies became the mainstream of wushu development, and also received great attention from the people, promoting international exchanges and bringing wushu out of the country and into the world. In 1956 the Ministry of Education compiled and promulgated China's first comprehensive and universal syllabus for teaching physical education in primary and secondary schools, which included content on wushu. In 1961, on the basis of summing up experience, the 1956 syllabus was revised in accordance with the spirit of inheriting and carrying forward China's long history of national traditional sports and reflecting the national characteristics in the syllabus. Wushu, as one of the important elements of traditional national sports, was included in the National Syllabus of Physical Education for Universities, Secondary and Primary Schools, which was compiled and published in the same year. This put the mechanism of martial arts education in schools on a normal track. On the basis of martial arts education in primary and secondary schools, martial arts education in universities has also been further developed. It can be seen that wushu education carries out multiple levels and channels of teaching. 1980s, with the continuous development of reform and opening up, wushu foreign exchange activities were more frequent. After the reform and opening up, due to the establishment of the policy of “a hundred flowers blooming and a hundred schools of thought contending” in the cultural field, the martial arts community was liberated and the debate on the nature of the martial arts was again at its height [2].


Martial arts education thought is defined as people's understanding and views on the phenomenon and problems of martial arts education formed under certain socio-historical conditions and on the basis of martial arts education practice [3].

3.1. Conditions for the Formation of Martial Arts Education Ideas

You Cai Cheng believes that the three historical conditions for the formation of martial arts educational thought are that the martial arts became an ever-growing living organism, the inculcation and infiltration of excellent traditional educational thought and the exploration of historical martial artists to carry on from the past [3].

Martial arts culture is the parent body from which martial arts education ideas emerge [3], and turnover of martial arts culture has contributed to refinement of martial arts education ideas and brought about a metamorphosis. The martial artists' condensation and summary of martial arts education phenomena of the time give clear direction for our continued exploration of martial artists and ideas. Martial arts education thought was influenced by the educational thinking of the time, and Cai Yuanpei's idea of military national education made a positive contribution to the promotion of modern and scientific aspects of martial arts education in modern schools [4].

3.2. The Transmutation of Martial Arts Education Thinking

Modern pedagogy examines martial arts education also from the long-term historical changes, deeply excavating the historical significance of martial arts education ideas, helping to deeply grasp the theoretical guidance of martial arts education practice, which can make martial arts better show the advantages of the project, and link theory with practice to promote each other. In the following, we will mainly elaborate on the ideas of martial arts education in terms of martial arts techniques, martial arts education in terms of martial arts morality, martial arts education in terms of culture, and martial arts education in terms of diversity.

3.2.1. The Idea of Technique Education

Technique, as the symbolic language of the traditional martial arts, is the main content and essential attribute of the martial arts. It was the dominant function of the martial arts throughout the feudal dynasties and throughout their history, and martial arts techniques and strikes are still the dominant ideology governing martial arts education in modern times. Martial arts education in the peasant uprisings used martial arts as the main means of combat in the insurrectionary struggle. Therefore, the primary guiding ideology that dominated the insurgent army and the practice of martial arts was the technical combat function of martial arts [5]. Dr. Sun Yat-sen's political program of “expelling the Tartars, restoring China, founding the Republic of China, and equalizing land rights” also drew the attention of the people to the role of martial arts techniques, and the spirit of martial arts inspired the fighting spirit of the people and their determination to eliminate the humiliation of the sick man of East Asia. In the modern era, martial arts education in schools was accompanied by the establishment of various official and private sports organizations, such as the Jingwu Sports Association, the Central Chinese Martial Arts Institute and local national martial arts institutes, and the educational function of martial arts at the social level was also highlighted.

3.2.2. The Idea of Martial Virtue Education

Martial virtue refers specifically to the behavioral characteristics of the martial arts, to the righteousness as a code of conduct for those who practice martial arts, the code of conduct and discipline. Wude is the result of the influence of Confucian culture on Chinese martial arts, and Wude is a common discipline for teachers and students. Some people take Wude as the martial arts Yazi's idea of martial arts education [6], which runs through the whole process of martial arts education, from the examination of Wude before traditional martial arts worship to the inheritance and criticism of Wude education today, all in order to cultivate martial arts talents who can adapt to the development of society.

3.2.3. Cultural Education Ideology

As a result of economic globalization, martial arts culture has also been affected by internal and external influences, and martial arts education that focuses only on techniques and strikes is out of step with the spirit of the times. Professor Qiu Pixiang pointed out in his speech at the fifth session of the tenth session of the Shanghai CPPCC in 2007: Wushu exists today mainly as a form of sport, but people tend to ignore this precious cultural heritage left to us by our ancestors and neglect to understand its cultural connotations and educational functions [7]. When martial arts are facing the world and traditional Chinese culture is becoming more and more diluted in the minds of students, the concept of martial arts education must be changed to teach both martial arts techniques to realize the concept of “health first” and traditional culture related to martial arts to realize the concept of “inheriting martial arts culture”. The two are unified [8]. In the cultural connotation of Chinese martial arts, not only is emphasis placed on technical and confrontational skills, but also on moral education and cultural transmission. As an excellent Chinese sport, the rich sporting forms of martial arts can better inherit and promote traditional Chinese virtues. Wushu culture is being integrated into the world's cultural development, and wushu education is formally the vehicle for inheriting the essence of wushu and carrying forward the excellent traditional culture of the Chinese nation. Wushu can only adapt to the demands of the times by holding on to the spirit of the nation in the midst of great change and innovating Chinese culture in its inheritance.

3.2.4. Diversified Education Ideology

From martial arts to strengthen the body, to martial arts to strengthen the person, to martial arts to complete the person, martial arts tend to diversify from defense, nourishment and cultivation of the body, and martial arts education ideas are diversified. The core techniques of wushu must be based on confrontation. With the core techniques, practitioners will not be afraid of losing and will not concede defeat. On top of this, we add education in rules and etiquette, running through the idea of generosity, humility and courtesy” [9]. Although martial arts education tends to diversify, the essence of receiving education is to perfect human development and focus on the lack of humanism in martial arts education.


In modern times, martial arts education has abandoned tradition while lacking an in-depth understanding of new things, resulting in the fact that in recent times China's martial arts education has been nothing but patriotic in terms of character cultivation and spiritual culture. This state of affairs has continued to the present day and has become a prominent problem in current martial arts education [10]. Under the current macro background of the state advocating the promotion and cultivation of national spirit education, the idea of martial arts education has been incorporated with new contents and ideas in the new period. The emphasis on the function and value of martial arts education, especially school martial arts education, in the process of passing on traditional culture and national spirit is the cornerstone for the long-term development of martial arts, and is also an important element in the development of martial arts education in the new era [11]. An examination of the ideology of martial arts education is necessary to enable martial arts to adhere to the national spirit in adapting to the needs of society and to enable martial arts education to show its own characteristics.

In today's context, martial arts are still a way to pass on the traditional culture of the nation in a new era of peace without the competition for survival with the beast and the mission to save the nation, and the idea of martial arts education is equally important today with the weakening of the national spirit. Martial arts education is mainly influenced by Confucian culture, which honors restraining oneself and restoring propriety as benevolence, which requires being an upright person who knows how to discipline oneself and control one's desires to make society more harmonious. The moral education of martial arts is used in school martial arts to teach students to respect their teachers and teachers to abide by the teachings of their teachers. Wushu culture is the spirit, soul and bloodline of the Chinese nation, and in this era of great cultural development, every Chinese citizen should practice excellent educational ideas to make the practice of teaching wushu carry out more meaningful. Wushu education thought is the ideological guidance that condenses the value of wushu education and is the ideological guarantee that wushu guides wushu education back to its original self. The precipitation and development of martial arts education ideology carries the essence of the excellent traditional culture of the Chinese nation and is adaptable to any era.


The idea of martial arts education is always centered around the development of the human being, and it is the ultimate aim of martial arts education to bring martial arts education back to its original self. Wushu education is an important way to pass on the spirit of the nation, from both social and school arenas in the practice of wushu education, to inherit and promote traditional Chinese virtues through the rich sporting forms of wushu and its own unique program characteristics, and to put the ideological guidance of wushu education ideology into practice.


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Cite This Article

AU  - Qing Liu
AU  - Min Yan
AU  - Kun Zhang
PY  - 2023
DA  - 2023/03/14
TI  - Study of Modern Martial Arts Education Thought and Contemporary Values
BT  - Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Education Studies: Experience and Innovation (ICESEI 2022)
PB  - Athena Publishing
SP  - 77
EP  - 80
SN  - 2949-8937
UR  -
DO  -
ID  - Liu2023
ER  -