1/07/2011 11:04am, #31
Wowie, that's a completely different observation than the one I made:
You'd have a lot more spare time to practice martial arts too if you weren't dicking around on the Internet, going to school to learn things you'll never use, reading books, fucking on the third date, going more than two miles away from wherever mama shat you out, etc.
1/07/2011 11:16am, #32
See, my knowledge of Chinese history is overwhelmingly influenced by Jackie Chan movies, so I'm wondering if there ever was a period of time when you had the schools-full-of-students-training-full-time thing going on. If there ever was a time when the animal-styles of Kung Fu (crane, praying mantis, monkey etc) were ever used in earnest, and not as a sort of religious/performance/meditation thing. Were martial arts ever practiced by the peasant class?
1/07/2011 12:24pm, #33
The majority of this population growth was concentrated in the South East of the country especially Jiangnan region in particular. There was an ‘extraordinary growth of market towns’ and urbanisation in general in the South, for example there were 1 million inhabitants in Nanjing as opposed to only 660,000 in the northern capital Beijing.
Farming adjusted to this explosion in urbanization and industrialisation of trade through cash cropping i.e mulberry trees to such an extent that it created problems for food production. Silk being China’s primary export during the period. This meant that a majority of the population were either living in cities or their work was dependent on providing for cities and the markets of Asia. Cottage industry and handicraft production exploded, towns like Sung Chiang, near the regional capital Suzhou, cotton weaving was the dominant industry that employed a majority of the population.
So what you need to understand is that the image of China as a society with diametrically opposed planes. A courtly elite living in luxury and a peasantry all knee deep in mud holding a piece of string tied round a cow is nonsense. It was a highly developed country with an extensive semi-industrialized economy that was producing consumer goods that were being exported around the world.
Also an interesting aside from the Shahar article I cited earlier. One of the main figures in the history of Shaolin martial arts in the 1500s is a gentry scholar called Cheng Zongyou who wrote ‘Shaolin gunfa chan zong’ (Exposition of the Original Shaolin Staff Method) published 1610. It shows 53 individual staff positions with accompanying ‘rhyming formula’ as description.
Entertainingly Cheng’s work has a Q&A section in which one of the questions is how do I know someone has ‘teh real shaolin’. Part of Cheng’s answer to this was:
“Teachers confuse the world, and lead the practitioners astray, all for the sake of fame and profit. I am much grieved by this situation, and it is exactly for this reason that I strive to set things right."
Cheng Zongyou, the original Shaolin Bullshido investigator, lol.
 Atwell, W, S, ‘Time, Money and Weather’, The Journal of Asian Studies, 61, (2002), p 101.
 Brook, T,’ Communications and commerce’ in The Cambridge History of China, p. 579.
 Dennis O’Flynn and Arturo Giráldez, ‘Arbitrage, China, and World Trade in the Early Modern Period’, Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, 38, (1995), pp. 429-448.
 Mote, F, Imperial China 900-1800, p. 749.
 Atwell, W, S, ‘Time, Money and Weather’, p. 84.
 Atwell, W, S, ‘Ming China and the Emerging World Economy’, in The Cambridge History of China, p. 405.
 Shahar, M, ‘Ming-Period Evidence of Shaolin Martial Practice’, p. 367.
 Shahar, M, ‘Ming-Period Evidence of Shaolin Martial Practice’, p. 372
Last edited by judoka_uk; 1/07/2011 12:28pm at .
1/07/2011 3:05pm, #34
That's all true, j_uk, but I was speaking specifically about Chen Village in Henan Province, a bit of a trek from trade cities such as Shanghai. Henan used dry-land farming, with lower yields than the well-irrigated Jiangnan region (Des Forges 2003, p. 34). Chen Village is, of course, Chenjiagou—for Chen Family Drainage Ditch. Irrigation was late in coming; the name of the village changed when as the family grew and started working on getting a decent water supply going.
Henan was "known for centuries as a hotbed of revolt" and banditry (Billingsly 1988, p. 40)—albeit more banditry and revolt. (Henan revolts cluster around the late Ming.) Not exactly a political environment useful for trade with the coastal regions. Areas of Henan were poor enough that "in 1386 Emperor Taizu decreed the redemption of children from creditors" to mitigate the outright pawning of children. (Tong 1991, p. 81) Of course, that's early in the Ming, dynasty, but in the 1579, in the time you are speaking of, "the public sale of human flesh on the market" was reported in Henan. (Tong 1991, p, 81) Population reproduction rates were sufficiently low enough in Henan in the late Ming that "the population probably declined by 33 percent between 1600 and 1650" (Marks, 1997, p. 158). Doesn't sound like an economic powerhouse for an agricultural economy. (In industrial and information economies, there is an inverse relationship between fertility, or at least population maintenance from migration, and income, but no area gets that hard of a demographic slam, that quickly, because the money is pouring in.)
And of course, for those who wish to cast doubt on the provenance of Chen taiji, point specifically to Chen Village as a "hick town and [Chen] Wang-t’ing as a lowly militia battalion commander." (Wile 1996, p. 116) A number of people argue the latter point, virtually nobody argues the former.
In other news, I wouldn't argue that the dot.com-fueled economic boom of the late 1990s in the US meant that there weren't very poor people in Appalachia. Development is nearly always very uneven.
Billingsley, P., (1988) Bandits in Republican China. Stanford: Stanford UP.
Des Forges, R.V., (2003). Cultural Centrality and Political Change in Chinese History: Northeast Henan in the Fall of the Ming. Stanford: Stanford UP.
Marks, R.B., (1997) Tigers, Rice, Silk, and Silt: Environment and Economy in Late Imperial South China. Cambridge; Cambridge UP.
Tong, J. W., (1991). Disorder under Heaven: Collective Violence in the Ming Dynasty. Stanford: Stanford UP.
Wile, D. (1996). Lost T’ai-chi Classics from the Late Ch’ing Dynasty. Albany: SUNY Press.
Last edited by Rivington; 1/07/2011 3:47pm at .
1/07/2011 3:58pm, #35
More banditry than revolt, that is. That's what one gets for typing during lunch hour.
1/07/2011 6:07pm, #36
I take it then you've already discussed the Shahar ‘Ming-Period Evidence of Shaolin Martial Practice' article before then?
1/07/2011 6:10pm, #37
1/07/2011 6:44pm, #38
If you pm me your e-mail address I'll send it to you and you can see if its worthy of a thread.
1/10/2011 9:32am, #39
Us voyeurs wanna watch!
**translation: sounds thread-worthy to me (and you have my blessing ;-)
if the question were a little more concise,
the answers would have been more definitive,
and the thread would likely have been more
useful (unlike my post ;-)