Journal of Martial Arts Anthropology

Abstract - Semiotics of Oriental martial arts

The author introduces the analysis of culture text and symbolic language of martial arts. He refers to the concepts of Eliade and Fromm, Greimas and Eco, Życiński and Krawczyk. Symbolic meanings present in the tradition of martial arts are exemplified, other chosen meaningful essence in various forms of expression (discourse on a myth and archetype of a warrior) is described, and especially closely technical forms of karate and taekwondo are analyzed in their symbolic dimension.
Semiotics of martial arts way have been described mainly on the example of Chinese kungfu and Japanese budo. Martial arts schools in other Asiatic countries accept similar attributes and symbolism, they follow the example and also enrich it with elements of their own traditions. In a spiritual analysis of a mastery way the author presents his own views and statements and he also quotes other advanced martial art practitioners (holders of degrees of 5–9 dan and titles of renshi-kyoshi-hanshi). Examples of important signs from old legends, stories of knight’s tradition, contemporary forms of martial arts and their videotaped recordings have been presented as well. Conclusions deal mainly with Japanese, Korean and Chinese symbolism – countries with the richest cultural tradition of martial arts – in their mythic and archetypical dimension.