This chapter examines the late Ming and early Qing philosophical and medical dimensions of bare-handed styles, which incorporates a unique synthesis of martial, therapeutic, and religious self-cultivation. Unlike the techniques of the Shaolin staff, which are enwrapped in a Buddhist mythological framework, this hand combat is draw on Daoist self-cultivation. During the late imperial period, Buddhist monks at the Shaolin Monastery were trained in empty-handed styles that harkened back to Daoist physiological and meditative methods. The origin of their technique can be traced to an ancient gymnastic tradition called daoyin, which was integrated into hand combat during the late Ming period.
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