View Full Version : Tamo - Fact or Fiction

Prince Loeffler
12th April 2006, 19:02
Tamo, also known as Bodhidharma in Sanskrit was credited as the founder of the Shaolin Martial arts. There are many mysteries surrounding this person. Hopefully this thread can gather enough information that can separate facts from fictions.

According to some legends Tamo was the man responsible of introducing the empty hands system to China in turn the chinese influenced Okinawa by way of trade the art of empty hands.

According to this Site (http://chineseculture.about.com/cs/travelguide/a/shaolintemple.htm) :

"Many people believe he wrote the famous 'Yijinjing,' the base of Shaolin martial arts or Gongfu. But there is no record about the book before and during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) so experts think Damo has little to do with Shaolin Gongfu. Zongheng, a Taoist priest of Tiantai Mountain, wrote 'Yijinjing' in 1624, but to add mystery to it, he made up a story saying 'Yijinjing' was originally written by Damo".

I understand that the weaponless martial arts in in Shuri, Naha and Tomari existed prior to the arrival of the Chinese merchants. So I want to dig futher to find out just how much did the chinese truly influenced the system of empty hands fight in Okinawa.

Now this is where it gets confusing, rather than assuming I'd simply ask few questions:

- "Shorin" according to some means "Shaolin" others says Shorin means "Pine Forest" Which is which ?

- This Site (http://www.wongkk.com/chikung/lohan.html) says that Bodhidharma's techniques taught to the monks were called 18 lohan hands. Is this really a fact or fiction ? Documented ?

- There is no doubt that Tamo was considered to be the Patriach of Zen Buddhism, But was Tamo really the father/founder of the Shaolin martial arts ?

-Did his name ever appear or recorded in Shuri, Naha and Tomari ?

- We know the names of the Chinese people who influenced the Shuri, Naha and Tomari's empty hand systems based on the names of the Kata we practice. But were these Chinese martial artist influenced by Tamo ?

That's all for now folks, these questions are damaging my brain cells :)





Joseph Svinth
13th April 2006, 02:35
For CMA, see Stan Henning's material in "Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia" and "Martial Arts in the Modern World," and Brian Kennedy and Elizabeth Guo, "Chinese Martial Arts Training Manuals." The last two books are in print and are affordable, but the encyclopedia you'll need to read at the library, as it is both very expensive and out of print.

For a discussion of Bodhidharma, see http://www.e-budo.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-5971.html .

Prince Loeffler
13th April 2006, 04:24
Thanks Mr. Svinth ! I'll be reading these tonight !