In China, Japan, and Korea it has long been common for people to practice rigorous and disciplined exercises to control emotions and encourage good health in mind and body. Many of these exercises, which have become known in the West as martial arts, were spread along the Silk Road, according to tradition beginning with Bodhidharma, the monk from India's warrior caste who brought Chan Buddhism to China in the 6th century. He is said to have taught monks 18 exercises, probably derived from Indian yoga practices of the period, to improve monks' physical and mental ability to endure long meditation sessions.
These techniques also proved useful for self-defense against road bandits and temple robbers. Monks and mercenaries escorted merchants on the Silk Road, providing protection and spreading the techniques. This practice, as well as the importance of integrating right-mindedness and self-defense, were featured in the recent popular film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Pronuncation Guide: X sounds like "sh"; Q like "ch"; ZH like "s"