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Martial Arts along the Silk Road -- from Bodhidharma to Bruce Lee

As a conduit for religion and commerce, the Silk Road was an important means by which Asian martial arts were nurtured and disseminated.

According to tradition, the process started with Bodhidharma, an Indian missionary who introduced Chan Buddhism to China in the 6th century. Called Damo, Tal-ma, and Daruma in China, Korea, and Japan respectively, this monk from India's warrior caste was the progenitor of Shaolin martial arts &emdash; many of which have come to be known as kung fu (gungfu). To improve the Shaolin monks' physical and mental ability to endure long meditation sessions, he is said to have taught them 18 exercises, probably derived from

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