Rhythm Skills Development in Chinese Martial Arts

By Colin P. McGuire.

Published by The Sport Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper examines the combative benefits of lion dance training in the curriculum of a traditional Chinese martial arts school. It is one result of an ongoing ethnographic study at a Chinese-Canadian kung fu club that is investigating the importance and uses of music in the martial arts. A brief description of the blurred genre combining two dancers in a stylized lion costume and an accompanying percussion ensemble is provided, before proceeding to a discussion of transferable skills development.

The approach is ethnomusicological, therefore the focus is on rhythm, tempo, and entrainment in lion dancing and homologous principles in martial arts. The value of this study is to be found in making explicit the implicit ties between musical proficiencies and combat sport effectiveness, in order to enhance the efficiency of rhythm skills acquisition and application for kung fu practitioners.

Keywords: Lion Dance, Music, Kung Fu, Martial Arts, Rhythm, Ethnomusicology, Habitus

The International Journal of Sport and Society, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp.209-218. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 692.139KB).

Dr. Colin P. McGuire

PhD Student, Music: Ethnomusicology, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada

Colin McGuire is a PhD student in the music department of York University. His Master’s thesis was in digital composition and combined multicultural elements through electroacoustic techniques. As a long-time practitioner of Chinese kung fu, his doctoral work in ethnomusicology is a conflation of his two greatest passions: music and the martial arts. His research investigates the social, cultural, and martial importance of humanly organized sound in various combative disciplines but focuses on lion dancing in traditional Chinese kung fu. Colin resides in Toronto, Ontario, Canada; has an active musical practice as a producer, composer, and performer; and teaches both kung fu and digital music.