Origin of Martial Arts & Nepal


Grandmaster  & Founder of Kungchido

Saroj K. Joshi


Sidhartha Gautama, the prince was born in Nepal at Lumbini. He was naturally brought up as a warrior and was taught all kinds of combat, so that he could be one of the strong and powerful kings.


As he gained keen interest in the philosophy of life, his inherited lifestyle changed and discovered the new way of life. He needed some form of exercise to keep his body in good condition and at the same time defend against weapon and others with open hands according to his new way of life. So he developed the exercises and technique associated with unarmed combat. That appears to be most effective and it was a birth of Martial Arts. He also taught this to his disciples and that is why most Martial Art schools of a non-military nature have very strong Buddhist connections. Instead of being King he became the founder of Buddhism and then a Buddha with his immortal philosophy. He worked for the permanent peace on earth until his death.


As there were not enough scripture found and research done on this aspect, we have to skip to 4th century to know more about the unarmed combat method founded by Buddha.


One of Gautama Buddha's disciples traveled to China with Buddha’s scriptures. It was between 520 to 529 AD, Damo. Many Chinese called him as “Bodhi Dharma”.  Buddha Dharma introduced the unarmed combat method  as explained above then it become  popular as Kung fu in the world.


This proves that origin of Martial Arts began from Lumbini Kapilbastu  Nepal a long time back. However tremendous development took place in China, Japan, and Korea. Especially China, Japan and Korea deserve the prime credit for the development of Martial Arts in today’s world.



Kungfu in China:

Bodhi Dharma left the Emperor's Palace, where he had felt the scriptures were not taken seriously and then went to stay at a Temple in Hunan Province. It was dated in between 520 – 529 A.D.


The Temple was named 'Shaolin' (Young Forest) and the monks there practiced unarmed combat.


Bodhi dharma noticed that the monks lacked stamina, concentration. He then developed several sets of exercise in Shaolin Temple and later it become popular as a Kung fu.




Mongol invasion into China took place during the Ming Dynasty, 1368 to 1644.


During this time a Taoist hermit-priest named Chang Sam-fung (In Cantonese = Cheng Salm Feng (Canton is really 'Kwang Tung' Province.) introduced a new and refined form of 'boxing-exercise', it became known as T'ai Chi Ch'uan - Supreme Universal-polarity Boxing. It is thought that Cheng used to reside at the Hunan Shaolin Temple whilst practicing Taoist Boxing sets. Legend recalls that Chang did not wish to change philosophies to suit fashions, but wanted to seek a 'perfect' boxing form, which reflected Yin and Yang. He went to live as a hermit in the mountains in order to develop and refine Taoist concepts and skills. It is believed that, one morning he was awakened by the scream of a Crane. He looked out from his window to see this big bird fighting with a snake. The two were well matched.

Chang noted that the snake used Yin technique and the crane used more Yang moves. Chang then set about incorporating some of these movements into his new style. This 'new' form was generally less reliant on short-lived muscle power (termed 'hard style') and instead developed internal organ strength and internal energy, chi through careful and considered practice. This was later known as 'soft style' or 'internal' training skill (Kung-fu). This won lots of favor with the Chinese.


Kungfu survives the Crisis:

In the 1600's there was to be more strife. One bitter tale of greed and deceit led to the burning and destruction of the Shao-lin Monastery and the slaughter of many monks.



It was believed that three of the old monk Kung fu masters survived and were sheltered in Southern China's Fukien Province. There they formed a secret organization to overthrow the wicked new Manchu Emperor.





The Ch'ing Dynasty of 1644 to 1912 brought much suffering and unrest in China

and in 1912 'The Boy Emperor' abdicated from the throne.

The 'Boxer Rebellion' of 1900 was part of the final downfall of the Ch'ing when many brave men and women gave their lives for their cause and other's freedom. Sun Yat-sen became president of The Republic of China.


Chiang Kai-shek then became leader of The Chinese Nationalist Government in 1925 but he and his supporters were forced to flee when the powerful Communists led by Mao Tse-tung defeated them.



It was believed that after the formation of Peoples Republic of China banned the practice of Kung-fu and Wu-Shu appeared as a sort of Martial Arts “Showbiz”.

Many elite martial artists’ gurus fled Taiwan & Hong Kong. Still today some of the worlds greatest and most revered 'Kung-fu masters' can be found there.  It was believed that some Chinese kung-fu teachers fled to Vietnam. Bruce Lee is one of the examples as elite marital arts of the century and founder of Jeet Kun do trained by such masters.


Karate-do & Zen (Dhyana):


The Japanese experience in, contribution to, the theory and practice of individual combat, armed and unarmed, is certainly among the ancient, sophisticated, and enduring ever recorded. One need only consider the present worldwide popularity of jujutsu, judo, karate, aikido, kendo, kyoudo, and so forth, which are essentially modern adaptations or derivations, to appreciate the continuing influence of ancient Japanese methods of combat.


The ancient martial arts were and refined during extended period of direct experimentation on the battlefields of Pre-Tokugawa Japan, later during the centuries of absolute isolation which generated the proper conditions, they were thoroughly revised and ultimately ritualized into transmissible patterns of exercise and technique.

The effectiveness of the modern adaptations is attested to by the fact that they have deeply influenced and, in many instances, almost completely replaced other national methods of combat practiced for sporting purposes and as part of the utilitarian and practical training programs of military and police forces.


Zen had its own method of reaching the “kernel of reality” or the “truth.” In the words of one of the major theorists of Zen, this method “consists in seeing directly into the mystery of our own being which, according to this theory, reality itself is Zen.


This introspective examination and seeking was one of the major paths towards salvation offered in the ancient teachings of Buddha. It was called “Dhyana” a word which meant meditation. As such it spread to China, where it became known as Ch’an; in turn, upon reaching Japan, dhyana became Zen. This once again proves the strong link between Nepal, China and Japan.



Zen was the foundation of the martial arts in feudal Japan. Zen provided the doctrine of bujutsu (Martial arts) with a theory and a philosophy to explain and justify the practice of the martial arts. It provided the bujin (fighting man) with appropriate disciplines for developing a strong character and personality.


The name of place devoted to these meditation practices of Zen is called dojo in Japanese. Even today the place for practicing martial arts is called dojo. Dojo in Japanese means the place of enlightenment. Actually the word dojo came from Sanskrit “Bodhimandala”.


It was believed that about two hundred years ago, Sakugawa of Akata, in Shuri, traveled to China and then returned to Okinawa after mastering Chinese BoxingKempo to become known as Karate Sakugawa. Nearly 150 years ago it was believed Chinese expert

Ku Shanku arrived in Okinawa with few of his students and introduces type of Kempo.


Karate’s root is Kempo and that links all the way to Lumbini, Nepal, where the first birth of teaching of hand to hand unarmed combat was found.


As more Japanese masters studied this Kempo, they gave the birth of Okinawa-te and then it was named as Karate-do, combining two words Kara & te.

Kara has philosophical meaning emptiness and te means hands and do means a way of life.


Basically Karate-do will make real sense, once you will start practicing keeping mind and body together in other words with the perfect harmony between mind and body. Ultimately it will become a way of life giving fruitful results to society and people.

It was proven that Karate masters and students being always humble and gentle.


Introduction of modern Karate in Public:


Training in Karate was always conducted with the utmost secrecy in Okinawa, with no one teaching or training openly in its arts as today.


For this reason, books or written records on Karate are almost nonexistent.

It was unthinkable that Karate should be displayed in Public exhibition.


During the Meiji period 1868 -1912 the first formal education system and the military conscription system were inaugurated in Japan.


During 1914 and 1915 other demonstration were publicly given by master Kyan, Gusukuma and others.


1n 1922 Gichini Funakoshi father of modern Karate-do published a book called

Karate-do Kyohan linking thousands of year back to Shao-Lin temple of China Hunan Province. He also publicly demonstrated in Tokyo and institutionalize with the help of Japanese Emperor, Colleges and friends.


With his effort Karate was wide spread in today’s world. Today there are several Karate styles in Japan & world based on Karate-do principle.





Kungchido is a combination of Kungfu, Taichi and Karate-Do with additional unique techniques, Katas (Combination of Techniques and movements), breathing techniques, nunchakku, stick, grabbling and defense against knife.


It is a doctrine that links Nepal Lumbini, Kapilbastu as an origin of martial arts.


Kungchido was created accidentally as it become difficult to teach Kungfu, Taichi and Karate-do simultaneously by a single teacher. However a combination of all these three systems gave birth to Kungchido. It dictated to do more research in martial arts for the preparation of the complete right platform.


Kungchido become a refined art of all the three system with unique additional original elements and award winning doctrine, a complete self-defense and effective breathing techniques, intelligent way of fighting, concept and implementation of the internal energy in Martial Arts as mentioned above.


It is systematic as mentioned above. Kungchido has deep root with Karate-do as a foundation for hand and foot techniques, Kungfu (Dragon & Grasshopper) for more hand techniques and Taichi Chuan for breathing techniques foundation.


Kungchido is not created in one day. It took several years to put the techniques, Kata and still it is advancing with more tactical combat theory, practice and real implementation in any kind of circumstances.


Kungchido carefully studied several philosophies, history of martial arts and did several researches and put the chronology of martial arts.


Kungchido teaching has accumulated various schools of world and renown experts:


Kungchido was founded by Grandmaster Saroj Joshi in 1998 in Seattle, Washington. First official demonstration took place in Seattle in 1999.


Then several recognition got from the world renown martial arts schools and own several awards for the doctrine. Today Kungchido is getting popular as a new way of martial arts, which found Nepal as a origin of martial arts. Kungchido is also the bridge, which is linking the missing elements from Lumbini, Kapilbastu, Nepal and Shaolin Temple of China (Hunan Province) being in USA.



Surprisingly Nepal appears to be the source of martial arts spirit and origin of unarmed combat (martial arts) although founder himself had to learn through several tourists, travelers via book being underground in his own country without knowing as a origin of martial arts was his own country. Same thing continue in Russia (former USSR) where founder went for higher studies in Electrical Engineering and joined underground school of martial arts taking extreme risk of deportation.


Kungchido takes pride to meet and learn from Bruce Lee’s own student and friend Doug Palmer (Seattle) (1998-1999). Peter Brooks top martial artist of W. Germany (1980’s). President of United Martia Arts Association (1999), Michael Urevich best coach of martial arts of Zaparozheye, Ukraine (1978-1982).  Chinese instructor of Taichi, China (Xarpin), Vietnamese instructor of Dragon Kungfu in 1984-1986, Lapsyang Galpo personal underground martial arts instructor in Nepal (1970’s) and several others who met in quest of martial arts knowledge in different places and time.


Kungchido has also strong influence of German, Russian, Ukrainian, American, Chinese, and Vietnamese martial arts schools, as founder got training from the various instructors of the above referenced countries.


Therefore Kungchido is unique and new doctrine and surprisingly its being one of the growing concepts and teaching around the world via VCD/DVD and through other media.


For more information visit http://www.kungchido.com