Morale: Reality Kills The Classics In China


March 25, 2014: The Chinese military has been ordered to get rid of archaic practices, including theatrical stunts that have long been used by the communists running the armed forces to “build morale” and keep the troops busy during decades of very little money to conduct actual military training. These theatrical routines were based on classic Chinese stage works (often called “Chinese Opera” in the West) and martial arts. Troops were also made to go through ancient exercise routines that may have aided men who employed swords but had little utility now. While this stuff looked impressive, it has no real use in modern warfare.

The Russians, who were also admirers of East Asian martial arts did adapt martial arts techniques to the needs of modern combat and produced a new form of martial arts that took useful moves from martial arts but trained troops to use them in realistic combat situations and while dressed as they would be in combat. China eventually adopted that Russian approach and that made the classical martial arts maneuvers of the traditional exercises and demonstrations seem silly and, to most troops, a waste of time.

Some troops believed the classical stuff still had value, but the bean-counters had their way and in the name of providing more time for demonstrably useful subjects, the traditional exercises and demonstrations were eliminated. Troops who wanted to continue with this sort of thing could do so on their own time, but on duty all attention was on the growing number of technical skills even infantry troops have to acquire and maintain.



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