“Hua’r” and martial arts of Hui Ethnic Group
In the past times, the Hui nationality did not advocate songs and dances, but the Huis people in northwestern regions all liked singing a kind of folk song—-“Hua’r”.
“Hua’r” is also called as “youth”, “mountain song” and “rustic song”, which have been popular in Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai, Xinjiang and other provinces and regions, with a long history. It is said that it evolved and formed from the Yuan songs. The melody was loud and smooth, and the tunes were in more than 100 varieties. The words of songs drew materials from mountains, grass, woods, history, folk custom, figures and daily life, etc, with the words at the fingertips. They were sung out impromptu, and formed the Hua’r with life, love, political situation and labor, etc as the contents. The successful ones were widely spread and passed on, and became the art form with thick national and local characteristics. They were in three performance forms: solo, antiphonal singing and uniting singing, and were mostly sung among the mountains and fields. Except during the youths’ wedding period, generally they were forbidden at home and in villages.
The men of the Hui nationality have the habit of exercising martial arts, and see it as “holy behavior”. The martial arts of the Hui nationality mainly include Chinese boxing and the art of knife, sword, stick, spear and hammer, etc. The martial arts types and apparatuses that are popular among the people mainly include Cha boxing, Eight-ji boxing, Eight-men boxing, Xinyiliuhe boxing, Majia boxing, Hand Protection boxing, Muslim Eight-feng Taiji, White Ape Tongbi Boxing, double sword, big sword, Ali sword, expansion and contraction sword, Koran sword, swallow tail sword, fish tail sword, Hezhou stick, Majia spear, Shajia spear, link hammer, and so on. Some of these martial arts originated from the middle part of Asia and Arabian regions, some of them learned and drew on the experiences of Chinese traditional martial arts, and formed the Hui nationality’s own distinguishing features.
In history, by advocating exercising martial arts, the Huis people not only had the aim of cultivating the moral character and nature, and improving the health, but also had the significance of self-defense and striving for survival in the scattered living area and turbulent social situation, and being patriotic and saving the nation from extinction when Chinese nation was in danger and disasters.