28 Sep 2021 16 Jan 2022

Arts of fighting in Asia

Mythology, Kungfu and Samurai

Shaolin monks and samurai, warrior mythology, kung fu and sword fighting films... The exhibition “Ultimate Combat. Asian Martial Arts” takes visitors to the heart of Asian martial arts through their history, their philosophies and their practices, which have now become globally renown

About the exhibition

What are the origins and specific characteristics of Asian martial arts? With over 300 ancient and contemporary works, and through a gallery of historic figures and fictional heroes, the exhibition Ultimate combat. Asian Martial Arts retraces the history of martial art techniques. An exhibition circuit interspersed with references to popular art and culture, particularly cinema, with the emblematic Bruce Lee.

The exhibition starts with the representation of combat in Hindu/Buddhist art, both as an image of the power of the military elite that shaped them but, above all, as a metaphor for freedom and knowledge. The combat is internal. The exploration continues within Asian martial arts schools: although they draw on military knowledge, they also form part of very ancient systems of representation of the body, nature and the world. In China, the Shaolin monks use the breathing of Buddhist meditation to work on their physical and mental strength; Japanese martial arts have their origins in the ancient warfare techniques of the Samurai, steeped in Buddhist Zen.

By gradually moving away from their role in warfare, martial arts have become more theoretical and have strengthened their message, becoming what could now be known as methods for personal physical and spiritual development.

In order to guarantee visitor safety, the museum has put in place a health protocol in line with government guidelines. 

In conjunction with the exhibition

  • Weekend event, 26, 27 and 28 November 2021
  • Family Film Festival, 30 October to 7 November 2021
  • Film Season, 26 November to 5 December 2021, screenings to be announced
  • 3 performances, 11 to 19 December 2021, line-up to be announced
  • Pop-Up Evening, 13 January 2022, line-up to be announced
  • Conferences, martial arts demonstrations and workshops


Visitor tools

Visitor tools are available to download:


Exhibition produced with the exceptional participation of the Musée de l’Armée. Thanks to the Musée des arts asiatiques-Guimet, the Museum Rietberg and the Bruce Lee Foundation.

  • curators

    • Julien Rousseau, Head of the Asian Heritage Unit
    • Stéphane du Mesnildot, author and Asian film specialist

    Clarisse Agbégnénou, Olympic champion and four-time judo world champion, exhibition sponsor 

  • Place:   Mezzanine est
  • TimeSlots:  
    From Tuesday 28 September 2021 at Sunday 16 January 2022
  • Closed on monday
    Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday:  10:30 am-07:00 pm
    Thursday:  10:30 am-10:00 pm
  • Accessibility:
    • Handicap visuel
    • LSF
    • Handicap auditif bim (T)
  • Public:   All publics
  • Categorie : Exhibitions
  • Museum ticket entrance
    Full price:  14,00 €
    Reduce rate:  11,00 €

    Click here to see all rates
00:00 / 00:00
Ultimate combat. Arts of fighting in Asia | Mini-documentary (preamble)
2:17 min

In partnership with

  • _
  • Musée de l'Armée

Media Partnership

This exhibition is organized as part of the Cultural Olympiad of Paris 2024