Martial Arts Academy

Taichung Martial Arts Hall (臺中刑務所演武場)

Over the past year I've posted quite a few times about some of the remnants of Taiwan's Japanese Colonial Period. Even though the Japanese only controlled Taiwan for a short time, they wasted no effort in developing the island's economy and infrastructure as well as promoting education and fostering a love of democratic governance - all of which has had a lasting and positive impact on the people of Taiwan.  

It has been more than seven decades since the Japanese relinquished control of Taiwan and while there you can still find quite a few well-preserved examples of Japanese architecture around the country, most of the buildings that remain are in a state of decay and are in desperate need of maintenance and renewal.

The good news is that over the past few years the government has become active in showing an interest in preserving the history of what few buildings remain. All over the country projects have started to restore some of these historically significant buildings which will bring them back to life and help people understand some of Taiwan’s complicated history.

The bad news though is that what you see today is a small fraction of what once existed. 

Today’s post is about yet another of Taiwan’s few remaining Martial Arts Halls - The Taichung Prison Butokuden. This hall is a bit different than the others that I’ve posted about in that during its heyday, it was used specifically for training the employees of the Taichung Prison (臺中刑務所) as opposed to the others which were used for teaching children, police, bureaucrats, etc.

As one of the most well-preserved Martial Arts Halls, the Taichung Prison Butokuden is also one of the most widely visited despite most people not actually knowing much about its history.

In the coming years as the former residential area near the hall is restored, this area will become an important part of an experience that will teach the people of Taiwan (and tourists alike) about the significance of this historic area in Taichung which was important with regard to the city's development. 

The Japanese Colonial Era (日治時期)

A lot can be said about the crimes committed by the Japanese Empire leading up to the Second World War. The bitter memory of that era is still felt today throughout Asia and a day doesn't go by that Japan isn't reminded of the horrific atrocities that were committed during that period.

Taiwan's experience under Japanese colonial rule is considered to be a bit tamer than that of neighbouring East Asian countries as the regime sought to transform the island into a "model colony" which meant developing the islands infrastructure and economy as well as providing a modern education to the people living here.

As Taiwan was Japan's first colony, the Japanese Empire wanted to show the world that being under Japanese control wasn't such a terrible thing and that the people of Taiwan would only benefit from becoming a part of the empire.

Unfortunately history has shown that things didn't exactly turn out that way for some of Japan's other colonies.

The Colonial Period (1895-1945) lasted for a half century and although there were a lot of positives with regard to development, the government was guilty of a great many atrocities. The people of Taiwan also planned and carried out several uprisings to protest Japanese control - which were dealt with quite swiftly by the Japanese army. 

Even after everything that happened, the general feeling today is that people of this country share a strong bond with the Japanese and enjoy a friendship that despite a troubled history is based off of mutual understanding and respect for each other.

While there are still quite a few buildings that were constructed during the colonial era in existence today, the majority of those that were dedicated to Japanese culture (temples, shrines, etc.) were torn down by the Chinese Nationalists who imposed traditional Chinese culture on the people of Taiwan. Sadly, of the over two hundred Shinto Shrines and over seventy Martial Arts Halls, few remain today and that is why their preservation has become important.

Taiwan may not be under Japanese control any longer, but the colonial era was an important period of Taiwan's modern history, so the effort to bring the remaining buildings back to life is something that will benefit the people of this nation for generations to come. 

Butokuden / Martial Arts Halls (武德殿)

武 - Martial Arts

Butokuden Halls were established in 1895 under the authority of the Japanese government and with the endorsement of the Meiji Emperor (明治大帝). The halls were meant to help solidify and preserve Japan's martial arts disciplines where the virtues of the samurai-like warrior and noble Japanese heritage were promoted.

'Budo' basically refers to Japanese martial arts, but for more clarity I asked my Japanese friend for more information and she sent this definition: Budō is a compound of the root bu (武:ぶ), meaning "war" or "martial"; and dō (道:どう; Dao in Chinese), meaning "path" or "way. The term refers to the idea of formulating propositions, subjecting them to philosophical critique and then following a "path" to realize them.

'' signifies a "way of life". Dō in the Japanese context, is an experiential term, experiential in the sense that practice (the way of life) is the norm to verify the validity of the discipline cultivated through a given art form. Modern budō has no external enemy, only the internal enemy, one's ego that must be fought.

While martial arts dojos were common throughout Japan, the Butokuden Halls were different because they were part of a state sponsored attempt to standardize Japanese martial arts. The point of these halls was to foster fervent nationalism as well as the idea of Japanese exceptionalism though samurai-spirit which helped to stoke the fires of militarism in the early years of the 20th century.

The Halls were part of a large organizational structure called the "Dai Nippon Butoku Kai" (大日本武德會) which sought to promote Japanese martial arts throughout the Japanese empire.

Starting in 1900 the halls spread to Taiwan with large buildings constructed in Taipei, Taichung and Tainan. In 1906 the Taiwan Butokuden branch (大日本武德會臺灣支部) was established and oversaw the construction of around seventy smaller halls throughout the island.

In Taiwan, the Butokuden Halls initially served the purpose of training the police, military and prison guards in Japanese martial arts and discipline. Later on the halls opened up more to the public in an attempt to train the citizens of Taiwan in Japanese martial arts as well as instil "Japanese Spirit" which is better known as "Yamato-damashii" (大和魂).

When the Second World War ended and subsequently the Japanese occupation of Taiwan, there were over seventy Butokuden halls throughout the country. The fate of those halls however was similar to a lot of other Japanese constructed buildings after the arrival of the Chinese Nationalists at the end of the Chinese Civil War which were either repurposed, used for housing or destroyed.

Today only about a dozen of these halls continue to exist in Taiwan - Some of the which have been recognized as National Historic Buildings and have either been repurposed or renovated while others are in a sad state of disrepair and are in desperate need of attention.

Check out this recent Over the City post about the Hsinchu Prison Butokuden

Likewise, the "Dai Nippon Butoku Kai" organization was dissolved and then reestablished after the war with a new philosophical vision of preserving Japan's martial arts heritage while at the same time contributing to "world peace, international goodwill, mutual understanding and respect and prosperity through Budo education."

Butoku-Kai centres have since spread throughout the world with halls constructed in the US, Canada, UK, France, Russia, etc. Here in Taiwan however, the halls that remain are rarely used for their original purpose and have no relationship with the current Butoku-Kai organization. 

Other Martial Arts Halls: Longtan | Daxi | ChanghuaTainan | QishanKaohsiung


Taichung Martial Arts Hall (臺中刑務所演武場)

The Taichung Prison Budokuden is a Martial Arts Hall that was built specifically to help train the employees of the (former) Taichung Prison in both Judo and Kendo for their self-defence.

When the prison (which was in operation from 1896-1992) was demolished, the Martial Arts Hall and the community of old Japanese-era houses and dorms nearby were preserved by the local government and plans were made for them to be restored. 

The Martial Arts Hall has already been fully restored however the former homes are currently in the process of being restored by the city government which will ultimately turn the former community into a culture village.

Taichung was once home to several Martial Arts Halls during the Japanese-era but today this hall is unfortunately the only one that remains. The good news though is that it is open to the public and serves as not only a historic tourist spot, but also a place where people can learn about Japanese Martial Arts, Art and traditional culture - making this hall quite significant in comparison to the others which are still in existence in Taiwan. 

Originally constructed in 1937 (昭和12年), this Martial Arts Hall was somewhat of a younger sibling to the much larger Taichung City Martial Arts Hall (台中武德殿) which was built in 1930 (昭和5年) and only a few blocks away. The larger hall was ‘relocated’ a few years back and its current status is somewhat unknown - and finding it will be one of my future urban exploration missions! 

Design

Like the other Butokuden Halls that I've posted about thus far, this one was constructed with a combination of Japanese and Western techniques mixing brick, concrete and beautiful Taiwanese cypress. As what we consider traditional Japanese architecture was heavily influenced by the architectural style of the Tang Dynasty (唐朝), the building was designed to imitate that of a Tang palace.

The roof of the main building is very characteristic of Tang-style architecture and while some people may identify the building as one that is very 'Japanese' in design, its important to note that the architectural style is a nod to Japan's historic relationship with China in the early stages of its development. The roof has four sides and rises to resemble a mountain-like structure known as a "hip-and-gable roof" (懸魚) with "owl's tail" (鴟尾) decorations on each end.

The current roof however is noticeably a bit different from other Martial Arts Halls as it was recently completed reconstructed. The black tiles with the word “武” on the owl’s tails remain the same, but the wooden trusses that support the roof have been replaced with a more modern method of construction that takes away from the typical beauty of a Japanese-style wooden hip-and-gable roof.

The interior of the building isn’t really open to the public, but the doors and windows are often open so that you can peer inside. The interior has a beautiful hardwood floor that shines on sunny days. There is a small shrine to the rear of the building as well as Japanese-style closets that are used to store the equipment used for Kendo classes.

The administration building that is connected to the side of the hall is one of the most beautiful and most well-used that I have seen thus far. The building has been completely restored and is made completely of wood with large sliding doors and huge picture windows. While it was originally an administration building, today it serves as an ideal location to enjoy some tea. 

In addition to the Main Hall and the Administration building there is a building to the rear of the complex that was once the dorms used by the people who ran the Martial Arts Hall. Today the dorms have been converted into office space in addition to a space for artists to take classes.

A century-old banyan tree. 

To the rear of the building is a beautiful century year old banyan tree that towers over all of the buildings. The tree is adorned with Japanese lanterns and offers some beautiful shade from the sun in the relaxing little park to the rear of the main hall.

Recent History

In 1945 when the Japanese colonial era ended, the Martial Arts Hall and the community of dorms around it was converted into a Military Village (眷村) in order to help solve the housing crisis caused by the amount of refugees who fled from China.

Eventually more military-village style housing was constructed on the other side of Linsen Road (林森路) which allowed for the Martial Arts Hall to be vacated and then converted for usage as a meeting place and recreation centre for a period of time.

In 2004 the building was designated by the Taichung Bureau of Cultural Affairs as a historic building and plans were made to restore it after it was damaged during the devastating 921 Earthquake in 1999.

Unfortunately in 2006 during the restoration process the building burnt to the ground leaving only the concrete frame left standing. The city government formed an emergency committee to make decisions about the future of the Martial Arts Hall and it was decided that the hall would be rebuilt based on the original design.

After four years of work it was reopened to the public in 2010.

Today the Martial Arts Hall is known as the Natural Way Six Arts Culture Center (道禾六藝文化) and offers classes on Japanese art and culture which include Kendo (劍道), Kyūdō (弓道), Japanese tea ceremonies (茶道), Calligraphy (書道), Japanese ink painting (水墨), Origami (紙藝), etc.

The “Natural Way Six Arts Culture Center” has a contact with the Taichung City Government to run the Martial Arts Hall but that contract will eventually have to be renegotiated meaning that things could ultimately change sometime in the near future.

While I generally feel that the people who are running the Martial Arts hall are doing an excellent job offering Judo, Kendo and Kyudo classes as well as offering several artistic and cultural classes to the public, there is something that bothers me about what they’ve done with the building.

You might think me to be a bit picky but the hideous signs that are directly in front of the hall as well as the ones pasted by the front doors are aesthetically annoying. They completely take away from the historic Japanese architecture.

Both the “Natural Way Six Arts Culture Center” signs to the right of the building as well as the information plaque on the left should be relocated so that visitors are able to better enjoy the beauty of this historic building.

Overall though, if I compare this hall to the others that I’ve visited, I feel like this is the only one that is being used for its original purpose. It’s smaller than a 'city-level' Martial Arts Hall but the Taichung City government has done an excellent job restoring it and turning it into a tourist spot.


Getting There

 

Getting to the Martial Arts Hall is quite easy as it is a short five-ten minute walk from the Taichung Train Station. Simply walk out the front entrance of the Old Train Station and turn left on Jianguo Road (建國路) which you will follow until you come up on Linsen Road (林森路) where you'll make a right turn. The Martial Arts Hall is a block away on the left side of the road.

Address: No. 33, Linsen Road, West District, Taichung City, 403 (台中市西區林森路33號)


Even though the Taichung Prison Martial Arts Hall was recently reconstructed, it is still one of the prettiest and most complete of the remaining halls left in Taiwan. The Taichung City Government has done an excellent job in converting it into an attractive area for people to not only learn Martial Arts, but learn about the history of the Japanese Colonial Era.

If you visit the hall you'll be able to take part in some local art exhibitions, enjoy some coffee or even a traditional Japanese tea ceremony in the building next to the hall making the visit not only a learning experience but also a cultural one as well.  

The area where the Martial Arts Hall is located has a precarious history as mentioned above but the city plans to convert it into one that will offer the people of today a chance to learn about that history while also enjoying the beautiful architecture of the past - If you're in Taichung, be sure to stop by and check this one out! 


Kaohsiung Martial Arts Hall (高雄武德殿)

Over the past few months I've posted a few times about some of the beautiful remnants of Taiwan's Japanese Colonial Period. The colonial era lasted only five decades but in the short time that the Japanese controlled Taiwan, they helped to modernize the islands infrastructure and education and helped foster the importance of democratic governance all of which has had a lasting effect on the people of this tiny island nation.

It has been more than seven decades since the Colonial Era ended and while there are still quite a few well preserved examples of Japanese architecture left in Taiwan, most of the remaining buildings are in a state of decay and are in desperate need of not only recognition for their historical significance but some much needed maintenance and renewal.

In the past few months I've posted blogs about several Martial Arts Halls ( 武德殿), the beautifully renovated Taoyuan Shinto Shrine (桃園神社) and Tungxiao Shrine (通宵神社) as well as the decaying (but soon to be renovated and converted into a park) Jhudong Timber Dormitories (竹東東林新村) and the Japanese Police Dormitories (中壢警察局日式宿舍群).

These Martial Arts Halls, Shinto Shrines and former dormitories were quite common in almost every city in Taiwan during the colonial era but few are left remaining today and that is why their preservation and telling their story are so important.

Legacy Of Taiwan's Japanese Colonial Era (日治時期)

A lot can be said about the crimes committed by the Japanese Empire leading up to the Second World War. The bitter memory of that era is still felt today throughout Asia and a day doesn't go by that Japan isn't reminded of the horrific atrocities that were committed during that period.

Taiwan's experience under Japanese colonial rule is considered to be a bit tamer than that of neighbouring countries as the regime sought to transform the island into a "model colony" and develop the islands infrastructure and economy as well as provide a modern education to the people living here.

As Taiwan was Japan's first colony, the Japanese Empire wanted to show the world that being under Japanese control wasn't such a terrible thing and that the people of Taiwan would only benefit from becoming a part of the empire. Unfortunately history has shown that things didn't exactly turn out that way for some of Japan's other colonies.

The colonial period (1895-1945) which lasted for a half century had its fair share of resistance from the local people and the colonial power was guilty of a great many atrocities, however the general feeling today is that people of this country share a strong bond with the Japanese and enjoy a friendship that despite a troubled history is based off of mutual understanding and respect for each other.

When Japan surrendered to the allies at the end of the war, control of Taiwan was handed over to Chiang Kai-Shek and his Republic of China. The Sino-Japanese War which ravaged China for so many years before caused a lot of resentment for the Japanese among the Chinese population and leaders of the government in China had a hard time understanding why the people of Taiwan looked upon their period of Japanese control with so little disdain.

The government decided that it would force Chinese culture upon the people of Taiwan which meant that traces of Japanese culture would have to be destroyed. These policies became a problem however when the KMT and over two million refugees were forced to escape to Taiwan at the end of the Chinese Civil War and were faced with a major housing shortage.

While there are remnants of the colonial period visible throughout Taiwan today, most structures that were dedicated to Japanese culture (temples, shrines, etc.) were torn down and are few and far between. When the housing situation eventually settled down and Taiwan was in the midst of its economic miracle, a lot of the homes that were occupied by the refugees were abandoned and thus left to decay on their own.

Butokuden Halls (武德殿)

Butokuden Halls were established in 1895 under the authority of the Japanese government and with the endorsement of the Meiji Emperor (明治天皇). The halls were meant to help solidify and preserve Japan's martial arts disciplines where the virtues of the samurai-like warrior and noble Japanese heritage and dominance were promoted.

Budo basically refers to Japanese martial arts, but for more clarity I asked my Japanese friend for more information and she sent this definition: Budō is a compound of the root bu (武:ぶ), meaning "war" or "martial"; and dō (道:どう; Dao in Chinese), meaning "path" or "way. The term refers to the idea of formulating propositions, subjecting them to philosophical critique and then following a "path" to realize them. Dō signifies a "way of life". Dō in the Japanese context, is an experiential term, experiential in the sense that practice (the way of life) is the norm to verify the validity of the discipline cultivated through a given art form. Modern budō has no external enemy, only the internal enemy, one's ego that must be fought.

While martial arts dojos were common throughout Japan, the Butokuden Halls were different because they were part of a state sponsored attempt to standardize Japanese martial arts while at the same time fostering fervent nationalism as well as the idea of Japanese exceptionalism though samurai-spirit which helped stoke the fires of militarism in the early years of the 20th century.

The Halls were part of a large organizational structure called the "Dai Nippon Butoku Kai" (大日本武德會) which sought to promote Japanese martial arts throughout the Japanese empire.

Wishes written on cards and wrapped around the tree. 

Starting in 1900 the halls spread to Taiwan with large buildings constructed in Taipei, Taichung and Tainan. In 1906 the Taiwan Butokuden branch (大日本武德會臺灣支部) was established and oversaw the construction of around seventy smaller halls throughout the island.

In Taiwan, the Butokuden Halls initially served the purpose of training the police, military and prison guards in Japanese martial arts and discipline. Later on the halls opened up more to the public in an attempt to train the citizens of Taiwan in Japanese martial arts as well as instil "Japanese Spirit" which is better known as "Yamato-damashii" (大和魂).

When the Second World War ended and subsequently the Japanese occupation of Taiwan, there were over seventy Butokuden halls throughout the country. The fate of those halls however was similar to a lot of other Japanese constructed buildings after the arrival of the Chinese Nationalists at the end of the Chinese Civil War. The buildings were either repurposed, used for housing or destroyed.

Today only about a dozen of these halls continue to exist in Taiwan - Some of the halls have been recognized as National Historic Buildings and have either been repurposed or renovated while others are in a sad state of disrepair and are in desperate need of attention.

Likewise, the "Dai Nippon Butoku Kai" organization was dissolved and then reestablished after the war with a new philosophical vision of preserving Japan's martial arts heritage while at the same time contributing to "world peace, international goodwill, mutual understanding and respect and prosperity through Budo education."

Butoku Kai centres have since spread throughout the world with halls constructed in the US, Canada, UK, France, Russia, etc. Here in Taiwan however, the halls are under appreciated historical relics and while they are historically relevant their original purpose - the promotion of Japanese martial arts has all but disappeared.

Kaohsiung Martial Arts Hall (高雄武德殿)

Kaohsiung is home to two beautiful Martial Arts Halls, one of which I've already blogged about - the beautifully restored Qishan Martial Arts Hall - and the Kaohsiung City Martial Arts Hall.

From the research I had done about Taiwan's few remaining Butokuden Halls, I knew that the Kaohsiung Hall was a special one. It was older than most of the others which were (for the most part) built in the mid 1930s and was also designed a bit differently with a mixture of architecture from both the west and the east which meant that it would look considerably different than what I have become accustomed to with these halls.

To explain why the Kaohsiung Martial Arts Hall was designed differently we have to talk a little bit about the history of the Port of Kaohsiung (高雄港) - The port and its development goes back to the 1620s when it was nothing more than a natural lagoon on the south western coast of the island. The port developed gradually through the Dutch era, the Kingdom of Tungning Era and the Qing Dynasty before being completely transformed during the Japanese Colonial Era. The colonial government carried out large development projects to modernize the port, the harbour and the infrastructure around it which offered the ability to support major import/export industries from the south of Taiwan.

The development of the port in addition to the nearby Takao Railway Station (高雄港車站) meant that the economy of the area flourished with international trade. The economic prosperity experienced by the people living in the port area created a lot of opportunity and made fortunes for the residents.

Like a lot of other areas in Taiwan that experienced an economic boom at the time, the people decided to construct their homes and storefronts with modern construction techniques and a fusion-style "baroque" design which was influenced by the European architecture of the time, but also infused eastern design. This type of architecture is still common today throughout many of Taiwan's "old streets" and a walk through Daxi, Sanxia, Hukou or any of the others gives tourists a quick crash course into what was considered hip at the time.

The design of the buildings in the area also influenced that of the local Martial Arts Hall which itself looks considerably different than any of its contemporaries that are still in existence around the country and blends both western and eastern architectural design.

The Kaohsiung Martial Arts Hall (高雄武德殿), otherwise known as the "Kaohsiung Butokuden Hall" completed construction in July of 1924 in what is now Kaohsiung's Gushan District (鼓山區). Like all of the other Martial Arts Halls, it was built in a strategic location near Gushan Elementary School (鼓山國小) as well as the local police precinct which allowed for it to offer classes to both the police, military and young students of Taiwan. 

For at least two decades the Kaohsiung Martial Arts Hall served its purpose as a training centre for the military and the people of Taiwan teaching Judo (柔道), Kendo (劍道) and Kyūdō (弓道) but when the colonial era ended in 1945 and the Japanese left Taiwan, the hall was put under new ownership.

The facts about who actually controlled the building are a bit mixed up - My research has shown that it was either given to the elementary school with the purpose of it becoming a teachers dormitory while other resources insist that it was handed over to the Kaohsiung City Police. In both cases was never actually used for anything other than storage - This meant that the hall was pretty much abandoned for several decades and fell into a state of disrepair.

In 1999 the Kaohsiung City Civil Affairs Bureau (高雄市政府民政局) recognized the Martial Arts Hall as a historic property and started to make plans to both renovate and restore the hall. The renovation project took a few years and in 2004 it reopened to the public as the "Wude Martial Arts Hall Performance Centre" allowing for tourists to visit to experience the historic building but also enjoy various performances throughout the year.

The building is now under the ownership of the Kaohsiung City Kendo Culture Advocacy Society (高雄市劍道文化促進會) making it the first historical building in Taiwan that was revitalized for purpose for which it was originally designed.

When it comes to the design of the hall, I'm going to be honest, if I didn't see pictures before visiting, I might have walked right past it and not noticed that it was the place I was looking for. It looks unlike any of the other Martial Arts Halls that I've visited thus far. The uniqueness of the exterior's design however is a reflection of the architecture of the time while the interior is probably the most beautiful of them all.

Lets start with the interior - The building consists of a single room with a beautiful hardwood floor that shines in the hot Kaohsiung sun. It is said that the interior is big enough to fit at least one hundred people for training sessions and would have been split in half allowing for more than one class to take place at the same time.

When you walk into the hall from the main entrance there is a small shrine on the wall opposite with several trophies, banners and wooden kendo swords and a plaque above it all that reads "武德殿“ (Martial Arts Hall). There are five different doors to the building with the main entrance and a few on the sides which would have allowed a fresh breeze to flow freely into the building.

From the road, you have to walk up a set of stairs to get to the Hall. The building was constructed on the side of Shoushan Mountain (壽山) and the most prominent feature that you're likely to notice is that the walkway and almost the entire front of the building are blocked by a giant tree (making it difficult for photographers to get the photos they want) that towers over the building and offers it some much needed shade in the summer.

Setting the building apart from the other Martial Arts Halls around the country, the Kaohsiung Hall was built with a mixture of cement and brick. The roof of the building is a very simple one of Japanese origin but is (currently) entirely unlike the other halls throughout Taiwan as it doesn't have the typical four sided "hip-and-gable roof" (懸魚). It is also one of the only Martial Arts Halls that I have seen south of Taichung that doesn't have the words "武" (Bu) or "武德" (Budō) on the "owl's tail" (鴟尾) decorations on the edges of the roof. The reason for this is very simple - The renovation project in 2004 constructed a new roof for the building and took a bit of liberty with the design.

While the building for the most part doesn't particularly look Japanese in design, the entrance is where you are able to really notice the Japanese architectural influence. The entrance is a lot like you'd see at the other buildings with a "karahafu door" (唐破風) that is indicative of Japanese architecture dating back to the Heian Period (平安時代) and is common in Japanese castles, temples, and shrines.

I suppose the major difference with this entrance however is that the pillars that hold up the roof above the entrance are made of cement while the roof itself is made of wood. The columns are also said to have been influenced by the Tuscan Order (托次坎柱式) which is a classical Roman style of architecture that is common around the world.

Another one of the features that differentiates this Martial Arts Hall from the others is that there are murals on the exterior walls depicting arrows representing the Japanese Martial Art Kyūdō (弓道), one of the three disciplines of martial arts that was practiced at the hall during the colonial era.

Today the Kaohsiung Martial Arts Hall is a multi-purpose building that not only lives up to its original purpose as a Martial Arts Hall but also also a place for the people of Kaohsiung to put on exhibitions and small performances. The hall offers a beautiful space for people to experience a bit of Taiwan's history while also practicing Martial Arts and enjoying some art.

The Martial Arts Hall is a short walk from the Sizihwan MRT station (西子灣捷運站) and is in a historic part of town with a lot to see, do and eat. If you are planning on checking out the historic harbour front area of Kaohsiung, the zoo, the former British consulate (打狗英國領事館) or take the ferry over to Qijin island (旗津) - a stop by the Martial Arts hall is a recommended excursion. You won't need a lot of time to see it but you'll likely enjoy this living piece of Kaohsiung's and Taiwanese history.

Map / Location