Beginning with a discussion of the emergence of an embryonic form of martial arts in the Shang (1600–1046 bc) and Zhou (1046–256 bc) dynasties, this chapter investigates the role of ritualised archery demonstrations and martial dances in serving the construction of the feudal pyramid of power, and explains how military skills were incorporated into the education system, and how weapon and hand-to-hand combat skills transformed into a form of art and entertainment. The next section, on the Qin (221–206 bc) and Han (206 bc‒ad 220) dynasties, analyses the influence of political and military reforms on the development of martial arts performances, competitions, weapon skills and combat techniques. This chapter then offers some insights into the development of weapon techniques, bare-handed martial arts forms, Jiaodi shows and martial dances during the Northern and Southern dynasties era (420–589). Moving on to the Sui (581–618), the Tang (618–907), the Song (960–1126) and the Yuan (1271–1368) dynasties, it examines how military reforms and the Imperial Military Examination system led to the prevalence of militarism and the further development of fighting skills and training methods. It points out that by the Song and Yuan dynasties, a modern form of Chinese martial arts – a collection of weapon skills, combat techniques, wrestling, martial dances and performances – had taken shape.