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What Is Chinese Kung Fu

Kung Fu is the colloquial term used to describe the Chinese Martial Arts. A more formal and academic term is Wu-Shu.

The development of various forms of Chinese Kung Fu can be traced back to the earliest periods of Chinese history (2600 B.C.). Methods of fighting were developed utilizing practically every part of the human body. Along with the hand and foot fighting forms, the use of weapons also became very sophisticated.

Training in Kung Fu consists of the following disciplines:

A characteristic of the Chinese Kung Fu system is the large number of weapons used. These objects range from simple farm tools such as a rake and pitch-fork, to ordinary objects like folding fans and flutes, to actual weapons such as spears, swords, halberds, chains, etc…

Kung Fu is a very broad term and there are many different styles of Kung Fu. Each style has its cahracteristic moves, its own fist and weapon forms, and its own philosophy on fighting. Some of these styles take on names of animals, such as the Praying Mantis and Eagle Claw. These styles were established by masters who had studied the fighting behavior of various animals and used these observations when formulating their fighting styles. Other systems are named after the philosophical principles upon which they were formulated, such as Tai Chi Chuan, Pa Kua, and the Hsing Yi systems.

Martial arts of other countries are either derrived from or greatly influenced by Chinese Kung Fu. It is well known that Japanese Ju Jitsu, which was later organized into Judo, was greatly influenced by the Chinese patriot Yuen ZBin Chan who went to Japan in 1500s.

Japanese and Okinawa Karate Do: The Way of Empty Hand Fighting was called the Way of Chinese Hand Fighting until the late 19th century. Many of the founders of present day Karate Do styles have once studied Chinese Kung Fu, such as Master Uyechi of Uyechi-ryu, Mas Oyama of Kyushikai, and Master Miyagi of Goju-ryu. In Korean, the term Tang So Do – The Way of Chinese Hand has been used to describe hand and foot fighting for many years, while the term Tae Kwon Do was adapated in recent times. The Japanese martial arts separate the use of weapons into individual categories (sword fighting, spear fighting, stick fighting, etc.) and the empty hand forms into even more categories (Judo, Jujitsu, Aikido, etc.).

Depending on the person who is practicing it, Kung Fu can have many meanings. To some, it is a very sophisticated method of self defense, to others it is an excellent way of keeping in shape, both physically and mentally. To the dedicated, it is always a way of life and a unique cultural heritage.