Chinese Kung fu

About Chinese Kung fu

Chinese Kung fuChinese martial arts, sometimes referred to by the Mandarin Chinese term wushu and popularly as kung fu, consist of a number of fighting styles that were developed over the centuries. Those fighting styles can be classified according to common themes that are identified as "families" of martial arts. Example of themes are physical exercises that mimic movements from animals or a history and training method that gather inspiration from various Chinese philosophies, myths and legends. Some styles focus on the harnessing of qi and are labeled internal, while others concentrate on improving muscle and cardiovascular fitness and are labeled external. Geographical association, as in northern and southern, is another popular method of categorization. Each fighting style offers a different approach to the common problems of self-defense, health, and self-cultivation from a Chinese perspective.

Kung fu and wushu are popular terms that have become synonymous with Chinese martial arts. However, the Chinese terms kung fu About this sound listen (Mandarin); Cantonese have very different meanings. The Chinese literal equivalent of "Chinese martial art" would be zhongguo wushu.

In Chinese, kung fu can be used in contexts completely unrelated to martial arts, and refers colloquially to any individual accomplishment or skill cultivated through long and hard work. In contrast, wushu is a more precise term for general martial activities.

Wǔshù literally means "martial art". It is formed from the two words Wusu, meaning, "martial" or "military", and Shu, which translates into "discipline", "skill" or "method."

The term wushu has also become the name for a modern sport involving the performance of adapted Chinese bare-handed and weapons forms judged to a set of contemporary aesthetic criteria for points. 

History of Chinese Kungfu

Chinese Kung fuChinese martial arts may possibly be traced to the Xia Dynasty which existed more than 4000 years ago. Their origin is attributed to self-defense needs, hunting activities and military training in ancient China. Hand-to-hand combat and weapons practice were important components in the training of Chinese soldiers. From this beginning, Chinese martial arts proceeded to incorporate different philosophies and ideas into its practice—expanding its purpose from self-defense to health maintenance and finally as method of self-cultivation. The influence of martial ideals in civilian society spread into poetry, fiction, and eventually film.

According to tradition, the Yellow Emperor (Huangdi, traditional date of ascension to the throne 2698 BCE) introduced the earliest fighting systems to China. The Yellow Emperor is described as a famous general who, before becoming China’s leader, wrote lengthy treatises on medicine, astrology and the martial arts. He allegedly developed the practice of jiao di or horn-butting and utilized it in war.

Shǒubó, practiced during the Shang dynasty (1766–1066 BCE), and Xiang Bo (similar to Sanda) from the 600s BCE, are just two examples of ancient Chinese martial arts. In 509 BCE, Confucius suggested to Duke Ding of Lu that people practice the literary arts as well as the martial arts; thus, wushu began to be practised by ordinary citizens external to the military and religious sects. A combat wrestling system called juélì or jiǎolì is mentioned in the Classic of Rites (1st c. BCE).

This combat system included techniques such as strikes, throws, joint manipulation, and pressure point attacks. Jiao Di became a sport during the Qin Dynasty (221–207 BCE). The Han History Bibliographies record that, by the Former Han (206 BCE – 8 CE), there was a distinction between no-holds-barred weaponless fighting, which it calls shǒubó, for which "how-to" manuals had already been written, and sportive wrestling, then known as juélì or jiǎolì. Wrestling is also documented in the Shǐ Jì, Records of the Grand Historian, written by Sima Qian (ca. 100 BCE).

A hand to hand combat theory, including the integration of notions of "hard" and "soft" techniques, is expounded in the story of the Maiden of Yue in the Spring and Autumn Annals of Wu and Yue (5th c. BCE).

In the Tang Dynasty, descriptions of sword dances were immortalized in poems by Li Bai. In the Song Diynasty and Yuan dynasties, xiangpu (a predecessor of sumo) contests were sponsored by the imperial courts. The modern concepts of wushu were fully developed by the Ming Dynasty and Qing dynasties.

Chinese Kung fuThe ideas associated with Chinese martial arts changed with the evolving Chinese society and over time acquired a philosophical basis. Passages in the Zhuangzi, a Daoist text, pertain to the psychology and practice of martial arts. Zhuangzi, its eponymous author, is believed to have lived in the 4th century BCE. The Tao Te Ching, often credited to Lao Zi, is another Daoist text that contains principles applicable to martial arts. According to one of the classic texts of Confucianism, Zhou Li, Archery and charioteering were part of the "six arts" liu yi, including rites, music, calligraphy and mathematics) of the Zhou Dynasty (1122–256 BCE).

The Art of War, written during the 6th century BCE by Sun Tzu, deals directly with military warfare but contains ideas that are used in the Chinese martial arts.

Daoist practitioners have been practicing Tao Yin, physical exercises similar to Qigong that was one of the progenitors to Tai Chi Chuan, from at least as early as 500 BCE. In 39–92 CE, "Six Chapters of Hand Fighting", were included in the Han Shu (history of the Former Han Dynasty) written by Pan Ku. Also, the noted physician, Hua Tuo, composed the "Five Animals Play"—tiger, deer, monkey, bear, and bird, around 220 BCE. Daoist philosophy and their approach to health and exercise might have influenced, to a certain extent, the Chinese martial arts.