Kung Fu, also known as Wushu or Gongfu, is a series of fighting styles developed in China over a long historical period. Martial Art was developed to serve as a defense tactic against attacks from an opponent, especially in military combat.
Nowadays, Kung Fu is regarded as a traditional sport and has gained popularity worldwide, even standing as a Chinese culture representative. Some styles like Shaolin, Qigong, and Tai Chi have gained a lot of followers around the world.
Some of us may assume that all Chinese people are masters of Kung Fu, but this is not the case. However, traditional heritage has left a huge influence on the local people’s lifestyle.
Despite being a fighting style, Kung Fu advocates against violence and aggression and for peace and virtue. Martial artists have, from generation to generation, striven to uphold these values.
Kung Fu strives to keep its original self-defense function with several boxing styles, weapon skills, movement sets, and fighting stunts. Its contribution to fitness and bodybuilding is also very highly appreciated.
History of Kung Fu
To survive an extremely hostile environment, our Chinese ancestors were able to develop some means of defense and attack that included kicking, tumbling, and leaping.
Although they also fought using rudimentary weapons made from wood and stones, fighting with fists and bare hands became essential.
The martial art recognized today as Kung Fu has its origin in the Zhou and Shang dynasties between the 17th century to 256BC.
During the Qin and Han dynasties, swordplay, spear skills, and wrestling became more popular among the troops and civilians. After the Song dynasty, boxing styles, weapon skills, and movement set flourished.
Types of Chinese Kung-fu
Chinese Kung-Fu is usually divided into two main families, namely;
The boxing family has three branches famous in the world, namely;
• Shaolin-temple Boxing.
• Emei-mountain Boxing.
The weapons family mainly includes:
• Sword saber.
• Knife sword.
• Stick wand.
Kung-Fu movements tend to be circular, unlike Karate which tends to be linear. This means that Kung-Fu movements shift weight and rely more on reacting to your target’s attacks; hence, they are very useful in situations where you might be grappling with your target.
Compared to Karate which can be more efficient in harming your opponent, Kung-Fu can stop an opponent.
Kung Fu uniform
Kung-Fu uniforms for those training in the Art comprise tops in different styles and with frog buttons in various colors. Kung Fu practitioners also wear shoes that may be different from other martial arts like Karate.
Development of Kung Fu
The recent years have seen the Chinese martial art Kung Fu become more and more popular among different nationalities and ages. Training centers for Kung Fu have since been established in major cities across the world.
The precondition to learning Kung Fu is simply to have a strong will and persistence. It is important to follow a master’s or enroll in a training school to learn it systematically. I don’t think learning Kung Fu in your living room from youtube, or social media is practical and advisable.
You also cannot get perfect in it immediately. It would be best to practice daily to get the basic skills of the waist, shoulders, legs, and stance training.
Once the foundation of the basic skills is rock solid, one can now select from the various sects and learn the specific routines of kicking, weapon skills, and boxing to improve their combat ability.
Kung Fu styles are currently practiced in many countries, even outside of Asia, and are most popular in the United States.
History suggests that immigrants who came to the states In the 1830s did not stop practicing their “Chinese boxing and wrestling” as it was referred to in the states.
It was until 1890 that New York City hosted the very first Kung Fu expedition in the US. Kung Fu Art in its various forms has since been embraced and practiced by people throughout the US. Even as people still practice it for self-defense, it is also highly valued for its fitness.
The emphasis on self-discipline that Kung Fu gives attracts people from all walks of life and ages. Over the years, Chinese martial Art has impacted people’s lives from all over the world, producing stars like Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and Jet Li, among others, impacting our society in different ways.
If you are interested in the sport, I’m confident that the article has given you some insight into its origin and development. If you are interested to learn, consider signing up for lessons at a training center near you.