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What Are Chinese Kung Fu (Martial Arts) and Its History, Development, Styles?

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Chinese Kung Fu is also mainly known as martial arts. Whereas also famous among people as Gong Fu or Wushu. Kung Fu or martial arts is a course of fighting styles that was emerged from China over a lengthy period ago. Martial arts or Kung Fu is becoming more admirable as a sports game in the world. Kung Fu stands as a representative of Chinese culture all over the world.

There are many Kung Fu styles like Shaolin, Tai Chi, and Qigong which have many followers from all over the world. Kung Fu is unsupportive of aggression or violence, but one of the most leading promoters of peace and virtue being a fighting technique. Kung Fu's primary function is self-defense by a set of movements, weapon skills, boxing styles, and some fighting stunts, etc. Nowadays, it is more appreciated in fitness and body-building.

Chinese Martial Arts:

Chinese martial art is often called umbrella type Kung Fu, Kuoshu, Wushu. There are hundreds of Kung Fu fighting styles that originated centuries ago from extensive China. These fighting styles are called families of martial arts based on their classification according to general traits. Kung Fu has its principles and methods but is better known for its quickness and tricks.


Kung Fu is a Chinese term that refers to any skill obtained through learning or practice. It is a word composed of two words Gong and Fu. Gong means work, merit, and achievement, and Fu means a particle or nominal suffix with various meanings. Wushu has constituted two words that refer to martial arts. Quanfa is a second term generally used for Chinese martial arts. Quan means boxing or fist, and fa means law, method, or way. Quanfa is a compound word that means fighting techniques or boxing.


Chinese martial art had assigned to the self-defense, military training, and hunting techniques in ancient China. In ancient Chinese, hand-to-hand combat and weapon practice were supreme skills in the soldier's training. Chinese kung Fu originated over 4,000 years ago during the semi-mythical Xia dynasty, according to legends. It’s believed that Huangdi (Yellow Emperor) was the first who introduced fighting skills in China.

Before becoming China's leader, the Yellow Emperor writes lengthy treaties on martial arts, medicine, and astrology. Chi You is the founder of Jiao Di, a chief rival of the Yellow Emperor. In Classic Rites, the Jueli combat wrestling system is present. Strikes, throws, pressure points, and joint manipulation attacks founded in this system. During the Qin dynasty (221-207 BEC), Jiao Di became a sport.


During the Feudal society (221-1911) development of kung fu started. The fighting techniques among soldiers grew into Guanzhong Boxing which was called Hong's fist, during Emperor Qin Shihuang (259 – 210 BC). In Qin and Han dynasties, fencing, sword dance, wrestling, and sword fighting were famous. The Hong Fist, Changquan (Long Fist), and Kicking Legs developed with the single and pair practice in the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644).

Long fist, five fists, Hua fist, Shorthand’s of Shandong Province, Crane Boxing, and Five shape Boxing of Fujian province besides Wing Chun, Choy Li Fut, and Hung Kuen Guandong and Guangxi areas later became the most popular techniques of that time. In Henan province in 495 CE, a Shaolin temple had built in the Song Mountain. Buddhabhadra was an Indian monk who preached Buddhism for the first time and was called Batou by the Chinese. Bodhidharma was another monk after Buddhabhadra, also known as Damo by the Chinese. The first institutionalized Chinese martial art is Shaolin Kung Fu.

The first non-governmental organization, Jingwu Gymnastic Club was established by Nong Jinsun and Huo Yuanji during the Republic of China. Furthermore, Chinese Kung Fu is famous all over and attracts more and more foreigners to learn and enjoy.

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One of the famous traditional Chinese cultures is Kung Fu (Wushu). Chinese-American master Bruce Lee introduces Chinese martial art (kung fu). Bruce Lee Kung Fu (martial art) moves are famous all over the world. There are many kung fu styles and systems, such as Tai Chi or Shaolin Temple. But we can discuss only a few of them today.

Shaolin Kung Fu:

Shaolin Kung Fu is a well-known martial art style. That originated from Shaolin Temple on Mount Songshan, Dengfeng County, Henan province. Shaolin combined insight of Zen Buddhism into Chinese martial arts and made different types of sub-styles. Jumping, rolling, and tumbling is general skills.

Tai Chi Quan:

Tai Chi is an ancient style and practiced publicly in many parts of China. Whenever you visit China, you can find people practicing Tai chi early morning in parks. Tai Chi combines the advantages of different styles makes a set of martial arts. Learners move their bodies slowly and smoothly to expand internal power.

Wing Chun Quan:

Wing Chun is one of the powerful and direct martial art moves. In the early 1700s originated from the Shaolin temple and was widely spread by Yip Man, Bruce Lee's teacher of Wing Chun Kung Fu. One of the main ideas of Wing Chun is Simplicity.

Nan Quan:

Nan Quan is also called Nanfang Quan, a union of Southern Shaolin boxing and other Southern boxing moves such as Choy Li Fut, Hung Gar, and Mok Gar. Nan Quan constitutes simple actions, short-rang and changing hand plays, and steady footwork.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.


MAB (author) from Pakistan on August 06, 2021:

Thanks Eman

Nian from Pakistan on August 06, 2021:

Very informative article.

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