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Kung Fu / Wushu

Kung fu Clips

WHAT IS KUNG FU?

Kung fu and wushu are popular term for Chinese martial arts. However, those arts involve many different styles, techniques and philosophies; even these two terms themselves co-notate different things. Colloquially, kung fu (or gung fu) alludes to any individual accomplishment or cultivated skill. In contrast, wushu is a more precise term that refers to general martial activities.
The term wushu has also become the name for a modern sport similar to gymnastics involving the performance of adapted Chinese bare-handed and weapons forms, judged to a set of contemporary aesthetic criteria for points.



History

From the beginning, on its birth in ancient China, Chinese martial arts proceeded to incorporate different philosophies and ideas into its practice - expanding its purpose from self-defense to health and finally as method of self cultivation. In return, influence of martial arts ideals can be found in poetry, fiction and film. Chinese martial arts is now an integral element of Chinese culture.

The origins of Kung Fu might date back as far as the Shang Dynasty (sixteenth century B.C.), but most scholars conclude that it began to develop sometime in the fifth century B.C. A swordsmans art which became prominent during the Chou Dynasty (770 B.C. - 221 B.C.) may have contributed to Kung Fu so might have Pankration, from times when Alexander the Great took pankratiasts with him on his conquests (including his journey to India).

In the sixth century A.D., an Indian Buddhist priest named Bodhidharma (called Pu-Ti-Ta-Mo in China) came to the Shaolin Ssu (Young Forest Temple), in Chinas Honan province. The Shaolin temple had been built in the late fifth century A.D. by emperor Hsiao-Wen to honor another Indian monk, Bodhiruchi.
The Indian fighting style which Bodhidharma taught there, blended with combat techniques already known to the Shaolin priests, became known as wai-chia it eventually evolved into both Kung Fu and Karate. Kung Fu and unarmed combat were not confined to the Shaolin monastery the first martial arts schools in China also began teaching during the sixth century A.D.

Kung Fu was brought to the U.S. during massive Chinese immigration during the 1840s, though it was not popularly taught to non-Chines students until the 1960s.

Styles

The maneuvers and styles presented here represent the "external" aspect of Chinese martial arts. The main internal styles, such as Pakua and Tai Chi Chuan, are discussed separately even though technically they fall under the rubric of "Kung Fu."

Practitioners generally divide Kung Fu substyles into "northern" styles, which are kick/leg-oriented (because of the prevalence of horse-riding in northern China), and "southern" styles, which are punch/hand-oriented (because of the prevalence of boat-rowing in southern China).

A Kung Fu teacher is known as a sifu. The hall where he teaches his students is usually called a kwoon. The traditional Kung Fu outfit is a silk costume consisting of a long-sleeved tunic with white cuffs, dang lung fu (loose-fitting trousers gathered in at the ankles), and colorful sashes worn at the waist (these do not denote rank). Alternatively, fighters wear a vest or shirt resembling a T-shirt instead of a tunic.

 

 

/source: wikipedia/


 

 

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