Chinese Kung Fu

Chinese Kung Fu

Chinese Kung Fu is a commonly used term for all the martial arts styles in China. In fact, Wushu is the correct traditional term to use to describe Chinese Martial Arts. The word Kung Fu was first used by a western Jesuit Missionary named Pere Amoit after witnessing exercises and training regimen in China. He called it "Cong Fou" in his personal journals. (he probably confused the Chinese descriptive words, Kung Fu, meaning expert or skilled as a result of dedicated training, thinking that it was the name of the martial art he was observing. Literally, the term kung fu can be applied to the description of the work of an expert in any field, like a skilled painter, a master chef or a craftsman wood carver.)

The term "Kuo-Shu" was popular in China until about 1930. This term has since been popularized by Taiwan to describe Chinese Martial Arts.

Kung Fu describes numerous forms of External and Internal styles including those using bare hands or weapons. Generally speaking, they are divided into two schools: the South school and the North school.

The North school originated from Shaolin Temple, the Holy Land of Buddhism, and is called the Shaolin Sect, with its boxing called Waijiaquan. The South school originated from Wudang Mountain, the Holy Land of Taoism, and is called the Wudang Sect, with its boxing called Neijiaquan. Thus Wudang and Shaolin are recognised as the two main and important sects of Chinese martial artsas they have been practiced in China for thousands of years. Some of the well known external styles are Shaolinquan, Changquan, Hongquan and Fanziquan, while some well known internal styles are Taichi, Bagua, Xingyi and Water Style. With the promotion of Chinese movies and expansion of Opening and Reforming Policy in China, Kung Fu has become a popular international sport that all people can learn and use to attain its inherent benefits. Aside from a method of self-defense, Kung Fu has been developed into a sport capable of improving a participant's health and fitness; improving their reaction time, jumping ability, balance, flexibility, coordination, power and speed. Even athletes for other sports are taking up Kung Fu training to complement their physical pursuits and to improve the quality of their performance.

Recently, Chinese Kung Fu has been modernized. Training and competing standard systems have been set up. Complementing its fighting function, Kung Fu has become a more athletic and aesthetic performance and competitive sport. Perhaps more than any other practitioner, Bruce Lee opened the eyes of the Western world to the fascinating practices of Chinese martial arts; now the worldwide followers of the various related disciplines number in the millions.

Consequently more and more foreigners are travelling to China to learn the mysteries of Kung Fu, so in order to promote Kung Fu internationally, China Zhengzhou International Shaolin Kung Fu Festival will be held twice annually.