Chinese kung fu is believed to have been one of the most prevalent martial arts of China. Shaolin monks revised and later systematically organized this form of martial art. The term “kung fu” has got nothing to do with its meaning – ability or skill. A Christian missionary from the West coined it. This style was also recognized as Kuo-Sho by the Taiwanese government.
As the Chinese learned martial arts, they also studied dance, to add to its relaxation and personal-satisfaction. While dancing, they tried to imitate various animal movements of the monkey, the bird, the bear, and so on. Hence, some of the movements came to be known as the monkey dance, bird dance, and bear dance. Gradually, different forms of dance with the skillful use of armors, like axe and shield, were added, and a new version of martial art depicting fighting and dancing skills developed. This new version of martial art would become the official training for the army of the Chi You tribes.
Various Chinese kung fu styles
There are several forms of Chinese kung fu, such as:
- Tai Chi Ch’uan
- Wing Chun
- Choy Li Fut
T’ai Chi Ch’uan describes the ancient concept of Chinese cosmology, denoted as the combination of equal but opposite powers: the Yang and Yin. Ch’uan–in Chinese, meaning first and foremost, is a form of the combat that does not involved the use of arms or armor. This form of martial art is organized on the ‘soft-overcoming-the-hard’ approach. Besides Tai Chi Ch’uan, two other orthodox internal forms of martial arts are Pa Kua Chang, and Hsing Yi Ch’uan.
Bruce Lee is said to have known this form of marital art. It is very difficult for a person to learn Wing Chun fully, as it takes anywhere from 10 to 15 years to master it. Wing Chun dates back to the mid 20th century.
Choy Li Fut is the most popular form of Wushu, another martial art. It includes hundreds of both hand and weapons movements. For the most part, it involves arm and hand techniques, such as the back fist, the hook punch, the straight punch, and the uppercut. Many hard-core fighters tend to learn Choy Li Fut.