Asian nations played an important role in the development of martial arts. Among the many forms of martial arts originated in the Orient, Chinese kung fu, Japanese karate and Korean tae kwon do certainly top the list.
Chinese kung fu is a general designation to any form of the various Chinese martial arts, especially those in which a series of skills and tricks are applied for attack and defense. Usually sharp blows and kicks are administered to pressure-sensitive points on the body of an opponent. It attaches particular importance to the exercise of both the inner and outer body. Chinese developed some basic skills to fight against animals as well as hunting in ancient times, which were believed to be the premier forms of Chinese kung fu. Chinese kung fu prospered during Ming and Qing Dynasties when manifold styles were introduced and practiced.
An important and indispensable figure in the history of Chinese kung fu that is worth a mention is Bruce Lee, who is deemed as one of the greatest martial artists ever. Bruce Lee is remembered not only for his attainments in kung fu, but also for his success in introducing the traditional Chinese martial arts to the world with the kung fu movies he starred. We can safely say that Bruce Lee started a new era.
The most recent kung fu movie showing in cinemas up to date is Kung Fu Hustle, starred by Stephen Chow. Different from Bruce Lee’s movies, Kung Fu Hustle is more a hilarious comedy than a serious movie with mere bloody fighting. Besides Stephen Chow, other directors have also made unfailing efforts to infuse elements of originality into kung fu movies. Two of them are Ang Lee with his Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, and Zhang Yimou with his Hero. Both have hit great success in achieving a perfect combination of the beauty of art and the charm of kung fu.
The Bruce Lee Foundation, founded by Bruce Lee’s wife and daughter
Another Bruce Lee Website
Shaolin Kung Fu Institute
Kung Fu Cinema
The World’s Martial Arts Information Center
Martial Arts Page of About.com