History of Chinese Kung Fu

Kung fu is one of the most well-known examples of traditional Chinese culture. It is probably one of the earliest and most enduring sports that use both the muscles and the brain. Kung Fu theory is based on classical Chinese philosophy. Throughout its long history, it has developed as a unique combination of exercise, practical self-defense, self-discipline and art.

The beginning of Chinese kung fu probably began long before recorded history. Kung fu techniques were discovered or created during the long era of continuous conflict between humans and animals, or between different human tribes. From these battles experiences were accumulated and techniques were discovered that were passed down from generation to generation.

Chinese Kung Fu can trace its origins back some 4000 years to 2674 BC when Emperor Huang Ti of China used a rudimentary form of martial arts called Chiou Ti as a form of individual combat and military tactics. At that time people used clubs to fight wild beasts. Little by little they accumulated self-defense experience. When the Shang Dynasty began, hunting was considered an important measure of Kung Fu training.

During the Shang and Zhou dynasties, kung fu became a kind of dance. Usually, kung fu dance is used to train soldiers and inspire their morale. During the Zhou Dynasty, kung fu dance was designated as a component of education. The application of wrestling techniques on the battlefield received a lot of attention from several states during the spring and autumn period. At the same time, the skill and technology of swordsmithing, as well as the sword ceremony, achieved rapid development. In the Qin and Han dynasties, kung fu fighting, swordplay and dancing were very popular. The application of spear play in the Han Dynasty reached its peak along with the emergence of many other spear-using techniques.

During the Tang Dynasty, kung fu became part of the examination process for the imperial courts. All officials and soldiers had to pass some kind of Kung fu test before being promoted. Excellent candidates will receive titles and awards through the examination, greatly promoting the development of Kung fu. By then, kung fu had evolved into an independent art form and genre. It was gradually introduced to many Southeast Asian countries. Today Kung Fu was honored as the ancestor of kickboxing, karate, aikido and judo.

The Song and Yuan dynasties witnessed the climax of the development of Kung Fu. Kung fu permeated society as nimble performers displayed their skills in the streets. The practice of Kung Fu by civilian organizations became more and more popular. Some organizations focused on the use of the spear and club game, and were called the Yinglue Organization; while others specialized in the practice of bowing and were therefore called Arching Origination. In addition, another genre called Luqi People appeared. They made a living as martial arts performers across the country. Usually, their performance was performed by a single person or two people in a couple.

Chinese Kung Fu achieved further development in the Ming and Qing dynasties. In the Ming Dynasty, many genres emerged and numerous books on kung fu were published. In the Qing Dynasty, the ruling empire banned the practice of martial arts. In 1644, the Manchurians invaded mainland China and replaced the Ming dynasty with the Qing dynasty. The Shao Lin temples, which had a great influence on the growth of Kung Fu, became hives of revolutionaries. To counter the threat of these rebels, the Manchurians destroyed Shao Lin’s temples. The inhabitants of the Temples fled, and in this way the knowledge of Kung Fu was spread. And people also created various clubs or societies to transmit feat in secret. The Qing Dynasty is the time of integration between different genres of Kung Fu. Fighting techniques were introduced into Kung Fu, facilitating the improvement and maturation of martial arts. This period is the shed between the genres of appreciation and those of actual combat.

The end of the Qing Empire and the beginning of the Republic generated a renewed interest in Kung fu. The practice of kung fu was considered to be of national interest because it helped to strengthen both the body and the mind. In modern times, Chinese Kung-fu was first introduced overseas to the United States by Chinese-American Kung-fu master Bruce Lee, whose nimble moves in a number of his major films they swept the American public. Thanks to the giant influence of the American film industry, it soon swept across the world. The whole world was enchanted by the magic act, which started the rise of interest in Chinese Kung-fu. From then on, Chinese Kung-fu learners can be found everywhere. Now, Lee’s followers Jacky Chan (Cheng Long) and Jet Lee (Li Lianjie) take up the baton by pushing themselves to new heights.

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