History of Kung Fu
There are many known fighting styles for Kung Fu that have been created over the centuries. The term itself means a skill achieved through hard labor over time. Whether classical or traditional, both are considered arts even before the beginnings of the People’s Republic of China.
The martial arts of the said Republic is called Wushu and is crafted by physical education coaches and is in no way related to the original art. The original disciplines in Ancient China were deeply rooted in the people’s need to hunt and defend themselves.
Legend tells that the arts were classified into various fighting systems by Huangdi (the Yellow Emperor) during the Xia Dynasty. He was a renowned general who also came up with volumes of medical and astrological books.
The most primitive Kung Fu records have been found in the Autumn and Spring Annals approximately 5th Century BC. During the first century BC, Jiao Di, a combat wrestling style, was recorded in the Classic of Rites; so were strikes, pressure points, throws and joint manipulation.
Taoist and Shaolin Influences
While there were many philosophical influences in this form of martial arts, there is no doubt that the most dominant is Taoism. This is a religion that relates to the fighting disciplines. Taoists practice physical routines such as the Five Animals Play comprising of the tiger, monkey, deer, bird and bear.
The Taoist influence is not notable in Tai Chi, Eight Immortals and Pa Kua Chang.
Considered to be more influential is the Shaolin Temple. This Temple created a number of work on Kung Fu including training handbooks, warrior monks, histories, encyclopedias, novels, traveling journals and poetry.
Kung Fu Basic Principles
The Kung Fu concept revolves around these three fundamental principles –
Experts say that the real motivation is always inspiration and never force. Discipline complements motivation and is needed to put Kung Fu into action; while time is needed for a martial artist to perfect his art.
In essence, Kung Fu history continues to develop but in a different light. There were efforts to resurrect the classical Kung Fu of Shaolin but, to this day, they remain mere efforts. There are now systems of Kung Fu such as the Shaolin Butterfly but this originated outside the walls of China. The original styles have not been revived in full but there are new systems that have developed and with these, Kung Fu is moving forward to conquer a totally different world.