Kung Fu / Wushu
WHAT IS KUNG FU?Kung fu and wushu are popular term for Chinese martial arts. However, those arts involve many different styles, techniques and philosophies; even these two terms themselves co-notate different things. Colloquially, kung fu (or gung fu) alludes to any individual accomplishment or cultivated skill. In contrast, wushu is a more precise term that refers to general martial activities.
The term wushu has also become the name for a modern sport similar to gymnastics involving the performance of adapted Chinese bare-handed and weapons forms, judged to a set of contemporary aesthetic criteria for points.
From the beginning, on its birth in ancient China, Chinese martial arts proceeded to incorporate different philosophies and ideas into its practice - expanding its purpose from self-defense to health and finally as method of self cultivation. In return, influence of martial arts ideals can be found in poetry, fiction and film. Chinese martial arts is now an integral element of Chinese culture.
The origins of Kung Fu might date back as far as the Shang Dynasty (sixteenth century B.C.), but most scholars conclude that it began to develop sometime in the fifth century B.C. A swordsmans art which became prominent during the Chou Dynasty (770 B.C. - 221 B.C.) may have contributed to Kung Fu so might have Pankration, from times when Alexander the Great took pankratiasts with him on his conquests (including his journey to India).
In the sixth century A.D., an Indian Buddhist priest
named Bodhidharma (called Pu-Ti-Ta-Mo in China) came
to the Shaolin Ssu (Young Forest Temple), in Chinas
Honan province. The Shaolin temple had been built in
the late fifth century A.D. by emperor Hsiao-Wen to
honor another Indian monk, Bodhiruchi.
Kung Fu was brought to the U.S. during massive Chinese immigration during the 1840s, though it was not popularly taught to non-Chines students until the 1960s.
maneuvers and styles presented here represent the "external"
aspect of Chinese martial arts. The main internal styles,
such as Pakua and Tai Chi Chuan, are discussed separately
even though technically they fall under the rubric of