Chinese Kung Fu (Martial Arts or as popularly referred to as Gongfu or Wushu) is a series of fighting styles which has developed over a long historical period in China. Nowadays, it is regarded as a traditional sport gaining more and more popularity and even stands as a representative for Chinese culture. Styles including Shaolin, Tai Chi and Qigong have many followers worldwide. Some westerners think that all Chinese people are Kung Fu masters. That’s not true, but this traditional heritage has its unique existence in modern times and left much influence on the locals’ lifestyle.
Although being fighting styles, Kung Fu advocates virtue and peace, not aggression or violence. This has been the common value upheld by martial artists from generation to generation. With a number of movement sets, boxing styles, weapon skills and some fighting stunts, Kung Fu keeps its original function of self-defense. Now its value in body-building and fitness is also highly appreciated.
Originated in the Shaolin Temple in Henan, this is considered the premier style in China and is widely spread all over the world. Both of its physical exercise and mental training are based upon Buddhist philosophy. The Shaolin Boxing, Southern Fist (Nanquan), Northern Legs (Beitui) and Wing Chun are the representatives of this school.
This sect has almost the same fame as the Shaolin. Based at the Mt. Wudang in Hubei Province, it is developed under the guidance of Taoist theories. T’ai Chi Ch’uan, Form / Intention Boxing (Xingyiquan), Eight-Diagram Palm (Baguazhang) are essentials of Wudang.
This is a comparatively slow and elegant style originated from the combination of Taoism, dialectic ideology, traditional medicine and physical exercise. It features attack by accumulating the strength, conquering the rigidity with the flexility, and beating action by inaction.
In the recent years, learning Chinese martial arts has been more and more popular among people of different ages and nationalities. You can either choose to go to a Kung fu training center or a university to take professional kung fu classes systematically. The basic skills of legs, waist, shoulders and stance training need to be practiced daily. Employing the solid foundation of the basic skills, one can choose from the various sects to learn specific routines of boxing, kicking and weapon skills, to improve the combat ability.