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Chinese Kung Fu


According to the Book of Zhuang Zi, unarmed combat was a highly developed skill by the end of this period, with many methods of attack, defense, counter-attack and feints. Fencing was also fairly common at that time. It was especially popular among the people of the states of Wu, Yue and Zhao. Competitions were frequent, but because contestants wore inadequate protection, injuries were common during the bouts. In one fencing competition in the state of Zhao, more than 60 people were killed or wounded over a period of 7 days. In the state of Wu, scars on the body of face were common sight among the people. Nevertheless, the love of fencing went unabated among women as well as men. By the Qin Dynasty (221 - 207BC), competitions had developed stricter rules with referees, arenas and protective clothing. During the Han Dynasty (206BC - AD220), Kung Fu was developed further, the element of sport and dance now becoming more apparent. Many martial dances appeared, such as the Rapier Dance, the Broadsword Dance, the Twin-Halberd Dance and the Battle-Axe Dance. While these dances contained elements of attack and defense, other postures and techniques evolved which were designed clearly for callisthenic purposes. An historic record in 108 B.C. tells how people came from as far as 300 li (150km) around the capital to see a contest.

Kung Fu could be defined as any of the various Chinese martial arts. Chinese Kung Fu was studied, organized and systematized by the Shaolin monks. Shaolin Kung Fu is known for their many animal styles such as Tiger, Crane, Dragon, Monkey, Praying Mantis and Snake. The word Kung Fu was originally used by the West. It means "skill" or "ability". It literally does not have anything to do with martial arts such as the word Tae Kwon Do, which means The Way of the Hand and Feet. In China today, Wushu is the preferred word to describe Chinese Martial Arts. The word Kung Fu was first used by a western Jesuit Missionary named Pere Amoit after witnessing exercises and training regimen in China. He called it "Cong Fou" in his personal journals. The term "Kuo-Shu" was popular in China until about 1930. This term has since been popularized by the Taiwanese Government to describe Chinese Martial Arts.



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