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History of Chinese Martial Arts (Kung Fu)

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Chinese martial arts has a long and rich history. Originally as individual combat skill, martial arts was developed by Chinese ancestors in their struggle against natural and social environments to survive. Kung Fu is a colloquial term used around the world for it. Since the day it was born, Chinese martial arts has been closely connected with traditional Chinese culture. Its inclusiveness helps to add an air of mystery and intrigue to it. Today Chinese martial arts has established a system of its own, combining the actions of kicking, striking, throwing, controlling, tumbling, hitting, splitting, thrusting in a unique way to form, under standardized rules, taolu (a series of skills and tricks in martial arts) and forms. It is now not only well loved as an exercise for body fitness and self defense, but also highly regarded its distinctive aesthetic value.

With a vast and profound cultural system formed around it, Chinese martial arts has become a token of Chinese national character, revealing significant aspects of the Chinese people. With a grace that "combines the external body movements and internal heart and soul", it has established a reputation as an valuable asset among traditional sports in the world.

As a cultural phenomenon, Chinese martial arts has been deeply influenced by the political structures and social settings. It is fair to say that Chinese martial arts is "based on I-Ching (The book of Changes) theory, shaped by traditional medical practice, adapted for military use, and made famous in arts". Besides, it also developed under the influence of the Confucian, Taoist and Buddhist ideologies and nourished from Jiaodi (ancient Chinese wrestling) and baixi (literally hundreds shows, including acrobatics, games, dancing and other performance).

Today , Chinese martial arts has become a bridge of friendship. It links the Chinese people and other nations and serves as a window through which the world may gain a better understanding of China. Radical changes have occurred with significant progress made to transform it into a competitive sport and to popularize it on an international level.

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Updated 01-31-2015 at 02:16 AM by Shaolin Kung Fu

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