16.21) Kung Fu / Wu Shu             


This is an almost impossible category.  This label is attached to almost
any martial art that comes from China.  It is the generic name for
literally hundreds of individual Chinese fighting arts.  In reality we
should have an entry for each individual Kung Fu style we are interested
in, but this would fill entire volumes.  However, we will do our best. 

Origin:         China


This is extremely controversial.  Most of what appears here is a summary 
of what has been learned from Sifu Benny Meng. 

There are vague references of a King in China some thousands of years ago
who trained his men in techniques of hand-to-hand combat to use in 
fighting against invading barbarians. 

The first real references of an organized system of martial arts came from
a man named General Chin Na.  He taught a form of combat to his soldiers
which most people believe developed into what is modern day Chin-Na. 
The first written record we have of Chinese martial arts is from a Taoist
acupuncturist from the 5th century. He describes combat designed along the
lines of an animal's movements and style. 

Legend has it that a Bhuddist monk named Bohdiharma, also called Ta Mo,
came across the Tibetan Mountains to China.  The Emperor of China at the
time was much impressed with the man, and gave him a temple located in
Honan - the famed Sui Lim Monastery (Shaolin Monastery).  Ta Mo found that
the monks there, while searching for spiritual enlightenment, had 
neglected their physical bodies. He taught them some exercises and drills 
that they adapted into fighting forms.  This became the famous Shaolin 
Kung Fu system. 

"Kung Fu" means "skill and effort".  It is used to describe anything that 
a person nees to spend time training in and becoming skillful in. (A chef 
can have good "kung fu".)  The Chinese term that translates into 
"military art" is "Wu Shu". 

As all martial arts, Wushu in its early stages of development was 
practiced primarily for self-defense and for aquiring basic needs.  As 
time progressed, innumerable people tempered and processed Wushu in 
different ways.  By China's Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911), Wushu 
had formed its basic patterns. 

Intense military conflicts served as catalysts for the development of
Wushu. During China's Xia, Shang, and Zhou periods (2000BC to 771BC), 
Wushu matured and formed complete systems of offense and defense, with the
emergence of bronze weapons in quantity. During the period of Warring
States (770BC to 221BC), the heads of states and government advocated
Wushu in their armies and kept Wushu masters for their own puposes. 

Military Wushu developed more systematically during the Tang and Song
dynaties (618 to 1279) and exhibitions of Wushu arts were held in the 
armies as morale boosters and military exercises. In the Ming and Qing 
dynasties, the general development of Wushu was at its height.  Military 
Wushu became more practical and meticulous and was systematically 
classified and summarized . General Qi Jiguang of the Ming Dynasty delved 
into Wushu study and wrote "A New Essay on Wushu Arts", which became an 
important book in China's military literature. 

The latter half of the 20th century has seen a great upswing in the
interest of Kung Fu world wide.  The introduction of Kung Fu to the 
Western world has seen to it that its development and popularity will 
continue to grow. 


Styles of Kung Fu encompass both soft and hard, internal and external
techniques.  They include grappling, striking, nerve-attack and much
weapons training. 

The Shao-Lin styles encompass both Northern and Southern styles, and
therefore are the basis of the following outline. 
I  Shaolin Wushu styles
   A. External Styles (Hard, Physical)
      1.  Northern
          a. Northern Shaolin
          b. Chang Chuan (Long Fist)
          c. Praying Mantis
          d. Eagle Claw
          e. Monkey
          f. Drunken, et al

      2.  Southern
          a. Southern Shaolin  
          b. Wing Chun
          c. Five Animal System (Dragon, Snake, Tiger, Leopard, Crane)
          d. Tiger and Crane Systems, et al

   B. Internal Styles (Soft, Mental/Spiritual)
      1.  Tai Chi Chuan
      2.  Others (Pa Kua, Xingyi, et al)


II  Shaolin Wushu Methods
    A. Hard or External Styles
       1. Stresses training and strengthening of the joints, bones, 
and 	  muscles
       2. Requires rigorous body conditioning
       3. Consists of positioning and movement of the limbs and body, 	  
          technique, muscular strength, speed, etc.

    B. Soft or Internal Styles
       1. Stresses development of internal organs where "Chi" is produced
       2. Allows one to develop mental capability to call upon this "Chi"
       3. Concerned with breathing, poise, and tone of the core body 	  

    C. Long or Northern Styles
       1. Stresses Flexibility, quickness, agility, and balance similar 
to 	  the attributes of a trained and well-conditioned gymnast
       2. Uses many kicks along with hand techniques
       3. Legs specialize in long-range tactics

    D. Short or Southern
       1. Stresses close-range tactics, power, and stability
       2. Uses mostly hand techniques

Kung Fu almost always seems to incorporate forms and routines.  They
emphasize solo practice as well as group practice. (They even have forms
for two or more people).  They train in multiple types of weapons.  There
is also a great emphasis on sparring in the harder styles, and sensitivity
training in the soft styles. 

Sub-Styles: see above