History of Chinese Kung Fu

Last Update: 2008-6-13; By nancy

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Chinese Kungfu
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Chinese Kung Fu combines both of theory and practice and combines the techniques of self-defense and obtaining good health.

It is thought that the origins of Chinese Kung Fu can be traced to primeval society. At that time people use cudgels to fight wild beasts and they slowly accumulated experience in self defense. During the Shang Dynasty, hunting was considered as an important part of Kung Fu training.

During Shang and Zhou Dynasties, martial arts evolved into a kind of dancing. Usually the dancing movements in martial arts were utilized to train soldiers and increase morale. During Zhou Dynasty, martial-arts dancing were designated as a component of education. The application of wrestling techniques at the battlefield received much attention from various states during the period of Spring and Autumn. The emperor held twice yearly wrestling contests spring and autumn to select the best exponents of martial arts. At the same time, the skill and technology in sword forging was increasing and the sword ceremony developed rapidly. During the Qin and Han Dynasties, wrestling, swordplay, and martial arts dancing were very popular. A well known instance was Xiang Zhuang's Sword Dancing in Hongmen Banquet of the same period. The style of his performance was very close to today's martial arts. Spear play reached its summit in Han Dynasty when many techniques for spear usage were practiced. The Five-animal-style exercise was another innovation of Hua Tuo in the development of Chinese martial arts.

Kung Fu examinations were proposed and implemented during the Tang Dynasty. The best combatants would receive titles and awards through the examination thereby propelling the development of martial arts. By this time martial arts had evolved to be an artistic form and an independent genre and were gradually introduced to many countries in Southeast Asia. Today Kung Fu is honored as the ancestor of kickboxing, karate, aikido, and judo.

The Song and Yuan Dynasties was one highpoint Kung Fu's development and the practice of Kung Fu by civil organizations became more and more popular. Some organizations or clubs centered on the use of spear play and cudgel, and they were called Yinglue Organizations; while others majored in the practice of arching and therefore called Arching Origination. Performer called Luqi People made a living by performing martial arts all over the country. Usually the performances were carried out by a one or two people. 

Chinese Kung Fu thrived during the Ming Dynasty. The Ming Dynasty saw many genres came into being and numerous books on martial arts were published. The Emperors of the Qing Dynasty banned the practice of martial arts, and the folk had to set up clubs or societies to pass down the secrets of the art. Many schools sprang up with example being taiji, xingyi shadowboxing, eight–diagram shadowboxing. The Qing Dynasty also saw the integration among genre. Wrestling techniques were introduced into martial arts, facilitating its improvement and maturing. This period was a watershed shed between genres for appreciation and those for actual combat.

In 1927 the Central National Martial Arts Society was established and in August, 1936, Chinese Martial Arts Team went to Berlin to participate the Olympics Games. The Chinese Martial Arts Association was established and in 1985 the International Marital Arts Invitational Tournament was held in Xi'an with the establishment of International Martial Arts League.

The first Asian Martial Arts Tournament was held in Hengbin in 1987 and in 1990, martial arts were for the first time listed as a competition event in the 11th Asian Games. In 1999, The International Martial Arts League was invited to join the International Individual Events Federation by International Olympic Committee. That was the sign of Chinese Martial Arts global acceptance & appeal.

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