Kung Fu

Kung Fu – Techniques, Kicks, Forms (Taolu), etc.

Kung Fu (also known as Gung Fu) is a Chinese martial arts that focuses primarily on hand & arm strikes and kicking techniques. However, it is hard to generalize about Kung Fu characteristics because there are many different Kung Fu schools and styles (thus you can not “transfer” easily from one Kung Fu school to another school if you move to another city).

Many Kung Fu styles also utilize traditional martial arts weapons such as the sword, staff and spear. In addition, they often practice with more unique martial arts weapons such as Sheng Biao (Chinese rope dart), Sanjiegun(three section staff) and Liu Xing Chui (Meteor Hammer). These weapons are often used in forms (taolu), demonstrations, sparring, etc.

AmazonKung Fu Books

Main Elements of Kung Fu – The sections below provide instructions and videos for Kung Fu stretches, taolu (forms), conditioning drills, etc.

Misc Elements of Kung Fu

History of Kung Fu

In the West, Kung Fu exploded in popularity during the 1970s. This was due to the rise of Bruce Lee as a major movie star. Young people everywhere wanted to be like Bruce Lee and thus sought out Kung Fu training.

According to European Wushu Federation, “The first archaic forms of barehand fighting in ancient China appeared during the dynasties Xia, Shang and Zhou. Those forms, with the invention of bronze weapons became martial skills and were used for military training under the name Junlian (lit.army training). During the period of warring states (770 – 221 b.c.) the role of martial arts grew rapidly because of constant wars between counties.”

Different Schools & Styles of Kung Fu

There are many different schools of Kung Fu (i.e. Eagle Claw, Wing ChunShaolin Kung Fu, etc.). According to Shaolin Gung Fu Institute, there are “over 1,000 styles are known or recognized.” Kung Fu is often broken into northern and southern styles. Northern Kung Fu styles typically emphasize long-range attacks and greater use of kicks. Southern Kung Fu styles typically emphasize close combat and greater use of hand techniques.

Well-Known Kung Fu Styles

  • For a more complete list of Kung Fu styles, please visit the main Chinese Martial Arts section.
  • Bajiquan – Bajiquan (or Baji Quan) is known for its elbow strikes.
  • Chang Quan or Long Fist
  • Choy Li Fut or Cai Li Fo
  • Eagle Claw Kung Fu – Eagle Claw Kung Fu is a Chinese martial arts that is known for its gripping techniques, strikes, joint locks, takedowns and pressure point attacks.
  • Huaquan
  • Lama Pai – Lama Pai is a martial art from Western China based on Ape and Crane motions
  • Leopard Kung Fu (Bao Quan) – Leopard Kung Fu is a martial arts that focuses on aggressive speed and agility to defeat an opponent.
  • Hung Ga – Hung Ga (or Hung Gar) is a southern Chinese martial arts that combines 5 animal styles (Crane, Dragon, Leopard, Snake and Tiger).
  • Monkey Kung Fu (Hou Quan) – Monkey Kung Fu is an unorthodox and acrobatic style used to disorient and attack opponents from unusual angles and positions.
  • Nan Quan
  • Praying Mantis Kung Fu – Praying Mantis Kung Fu is known for its redirection, joint manipulation, pressure point attacks and trapping tactics.
  • Shaolin
  • Tiger Claw Kung Fu (Fu Jow Pai) – Fu Jow Pai (“Tiger Claw Style”) is a Chinese martial arts that is famous for its tiger-like attacks and strikes.
  • White Crane
  • Wing Chun
  • Zui Quan (Drunken Fist) – This style tries to imitate a drunkard’s movements (i.e. staggering and falling over) in order to confuse opponents and allow for devastating counter attacks. Of course, the martial artist is not intoxicated when practicing this style of Kung Fu!

Kung Fu Techniques

As seen in Chinese martial arts movies, Kung Fu has some spectacular kicking techniques such as the Butterfly Kick. Moreover, Kung Fu is known for its unique training equipment and techniques such as Mei Hua Zhuang (or Kung Fu Plum Blossom Poles), Wing Chun Wooden Striking DummyIron Palm Training, etc. These traditional training tools are often seen in classic Kung Fu movies.

Famous Kung Fu Practitioners

Some well known Kung Fu students include Jackie Chan, Jet Li and David Carradine (of the “Kung Fu” TV series).

Shaolin Kung Fu

References

  1. International Wushu Federation, http://www.iwuf.org/index.asp
  2. European Wushu Federation, Brief History of Wushu, http://www.ewuf.org/home/t_wushu.html
  3. Shaolin Gung Fu Institute, What is Kung Fu?, http://www.shaolin.com/StyleContent.aspx?Style=Styles

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