The term Kung Fu is not just about Chinese martial arts; it can be used to describe any active that hard work and commitment is needed to achieve a level of skill,
The evolution of Chinese martial arts (most commonly known as Kung Fu) started long before recorded history, starting with the need for people to find methods to learn and pass on the skills for self-defence, military training and hunting. The first records are which existed more than 4,000 years old and centre on Huang-di The Yellow Emperor a legendary Chinese sovereign, who is somewhere between fact and mythology, dated to about 2700 BCE (Before the Common Era, same as BC) to 2600 BCE. The invention of astrology, Chinese medicine and the Martial Arts has all been contributed to Huang-di.
Huang-di troupes for training and recreation used a form of wrestling called Jiao Di (Horn Butting). This then became Jiao Li, which was the first martial art to be documented on paper in a tome called Lǐ Jì (The Classic of Rites) one of the Chinese Five Classics of Confucianism, lost in the "Burning of the Books" in 213 BCE where all traditional text were burned. In 221BCE Qui Dynasty, Jiao Li open to all the people of China, it became a sport that moved from the military to the people. Up until this time the military was the driving force in the development of the basic techniques that became the Kung Fu of today, both armed and unarmed. The unarmed techniques included strikes, throws, joint manipulation, and pressure point attacks. The armed techniques makes use of Axes, Bow and Arrows, Knifes, Staffs, Spears, Swords and other exotic weapons like Rope Darts and Tiger Hooks.
After Jiao Li was passed to the general public Chinese culture dad much more influence on the development of Kung Fu, Buddhism and Taoism philosophy as well as works like The Art of War (a book on military, business and life thinking and tactics), written by Sun Tzu a military treatise and Wuqinxi (“Five Animals Play” exercises based on tiger, deer, bear, monkey and crane movements), written by a Chinese physician call Hua Tuo's. Theses have all had a impacted on the styles and forum that emerged over the years in schools, family homes and temples.
Many schools created their forms by imitating different animals (tiger, monkey, snake), birds (eagle and crane), or insects (praying mantis). It was believed that imitating the fighting skills animals of and there natural talent to survive in the harsh environments it would enhances the ability of the practitioner, For example, the fast playful movements of the monkey, the fast full on power of the tiger and eagle's strong claws was imitated, and the attacking motions of the crane's beak and wings were all adopted.
The most recognised fingers in the history of Kung Fu is the Buddhist Monks of the Shaolin Temple. Buddhism came to China from India in 464 CE by Batuo (aka. Fotuo or Buddhabhadra) , who was a master of Dhyana (Buddhist meditation), later he was to become the first abbot of the temple. The first Shaolin Temple was built on Mount Song in the Henan province China, in the year 477 CE. The Shaolin name came from the area in witch in was located meaning "temple in the forest of Mount Shaoshi" or "young/little forest". Henan like most of China time this time was lawless and bandits where numerous, this lead to older monks that had been fighters and solders in the younger days to pass on there skills to the other monks, records say that the monks participated in the defence for the temple from bandits as early as 610 CE and where involved in the Battle of Hulao defeating Wang Shichong (general, Sui Dynasty) in 621 CE.
One of the legends about how Kung Fu came to be, centres around Bodhidharma (aka Da Mo) who is a much disputed, semi fictional historical character and most lightly is a composite of people previously mentioned. Most of the versions of this legend are along the lings that in the
5th or 6th century, Bodhidharma weal at Shaolin seeing the condition of the Monks and realising that there physical was not good, he began to instruct them a system of physical exercises to help the body and meditation to improve the mind. From there the Chinese fighting arts immerged, this would make Kung Fu no more than 600 years old!
Over time the Chinese Martial Arts moved from the reaem of the military, to the elite of Chinese sesiaty, egucated scalers, learid familys (Hung Gar, Wing Chun) and many religious secacts (), but had remained out of the reach of the general people and remeaned this way right up until the 20th century. This is the point that the agent throw much upheaval.
From the mid 19th century the Chinese people had been cout up in the affears off foreign powers, the main couzs of the suffering and unrest of the people where 2 Opium Wars perpetrated Britain and France to control the Opium trade, this lead to the formastion of the Righteous Harmony Society (aka Righteous Fist Society) the goal of witch was to remove all foreign elements from China and empower the Chinese people, the Chinese martial arts that had been resictid to upper sasiady was new one of the tools that the Righteous Harmony Society was now to use, pass the skills the any body that would join them, at the start of the 20th century the Righteous Harmony Society dad enufe followers to make there bid of power, and thy started there uprising and a campean of ethnic cleansing, witch was later named "The Boxer Rebellion" even with have numbers on there side and a grate many skilled fighters on there side, the uprising was doomed from the start. This was because they did not understand there enemy, the follower for the Righteous Harmony Society that where practitioners of Chi Gung (system of prescribed physical exercises performed in a meditative state) believed that the power of there Chi would make them impervious to firearms. After the filer of the rebellion China had to gave many more concessions to the occupying powers, but the side efact of rebellion was that the martial arts where then opened to all of the any one that wished to larn.
It was for this point that the Chinese martial arts started to emagrat to other counterys joining others that had gain before, to America , Britain and any other countery that had a Chinese population, it is from this time on that most if not all Kung Fu schools outside of China can be trast.
“The Chinese words ‘kung fu’ translate more or less as ‘a man hard at work over a long time’. If you want to unlock the full power of kung fu, it is not going to be easy: you are going to have to work, you are going to have to sacrifice and you are going to have to suffer – over a long time. There really is no such thing as a free lunch.” ~ Master Iain Armstrong