KUNG-FU ORIGINS & HISTORY
Image: A bronze halberd from the Terracotta Army; note the sharpness of the blades and good state of preservation.
The Terracotta Army warriors (circa 250 BC) were fully equipped with state-of-the art bronze weapons. So far more than 40,000 arrowheads, as well as hundreds of crossbow triggers, swords, lances, spears, halberds, hooks, & honor weapons have been excavated.
KUNG-FU ORIGINS part 2
THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHINESE MARTIAL ARTS BY TYPE: A SIMPLE OVERVIEW
There are four divisions of Wu Shu (Kung-Fu).
They are the Martial (Military) Arts of Weaponry and Pugilism;
The skills of Wrestling practiced mainly among the civilian population
& Health Nourishing.
There are four divisions of Weaponry
Those are the four broad categories of Chinese weaponry. The different types of weapons actually number more than 18. Within each grouping may be many different weapons; for example it is said that there are more than 40 types of broadsword. Consider that just as today's Special Forces receive specialized training for advanced combat situations, the warrior of 4,000 years ago might specialize and become expert in one particular weapon or class of weapon, yet might also become familiar with any number of weapons.
It is my opinion that the military arts of pugilism are weapon forms, their original intent being not for sport but to practice the art of destroying the enemy with a weapon. As there are many types of weapon, so to there are many methods of pugilism. Regardless of ones opinion there are two primary divisions of Pugilism from which spring forth many methods
Soft Fist - which might be divided into three main categories
1. Yee Chuan
2. Pai Kua
3. Tai Chi Chuan - might be divided into three major systems: Chen; Yang; and Wu; each representing dozens of styles of Tai Chi.
Hard Fist - which might be divided into two main categories - both might be divided into many
branches. The two main categories are:
1. South Shaolin
2. North Shaolin
WRESTLING: As described in part 1
Wrestling and grappling arts are not suited for battle, but are best suited for practice within the civilian population. This is in accordance with the war strategies of Sun Tzu; and as espoused by Miyamoto Musashi thus "Do not permit yourself to grapple with the enemy, for this becomes a contest of strength and may prevent you from performing with conviction to slay the enemy with one strike."
Two Divisions of Health Nourishing - Passive & Active.
Note: these are the health nourishing exercises introduced to China by the Indian Monk Damo, which developed separately to and later than the fighting arts of China. Health benefits aside they add nothing to the fighting arts.
Passive Course - might be divided into three main catagories;
1. Marrow washing
Active Course - might also be divided into three main catagories:
2. Acts Of 5 Birds
3. 8 Peices Of Brocade
Summary of Charts:
There are literally hundreds of different styles of kungfu, each with its own unique history and flavour. Therefore it is important when discussing a particular style that one does not convey to the listener/reader that the facts pertaining to that system, such as origin, or theory, are common to all systems of kungfu.
Through Asia To The West
During the Ming Dynasty the Chinese arts of self defense had great influence over those of the neighboring countries. The tour of Chang Wo (Zheng He; 鄭和; 1371 – 1435) (Defender of Nanjing) throughout the South East Asian countries (1413-1419) produced a great effect on the many arts of various countries which adopted the Chinese way. A classic example is Japanese "Karate", which was derived from the Shaolin pugilism and later introduced to Japan via Korea and Okinawa in the 1920's. (First National Athletic Exhibition in Tokyo, 1922, by the then president of the Okinawa Association for the Spirit of Martial Arts, Gichin Funakoshi).
(Some suggest that General Qi Jiguang (戚繼光;) was the first to introduce Chinese arts of self defense throughout South East Asia, however he rose to prominence a century after Chang Wo and spent much of his career on the northern front. Further there is no record of Qi Jiguang exploring South East Asian countries. K.E)
Contrary to once popular opinion that kung fu is "new" to the western world, kung fu has been practiced in the United States since 1848 when it was introduced by Chinese Coolies who labored in the mines and on the building of the transcontinental railways. The first organized Kung Fu Association on United States soil was the Chinese Physical Culture Association (Ching-wu t'i-yu hui), located on Kapena Lane, Honolulu, Hawaii. Founded in 1922, it is still in existence today. (Author: Is it?).
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