Let’s be honest – most of our knowledge regarding Kung Fu comes from watching Kung Fu Panda and his ridiculous attempts to save China from the deadly claws of Tai Lung. Well, today I’d like to talk about real Kung Fu, the ancient Chinese practice that has been developed in this Asian country for centuries. While many believe that Kung Fu is just about learning the proper ways to fight and defend yourself, the reality is a bit different. There’s so much more going on behind the scenes and I’m here to help you understand what Kung Fu actually stands for, how it has developed, what it includes, but also in what ways it affects your body and your mind. So, let’s begin.
What Is Kung Fu?
Contrary to popular belief, Kung Fu isn’t just one specific style of fighting; it’s actually several hundred different fighting styles which are often classified by their common traits. These traits are mostly identified as families, schools or sects of martial arts. What’s interesting is that the sole term Kung Fu refers to any study, practice or learning that requires your full energy, lots of patience and a specific amount of time to complete. So in reality, the ancient practice of Kung Fu doesn’t necessarily apply just to martial arts, but to any discipline, that depends on your hard work and persistence. The term came into connection with martial arts in the late 20th century.
The Origins of Kung Fu
While the specific time when Kung Fu originated isn’t really known, it’s estimated that this discipline has been present for thousands of years, but has developed a great deal since then. It started as a simple need for hunting and defence in a primitive society and since then, it has grown to become one of the most prominent fighting styles in the whole world. One of the oldest institutionalized styles of Chinese martials arts is Shaolin Kung Fu and with its 1500-year-old practice, it has managed to become one of the largest schools of Kung Fu. Kung Fu was used in ancient times to train soldiers and enhance the morale of the army, and the practice has been ongoing for centuries, through dynasties and under different rules all the way to the present day.
Styles of Kung Fu
There are countless different Kung Fu styles and they differ from each other by their place of origin, the people who have invented them, the time periods when they were introduced, but mostly they differ in the styles and techniques used to practice them. Some of the most popular and renowned styles of Kung Fu are Shaolin Kung Fu, Tai Chi Quan, Wing Chun Quan, Baguazhang and Xing Yi Quan. Some of these styles include aggressive movements, simple techniques, speed and agility, while others are distinguished by their slow movements, putting focus on relaxed, internal power, loose motions and an interplay between the mind and body.
The Benefits of Kung Fu
Surely, a discipline as complex as this, which requires our full attention and energy, must have some amazing benefits. Not only does Kung Fu make a great workout routine, but it’s also a great self-defence mechanism. One of the best advantages of this discipline is that it keeps you healthy and fit, improves your agility, flexibly and balance, but also strengthens your mind at the same time. If you’re considering taking a class, I personally recommend trying classes of Kung Fu in Sydney, as it has amazing groups for beginners that are fun, exciting and most importantly – effective.
If you think you’re not up to the task, just remember that Kung Fu is all about patience, hard work and persistence. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll have the ability to master this ancient practice and perhaps even become a worthy rival to the legendary Bruce Lee.
In addition, please check out the below infographic for an outline of the health benefits (there are many) that martial arts has: