Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How old are Chinese martial arts?A: In the West, Chinese martial arts are usually referred to as ‘Kung Fu’, or ‘Kung Fu’ (¥\¤Ò). However, the term does not specifically mean ‘Chinese martial arts’. Rather, kung fu is the philosophy which is applied to any time-honored pursuit of excellence. In short, kung fu may be translated as ‘Skill and success gained through painstaking effort’, or ‘ Time and Effort’.Q: What Is Kung Fu ?HISTORY
A: Written records are found as far back as 3000-3500 years ago, however, the history of Chinese martial arts is as old as that of humanity.
Q: How were Chinese martial arts developed?
A: Chinese martial arts trace their origin and development to three primary sources: the military, family clans, and religious sects. Styles and forms draw their inspiration from locations, animals and nature, and philosophical principles or religions. Regardless of their origin, they all share similar traits unique to Chinese martial arts. The styles were refined and proven on the battlefield.
Q: Why were the arts secretly guarded?
A: To the true holders of the art, widespread promotion was frowned upon. During these times, the arts were the primary defense of home and country. Only deserving, loyal students were accepted. The art was never corrupted for monetary gain. Disciples were hand-picked and their character tested for many years before imparting complete knowledge to them. The transmission of such information was never treated lightly.
Q: I read that the Shaolin Temple in China was the origin of all Chinese Martial Arts. Is this true?
A: No. Martial arts in China existed long before the first Shaolin temple was built (ca 500 AD). There were many other secular and military sources of martial arts long before this time. The Shaolin temple was, however, very important in that it received the teachings of Buddha from India and spread them throughout China. The temple gave birth to many different styles and served as a forum for the ongoing research and development of other existing styles. The calibre of the fighting monks at the temple became well known and they performed many heroic deeds for their country and people. In the West, most of the styles of Kung Fu that we are exposed to are closely linked to Shaolin, but this still represents only a portion of the myriad styles found in China and throughout South East Asia.
For a more indepth review of Martial Arts History in China, please refer to this article in the Wisdom section.