If you’ve not been living in the deepest and darkest dungeons for your entire life, then you certainly must have heard the word ‘Kung Fu’ many times around you.
You might have even seen many people, some of them your friends, imitating stunts of Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan and failing miserably at them. Be it movies, history or even books or art, Kung Fu has a prominent presence and the mysteries surrounding this art has finally unravelled.
What Does Kung Fu mean?
Most people think that Kung Fu is the collective name of Chinese Martial arts that include different forms like Wing Chun, Shaolin King Fu, Tai Chi, etc., but that is not true. In China, the word ‘Kung Fu’ is pronounced as ‘Goung Fu’ which refers to any kind of study or skill achieved through hard work and patience.
The term has been misquoted in the western world due to the sudden rise in its popularity in the 20th century, mostly because of movies. Kung Fu does not necessarily point to any fighting style. Rather, it’s about reaching the pinnacle of human concentration and achieving your goals through sheer determination and hard work. A more correct term ‘wushu’ might be used for referring to martial art.
Importance Of Kung Fu In The Present Culture
When Enter the Dragon was released in western world, no one could have anticipated its great success. These movies introduced the film audience to a new art form which was till then considered exotic. Since Kung Fu originated in China, people came to know new things about a country that previously remained obscure.
Bruce Lee is considered the pioneer of Hollywood Kung Fu and if you were to ask what his influence in cinema was, you would have to just take a look around. Today, Kung Fu has become a global trend surpassing all the boundaries. From movies to art, many people make great efforts to understand and learn Kung Fu.
History Behind The Martial Art
Though most of the origin of Kung Fu is shrouded in mystery, there is a popular legend that tells us how this art came into life. During the 5th or 6th century, an Indian Buddhist monk who went by the name of Bodhidharma went to China to propagate the teaching of Buddha. In China, he came into contact with the monks of Shaolin monastery where he taught them his own martial art which was then developed by the monks in what is, today, called Shaolin Kung-Fu.
There are many popular stories revolving around King Fu that has passed into legends today. Shaolin monks participated in many battles and established their dominance in the battlefield. Slowly, Kung Fu spread from the temple doors to every corner of China and developed into several different styles that we see today.