Close combat has fascinated the human race for centuries, there are so many personal journeys that have taken place throughout its pure fascinating history.
For self-defence to find peace, to protect ourselves and loved ones against the many perils this world has to face.
Through text to folklore, movies to ancient traditions, the brutal yet exhilarating world of martial arts will forever hold a place as one of the biggest traditions of our time.
There are many forms of martial arts, yet none is more renowned and smothered in history than the ancient art of Kung-Fu.
Kung Fu being the art in many martial arts movies including Kung Fu Panda and the new Karate Kid, it is perceived by many to be its own specific style, but this is not entirely true.
So, What is Kung Fu?
Kung Fu is actually an umbrella term and there are many forms of it, such as Shaolin Kung Fu, Wing Chun, Tai chi, etc and they are practiced all over the world. Each form of kung fu has its own principles and techniques, but is best known for its trickery and quickness, which is where in China originally the word kung fu is derived from.
Is Kung Fu Chinese?
Basically, Kung Fu refers to a Chinese martial art also called Wushu and Quanfa. It was only in the late twentieth century that this term was used in relation to Chinese martial arts by the Chinese community.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines the term Kung-Fu as a primarily unarmed Chinese martial art resembling karate.
Over recent years, as Kung Fu has hit the movies and television it has targeted a much wider audience and it has become much more popular to learn the effective style of Kung Fu.
let’s face it, we would all love to have the moves of Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan.
How To Fight Kung Fu
Shaolin Kung Fu is the most popular form of Chinese martial arts practiced in schools in the U.K. It is the Shaolin style which has spawned the genre of cinema known as the Kung fu Panda film.
However, the traditional style of Shaolin practised by the Monks in China is very different to the more commercialised form which is taught in schools here. The Shaolin monks may train for endless of hours and do extreme tests to their body.
For instance, the throat is especially a very vulnerable part of the body, that Monks may hang themselves with rope around their neck, holding their breath for up to 20 minutes to condition it. This is known as ‘Turtle breathing’. After 300 days of practicing it, once they are ready, they get chopped in the throat with sticks to withstand the punishment.
When training gets to much, the Monks may go in a dark room to meditate to build back their inner strength.
The Shaolin style taught in the Western world is much more simpler, as that type of training in the U.K would probably be considered physical abuse. Shaolin Kung Fu classes will include learning punching and kicking techniques, defending and moving evasively, and using weapons.
Shi Yanzi is a famous Shaolin monk who has also used his Kung Fu skills for competitive combat in the ring. Shi Yanzi is the founder of the Shaolin temple UK which is the official home of Shaolin Temple China for learning Buddhism, Kung Fu Chan and Meditation & Qi Gong.
What are the levels of Kung Fu?
For many years, the different arts of Kung-Fu had no belt system, but with the developments within Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and many outside influences, Kung-Fu developed a belt system similar to the ones in its neighbouring arts.
Below is the typical belt order in Kung Fu:
This is just the basic structure and most kung fu schools will follow it, but don’t take it as a general rule as there are exceptions.The white belt like in many forms of martial art, is awarded for a students first involvement. consisting of stances and skills as well as many different simple practionery moves.
The gold belt is one of the early milestones achieved in Kung fu as it symbolises the crossing of the curiosity threshold to an enthusiastic interest. Choreography of the taolu (form) to Sanda (combat) moves. Not all schools use this belt, it signifies that the student has proven adept with the fundamentals.
A student will continue to progress for years through the grades, demonstrate their skills to they are ready for the black belt.
The black belt symbolises becoming an authority. The black belt is a token of expertise that students earn after 4-5 years of dedication and practice. Make no mistake, though; this is not the end of the road. You might’ve earned the mastery and authority to become a teacher yourself, but there still are many ranks to achieve from that point on.
if you take a look at some of the highest ranked Kung Fu masters around the world, they have been training for decades and the history that have been noted throughout the course is astonishing.
Kung Fu Masters
William Cheung was born 10th October 1940 and is regarded as the highest Kung-Fu master in the world. Cheung is a Hong Kong Wing Chun Kung Fu practitioner and currently the Grandmaster of his lineage of Wing Chun, entitled Traditional Wing Chun (TWC). He also heads the sanctioning body of TWC, the Global Traditional Wing Chun Kung Fu Association (GTWCKFA).
Cheung is responsible for introducing Bruce Lee to his master Ip Man when they were teenagers in Hong Kong. Cheung was acknowledged as one of Yip Man’s disciples who helped to firmly establish Wing Chun’s reputation as a fighting art through the challenge matches in Hong Kong. Having been in duels with several triad members he had defeated in China, Cheung had reason to fear for his life, so in 1957 he emigrated to Australia.
He was forced to fight ten sailors set up by the triads who were seeking revenge on his way there. Cheung sustained several stab wounds from the fight as some of the men were armed.
In 1984 Cheung set a world speed punching record of 8.3 punches per second at Harvard University in Boston.
Bruce Lee Kung Fu
The most famous Kung Fu practitioner in the world is Bruce Lee, known best starring in his classic martial arts movies like Enter the Dragon. Bruce was originally born Lee Jun-fan on the 27th November 1940 and sadly died 20th July 1973. Bruce Lee was a Hong Kong and American martial artist, instructor, actor, director, screenwriter, producer, and philosopher.
He was the founder of Jeet Kune Do, a hybrid martial arts philosophy drawing from different combat disciplines that is often credited with paving the way for modern mixed martial arts (MMA). Lee is considered by critics, media, and other martial artists to be the most influential martial artist of all time and an icon of the 20th century, who bridged the gap between East and West.
Anyone in or out of the fight game knows his name, when thinking of the most notable practitioners in film, Bruce Lee shall remain on top of the list for centuries to come.
Bruce Lee Death
Bruce Lee’s death has always been a mystery since the day he died. Over the time, there has be many conspiracy’s, some of which simply ludicrous. I remember being at school and the other students saying he died from an overdose of paracetamol, claiming that he was so fit that he took one paracetamol and died.
Kung Fu is a fantastic martial art to learn, whether it be for self-defence, confidence or simply fun. Also, as the skills and knowledge of Kung Fu have been passed down for generations, you will learn the real tradition of the art.