5 Mind-blowing Facts You Should Know About Kung Fu

Kung fu is a Chinese martial art also called wushu and quanfa. It is a series of fighting styles which has developed over a long historical period in China. It is a traditional sport that represents Chinese culture. There are many forms of kung Fu, namely Shaolin Kung Fu, Wing Chun, Tai chi, etc. Each form of kung Fu has its own principles and techniques, but is best known for its trickery and quickness

History and Legends

Though kung Fu is a Chinese martial art it is thought to originate outside of China. A number of historical records and legends suggest that it originated from martial arts in India sometime in the 1st millennium AD, though its exact time is unknown.

There are a handful of historical documents crediting the 5th to 6th century Buddhist monk Bodhidharma with establishing kung Fu. Though he was not the first to bring Buddhism to China, these texts credit him as the first to bring martial arts in some form, establishing the first Shaolin monastery at the end of the 5th century to teach what he had learned in India.

However, the legitimacy of stories regarding Bodhidharma’s role in the history of kung Fu is highly debated. Although Chinese ancestors knew how to fight with rudimentary weapons made from stones and wood, fighting with bare hands and fists became essential skills.


Chinese Kung Fu started to form during the slavery society (around 11th century BC – 403 BC). Upon the foundation of the Xia Dynasty, it well developed to be more practical and standard to better serve battles. During the Shang and Zhou Dynasties (17th century BC – 256 BC), used to train soldiers and enhance the morale of the army. The theory of Tai Chi was put forward then to lay a foundation for the early system of Chinese martial arts.

Later, the vassal states in the Spring and Autumn Period (770 - 476 BC) paid much attention to the fighting skills the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279), at the request of Yue Fei and other patriotic generals, a large number of soldiers and common people tended to practice Kung Fu. Martial artists from all over China traveled to learn kung Fu in Shaolin during various periods, suggesting the art had developed widespread renown.

Initially, kung Fu was really only an elite art practiced by those with power. But due to occupations by the Japanese, French, and British, the Chinese began to encourage martial arts experts to open their doors and teach what they knew to the native masses in an effort to expel foreign invaders.

Sometime later, kung Fu had a new opponent- Communism. When Mao Zedong eventually took hold of China he attempted to destroy almost everything that was traditional in order to grow his particular brand of Communism. Kung fu books and Chinese history, including much of the literature on the art at the Shaolin Temple, was put under attack and in many cases destroyed at this time. But it was revived later by many practitioners.
Kung Fu Substyles

Due to the rich and long history of Chinese martial arts, there are over 400 substyles of kung Fu. The northern styles, such as Shaolin Kung Fu, tend to put a level of importance on kicks and wide stances. The southern styles are more about the utilization of the hands and narrower stances.

Popular Substyles

- Northern


Long Fist

- Eagle Claw

Monkey Style

- Southern

Wing Chun

- Hung Gar

Choy Li Fut

Though kung Fu represent a significant portion of the Chinese martial arts, it is not the only Chinese art that is recognized

More popular ones are:


Shuai Jiao

Tai Chi

Some Fascinating Facts

1. Kung Fu is studied in a “KWOON.”

2. The most elite shaolin monk was a werewolf.

3. The different styles of Kung Fu are based on animals.

4. Kung Fu incorporates really interesting weapons.

5. Bruce Lee is a world famous Kung Fu master, a martial arts film actor and the founder of Jeet Kune Do. He made great contributions by introducing Chinese martial arts to the world. Because of his superb skills, he is called King of Kung Fu by Americans, Sage of Martial Arts by Japanese and Master of Fighting by Thais.

Written by - Abija P.B.

Edited by - Gunika Manchanda