Semantic meaning and phonetics
PhoneticsIn most of the largely spoken Varieties of Chinese|Chinese language varieties, the word kung fu (?) is pronounced phonetically as approximately gungfu or gongfu with a hard "g"—not with a "k". However, in many other parts of the world, including most of the English-speaking world, the pronunciation, kungfu, has remained predominant.
Semantic meaningIn terms of semantic meaning, kung fu and wushu are terms that have been Loanword|borrowed into English to refer to Chinese martial arts. However, the Chinese language|Chinese terms kung fu (term)|kung fu and wushu ; Standard Cantonese|Cantonese: móuh-seuht) have distinct meanings;* the Chinese literal equivalent of "Chinese martial art" would be Zhongguo wushu ().
literally means "martial art". It is formed from the two words :wikt:?|?: wiktionary:?|? (), meaning "wiktionary:martial|martial" or "military" and wiktionary:?|? (), which translates into "discipline", "skill" or "wikt:method|method."
The term wushu has also become the name for the modern sport of wushu (sport)|wushu, an exhibition and full-contact sport of bare-handed and weapons forms (Chinese: ?, pinyin: tàolù), adapted and judged to a set of aesthetic criteria for points developed since 1949 in the People's Republic of China.*Quan fa (?) is another Chinese term for Chinese martial arts. It means "fist principles" or "the law of the fist" (Quan means "fist" and fa means "law", "way" or "study"). The name of the Japanese martial art Kenpo is represented by the same characters.
The term "kung fu"In Chinese, Kung fu (term)|kung fu (?, gong meaning "work" or "achievement" and either fu, "man", or fu, a particle or suffix that can mean "intensity") can also be used in contexts completely unrelated to martial arts, and refers to any individual accomplishment or skill cultivated through long effort and hard work.* It is only in the late twentieth century, that this term was used in relation to martial arts by the Chinese community.* Wushu is a more precise term for general martial activities.
HistoryThe genesis of Chinese martial arts has been attributed to the need for self-defense, hunting techniques and military training in History of China#Ancient China|ancient China. Hand-to-hand combat and weapons practice were important in training ancient Chinese soldiers.*Detailed knowledge about the state and development of Chinese martial arts becomes available from the Nanjing decade (1928–1937), as the Central Guoshu Institute established by the Kuomintang regime made an effort to compile an encyclopedic survey of martial arts schools. Since the 1950s, the People's Republic of China has organized Chinese martial arts as an exhibition and full-contact sport under the heading of Wushu (sport)|Wushu.
Legendary originsAccording to legend, Chinese martial arts originated during the semi-mythical Xia Dynasty (?) more than 4,000 years ago.* It is said the Yellow Emperor Huangdi (legendary date of ascension 28th century BC|2698 BCE) introduced the earliest fighting systems to China.* The Yellow Emperor is described as a famous general who, before becoming China's leader, wrote lengthy treatises on medicine, astrology and the martial arts. One of his main opponents was Chi You (?) who was credited as the creator of shuai jiao#History|jiao di, a forerunner to the modern art of shuai jiao|Chinese Wrestling.*
Early historyThe earliest references to Chinese martial arts are found in the Spring and Autumn Annals (5th century BCE),* where a hand to hand combat theory, including the integration of notions of Hard and soft (martial arts)|"hard" and "soft" techniques, is mentioned.* A combat wrestling system called juélì or jiaolì (?) is mentioned in the Classic of Rites.* This combat system included techniques such as Strike (attack)|strikes, throw (grappling)|throws, Chin Na|joint manipulation, and pressure point attacks. Jiao Di became a sport during the Qin Dynasty (221–207 BCE). The Book of Han|Han History Bibliographies record that, by the Former Han (206 BCE – 8 CE), there was a distinction between no-holds-barred weaponless fighting, which it calls shoubó (?), for which training manuals had already been written, and sportive wrestling, then known as juélì (?). Wrestling is also documented in the Shi Jì, Records of the Grand Historian, written by Sima Qian (ca. 100 BCE).*In the Tang Dynasty, descriptions of sword dances were immortalized in poems by Li Bai. In the Song dynasty|Song and Yuan dynasty|Yuan dynasties, xiangpu contests were sponsored by the imperial courts. The modern concepts of wushu were fully developed by the Ming dynasty|Ming and qing dynasty|Qing dynasties.*
Philosophical influencesThe ideas associated with Chinese martial arts changed with the evolution of Chinese society and over time acquired some philosophical bases: Passages in the Zhuangzi (?), a Taoist text, pertain to the psychology and practice of martial arts. Zhuangzi, its eponymous author, is believed to have lived in the 4th century BCE. The Tao Te Ching, often credited to Lao Zi, is another Daoist text that contains principles applicable to martial arts. According to one of the classic texts of Confucianism, Zhou li|Zhou Li (?/?), Archery and charioteering were part of the "six arts" (, including rites, music, calligraphy and mathematics) of the Zhou Dynasty (1122–256 BCE). The Art of War (?), written during the 6th century BCE by Sun Tzu (?), deals directly with military warfare but contains ideas that are used in the Chinese martial arts.
Taoism|Daoist practitioners have been practicing Tao Yin (physical exercises similar to Qigong that was one of the progenitors to T'ai chi ch'uan) from as early as 500 BCE.* In 39–92 CE, "Six Chapters of Hand Fighting", were included in the Han Shu (history of the Former Han Dynasty) written by Ban Gu|Pan Ku. Also, the noted physician, Hua Tuo, composed the "Five Animals Play"—tiger, deer, monkey, bear, and bird, around 220 CE.* Daoist philosophy and their approach to health and exercise have influenced the Chinese martial arts to a certain extent. Direct reference to Daoist concepts can be found in such styles as the "Eight Immortals," which uses fighting techniques attributed to the characteristics of each immortal.*
Shaolin and temple-based martial artsThe Shaolin Kung Fu|Shaolin style of wushu is regarded as amongst the first institutionalized Chinese martial arts.* The oldest evidence of Shaolin participation in combat is a stele from 728 CE that attests to two occasions: a defense of the Shaolin Monastery from bandits around 610 CE, and their subsequent role in the defeat of Wang Shichong at the Battle of Hulao in 621 CE. From the 8th to the 15th centuries, there are no extant documents that provide evidence of Shaolin participation in combat.
Between the 16th and 17th centuries, no fewer than forty sources exist to provide evidence both that monks of Shaolin practiced martial arts, and that martial practice became an integral element of Shaolin monastic life. For monks to justify it by creating new Buddhist lore, the earliest appearance of the frequently cited legend concerns Bodhidharma at Shaolin|Bodhidharma's supposed foundation of Shaolin Kung Fu dates to this period.* The origin of this legend has been traced to the Ming Dynasty|Ming period's Yijin Jing or "Muscle Change Classic", a text written in 1624 pseudepigraphy|attributed to Bodhidharma.
References of martial arts practice in Shaolin appear in various literary genres of the late Ming: the epitaphs of Shaolin warrior monks, martial-arts manuals, military encyclopedias, historical writings, travelogues, fiction and poetry. However these sources do not point out to any specific style originated in Shaolin.* These sources, in contrast to those from the Tang period, refer to Shaolin methods of armed combat. This include a skill Shaolin monks became famous for—the Gun (staff)|staff (gùn, Cantonese gwan). The Ming General Qi Jiguang included description of Shaolin Quan Fa (; Japanese language|Japanese: Shorin Kempo) and staff techniques in his book, Ji Xiao Xin Shu (?), which can translate as New Book Recording Effective Techniques. When this book spread to East Asia, it had a great influence on the development of martial arts in regions such as Okinawa * and Korea.*
Republican periodMost fighting styles that are being practiced as traditional Chinese martial arts today reached their popularity within the 20th century. Some of these include Baguazhang, Zui Quan|Drunken Boxing, Eagle Claw Kung Fu|Eagle Claw, Five Animals (martial arts)|Five Animals, Xingyi, Hung Gar, Monkey Kung Fu|Monkey, Bak Mei|Bak Mei Pai, Praying mantis kung fu (disambiguation)|Praying Mantis, Fujian White Crane, Jow Ga, Wing Chun and Taijiquan. The increase in the popularity of those styles is a result of the dramatic changes occurring within the Chinese society.
In 1900–01, the Righteous Harmony Society|Righteous and Harmonious Fists rose against foreign occupiers and Christian missionaries in China. This uprising is known in the West as the Boxer Rebellion due to the martial arts and calisthenics practiced by the rebels. Though it originally opposed the Manchu Qing Dynasty, the Empress Dowager Cixi gained control of the rebellion and tried to use it against the foreign powers. The failure of the rebellion led ten years later to the fall of the Qing Dynasty and the creation of the Chinese Republic.
The present view of Chinese martial arts are strongly influenced by the events of the History of the Republic of China|Republican Period (1912–1949). In the transition period between the fall of the Qing Dynasty as well as the turmoils of the Japanese invasion and the Chinese Civil War, Chinese martial arts became more accessible to the general public as many martial artists were encouraged to openly teach their art. At that time, some considered martial arts as a means to promote national pride and build a strong nation. As a result, many training manuals (?) were published, a training academy was created, two national examinations were organized as well as demonstration teams travelled overseas,* and numerous martial arts associations were formed throughout China and in various overseas Chinese communities. The Central Guoshu Academy (Zhongyang Guoshuguan, ?/?) established by the National Government in 1928* and the Jing Wu Athletic Association (?/?) founded by Huo Yuanjia in 1910 are examples of organizations that promoted a systematic approach for training in Chinese martial arts.* A series of provincial and national competitions were organized by the Republican government starting in 1932 to promote Chinese martial arts. In 1936, at the 11th Olympic Games in Berlin, a group of Chinese martial artists demonstrated their art to an international audience for the first time.
The term Kuoshu (or Guoshu, meaning "national art"), rather than the colloquial term Kung fu (term)|gongfu was introduced by the Kuomintang in an effort to more closely associate Chinese martial arts with Chinese nationalism|national pride rather than individual accomplishment.
People's RepublicChinese martial arts experienced rapid international dissemination with the end of the Chinese Civil War and the founding of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949. Many well known martial artists chose to escape from the PRC's rule and migrate to Taiwan, Hong Kong,* and other parts of the world. Those sifu|masters started to teach within the overseas Chinese communities but eventually they expanded their teachings to include people from other ethnic groups.
Within China, the practice of traditional martial arts was discouraged during the turbulent years of the Chinese Cultural Revolution (1969–1976).* Like many other aspects of traditional Chinese life, martial arts were subjected to a radical transformation by the People's Republic of China to align them with Maoist revolutionary doctrine.* The People's Republic of China|PRC promoted the committee-regulated sport of Wushu (sport)|Wushu as a replacement to independent schools of martial arts. This new competition sport was disassociated from what was seen as the potentially subversive self-defense aspects and family lineages of Chinese martial arts.*
In 1958, the government established the All-China Wushu Association as an umbrella organization to regulate martial arts training. The Chinese State Commission for Physical Culture and Sports took the lead in creating standardized forms for most of the major arts. During this period, a national Wushu system that included standard forms, teaching curriculum, and instructor grading was established. Wushu was introduced at both the high school and university level. The suppression of traditional teaching was relaxed during the History of the People's Republic of China (1976–1989)|Era of Reconstruction (1976–1989), as Communist ideology became more accommodating to alternative viewpoints.* In 1979, the State Commission for Physical Culture and Sports created a special task force to reevaluate the teaching and practice of Wushu. In 1986, the Chinese National Research Institute of Wushu was established as the central authority for the research and administration of Wushu activities in the People's Republic of China.*Changing government policies and attitudes towards sports in general lead to the closing of the State Sports Commission (the central sports authority) in 1998. This closure is viewed as an attempt to partially de-politicize organized sports and move Chinese sport policies towards a more market-driven approach.* As a result of these changing sociological factors within China, both traditional styles and modern Wushu approaches are being promoted by the Chinese government.*Chinese martial arts are an integral element of 20th-century Chinese popular culture.* Wuxia or "martial arts fiction" is a popular genre that emerged in the early 20th century and peaked in popularity during the 1960s to 1980s. Wuxia films were produced from the 1920s. The Kuonmintang suppressed wuxia, accusing it of promoting superstition and violent anarchy. Because of this, wuxia came to flourish in British Hong Kong, and the genre of kung fu movie in Hong Kong action cinema became wildly popular, coming to international attention from the 1970s. The genre declined somewhat during the 1980s, and in the late 1980s the Hong Kong film industry underwent a drastic decline, even before Hong Kong was handed to the People's Republic in 1997. In the wake of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), there has been somewhat of a revival of Chinese-produced wuxia films aimed at an international audience, including Hero (2002 film)|Hero (2002), House of Flying Daggers (2004) and Reign of Assassins (2010).
StylesChina has a long history of martial traditions that includes hundreds of different styles. Over the past two thousand years many distinctive styles have been developed, each with its own set of techniques and ideas.* There are also common themes to the different styles, which are often classified by "families" (?, jia), "sects" (?, pai) or "schools" (?, men). There are styles that mimic movements from animals and others that gather inspiration from various Chinese philosophies, myths and legends. Some styles put most of their focus into the harnessing of qi, while others concentrate on competition.
Chinese martial arts can be split into various categories to differentiate them: For example, external (?) and Internal martial arts|internal (?).* Chinese martial arts can also be categorized by location, as in northern (?) and southern (?) as well, referring to what part of China the styles originated from, separated by the Yangtze River (Chang Jiang); Chinese martial arts may even be classified according to their province or city.* The main perceived difference between northern and southern styles is that the northern styles tend to emphasize fast and powerful kicks, high jumps and generally fluid and rapid movement, while the southern styles focus more on strong arm and hand techniques, and stable, immovable stances and fast footwork. Examples of the northern styles include changquan and xingyiquan. Examples of the southern styles include Bak Mei, Wuzuquan, Cai li fo|Choy Li Fut and Wing Chun. Chinese martial arts can also be divided according to religion, imitative-styles (?), and family styles such as Hung Gar (?). There are distinctive differences in the training between different groups of the Chinese martial arts regardless of the type of classification. However, few experienced martial artists make a clear distinction between internal and external styles, or subscribe to the idea of northern systems being predominantly kick-based and southern systems relying more heavily on upper-body techniques. Most styles contain both hard and soft elements, regardless of their internal nomenclature. Analyzing the difference in accordance with yin and yang principles, philosophers would assert that the absence of either one would render the practitioner's skills unbalanced or deficient, as yin and yang alone are each only half of a whole. If such differences did once exist, they have since been blurred.
TrainingChinese martial arts training consists of the following components: basics, forms, applications and weapons; different styles place varying emphasis on each component.* In addition, philosophy, ethics and even medical practice* are highly regarded by most Chinese martial arts. A complete training system should also provide insight into Chinese attitudes and culture.*
BasicsThe Basics (?) are a vital part of any martial training, as a student cannot progress to the more advanced stages without them; Basics are usually made up of rudimentary techniques, Physical exercise|conditioning exercises, including Stance (martial arts)|stances. Basic training may involve simple movements that are performed repeatedly; other examples of basic training are stretching, meditation, Strike (attack)|striking, throw (grappling)|throwing, or jumping. Without strong and flexible muscles, management of Qi or breath, and proper body mechanics, it is impossible for a student to progress in the Chinese martial arts.* A common saying concerning basic training in Chinese martial arts is as follows:* , which translates as:
StancesStances (steps or ?) are structural postures employed in Chinese martialarts training.* They represent the foundation and the form of a fighter's base. Each style has different names and variations for each stance. Stances may be differentiated by foot position, weight distribution, body alignment, etc. Stance training can be practiced statically, the goal of which is to maintain the structure of the stance through a set time period, or dynamically, in which case a series of movements is performed repeatedly. The Horse stance (?/? qí ma bù/ma bù) and the Wushu stances#The Bow Stance|bow stance are examples of stances found in many styles of Chinese martial arts.
MeditationIn many Chinese martial arts, meditation is considered to be an important component of basic training. Meditation can be used to develop focus, mental clarity and can act as a basis for qigong training.*
Use of qiThe concept of qi or ch'i (?/?) is encountered in a number of Chinese martial arts. Qi is variously defined as an inner energy or "life force" that is said to animate living beings; as a term for proper skeletal alignment and efficient use of musculature (sometimes also known as fa jin or jin); or as a shorthand for concepts that the martial arts student might not yet be ready to understand in full. These meanings are not necessarily mutually exclusive. The existence of qi as a measurable form of energy as discussed in traditional Chinese medicine has no basis in the scientific understanding of physics, medicine, biology or human physiology.*There are many ideas regarding the control of one's qi energy to such an extent that it can be used for healing oneself or others.* Some styles believe in focusing qi into a single point when attacking and aim at specific areas of the human body. Such techniques are known as Touch of death|dim mak and have principles that are similar to acupressure.*
Weapons trainingMost Chinese styles also make use of training in the broad arsenal of List of martial arts weapons|Chinese weapons for conditioning the body as well as coordination and strategy drills.* Weapons training (qìxiè ?) are generally carried out after the student is proficient in the basics, forms and applications training. The basic theory for weapons training is to consider the weapon as an extension of the body. It has the same requirements for footwork and body coordination as the basics.* The process of weapon training proceeds with forms, forms with partners and then applications. Most systems have training methods for each of the Eighteen Arms of Wushu(shíbabanbingqì ?) in addition to specialized instruments specific to the system.
ApplicationApplication refers to the Aliveness (martial arts)|practical use of combative techniques. Chinese martial arts techniques are ideally based on efficiency and effectiveness.* Application includes non-compliant drills, such as Pushing Hands in many internal martial arts, and sparring, which occurs within a variety of contact levels and rule sets.
When and how applications are taught varies from style to style. Today, many styles begin to teach new students by focusing on exercises in which each student knows a prescribed range of combat and technique to drill on. These drills are often semi-compliant, meaning one student does not offer active resistance to a technique, in order to allow its demonstrative, clean execution. In more resisting drills, fewer rules apply, and students practice how to react and respond. 'Sparring' refers to the most important aspect of application training, which simulates a combat situation while including rules that reduce the chance of serious injury.
Competitive sparring disciplines include Chinese kickboxing Sanshou|Sanshou(?) and Chinese folk wrestling Shuai jiao|Shuaijiao(?), which were traditionally contested on a raised platform arena Lei tai|Lèitái(?).* Lèitái represents public challenge matches that first appeared in the Song Dynasty. The objective for those contests was to knock the opponent from a raised platform by any means necessary. San Shou represents the modern development of Lei Tai contests, but with rules in place to reduce the chance of serious injury. Many Chinese martial art schools teach or work within the rule sets of Sanshou, working to incorporate the movements, characteristics, and theory of their style.* Chinese martial artists also compete in non-Chinese or mixed Combat sport, including boxing, kickboxing and Mixed martial arts.
FormsForms or taolu () in Chinese are series of predetermined movements combined so they can be practiced as one linear set of movements. Forms were originally intended to preserve the lineage of a particular style branch, and were often taught to advanced students selected for that purpose. Forms contained both literal, representative and exercise-oriented forms of applicable techniques that students could extract, test, and train on through sparring sessions.*Today, many consider forms to be one of the most important practices in Chinese martial arts. Traditionally, they played a smaller role in training combat application, and were eclipsed by sparring, drilling and conditioning. Forms gradually build up a practitioner's flexibility, internal and external strength, speed and stamina, and teach balance and coordination. Many styles contain forms that use weapons of various lengths and types, using one or two hands. Some styles focus on a certain type of weapon. Forms are meant to be both practical, usable, and applicable as well as promoting flow, meditation, flexibility, balance, and coordination. Teachers are often heard to say "train your form as if you were sparring and spar as if it were a form."
There are two general types of forms in Chinese martial arts. Most common are solo forms performed by a single student. There are also sparring forms—choreographed fighting sets performed by two or more people. Sparring forms were designed both to acquaint beginning fighters with basic measures and concepts of combat, and to serve as performance pieces for the school. Weapons-based sparring forms are especially useful for teaching students the extension, range, and technique required to manage a weapon.
Forms in Traditional Chinese Martial ArtsThe term taolu (?) is a shorten version of Tao Lu Yun Dong (?), an expression introduced only recently with the popularity modern wushu. This expression refers to “exercise sets” and is used in the context of athletics or sport.
In contrast, in traditional Chinese martial arts alternative terminologies for the training (?) of 'sets or forms are:
Traditional "sparring" sets, called dui da, ? or, dui lian, ?, were an important part of Chinese martial arts for centuries. Dui lian (?), literally means, to train by a pair of combatants opposing each other (the character l?, means to practice; to train; to perfect one's skill; to drill). As well, often one of these terms are also included in the name of fighting sets: ?, shuang yan, 'paired practice'; ?, zheng sheng, 'to struggle with strength for victory'; ?, di, ' match – the character suggests to strike an enemy; and ?, po, 'to break'.
Generally there are 21, 18, 12, 9 or 5 drills or 'exchanges/groupings' of attacks and counterattacks, in each dui lian, ? ? set. These drills were considered only generic patterns and never meant to be considered inflexible 'tricks'. Students practiced smaller parts/exchanges, individually with opponents switching sides in a continuous flow. Basically, dui lian were not only a sophisticated and effective methods of passing on the fighting knowledge of the older generation, they were important and effective training methods. The relationship between single sets and contact sets is complicated, in that some skills cannot be developed with single sets, and, conversely, with dui lian. Unfortunately, it appears that most traditional combat oriented dui lian and their training methodology have disappeared, especially those concerning weapons. There are a number of reasons for this. In modern Chinese martial arts most of the dui lian are recent inventions designed for light props resembling weapons, with safety and drama in mind. The role of this kind of training has degenerated to the point of being useless in a practical sense, and, at best, is just performance.
By the early Song period, sets were not so much "individual isolated technique strung together" but rather were composed of techniques and counter technique groupings. It is quite clear that "sets" and "fighting (2 person) sets" have been instrumental in TCM for many hundreds of years —even before the Song Dynasty. There are images of two person weapon training in Chinese stone painting going back at least to the Eastern Han Dynasty.
According to what has been passed on by the older generations, the approximate ratio of contact sets to single sets was approximately 1:3. In other words, about 30% of the sets practiced at Shaolin were contact sets, dui lian, ? ?, and two person drill training. This is, in part, evidenced by the Qing Dynasty mural at Shaolin.
Ancient literature from the Tang and Northern Song Dynasties suggests that some sets, including those that required two or more participants, became very elaborate and mainly concerned with aesthetics. During this time, some martial arts systems devolved to the point that they became popular forms of martial art storytelling entertainment shows. This created an entire new category of martial arts known as Hua Fa Wuyi, ?, or "fancy patterns for developing military skill". During the Northern Song period it was noted by historians that this phenomenon had a negative influence on training in the military.
For most of its history, Shaolin martial arts was largely weapon-focused: staves were used to defend the monastery, not bare hands. Even the more recent military exploits of Shaolin during the Ming and Qing Dynasties involved weapons. According to some traditions, monks first studied basics for one year and were then taught staff fighting so that they could protect the monastery. Although wrestling has been as sport in China for centuries, weapons have been the most important part of Chinese wushu since ancient times. If one wants to talk about recent or 'modern' developments in Chinese martial arts (including Shaolin for that matter), it is the over-emphasis on bare hand fighting. During the Northern Song Dynasty (976- 997 A.D) when platform fighting known as Da Laitai (Title Fights Challenge on Platform) first appeared, these fights were with only swords and staves. Although later, when bare hand fights appeared as well, it was the weapons events that became the most famous. These open-ring competitions had regulations and were organized by government organizations; some were also organized by the public. The government competitions resulted in appointments to military posts for winners and were held in the capital as well as in the prefectures.
ControversyEven though forms in Chinese martial arts are intended to depict realistic martial techniques, the movements are not always identical to how techniques would be applied in combat. Many forms have been elaborated upon, on the one hand to provide better combat preparedness, and on the other hand to look more aesthetically pleasing. One manifestation of this tendency toward elaboration beyond combat application is the use of lower stances and higher, stretching kicks. These two maneuvers are unrealistic in combat and are used in forms for exercise purposes.* Many modern schools have replaced practical defense or offense movements with acrobatic feats that are more spectacular to watch, thereby gaining favor during exhibitions and competitions. This has led to criticisms by traditionalists of the endorsement of the more acrobatic, show-oriented Wushu competition.* Even though appearance has always been important in many traditional forms as well, all patterns exist for their combat functionality. Historically forms were often performed for entertainment purposes long before the advent of modern Wushu as practitioners have looked for supplementary income by performing on the streets or in theaters. As documented in ancient literature during the Tang Dynasty (618–907) and the Northern Song Dynasty (960–1279) suggest some sets, (including two + person sets: dui da, ? also called dui lian, ? ?) became very elaborate and 'flowery', many mainly concerned with aesthetics. During this time, some martial arts systems devolved to the point that they became popular forms of martial art storytelling entertainment shows. This created an entire category of martial arts known as Hua Fa Wuyi, ? – fancy patterns for developing military skill. During the Northern Song period, it was noted by historians this type of training had a negative influence on training in the military.
Many traditional Chinese martial artists, as well as practitioners of modern sport combat, have become critical of the perception that forms work is more relevant to the art than sparring and drill application, while most continue to see traditional forms practice within the traditional context—as vital to both proper combat execution, the Shaolin aesthetic as art form, as well as upholding the meditative function of the physical art form.*Another reason why techniques often appear different in forms when contrasted with sparring application is thought by some to come from the concealment of the actual functions of the techniques from outsiders.*
Wushu“‘Wu' ?” is translated as ‘martial' in English, however in terms of etymology, this word has a slightly different meaning. In Chinese, “wu ?” is made up of two parts, the first meaning “stop”(zhi ?) and the second meaning “invaders lance” (je ?). This implies that “wu' ?,” is a defensive use of combat. The term “wushu ?” meaning 'martial arts' goes back as far as the ? Liang Dynasty (502-557) in an anthology compiled by Xiao Tong ?, (Prince Zhaoming ? d. 531), written during the ? Liang Dynasty (502-557) called Wenxuan ? "Selected Literature". The term is found in the second verse of a poem by Yan Yanzhi titled: ? "Huang Taizi Shidian Hui Zuoshi". "The great man grows the many myriad things . . . Breaking away from the military arts, He promotes fully the cultural mandates." (Translation from: Echoes of the Past: Yan Yanzhi's (384–456) Lyric Shi By Tina Marie Harding) The term “wushu ?” is also found in a poem by Cheng Shao (1626-1644) from the Ming Dynasty.
The earliest term for 'martial arts' can be found in the Han History (206BC-23AD) was "bing jiqiao" ?,military fighting techniques. During the Song period (c960) the name changed to "wuyi" ?,literally "martial arts". In 1928 the name was changed to "guoshu" ? or "national arts" when the National Martial Arts Academy was established in Nanjing. The term reverted to "wushu" ? under the People's Republic of China during the early 1950s.
As forms have grown in complexity and quantity over the years, and many forms alone could be practiced for a lifetime, modern styles of Chinese martial arts have developed that concentrate solely on forms, and do not practice application at all. These styles are primarily aimed at exhibition and competition, and often include more acrobatic jumps and movements added for enhanced visual effect* compared to the traditional styles. Those who generally prefer to practice traditional styles, focused less on exhibition, are often referred to as traditionalists. Some traditionalists consider the competition forms of today's Chinese martial arts as too commercialized and losing much of its original values.*
"Martial Morality"Traditional Chinese schools of martial arts, such as the famed Shaolin Monastery|Shaolin monks, often dealt with the study of martial arts not just as a means of self-defense or mental training, but as a system of ethics.* Wude (wiktionary:?|? wiktionary:?|?) can be translated as "martial morality" and is constructed from the words "wu" (wiktionary:?|?), which means martial, and "de" (wiktionary:?|?), which means morality. Wude (?) deals with two aspects; "morality of deed" and "morality of mind". Morality of deed concerns social relations; morality of mind is meant to cultivate the inner harmony between the emotional mind (Xin, wiktionary:?|?) and the wisdom mind (Hui, wiktionary:?|?). The ultimate goal is reaching "no extremity" (Wuji, wiktionary:?|? wiktionary:?|?) (closely related to the Taoist concept of wu wei), where both wisdom and emotions are in harmony with each other.
Notable practitioners:See also: :Category:Chinese martial artists|Category: Chinese martial artists and :Category:Wushu practitioners|Category: Wushu practitioners
Examples of well-known practitioners (?) throughout history:
Popular cultureReferences to the concepts and use of Chinese martial arts can be found in popular culture. Historically, the influence of Chinese martial arts can be found in books and in the performance arts specific to Asia.* Recently, those influences have extended to the movies and television that targets a much wider audience. As a result, Chinese martial arts have spread beyond its ethnic roots and have a global appeal.*Martial arts play a prominent role in the literature genre known as wuxia (?). This type of fiction is based on Chinese concepts of chivalry, a separate martial arts society (Wulin, ?) and a central theme involving martial arts.* Wuxia stories can be traced as far back as 2nd and 3rd century BCE, becoming popular by the Tang Dynasty and evolving into novel form by the Ming Dynasty. This genre is still extremely popular in much of Asia* and provides a major influence for the public perception of the martial arts.
Martial arts influences can also be found in dance, theater * and especially Chinese opera, of which Beijing opera is one of the best-known examples. This popular form of drama dates back to the Tang Dynasty and continues to be an example of Chinese culture. Some martial arts movements can be found in Chinese opera and some martial artists can be found as performers in Chinese operas.*In modern times, Chinese martial arts have spawned the genre of cinema known as the martial arts film. The films of Bruce Lee were instrumental in the initial burst of Chinese martial arts' popularity in the West in the 1970s.*Martial artists and actors such as Jet Li and Jackie Chan have continued the appeal of movies of this genre. Martial arts films from China are often referred to as "kungfu movies" (?), or "wire-fu" if extensive wire work is performed for special effects, and are still best known as part of the tradition of kungfu theater. (see also: wuxia, Hong Kong action cinema).
In the west, Kung fu has become a regular action staple, and makes appearances in many films that would not generally be considered "Martial Arts" films. These films include but are not limited to The Matrix Trilogy, Kill Bill, and The Transporter.
Martial arts themes can also be found on television networks. A United States|U.S. network TV western television series|series of the early 1970s called Kung Fu (TV series)|Kung Fu also served to popularize the Chinese martial arts on television. With 60 episodes over a three-year span, it was one of the first North American TV shows that tried to convey the philosophy and practice in Chinese martial arts.* The use of Chinese martial arts techniques can now be found in most TV action series, although the philosophy of Chinese martial arts is seldom portrayed in depth.