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Kung fu

Related Terms

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Background

  • Kung fu (gong fu) is the American version of Wu-Su, or Chinese martial arts, which is thousands of years old. Fu means a person. Thus kung fu refers to a person who has good skill or workmanship. The word kung fu is not limited to the martial arts as it is usually used in the West.
  • Kung fu teaches that every movement must be both aggressive and graceful. There are over one thousand styles of kung fu, each with a strict code of physical and mental discipline. Essential to movements in kung fu are chi (qi, inner energy or life force) controlled actions.
  • According to legend, the reign of the Yellow Emperor (approximately 2698 BC) introduced the earliest forms of martial arts in China. The Yellow Emperor is described as a famous military general, who, before becoming China's leader, wrote a lengthy treatise about martial arts.
  • Taoist monks are claimed to have been practicing physical exercises that resemble tai chi chuan, one type of kung fu, as early as 500 BC. In 39-92 AD, Six Chapters of Hand Fighting were included in the Han Shu (history of the former Han dynasty) written by Pan Ku. Also, the noted physician Hua T'uo composed the Five Animals Play, tiger, deer, monkey, bear, and bird, around 220 AD.
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Practice

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Theory/Evidence

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Safety

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.