Chinese kung fu, also known as wushu or Chinese martial arts, is an important part of traditional Chinese culture. It is probably one of the earliest and longest lasting sports, which utilizes both brawn and brain. Different from self-defense and boxing, kung fu is more holistic, developing internal discipline with external technique.
Chinese Kung Fu History
The theory of kung fu is based upon classical Chinese philosophy. Over its long history it has developed as a unique combination of exercise, practical self-defense, self-discipline, and art.
It is estimated that Chinese Kung Fu can be dated back to primeval society. At that time people used cudgels to fight against wild beasts. Gradually they accumulated experience in self defense. When the Shang Dynasty (1600–1046 BC) began, hunting was considered as an important measure of kung fu training... More on kung fu history.
The Theory of Kung Fu
Chinese kung fu is a large system of theory and practice. It combines techniques of self-defense and health-keeping.
In sports like track and field, ball sports, weightlifting, and boxing, an athlete typically has to retire from full participation in his 30s. Injuries sustained during years of active sport participation at a young age can affect our ability to continue exercising in later life.
In Chinese kung fu however, a distinction is made between "external" and "internal" kung fu. It is said that "In external kung fu, you exercise your tendons, bones, and skin; in internal kung fu, you train your spirit, your qi, and your mind." And so internal kung fu can continue later in life, when the external body weakens.
Top 3 Kung Fu Styles
Taijiquan (/tie-jee-chwen/), i.e. tai chi, is a Taoist internal martial art. One account of the history of taijiquan credits its development to the Taoist immortal Chang San-feng, who is said to have drawn the inspiration for the art by watching a fight between an snake and an aggressive eagle. More on taijiquan
Chinese Qi Gong
"Qi gong" (literally 'breath exercise') is an invaluable component of traditional Chinese medicine that has its origin in ancient times. Its primary stimulus was the search for longevity, with the ultimate aim of immortality, which has so enchanted the Chinese mind for centuries. More on qi gong.
Shaolin Kung Fu
Shaolin Kung Fu is well known in China and abroad. The original purpose of Shaolin shadowboxing was keeping health, treating illness, protecting famous mountains, safeguarding ancient temples, self-defense, and repelling enemies. It boasts diverse patterns, plain forms, and rich internal and external kung fu. More on Shaolin Kung Fu
Places to Learn Kung Fu
Because of kung fu TV series in the 1970s and movies about Shaolin Kung Fu, this Buddhist temple in Henan Province became known around the world. The temple has a long history. It was destroyed or closed and reopened and rebuilt over and over. Read more on Shaolin Temple
Tagou Shaolin Martial Arts School of Henan Dengfeng 河南登封塔沟少林武术学校
Tagou Shaolin Martial Arts School of Henan Dengfeng was founded in 1978 by Mr. Liu Baoshan, who was born in a martial arts family. It has over 400 classes. In order to develop and disseminate Shaolin martial arts better, the school's martial arts performing group was invited to over 60 countries for martial arts performances and teaching.
Courses include: martial arts routine, Sanda, boxing, taekwondo, and martial arts performances.
Location: East of Dengfeng Songshan Shaolin Temple, Zhengzhou City, Henan Province. 河南省郑州市登封嵩山少林寺东
Other Famous Chinese Kung Fu Schools
Zhonghua Martial Arts School of Shandong Laizhou 山东省莱州中华武校
Zhonghua Martial Arts School of Shandong Laizhou is located in the beautiful Jiaodong Peninsula, in East China's Shandong Province. The famous Mantis and Wu styles of taijiquan originated there.
The school is a large international civil and military school with world-class facilities and excellent coaches, and one of China's top ten martial arts school.
Courses include: international athletic competition routine, traditional martial arts, kickboxing, self-defense, and ancient weapons.
Location: Shahe North District, Laizhou, Yantai Prefecture, Shandong Province 山东省烟台市莱州市沙河北区
Songjiang Martial Arts School of Shandong Yuncheng 山东郓城宋江武术学校
Songjiang Martial Arts School of Shandong Yuncheng was founded in 1985. The school has over 3,600 students from China, America, Australia, and South Korea. From primary school to high school there are 50 arts classes and 60 martial classes.
Courses include: Sanda, boxing, taekwondo, karate, judo, martial arts routine, and film television.
Location: Yuncheng, Heze City, Shandong Province 山东省菏泽市郓城县
Beijing Shaolin Martial Arts School 北京少林武术学校
Beijing Shaolin Martial Arts School is a modern martial arts school with nationally accredited qualifications for elementary, middle, and high school education. Coaches are talented graduates from famous martial arts academies, with both theoretical knowledge and practical experience.
The school is also a domestic and international film shooting base.
Location: 386 Changping Road, Changping District, Beijing 北京德外西三旗回龙观昌平路386号
Zhao Changjun Martial Arts School of Xi'an 西安赵长军武术学校
Zhao Changjun Martial Arts School of Xi'an is a full-time (boarding) martial arts school, providing both martial arts training and normal education. The school has a number of martial arts and education experts.
Zhao Changjun Martial Arts School of American was set up in New Jersey. The school has established friendly relations with more than ten well-known foreign colleges, and attracted more than 20 friendly groups from countries like Britain, Canada, Germany, and France to visit in the past.
Location: Middle Yanhuan Road, Southern suburbs of Xian 西安市南郊雁环中路
Dongling Shaolin Martial Arts School of Shenyang 沈阳东陵武少林术学校
Dongling Shaolin Martial Arts School of Shenyang was founded in December 1, 1990. In the first 15 years 4,500 students graduated there. It has 600 students and 62 martial arts coaches.
Dongling Shaolin Martial Arts School of Shenyang is also the training base for sports colleges in Beijing, Shenyang, Wuhan, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai and other cities. It has fostered more than 400 undergraduates, including some professional athletes. It combines normal eduction with kung fu training, with typically half a day spent on each.
Kung Fu Shows
The Legend of Kung Fu
The show "The Legend of Kung Fu" tells the story of a young boy who dreamed of becoming a kung fu master, and how he overcame difficulties and temptations on the road to enlightenment.
The actors are excellent kung fu artists found from all over China. The actors do not speak, and the narration is shown above the stage with English subtitles.
This spectacular show is a combination of kung fu, acrobatics, and dancing, and is produced to international standards by China's leading performing arts production company. It is a show not to be missed for kung fu fans, or families with kids.
Showing: 7:30–8:50 p.m. daily
At: The Red Theater, 44 Xingfu Dajie, Chongwen District, Beijing
Shaolin Temple, Dengfeng City, Henan Province
The cradle of Shaolin Kung Fu, Shaolin Temple, is a majestic place to watch authentic kung fu. The kung fu performance hall of Shaolin Temple offers incredible performances by its kung fu practitioners. The performance team has demonstrated their skills for millions of people from China and abroad, including many state leaders.
There are half-hour daily shows at 9:30am, 10:30am, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, 3:30pm, and 4:30pm.
Experience Kung Fu in China
Our tours are customizable, so you can discover more of what you're interested in.
Enjoy a kung fu show in Beijing, practice tai chi with the locals on Shanghai's Bund, visit the Shaolin Temple and meet the monks who practice kung fu…If you want to learn more about kung fu, let us know and we will tailor-make your trip.