Chinese martial arts, also known as wushu (武术) or gongfu (功夫) (kung fu), were part of the traditional Chinese culture and had been developed mainly for self-defence, hunting and military training.
Chinese martial arts could generally be classified using one of the three methods below; (1) Southern and northern styles, (2) internal and external styles, and (3) Shaolin and Wudang styles.
The southern style utilized speed and strength particularly from the upper bodies. The northern style utilized more legwork such as kicking and jumping.
The internal style emphasized on balance and coordination of movements. While the external style emphasized on training of specific arm and leg muscles.
The Shaolin style derives from the Shaolin Temple in Henan Province and included the usage of weapons such as spears and swords. Wudang referred to a mountain in Hubei Province that was a popular Taoism place of worship. The Wudang style focused on bone and muscle strength as well as internal cultivation related to the principles of Taoism.
Strategy was an important consideration in Chinese martial arts as one needed to react quickly and flexibly according to different scenarios and opponents’ moves.
Chinese martial arts today were practiced for the benefits of physical health. Almost all Chinese martial arts schools throughout Chinese history had regarded morality as their top priority and martial arts skills should only be taught to carefully selected disciples who were upright and moral.
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