SERIES CONSULTANT: Adam James 10th Level Instructor FOUNDER : Rainbow Warrior Martial Arts DIRECTOR: Natl. College of Exercise Professionals

Kung Fu

Mastering the Martial Arts Series

Judo: Winning Ways Jujutsu: Winning Ways Karate: Winning Ways Kickboxing: Winning Ways Kung Fu: Winning Ways Martial Arts for Athletic Conditioning: Winning Ways

Martial Arts for Children: Winning Ways Martial Arts for Women: Winning Ways Ninjutsu: Winning Ways Taekwondo: Winning Ways


Kung Fu


Series Consultant Adam James 10th Level Instructor Founder: Rainbow Warrior Martial Arts Director: Natl. College of Exercise Professionals

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Copyright © 2015 by Mason Crest, an imprint of National Highlights, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission from the publisher.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data on file at the Library of Congress and with the publisher Series ISBN: 978-1-4222-3235-4

Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4222-3240-8 E-Book ISBN: 978-1-4222-8669-2 First Edition: September 2005 Produced in association with Shoreline Publishing Group LLC Printed and bound in the United States

IMPORTANT NOTICE The techniques and information described in this publication are for use in dire circumstances only where the safety of the individual is at risk. Accordingly, the publisher copyright owner cannot accept any responsibility for any prosecution or proceedings brought or instituted against any person or body as a result of the use or misuse of the techniques and information within.

Picture Credits Paul Clifton, 17, 18, 25, 33, 38, 54, 72, 85. Dreamstime.com/Warren Goldswain: 29 Nathan Johnson: 6, 11, 15, 36, 43, 61, 62, 64, 65, 66. The Picture Desk/Kobal: 8, 44, 69, 80, 87, 88.

Private Collection: 26, 82, 84 Bob Willingham: 12, 75, 76 Front Cover: Stace Sanchez/Kickpics





What is Kung Fu?


Shaolin Kung Fu


Kung Fu Strikes and Kicks


Sports Kung Fu


Kung Fu Weapons


Kung Fu in Entertainment




Clothing and Equipment


Further Reading


Useful Web Sites/About the Author




Words to Understand: These words with their easy-to-understand definitions will increase the reader’s understanding of the text, while building vocabulary skills.

Sidebars: This boxed material within the main text allows readers to build knowledge, gain insights, explore possibilities, and broaden their perspectives by weaving together additional information to provide realistic and holistic perspectives.


Airborne kicking techniques, long a part of traditional Chinese theater, have found their way into kung fu and become an accepted and expected aspect of kung fu exhibitions.



T he journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and the journey of a martial artist begins with a single thought— the decision to learn and train. The martial arts involve mental and emotional development, not just physical training, and therefore you can start your journey by reading and studying books. At the very beginning, you must decide which martial art is right for you, and reading these books will give you a full perspective and open this world up to you. If you are already a martial artist, books can elevate your training to new levels by revealing techniques and aspects of history and pioneers that you might not have known about. The Mastering the Martial Arts series will provide you with insights into the world of the most well-known martial arts along with several unique training categories. It will introduce you to the key pioneers of the martial arts and the leaders of the next generation. martial arts have been around for thousands of years in all of the cultures of the world. However, until recently, the techniques, philosophies, and training methods were considered valuable secretes and seldom revealed. With the globalization of the world, we now openly share the information and we are achieving new levels of knowledge and wisdom. I highly recommend these books to begin your journey or to discover new aspects of your own training.

Be well. Adam James



buddha-hand An open-handed defensive posture and also the name of a kung fu style kata Formal exercises or sequences of techniques sticking-hands A type of reflex training used by kung fu students white crane A traditional Southern Chinese martial arts style or group of styles


What is Kung Fu?

Kung fu is a Cantonese Chinese word that can be roughly translated as “hard work.” It is also a vulgar expression for an older term, wu shu (pronounced woo shoo). Wu shu is comprised of two Chinese ideograms, or characters, wu and shu, meaning “to stop or quell a spear.” In this way, the term wu shu describes a Chinese form of martial arts. While kung fu has been seen in films by millions of eager fans worldwide, kung fu as an activity has only become available to non- Chinese people in the past 40 years or so. An exciting and fascinating martial art, kung fu uses weapons as well as blocking, punching, striking, kicking, seizing, grappling, and throwing techniques. Kung fu can be practiced in a group, with a friend—or even alone. It is suitable for all ages and levels of fitness and training, and can be customized to suit all individuals, including those with disabilities. Most kung fu schools have a progressive curriculum, starting with the most basic techniques and working up to techniques that demand great skill.Kung fucanbepracticedwithout equipment or auniform.Very little The legendary Lee Jun-Fan, better known as Bruce Lee, the kung fu movie star, punched and kicked his way onto the big screen during the 1960s, and may well be the most famous kung fu movie star ever.



space is needed, and techniques can be honed for as little as a fewminutes at a time, or for as long as an hour or more. Kung fu is effective as an exercise because it is balanced. Techniques are performed with both sides of the body, and the body is fully exercised because it is moved in all directions. Kung fu is a fascinating and progressive challenge— there is always something new to learn. Practicing kung fu increases strength, coordination, agility, and flexibility. You can also expect to develop confidence, improve posture, and cultivate skill. In addition, kung fu fosters patience, tolerance, and understanding. Well-trained kung fu practitioners try their hardest to avoid actual fighting. In fact, in one kung fu film, Bruce Lee, the famous action-movie star, referred to his style as “the art of fighting without fighting.” A BIT OF HISTORY The techniques that form the basis of kung fu supposedly originated in the Shaolin Temple, a Buddhist monastery in the Honan Province of THE TRAINED MIND “Monks, I know of no other single thing so conducive to misery as this uncultivated mind. Monks, I know of no other single thing so conducive to well-being as this cultivated and well- trained mind.” —Anguttara Nikaya 1–6 Right: Kung fu evolved from the Shaolin Temple, in Honan Province, China, where early practitioners modeled kung fu techniques on animal movements, like the white crane technique shown here.


W H A T I S K U N G F U ?




W H A T I S K U N G F U ?


China, although combative and self-defense techniques already existed in China before the founding of the temple. The Shaolin techniques stressed dignity and morality, and the Shaolin teachers were men and women of great integrity. The Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) was considered to be the golden era of kung fu. Healing and self-defense techniques were popular in China from an early period. The techniques developed by the Chinese kung fu masters spread all over Asia, even finding a home on the Ryukyu (pronounced Reeyookoo) island of Okinawa, one of a small chain of islands roughly midway between China and Japan, where kung fu eventually developed into the art of karate. Today, both kung fu and karate are known virtually all over the world. A peaceful mind is less inclined to fight and more inclined to enjoy life. Wan Lai Sheng, a famous kung fu master, was recorded as saying: “Do not ask me how I fight, I only do my (kung fu) exercises.”. The real value of kung fu can be classified under the following: • Kung fu as a form of exercise. • Kung fu as a form of self-defense. • Kung fu as a form of self-discipline and spiritual training.

Left: For nearly 40 years, Oriental kung fu masters have increasingly and openly shared their knowledge with students from many countries, and these countries now boast their own masters of international standing.



THE VALUE OF KUNG FU Kung fu is an art form. It is also a method of self-defense—not offense. There are many stories about the legendary power held by kung fu masters. It is useful to remember, however, that although hard training in kung fu brings skill and power, with that power comes responsibility—the responsibility not to be a show-off or a braggart and not to misuse your kung fu skills. EXERCISE Kung fu also has a long tradition of being used to entertain people. During the Ching Dynasty (1644–1911), medicine sellers would use kung fu to attract crowds. The martial arts book Barefoot Zen describes a staged fight between two medicine sellers: “During the long journey from Sichuan to the misty peaks of Honan Province, Chu found that the food, language, customs, people, and villages varied considerably. In one village, the name of which he could not pronounce, he saw two medicine sellers fighting in the street. They growled at each other, leapt high into the air, clashed, and landed. One of them came down with a mock expression of pain on his face, and the other immediately went on the offensive. The action was terrific: kicks, flips, dodges, punches, and counterpunches, all executed with precision


“If by renouncing a lesser happiness one attains to a happiness that is greater, then let the wise pursue that happiness which

is greater.” Dhammapada: 290


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