Chinese Kung-fu, with a long history, was mentioned by the famous works, such as "Shi Jing" (the Book of Songs), "Guanzi", "Xunzi" and so on more than two thousand years ago. Kung-fu resulted from the social situation at the ancient time. The ancient society was in disorder and low productivity with all kinds of contradictions, conflicts and wars. Then, because fist fighting was suitable for short distance fight and it was relatively easy to practice, various methods of fist fighting developed fast as well as other martial arts with weapons like broadsword, spear, sword, cudgel and so forth. From then on, there were more and more schools arising in the society. Some schools can be further divided into several branches. Spreading here and there, Chinese folk Kung-fu develops and has formed the particular system.
Chinese folk Kung-fu has an extensive knowledge and profound scholarship. According to the statistic, there are close to 300 fist fighting methods. And different methods have their own focuses, developments and directions. Take Tai Ji Quan for example, at the foundation period, the purpose and aim were to attack with skills in order to stick up for the clan members' existence and development by protecting home from invasion. At the very beginning of learning Tai Ji Quan, trainees should practice twining, gluing and following as their core lesson to manage the special chand methods ("Da Shou"). They should foster the sensitiveness of the skin touching feeling and the inside reacting feeling, which complies with the mechanics principles. Thus, the Kung-fu skills are scientific and systematic. In the next studying process, the comprehensive skills of Ti (kicking), Da (hitting), Na (seizing) and Die (tumbling) are aggressive and hazardous, which is valuable for advancing energy, patience, speed and sensitive skills. The requirement is on the line with Tai Ji Quan's principle: hardness and softness moving in harmony; diverse things incorporating together; movements coordinating according to the enemy' s; encountering opponents and defeating them; using different methods to dissolve different movements; learning and mastering the keys are time consuming.
When we are talking about the development of Chinese folk Kung-fu, we cannot make any judgment about Chinese folk Kung-fu, based on only some individual phenomena within one period or school only. Otherwise, the outcome cannot escape the limitation and narrowness. Instead, we should discuss the topic based on the history and districts comprehensively and objectively.
History refers to the several thousand years from primitive time to the modem time.
Kung-fu has experienced periods of foundation, development, climax, recession, redevelopment, another climax and another recession... District element means the different understanding and awareness of the Kung-fu held by people, resulted from the various social status, living environment and other factors at the same time. Take the feudal society for example, leaders would use their political power to assemble the skillful Kung-fu masters to strengthen their leadership in a wide scale. On the other hand, the people would make use of the Kung-fu knowledge to resist oppress and protect their lives, wealth and safety as well as their families'. On this depressing occasion, people had to manage some Kung-fu skills for survival. Otherwise, they would be in the destiny of being bullied, humiliated and even killed. Therefore, all genres of Chinese folk Kung-fu are passed on from generation to generation because of the tough social situation. However, the essence of Kung-fu is changing in accordance with the social advancement.
Society is changing, resulting in the changes of Kung-fu. The traditional Tai Ji Quan requires heavy exercises, mass energy expenditure and difficult skills, which is outdated to the modern society. So the Kung-fu deliverers have to develop the new aims and direction of the arts and create the slogan, "What is the purpose for practicing Kung-fu? A healthy and lasting life". This is also the transition from Kung-fu for fight to that for health. And for the recent one hundred years, Tai Ji Quan has changed a lot, maintaining the traditional part and developing the creative part, and different schools have been founded to satisfy different demands of different people. As a result, Tai Ji Quan can be accepted by people all over the world.
With the analysis on the development of Tai Ji Quan, we can get some information of developing feature and direction of Kung-fu.
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