Is Kung Fu really a martial art?

DoubleZ711

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Someone today said they had a black belt in kung fu, which I previously thought was just a white term for a martial art, since you know, white people tend to generalize quite a bit. I'm really used to ignorant people calling any sort of martial art kung fu, and I have even seen some dojos advertise that they teach kung fu, but I had just brushed them off as idiots. Anyways, is kung fu really a martial art?
 

stone_dragone

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Answer to your question: Yes. Kung fu exists. Please see the Chinese Martial Art forum for more details.

Advice: Research is great and vital to being an informed consumer. Now is the time to take your information out and physically go to schools and check them out with the information that you have found.

Good luck.

PS: Many kung fu styles/systems use a sash instead of a belt or nothing at all... translation - black belt in Kung fu is possible, but worth more questions (could be speaking about the equivalent to a black belt, too.)
 

Xue Sheng

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WHAT!!!! :xtrmshock Man are you brave titling a post like that with CMA guys around: D

Is Kung Fu a martial art? Well no it is more a category of martial arts but it is in reality a mistranslation

Speaking from the Northern Chinese (Mandarin) POV Kung fu is a miss translation that is used categorize Chinese martial arts. It is actually known as Wushu in the North of China. Kung Fu basically means hard work so you need Kung fu to practice Wushu.


This is a list (partial list) of what is categorized by most English speakers as Kung Fu but to a Mandarin speaker this is known as Wushu.

However of late it appears that the term Kung Fu to some includes just about every single martial art there is
 

seasoned

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Someone today said they had a black belt in kung fu, which I previously thought was just a white term for a martial art, since you know, white people tend to generalize quite a bit. I'm really used to ignorant people calling any sort of martial art kung fu, and I have even seen some dojos advertise that they teach kung fu, but I had just brushed them off as idiots. Anyways, is kung fu really a martial art?
Are you serious.
 

exile

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Think of 'kung fu' the way you think (or should think) of the term 'karate'. The latter is a very generic term that covers a large variety of fighting systems which teach a certain kind of hard, linear tactical skill set, as a way of implementing a strategy in which closing the distance and using direct, powerful strikes (possibly set up by controlling moves, which themselves are however are only facilitators of the terminating strikes) to take the attacker out of play is the central theme. The term 'karate' actually comprises a wide variety of Okinawan, Japanese and Korean fighting systems, which differ from each other in non-trivial ways, though they all share the profile I just sketched. Now multiply that situation by several orders of magnitude and you have the situation that 'kung fu' serves as an umbrella term for. There are hundreds—maybe thousands—of local styles that come under that heading. The CMAs are endless. Pick up Draeger's Comprehensive Asian Fighting Arts for a truly, mind-numbingly comprehensive introduction to the variety of combat systems that the term 'kung fu' covers.

It's been pointed out above, quite correctly, that what 'kung fu' actually means, literally, is something like 'hard work' or 'focused effort'. Insofar as this term is applied to Chinese fighting systems, it covers a gigantic spectrum of styles and possibilities. Kind of like Chinese cuisine, actually... :)
 
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Carol

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Think of 'kung fu' the way you think (or should think) of the term 'karate'.

That would depend on where the poster is from.

There are other English-speaking countries/regions where "kung fu" is used just as generically as "karate" is here.
 

Big Don

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Someone today said they had a black belt in kung fu, which I previously thought was just a white term for a martial art, since you know, white people tend to generalize quite a bit. I'm really used to ignorant people calling any sort of martial art kung fu, and I have even seen some dojos advertise that they teach kung fu, but I had just brushed them off as idiots. Anyways, is kung fu really a martial art?
"White Term"
"White people tend to generalize"?
Racist much?
 

jarrod

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no, kung fu is NOT a martial art.

kung fu was a gourmet chinese dish popular during the ching chow dynasty. kung fu does mean "hard work" because it was especially difficult for the colon to process. it is still served at p.f. chang's.

hope this helps,

jf
 

Jade Tigress

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As a CMA practitioner, I always use the term sash instead of belt, and I always use the name of my style, not just kung fu.

Aside from the obvious faux pas of "is Kung Fu a martial art", my first question to someone who actually said this would be, "In what style?"
 

Daniel Sullivan

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Someone today said they had a black belt in kung fu, which I previously thought was just a white term for a martial art, since you know, white people tend to generalize quite a bit. I'm really used to ignorant people calling any sort of martial art kung fu, and I have even seen some dojos advertise that they teach kung fu, but I had just brushed them off as idiots. Anyways, is kung fu really a martial art?
Get a clue.

If I posted this crap, replacing 'white term' and 'white people' with any other ethnic group, I'd look like a bigot.

Guess what you look like?


Daniel
 

just2kicku

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I thought I read somewhere that the term kung fu meant time in perfection. How does this differ from the term gung fu? Is it the region or is one more advanced than the other?

My exposure to the CMA's is very limited, also I read that the sashes go from black to white, white being enlightened, and that the colors of the sashes get lighter as you advance up the system.

Maybe Xue or Jade Tigress could answer this. I do like the names of some of the moves, Lion over the mountain, grasping birds tail..... that's awesome!!

Although I am HALF WHITE, I hope I don't sound too ignorant!
 
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Xue Sheng

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I thought I read somewhere that the term kung fu meant time in perfection. How does this differ from the term gung fu? Is it the region or is one more advanced than the other?

My exposure to the CMA's is very limited, also I read that the sashes go from black to white, white being enlightened, and that the colors of the sashes get lighter as you advance up the system.

Maybe Xue or Jade Tigress could answer this. I do like the names of some of the moves, Lion over the mountain, grasping birds tail..... that's awesome!!

Although I am HALF WHITE, I hope I don't too ignorant!

Kung fu, Gung fu to me is just a pronunciation thing, many of the people I know form north China say Gung Fu which is the same as our Kung Fu. However recently it was suggested that in South China Gung Fu might be the same as Wushu in North China, I am looking into that. Wushu is the Mandarin for Chinese Martial Arts.

Kung Fu "basically" means hard work.

As to belts and sashes, I know little about them the Traditional Chinese Martial Arts that I have trained do not have them and as far as I know the majority of CMA styles do not use them on mainland or in Hong Kong and likely Taiwan as well. But my knowledge of things Hong Kong comes from my Sifu who trained there many many years ago and as far as Taiwan is concerned I am basing that on the 2 people I have actually known from Taiwan that did CMA (both were neijia)
 

JadeDragon3

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If you want to be technical kung fu is not a martial art. Kung fu translated means to have skill at something. The correct term would or should be Wu Shu which translates to war art. Someone that is a cook/chef could be said that they have good kung fu. To answer your question Wu Shu is a martial art. There are two types of wu shu though. There is modern wu shu and then there is traditional wu shu. But I'll save that for another thread.
 

Tames D

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Kung Fu San Soo has a belt system. I'm white, and although I do generalize quite a bit I can dance and jump extemely well. And pretty dam good looking I might add.
 

JadeDragon3

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A BELT system? I've heard of kung fu having sashes but not belts. The only "kung fu" that I've heard having belts is Shaolin Do which is a bogus art. All the kung fu schools I know wear sashes.
 

Xue Sheng

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Kung Fu San Soo has a belt system. I'm white, and although I do generalize quite a bit I can dance and jump extemely well. And pretty dam good looking I might add.

OK, I am not sure how to respond to this... its funny and I wanted to just put in :lol: and or :lol2:

But now I am confused...and.... second guessing myself... it could...be... taken as insulting..... for me…… a white guy…. and damned attractive I might add :cool:….. to laugh :uhyeah:
 

Tames D

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A BELT system? I've heard of kung fu having sashes but not belts. The only "kung fu" that I've heard having belts is Shaolin Do which is a bogus art. All the kung fu schools I know wear sashes.

Note to self: I need to call Kidswarrior and inform him that we've trained in a bogus art all these years.
 
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