Dimensions of Kung Fu Culture

Highlight: The martial arts of China originated for survival and warfare reasons, but in modern times, Kung Fu has spinoffs in a variety of fields, sometimes retaining the authenticity of the practice, and other times, breaking off into artistic and combined adaptations.

 

Kung Fu is a Chinese term referring to any study or practice that requires patience, focus, and time. Though it can refer to any general skill or discipline, it is also heavily linked to the martial arts world, especially by the Western media. The pin yin word, gōngfu (功夫), means “work” and “achievement”, often referencing more the process of achieving something rather than solely performing martial arts; this is why we are pleased to introduce the section where we delve into both the cultural and lifestyle affinities linked to Kung Fu.

 

Kung Fu as a Skill in Various Fields

Saying that a person has “Kung Fu” in an area implies that this person has a skill that is difficult to develop in that particular field. For example, someone can have Kung Fu in painting, or Kung Fu in cooking, or even have Kung Fu in a different sport unrelated to martial arts. The excellence reached in that field is what exemplifies Kung Fu, and this is why the term is an interestingly diverse application from Chinese culture to all other cultures.

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Kung Fu in Dance, Cinematography and Cuisine

The martial arts of China originated for survival and warfare reasons rather than as an art, but in modern times, Kung Fu has spinoffs in a variety of fields, sometimes retaining the authenticity of the practice, and other times, breaking off into artistic and combined adaptations. Martial arts schools teach certain routines and practices, such as the art of lion dance, and this dance has grown from a display of Kung Fu to a full and colourful dance performance. Kung Fu has also reached cinematography and has its own film genre, Kung Fu film. Kung Fu cooking and Kung Fu chefs are presented in a recent documentary that explores the life of competitive Oriental cooks who must attain Kung Fu with their impressive dishes.

Finally, celebrities’ endorsements of different Kung Fu dress and adaptation of Kung Fu in Western movies has spread around the globe, most notably, in the works of Jackie Chan or the beloved children’s animated movie, Kung Fu Panda. It is therefore safe to say that even though Kung Fu can refer to martial arts, it is also a term often used within modern culture and lifestyle, given its adaptability as an ideal and as a practice known for its standard of human excellence. It may have originated in military circles of China, but it now exists in many dimensions and categories all over the world.

 

 

 

Written by  Monica @ InteractChina.com

Posted by Yuqing@ InteractChina.com


About Interact China

“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 12 years of solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we are well positioned to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and directly bring you finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.


P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team! 
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Chinese Diaspora Helps Bring Chinese Culture to the World

Highlight: Chinese culture has been exported worldwide, mostly due to extensive immigration from China, creating large expatriate communities that are keen to practice traditional values while embracing the lifestyle and cultures of their adopted homelands.

 

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Chinese culture and lifestyle is promoted throughout the world thanks to the rich and vibrant Chinese immigrant communities located in nearly every country. The Mandarin word for people of Chinese heritage living abroad is 海外华人 (pinyin:Hǎiwài Huárén).  Indonesia, the United States, Malaysia, and Thailand have the highest number of overseas Chinese, each with over 3 million citizens of Chinese heritage. Throughout generations of immigration, these communities have assimilated well into their host countries, but some of the larger overseas Chinese communities still practice traditions and celebrate festivals and holidays from China.

 

New York City  Has Largest Chinese Population Outside Asia

This is particularly true in New York City, which has a Chinatown in Manhattan that boasts the largest ethnic Chinese population outside of Asia, and a large and growing Chinese community in Queens. Chinese people have been immigrating to America, and New York City in particular, since the mid-1800s, and today Chinese people make up the third highest percentage of annual immigrants to America, after Mexico and India. In 2013, nearly 20,000 immigrants from mainland China moved to New York City, more than the next two major American Chinese immigrant destinations, Los Angeles and San Francisco, combined.

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Dissemination of Chinese culture in New York

Chinese culture is kept alive in New York City through institutions such as the New York Chinese Cultural Center, which offers classes in Chinese martial arts, visual arts, language, acrobatics, and dance. The Cultural Center also partners with more conventional American New York City establishments, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lincoln Center, and Queens Botanical Garden, to promote Chinese culture throughout all five of New York City’s boroughs. Similarly, the Museum of Chinese in the United States, in Manhattan, curates a variety of interesting exhibitions on the long history of Chinese immigration to America and New York City, along with the food, art, and festivals that Chinese immigrants have brought to America and that have disseminated into mainstream American culture.

The Chinese New Year Festival is a particularly enjoyable and well-attended event in New York City, bringing together hundreds of thousands of people representing the diverse conglomeration of the city’s population annually since 1999. Politicians, celebrities, and international tourists have been known to frequent this yearly celebration, and it has become a much-anticipated and beloved aspect of life in New York City.

Chinese culture has been exported worldwide, mostly due to extensive immigration from China, creating large expatriate communities that are keen to practice traditional values while embracing the lifestyle and cultures of their adopted homelands. Nowhere is this more true than in New York City, where the largest Chinese immigrant population in the Western hemisphere has helped introduce Americans to Chinese culture for over 150 years.

 

 

Written by Amber @ InteractChina.com

Posted by Yuqing@ InteractChina.com


About Interact China

“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 12 years of solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we are well positioned to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and directly bring you finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.


P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team! 
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

History of Chinese Martial Arts

 

Chinese Kungfu, also called “martial art”, or “wushu”is a sport item created by the Chinese people during a long time of historical development.

Chinese Kungfu

Legendary origins

According to legend, Chinese martial arts originated during the semi-mythical Xia Dynasty (2070–1600 BCE) more than 4,000 years ago. It is said the Yellow Emperor, Chinese Han people’s ancestor, introduced the earliest fighting systems to China. The Yellow Emperor is described as a famous general who, before becoming China’s leader, wrote lengthy treatises on medicine, astrology and the martial arts. One of his main opponents was Chi You who was credited as the creator of jiao di, a forerunner to the modern art of Chinese Wrestling.

Early history

It is generally estimated that the origin of Chinese marital arts can be traced back to the primitive society. At that time human beings were outnumbered by animals due to harsh natural conditions. At that time, the principle of “survival of the fittest in natural selection” couldn’t be truer. In the grim struggle for survival, people naturally developed some basic offensive and defensive movements like beating, kicking, seizing, striking, rolling and jumping etc. Later, people gradually learnt to make and use stone and wood tools as weapons. And some fighting and hunting skills with or without weapons were developed. This is the budding of martial arts.

In the Shang Dynasty (1600–1029 BCE) field hunting came into being and was further regarded as an important way of martial art training. During the period of Shang and Zhou Dynasties, martial art was a form of dancing. “Martial dance” was used to train the soldiers and boost their morale.

Ever since the Western Zhou Dynasty (1029-771 BCE), practical Wushu training has included basic skills, such as strength training, fencing, staff sparring, spear training, etc., and it has also included training by using forms, such as the Shaolin Eight Methods, with the basic form supplemented by weapons forms, two-man forms, staff forms, etc.

The emphasis and importance of this type of martial training has played an important role throughout Chinese history. During the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.), which was one of the most powerful periods of Chinese history, warriors were actually chosen through martial competition and officers were promoted through this same sort of competition. Since at that time communications were well established with many neighboring countries; Chinese Wushu had a pronounced impact on these countries. During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 A.D.), various forms of Wushu were well established in Korea, Japan, Tibet, and many other countries. What is called “Karate” is actually a descendent of Southern Chinese boxing forms, and similarly, Judo can trace its origins to the importation of Chinese wrestling and Qinna, the precursor of Jiu-jitsu.

This spreading of Chinese Wushu has interested martial-arts researchers; some researchers have found many rare martial arts styles from records or isolated practitioners in neighboring countries.

Modern history

Currently, Wushu styles are being openly taught, with martial artists sharing their knowledge and comparing their styles. This movement has brought harmony to the martial community and has encouraged the polishing of the individual styles.

In addition, many martial arts training manuals were published, training academies were created, National examinations were organized as well as demonstration teams travelled overseas and numerous martial arts associations were formed throughout China and in various oversea Chinese communities. Eventually, those events lead to the popular view of martial arts as a sport.

 

by Xiao Xiao @ InteractChina.com

 

About Interact China

—————————————————————————————————————————–

“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide” 

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Kungfu Clothing, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.

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P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!

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Tai Chi and Health Keeping

Tai Chi, as an excellent way of keeping fit, originates from ancient Chinese arts of health preservation.

Ancient methods of maintaining health may be divided into two main categories: static and dynamic, the distinction being whether or not physical movements are involved.

 
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As a form of wushu, tai chi assimilates the essence of both the static and dynamic exercises. Combining the features of ancient static and dynamic exercises, the tai chi movements are slow and gentle, without exerting force to the utmost, the purpose being to activate the organism, to promote the circulation of qi and blood, and to achieve harmony between yin and yang, mental equilibrium and spiritual peace.

Health benefits

Researchers have found that intensive tai chi practice shows some favorable effects on the promotion of balance control, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness, and has shown to reduce the risk of falls in both healthy elderly patients, and those recovering from chronic stroke, heart failure, high blood pressure, heart attacks, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and fibromyalgia,. Tai chi’s gentle, low impact movements burn more calories than surfing and nearly as many as downhill skiing.

 
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A study also found that tai chi (compared to regular stretching) showed the ability to greatly reduce pain and improve overall physical and mental health in people over 60 with severe osteoarthritis of the knee. In addition, in a randomized trial of 66 patients with fibromyalgia, the tai chi intervention group did significantly better in terms of pain, fatigue, sleeplessness and depression than a comparable group given stretching exercises and wellness education.

Stress and mental health

A systematic review and meta-analysis, funded in part by the U.S. government, of the studies on the effects of practicing t’ai chi found that, “Twenty-one of 33 randomized and nonrandomized trials reported that 1 hour to 1 year of regular tai chi significantly increased psychological well-being including reduction of stress, anxiety, and depression, and enhanced mood in community-dwelling healthy participants and in patients with chronic conditions. Seven observational studies with relatively large sample sizes reinforced the beneficial association between t’ai chi practice and psychological health.”

 
 Chinese martial arts

There have also been indications that tai chi might have some effect on noradrenaline and cortisol production with an effect on mood and heart rate. In one study, t’ai chi has also been shown to reduce the symptoms of Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in 13 adolescents. The improvement in symptoms seems to persist after the t’ai chi sessions were terminated.

As a development of ancient static and dynamic exercises, tai chi has become a unique health-oriented system in its own right. It is a valuable asset belonging not only to the Chinese people; with its value gaining wider and wider appreciation; it will benefit more and more people in the rest of the world.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com

About Interact China


“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.

P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

Shaolin Influence In and Outside China

Shaolin Monastery or Shaolin Temple is a Chán Buddhist temple at Mount Songshan in Henan Province, China. Founded in the 5th century, the monastery is long famous for its association with Chinese martial arts, particularly with Shaolin Kung Fu, and it is the Mahayana Buddhist monastery perhaps best known to the Western world.

Chinese Kungfu

 

Shaolin in China

The oldest evidence of Shaolin participation in combat is a stele from 728 that attests to two occasions: a defense of the monastery from bandits around 610 and their role in a defeat in 621. In this defeat, Kungfu monks saved and allied with Li Shimin, who later became the second Emperor of Tang Dynasty (618-907). Thereafter Shaolin enjoyed the royal patronage of the Tang.

Chinese Kungfu

From the 8th to the 15th centuries, no extant source documents Shaolin participation in combat; then the 16th and 17th centuries see at least forty extant sources attest that, not only did monks of Shaolin practice martial arts, but martial practice had become such an integral element of Shaolin monastic life that the monks felt the need to justify it by creating new Buddhist lore. References to Shaolin martial arts appear in various literary genres of the late Ming (1368-1644): the epitaphs of Shaolin warrior monks, martial-arts manuals, military encyclopedias, historical writings, travelogues, fiction, and even poetry.

In addition, in the long-history development of Shaolin Kung Fu, masters at Shaolin Temple also taught Kungfu to non-Buddhist followers to allow commoners the chance to practice Shaolin Kungfu. This allowed Shaolin Temple to develop several branches in other regions.

 

Influence outside China

 

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Some lineages of Karate have oral traditions that claim Shaolin origins. Martial arts traditions in Japan and Korea, and Southeast Asia cite Chinese influence as transmitted by Buddhist monks.

Recent developments in the 20th century such as Shorinji Kempo still maintain close ties with China’s Songshan mountain Shaolin Temple due to historic links.

 

In popular culture

 

Shaolin, in popular culture, has taken on a second life. Since the 1970s, it has been featured in many films, TV shows, video games, cartoons, and other media.

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While some of these are clear commercial exploitation of the Shaolin Temple and its legends, they have helped make Shaolin a household name around the world, and kept the temple alive in the minds of many young generations, and from vanishing into obscurity like many other ancient traditions. To date, no other temple in the world has achieved such wide spread recognition.

by Xiao Xiao @ InteractChina.com

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Chinese Kung Fu- An Integral Part of Chinese Culture

Chinese martial arts, also known as kung fu, are a number of fighting styles that have developed over the centuries in China.

 

Genesis of Chinese martial arts

The genesis of Chinese martial arts has been attributed to the need for self-defense, hunting techniques and military training in ancient China. Hand-to-hand combat and weapons practice were important in training ancient Chinese soldiers.

Chinese Kungfu

From this beginning, Chinese martial arts proceeded to incorporate different philosophies and ideas into its practice—expanding its purpose from self-defense to health maintenance and finally as method of self-cultivation. Conversely, the influence of martial arts ideals in civilian society can be found in poetry, fiction, and eventually film. Chinese martial arts are now an integral element of Chinese culture.

 

An Aspect of Chinese Culture

 

Chinese Kungfu

Chinese martial arts are an organic component of the Chinese culture. Chinese martial arts have a long history, converging Chinese philosophy, medicine, military strategy, techniques, education, aesthetics, etc., and mirroring the character and sagacity of the Chinese people. It can be concluded that Chinese martial arts reflect the entire Chinese cultural characteristics from one aspect.

On the level of philosophy, the marital arts stress “unification of man and nature”. On the social level, the martial arts stress cultivation of mind and personality, awareness of the natural law. Therefore, the Chinese martial arts are not simply a fighting technique, but are a style, life attitude and personality cultivation.

 

Popular culture

 

Chinese Kungfu

Chinese martial arts are an integral element of 20th-century Chinese popular culture. Wuxia or “martial arts fiction” is a popular genre which emerged in the early 20th century and peaked in popularity during the 1960s to 1980s. This type of fiction is based on Chinese concepts of chivalry, a separate martial arts society and a central theme involving martial arts. Wuxia stories are still extremely popular in much of Asia and provide a major influence for the public perception of the martial arts.

In modern times, Chinese martial arts have spawned the genre of cinema known as the martial arts film. The films of Bruce Lee were instrumental in the initial burst of Chinese martial arts’ popularity in the West in the 1970s. Martial artists and actors such as Jet Li and Jackie Chan have continued the appeal of movies of this genre. Martial arts films from China are often referred to as “kungfu movies”. Martial arts themes can also be found on television networks.

by Xiao Xiao @ InteractChina.com

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Training in Shaolin Temple

With a history of more than 1,500 years behind, Shaolin monastery is a home to Mahayana Buddhism, a cradle to martial arts, and, along with Wudang of Daoist tradition, the indisputable regal seat of the world kung fu.

Chinese Kungfu

Shaolin training is something of interest to many in the western world. Ever since the Chinese kung fu movies arrived, people have been trying to learn their moves. However, there is another dimension to the supreme conditioning and discipline of Shaolin monks. On the surface it’s all kung fu, fancy skills and extreme conditioning, but that’s not really the point of the discipline.

 

Shaolin Training

Shaolin monks train their whole lives in various disciplines. They train in kung fu, mindfulness meditation and many gymnastics-style physical skills. They also have strict nutritional guidelines that they live by.

Chinese Kungfu

The whole magic of Shaolin training is in their consistency, not their “secret” methods. Shaolin monks practice their arts every single day, rain, hail or shine. There are no days off or breaks to go watching TV or go drinking with their friends.

 

Mindfulness Meditation

 

The primary training of shaolin monks is mindfulness meditation. This is a practice of meditating whilst sitting and practicing awareness whilst walking and performing daily tasks.

Chinese Kungfu

Mindfulness meditation is simply consistent training of extreme awareness. When a person practices this sort of meditation, they are training to be aware of the present moment without judgment or attachment in any way. The attitude is that things and circumstances are what they are and nothing more. There is no good or evil, positive or negative, everything serves a purpose.

Chinese Kungfu

This sort of practice develops extreme mental awareness of a person’s surroundings and enables the practitioner to develop laser-like focus.

 

Physical Conditioning

 

Chinese Kungfu

Shaolin training also consists of extreme physical conditioning. This is evident in the exhibitions and shows they perform around the world. The monks, despite their size, are able to perform phenomenal feats of superhuman strength, agility, coordination, speed etc.

This is accomplished through drills and exercises like reaction time drills, continuous repetition of martial arts techniques, progressive physical skills, obstacle courses, weapons drills, partnered coordination exercises and many other things that they practice on a daily basis. This sort of training is conducted for many hours per day. This is why Shaolin monks appear to possess superhuman abilities.

by Xiao Xiao @ InteractChina.com

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