Kung fu Origins A great place to begin is language: the word for “martial” in Chinese is “wu,” and it is constructed from two other Chinese words: “zhi” which means to stop or cease, and “ge” which means describes a weapon. So from this the original meaning to stop using weapons. There is a lot of irony wrapped up in martial arts films because they are always about some fighter struggling not to fight, but it always comes down to that. But we can see that the origins of kung fu come from this idea of defense. I think any true teacher will tell you that. Watching our actress train during her first lesson, even her teacher told her running is always option. You fight when there is no other choice.
Although the Chinese martial arts have been around for centuries they’ve only been a part of the Western world for the last few decades. But the origins of the martial arts are hard to pinpoint because the practice was being used in ancient times before people were recording history, before people were even literate so the traditions were passed down orally. In the beginning there may have been thousands of martial arts styles but the weakest were weeded out and best were refined. Martial arts would then continue to evolve with the traditions of the bagua or eight trigrams concept, and the yin yang theory.
Bagua is one of the three internal styles of Chinese martial arts and is based on organizing natural phenomena into eight symbols that come from ancient Chinese divination text. The primary idea is that change within these phenomena is a means to defeating an opponent. Yin and yang is the foundation of many martial arts styles including wing chun and comes from the idea that harmony can only been accomplished with the balance of two opposing, complementary and interdependent forces. Force cannot defeat brute force. You’ll notice that both of these symbols are incorporated at least in part into our logo. What’s fascinating about the martial arts is that there is a “hard” and “soft” or “internal” and “external” side to the techniques. Fighting is only one part. But there are deeper philosophies (Buddhism, Taoism, and more) that have to be uncovered to truly achieve any kind of mastery. It’s been fascinating to watch the actress being trained by an actual martial arts master and to learn so much about Chinese culture in the process.