WHAT IS KUNG FU?
Kung fu is an art for training body and soul.
The originator of this art is said to have been a monk from India named Dat Ma (Bodhid Harma).
He came to China about the year 520 and settled down and taught the Chinese the art.
The first kung fu school was the Shaolin Pagoda in China and was built around the year 497 in Shaoshi Mountain in the Song Shan Mountains of Hanan City.
There, the first Chinese students were selected and trained in the Zen-Shu Buddhist meditation technique at the temple. After this they took in more and more monks.
It is said that Dat Ma (Harma) on her way to China experienced many dangers from nature. M
ost people in the East at that time lived scattered in the woods and mountains. A life in close interaction with nature can be hard and dangerous as man is originally a vulnerable being.
They therefore needed a combat technique that could be used to defend against predators and the harsh nature. The soft technique is well suited for this purpose, and it was well received by most people in China.
During his journey, Dat Ma had witnessed battles between different animals. By observing their movements, he could transfer their martial arts techniques to a martial art that could be used by humans.
It is also said that Dat Ma was once exposed to a storm in a large forest. There he noticed how tall trees were uprooted from the ground. On the other hand, the small and soft trees were not affected by the storm.
Based on this experience, he developed the "soft technique", which simply uses softness to overcome strong forces.
Dat Ma saw when his students practiced Buddhist Zen-Shu that they were very thin and very weak. After seeing this, he spent 9 years in China developing new movements that would strengthen his students to cope with the harsh climate up in the mountains, and to strengthen the body against diseases.
During his time in China, he wrote many books on exercise, Zen-Shu, Qi Gong and gymnastics (Kung-Fu).
One of the books is now world famous and is called Yi Jin Jing.
When China was at war, Shaolin monks helped the king win the war. Because of this, the king rewarded the monks with a much larger temple and Shaolin became popular throughout China.
Later after Dat Ma's death approx. In 529, his students saw that the techniques worked well as combat techniques and that was how Kung-Fu came to be.
In parallel, students from the Shaolin Temple have emigrated to other parts of Asia and the world and developed their own styles, and Shaolin Kung Fu is considered by many to be the birthplace of various martial arts around the world.