China has a long history of martial arts traditions that includes hundreds of different styles. Over the past two thousand years, many distinctive styles have been developed, each with its own set of techniques and ideas. There are also common themes to the different styles, there are styles that mimic movements from animals and others that gather inspiration from various Chinese philosophies, myths and legends. Some styles put most of their focus into the harnessing of qi, while others concentrate on competition.
Top 3 Styles of Chinese Martial Arts & Kung Fu
1. Shaolin Kung Fu
Shaolin Kung Fu (or Wushu)is one of the oldest, largest, and most famous styles of wushu, or kung fu. It combines Ch’an philosophy and martial arts and originated and was developed in the Shaolin temple in Henan province, Greater China during its 1500-year history. Popular sayings in Chinese folklore related to this practice include “All martial arts under heaven originated from Shaolin” and “Shaolin kung fu is the best under heaven,” indicating the influence of Shaolin kung fu among martial arts.
2. Wing Chun
Wing Chun as well as Ving Tsun, is a concept-based traditional Southern Chinese Kung fu (wushu) style and a form of self-defense, that requires quick arm movements and strong legs to defeat opponents. Softness (via relaxation) and performance of techniques in a relaxed manner is fundamental to Wing Chun. The most common system of forms in Wing Chun consists of three empty hand forms (Siu Nim Tau, Chum Kiu and Biu Jee), two weapon forms (Baat Jaam Dou and Luk Dim Bun Gwan), and a wooden dummy form.
3. Tai Chi & Wudang
Tai chi (or Taiji) is an internal Chinese martial art practiced for defense training, health benefits, and meditation. In China, tai chi is categorized under the Wudang grouping of Chinese martial arts —that is, arts applied with internal power. Tai Chi combines the essence of various ancient health-preserving techniques and the principles of yin and yang. It dissolves exercise into tranquility and transforms tranquility into exercise. It has the functions of fitness, self-defense, and self-cultivation. Tai chi has practitioners worldwide.