The Mysterious Origins of Kung Fu

In Chinese ‘Kung’ means energy and ‘Fu’ means time. Kung Fu is any practice that requires time, patience, and energy to master. So it does not only stand for the martial art that is synonymous with that name.

Kung Fu became popular in the West with the coming of Chinese action movies depicting it. Martial artists and actors like Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and Jet Li have also contributed to raising its popularity in the West. There are actually many stories of how Kung Fu developed. Here are some of them:

One theory: Kung Fu and all other Chinese martial arts originated in India

One story is that all Chinese martial arts including Kung Fu have their roots in India. It is possible, because China and India have had extensive trade relations for centuries and Buddhism did come to China from India. Chinese merchant ships even traded in the port city of Calicut in Kerala, India, for many centuries. Even now, there are Chinese fishing nets in Calicut, which are locally known as ‘Cheena vala’. The Indian martial art called Kalaripatayam is also said to share many characteristics with Chinese martial arts. Without contradictory evidence, these facts make it entirely possible that the rudiments of Kung Fu came to China from India.

Another possibility: Martial arts came to China with an Indian Buddhist monk

The second story is about how martial arts were introduced to China by an Indian Buddhist monk known as Bodhidharma. The Shaolin temple in Henan province also confirms this tradition. The early Buddhist monks were proselytizers and they went far and wide to propagate Buddhism. They often had to travel treacherous paths which were roamed by waiting bandits.

The Buddhist monks had to protect themselves against these bandits but there was a problem. The monks were pacifists so they could not carry weapons. Instead, they learned to defend themselves with their fists and legs. Slowly and steadily, they developed the martial arts forms that over time have become modern martial arts. Even now, the Shaolin temple is known as the Mecca for martial arts.

Another thought: Kung Fu came from the exercises developed to make the monks stronger

Boddhidharma developed 18 exercises which had to be performed with the hands. He taught it
the monks in the Shaolin temple. Apparantly, some of the monks used to fall asleep during his sermons. Buddhism also had very austere practices and he found that the monks were not physically prepared for the vigors of the religion which often involved frugal living and even fasting at times. Boddhidharma believed that by developing a strong body, the monks could follow the tenets of Buddhism better. The monks later took these exercises forward and codified them into a system which became Kung Fu.

Eight hundred years after Boddhidharma’s death, during the rule of the Yuan dynasty (between 1260 and 1368), a monk called Chuan Yuan accepted the help of two boxers – Pai Yu feng and Li Cheung – and added more detail to the original Kung Fu.

He believed that the system as it was taught then was incomplete. His contributions included dividing the system into five styles, which were derived from animals – Crane, Tiger, Dragon, Snake, and Leopard. Modern Kung Fu is more advanced than the Kung Fu of olden days. It generally takes several years to develop proficiency.

A History of Taekwondo

A Korean martial art, Taekwondo is a combination of self-defense and combat skills. It is used as a form of defense and makes use of the whole body. It includes skillful application of techniques like dodges, blocks, kicks, and punches. For Taekwondo masters, the art is more than just a way to defend themselves when required. It is a way of life, which requires them to be completely dedicated to the art. It is more than just learning the fighting techniques, but more about developing their inner self with strict discipline. If you are interested in learning the powerful martial art that requires controlling both the mind and the body, search for Taekwondo schools, masters, styles and much more on

How did Taekwondo evolve?

Taekwondo is a combination of martial arts, most of which originated in Korea. Among the oldest disciplines, some of which are over 2,000 years old, that influenced the development of Taekwondo are Taek Kyon, Tae Kwonpup, Tae Kwon, T’ang-su, and Kwonpup. Use of circular hand movements influenced by Chinese martial arts can also be clearly seen in Taekwondo. It has also drawn inspiration from popular martial arts like Kung-fu (kicking techniques), Judo, and Karate (linear, abrupt movements).

The earliest mention of Taekwondo on record dates back to the time when Korea was divided into three kingdoms – Silla, Koguryo, and Paekche, around 50 B.C. Paintings of unarmed people from this period following modern day Taekwondo techniques are evidence of the origin of Taekwondo. The earliest known form of Taekwondo, Tae Kyon, is a self-defense art that uses kicks, hand strikes, throws, and joint locks.

Though Taekwondo was first practiced in the Koguryo kingdom, the credit of spreading the art form all over Korea goes to the Hwarang warriors belonging to Silla. From 668 A.D. To 935 A.D., Taek Kyon (which was later renamed as Subak) served as a system to promote fitness among the soldiers. However, it was later developed into a fighting art. Though the defense form was allowed to be taught to the public during the rule of Yi dynasty, it failed to generate enough interest and was practiced only in a few parts of the country.

Revival of the art

The interest of Koreans in Subak renewed when the country was invaded by the Japanese. When the Japanese banned the practice of military arts in Korea and banned Korean books as well as languages, Korean patriots formed groups and started practicing Subak along with other self-defense forms. Karate, Judo, and Kung-fu were introduced officially to the public in 1943. By 1945, Korea developed several variations of Subak. The first school to teach Taekwondo was said to have started in 1945 in Seoul. Though the U.S. first saw the glimpses of Subak in the 1950s, the U.S. Taekwondo Association was formed in 1967. It was later turned into the U.S. Taekwondo Federation. The American Taekwondo Association was founded in 1969 by Haeng Ung Lee, who premiered the Songahm
style of Taekwondo in 1983. The World Taekwondo Federation, founded in 1973, is an organization recognized as the official international Taekwondo governing body by the Korean government.

Are you interested in learning the highly disciplined art of Taekwondo in your area? You can simplify your search for Taekwondo schools and masters by looking for them on

A History of Mixed Martial Arts

As the name suggests, Mixed Martial Arts is a combination of martial arts and combat sports. The term was said to be coined in the 1990s, but it has long been a part of the history and culture of various countries under different names. The full-contact sport may be relatively new, but has been getting increasingly popular over the past few years. In fact, with the introduction of the Ultimate Fighting Championship in the United States in 1993, MMA has evolved to be one of the most prevalent spectator sports, giving stiff competition to both wrestling and boxing. UFC, which is among the largest companies promoting MMA around the world, is said to have been inspired by the Brazilian sport Vale Tudo that has been popular since the 20th century.

The beginning

Though UFC began as a rather unsafe competition, it regulations have evolved to ensure the safety
of the MMA fighters. What began as a competition to discover the most suitable form of martial arts
to be used during unarmed combat turned into an accepted sport with the implementation of higher safety standards. Initially, fighters used the moves limited to Vale Tudo, but later moved to execute techniques from several forms of martial arts. With changes in the concept, additional safety rules were adopted which popularized MMA as a mainstream sport. Presently, care is taken to ensure that MMA fighters do not get injured during the sport, which has turned it into a preferred self-defense art. If you are interested in learning MMA, visit to find schools in your area teaching the sport.

The origins of MMA date back to the height of Greek civilization, where a combat sport named Pankration was popular. It was based on striking and grappling techniques and was subsequently passed on to the Romans. The sport more or less had no rules at all, expect it would not allow eye gouging and biting. The participants, even if they lost, would be treated as heroes, which explains how important the sport was to the Greeks.

Evolution of MMA

During the 19th century, the U.S. witnessed several combat contests with different rules, which ultimately transformed into professional wrestling. However, it was in the late 1800s when the world saw what could truly be called a dedicated form of mixed martial art. Edward William Barton-Wright introduced the concept of Bartitsu, which combined the European and Asian styles of fighting. It included a mix of boxing, judo, jujutsu, stick fighting, and savate. Interestingly, the discovery was made almost 40 years before the birth of Bruce Lee, who was also referred by the President of UFC, Dana White, as the Father of MMA. Bruce Lee in the late 1960s popularized the concept of picking out the best from all forms of martial arts, which is the basic principle of MMA.

By 2006, the sport had achieved a new level of popularity and was being chosen by many as a form of self-defense. Getting MMA training from experienced instructors plays a vital role in learning the art. If you are looking for MMA instructors or schools teaching the martial form, a quick search on will provide an extensive list.

A Brief History of Judo

Judo, meaning “gentle way,’ is a popular and venerable Japanese martial art that has spread in popularity so far as to become an Olympic sport. The main objective of the martial art is to pin an opponent to the ground, or force a submission by applying a chokehold or joint lock. Judo allows strikes, thrusts, and weapons defense to throw or take down your opponent. The three main techniques involved in Judo are throwing techniques or nage-waza, grappling technique or katame-waza, and striking technique or atemi-waza. Judo is the predecessor of several modern martial arts such as Sambo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Before the birth of Judo

Japan was under the rule of group of professional soldiers known as Samurais from the twelfth to the nineteenth centuries. This was an era that witnessed the development of various martial arts and combat techniques throughout Asia. The Samurais made modifications to Jijisu, or jujitsu, a hand-to-hand combat style that was used extensively in military training.

However, with the fall of Samurais in 1868 and the restoration of imperial rule in Japan under Emperor Meji, jujitsu started losing its sheen and popularity. Even though no bans were placed on the martial art, with increased westernization, people started losing interest in both training and practicing of it. The martial art would have been extinct during this era were it not for the contributions of Jigoro Kano.

The father of Judo

The story of Judo cannot be narrated without attributing the pivotal role served by Dr. Jigoro Kano.

Kano was born into an affluent family as the son of a head priest in 1860. Even though Kano
was good at his lessons, he constantly worried about his weak physique and the bullies who used to give him a tough time. He decided to learn jujitsu but had difficulty finding a good trainer. Most people who knew the art were not enthusiastic to pass them on as they considered them useless. Finally, he started training with Yanosuke Fakuda, a jujitsu master at a school. He grew so passionate about martial arts training that at the age of just 21, he started a new school to teach a new martial art called Judo, consisting of some of the best moves of several prominent jujitsu styles. And that was the birth of Judo!

In late nineteenth century, Kano traveled to Europe to spread Judo outside Japan. Kano tirelessly worked to spread Judo across the globe, even while serving in the Olympic Committee. It
was a dream come true moment for Kano when men’s Judo was officially announced as an Olympic event in 1964 Tokyo Olympics. At the 1988 Seoul Olympics, the women’s contest was introduced as a demonstration, but it was at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics that women’s Judo was added as an official contest.

At present, more than 180 countries have registered as members of International Judo Federation and France is currently said to have more Judo experts than Japan. The art is still being promoted by Japan in places like Africa and Oceania that are still unfamiliar with its techniques.