World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Kung fu (term)

Article Id: WHEBN0000016900
Reproduction Date:

Title: Kung fu (term)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Chinese martial arts, List of Chinese martial arts, Choy Li Fut, Qigong, Bafaquan
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Kung fu (term)

Kung fu
Chinese 功夫

Kung fu/Kungfu or Gung fu/Gongfu ( or ; [2]

In its original meaning, kung fu can refer to any skill achieved through hard work and practice, not necessarily martial arts. The Chinese literal equivalent of "Chinese martial art" would be 中國武術 zhōngguó wǔshù.[4]

In Chinese, Gōngfu (功夫) is a compound of two words, combining (gōng) meaning "work", "achievement", or "merit", and (fū) which is alternately treated as being a word for "man" or as a particle or nominal suffix with diverse meanings (the same character is used to write both). A literal rendering of the first interpretation would be "achievement of man", while the second is often described as "work and time/effort". Its connotation is that of an accomplishment arrived at by great effort of time and energy. In Mandarin, when two "first tone" words such as gōng and are combined, the second word often takes a neutral tone, in this case forming gōngfu. The word is also sometimes written as 工夫, this version often being used for more general, non-martial arts usages of the term.[5]

Originally, to practice kung fu did not just mean to practice Chinese martial arts. Instead, it referred to the process of one's training - the strengthening of the body and the mind, the learning and the perfection of one's skills - rather than to what was being trained. It refers to excellence achieved through long practice in any endeavor.[5] This meaning can be traced to classical writings, especially those of Neo-Confucianism, which emphasize the importance of effort in education.[6]

In the colloquial, one can say that a person's kung fu is good in cooking, or that someone has kung fu in calligraphy; saying that a person possesses kung fu in an area implies skill in that area, which they have worked hard to develop. Someone with "bad kung fu" simply has not put enough time and effort into training, or seems to lack the motivation to do so. Kung fu is also a name used for the elaborate Fujian tea ceremony (kung fu cha).

However, the phrase 功夫武術 (kung fu wu shu) does exist in Chinese and could be (loosely) translated as 'the skills of the martial arts'.


See also

References

  1. ^ Yang, Jwing-Ming. (1989). The root of Chinese Chi kung: the secrets of Chi kung training. Yang's Martial Arts Association.  
  2. ^ a b Lorge, Peter (2012). Chinese Martial Arts From Antiquity to the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  
  3. ^ "Dictionary". Oxford Dictionaries Online. 2011-02-26. 
  4. ^ "Dictionary". Dictionary.com. 2010-03-10. 
  5. ^ a b "Kung-fu (Gongfu) Tea", July 20, 2011
  6. ^ Angle, Stephen (2009). Sagehood: the contemporary significance of neo-Confucian philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 141.  
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.