1 – Until approximaltely 2,000 years ago – It was in that age that
men learned to use weapons for hunting. Their techniques were
very simple, but very effective, and that kept them from being
killed when they attempted to hunt down big game.
2 - 2000 years to 150 years ago – That was the Age of Wars, when nations
begun using the martial art as an instrument of power. Training
had the single purpose of acquiring strength and learning how
to use weapons skillfully. There were no systems or styles at
first. The styles began developing between 1500 and 1850.
3 - 150 year ago to present times – This is the age of firearms,
in which the martial art has gradually lost its essence and became
sport and health exercises. There a predominance of fetching moves
that are useless in real life or death combats. Martial art became
a kind of exhibition dance.
Another way of classifying Gong Fu styles
is to classify them as internal or external. This conception of
internal or external styles is a modern classification. In the
old days, internal style was the one practiced inside a Gong Fu
family, while the external style was the one by the monks of a
temple (for instance, Shaolin Temple monks). Today, some say that
internal Gong Fu is Wutang and the external is the one that comes
from the Shaolin Temple.
The third way of classifying styles is by geographic location. Gong
Fu can be thus divided in Gong Fu from northern China and Gong
Fu from southern China.
Another way to classify styles by geographic division uses the mountains
in which the sifus lives and developed the various styles. In
Gong Fu history, it is widely known that the sifus always lived
in mountains, thus maintaining Gong Fu’s connection with China’s
mountains. The most famous mountains of origin are:
1 – Wu Dang Shan
2 – Song Shan
3 – Jiu Ha Shan
4 – E Mei Shan
5 – Ku Lun Shan
6 - Guang Hua Shan
7 - Zhong Nan Shan
8 - Sun Shan
9 - Tai Shan
A last classification can be made using the philosophy adopted by the
style. There are basically three philosophies
1 – Ru Jia: Philosophy founded by Kong Fu Zhi (Confucius), and it was
developed in Tai Shan.
2 - Tao Jia: Philosophy based on Taoism that was developed in Wu Dang
Shan, E Mei Shan, Ku Lun Shan, Guang Hua Shan, Zhong Nan Shan.
3 – Fe Jia: Philosophy founded by Shi Jia Me Ni. This philosophy was
developed in Sun Shan ( Shao lin si) and Wu Tai Shan.
Creation of Gong Fu Styles
In China, one that proclaims to have created a new Gong Fu has
to undergo a “test of fire”, which consists of facing all fighter
who come to challenge him. If the person passes the test, a existence
of the new style is confirmed.