History of Gong Fu


The Chinese people is the result of the union of 54 different ethnic groups and has over five thousands years of history. Gong Fu is also very old and has many families. Although it’s hard to tell exactly how many, it is possible to group them in different forms according to common characteristics of the styles. However, it is important to keep in mind that the five classifications described below are only approximations.

The first way of classifying the Gong Fu styles is according to the time they were created. There are basically three main ages:


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.