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Chung Kuo Chuan - (chŭng kwoo chwan)

Let’s start out by saying that Chung Kuo Chuan (CKC) is not a common form of Martial Arts taught in the United States but mostly found in China and some of the outer laying territories. The techniques taught in Chung Kuo Chuan can trace their roots back to the original style which came from the Shaolin Kung Fu temples of Honan and Fujian in mainland China.

Chung Kuo Chuan translates into “Chinese Boxing Form.” This is a general term used in China referring to the “National Art of Martial Technique (Kuoshu). The most common term people refer when speaking of Chinese Martial Arts is “Kung Fu,” but this is not actually a proper term since Kung Fu really means the accomplishment of any task or hard work. For example, a master carpenter might be said to have "kung fu" in his chosen profession. The modern Pinyin Romanization system of the People's Republic of China uses the spelling Gongfu while other transliteration systems employ variations such as Gung Fu.

One other note on translation:  The names of Chinese Gung Fu styles are often suffixed with the term "Ch'uan."  This word/character literally means "fist" but actually denotes a "fist method," or style of Martial Arts.  Most commonly, this is translated into English using the Western concept of "boxing" or "pugilism."  Although it is admittedly something of a misnomer, we will use the translation "boxing" to be consistent with most popular Western publications on the Chinese martial arts.

The Chinese martial arts have been identified by many generic terms throughout history such as Wu Shu (martial arts),  Chung Kuo Chuan Kuoshu (National art of Martial Technique), etc.  In the 20th Century, however, the term Kung Fu became popularly accepted as synonymous with all Chinese martial arts. 

It is therefore not out of ignorance of the Chinese language that non-practitioners of the Chung Kuo Chuan System refer to the art CKC as Kung Fu.  It is instead an acknowledgement that (a) the general public will immediately recognize that they are practitioners of the Chinese Martial Arts, and (b) the term best describes what they are striving to gain through self practice to develop "Mastery of a Skill."

Wu Shu, known as the military training of soldiers during the time of the emperor, inadvertently helped develop Chung Kuo Chuan as a way for the "common" man to defend themselves against the emperor's guards at the time. Thus, developed on the basis of "self defense" against ruling dictators. In addition, due to the soldiers skilled levels of expertise with swords, the common man was forced to start using farm tools as weapons for defense (i.e., nunchaku, bo staff, kama, sai, etc.)

Characterized by the combination of most practiced forms today, Chung Kuo Chuan has grandfathered many forms used today throughout the world...

T'ai Chi Ch'uan:  Often called "meditation in motion," T'ai Chi Ch'uan (or more commonly known as T'ai Chi) is characterized by slow, rhythmic, relaxed movements and is widely known for its health benefits.  In fact, it has become increasingly popular over the past 30 years in the West merely as a form of exercise therapy to reduce stress, lose weight, lower blood pressure, and promote general health and well being.  However, taught in its entirety, T'ai Chi Ch'uan is a very powerful and effective martial art.  T'ai Chi masters of old possessed extraordinary strength and fighting skills. T'ai Chi Ch'uan is the physical manifestation of the "Yin and Yang" cosmology, commonly illustrated as the intertwined dark and light halves of a circle.  In Chinese, this combination of the Yin (dark, passive, feminine) and the Yang (bright, active, masculine) is called the T'ai Chi or "Supreme Ultimate.

Created Forms: Tai Chi,


Hsing Yi Ch'uan:  Known as "Form" and Will Boxing." Hsing Yi is rather straightforward and simplistic in appearance when compared to other Chinese arts, yet is famous for its effectiveness in combat through the centuries.  As the name suggests, the overriding emphasis of Hsing Yi is unifying the will - or the "mind" - with the physical movements. Economy of motion is key; attacking and defending are simultaneous, as opposed to the "one-two, block-strike" techniques found in many other arts.  Basic training in Hsing Yi consists of five actions which correspond to the Chinese cosmological interaction of the five elements, earth, fire, metal, water, and wood.  Students then learn intermediate forms combining the 5-element actions.  Advanced training includes twelve animal forms, various other combined forms, 2-person combat applications, and weaponry.  In fighting, Hsing Yi allows no quarter.  Maxims such as "strike once and see red," "fight as if your clothes were on fire," and "when the opponent attacks, you strike, then keep striking until nothing stands before you," impart some idea of the Hsing Yi philosophy of combat.

Created Forms: Karate, Kenpo, Muy Tai


Pa Kua Tsang:  Pa Kua is a complex, almost mystical, art based on the Eight Trigrams and 64 Hexagrams of the Taoist I-Ching, or Book of Changes.  Pa Kua utilizes circular twisting, turning movements centered around intricate patterns of footwork.  As implied by the name, the primary weapon of Pa Kua is the open palm instead of the fist.  Throws, sweeps, and joint locks abound.  Pa Kua practitioners are known for extraordinary balance and strength, and fighting with a master of the art has been likened to attempting to strike the wind or a shadow - an opponent launches an attack and the Pa Kua practitioner seems to "disappear."  In actuality, this is merely the manifestation of the circular movements and the footwork, which enable the Pa Kua fighter to quickly evade incoming force and end up beside or behind an attacker.

Created Forms: ....


Shaolin Ch'uan:  Know as "Young Forest Boxing," is probably the most well-known of the categories of Chinese martial arts, Shaolin Kung Fu has its roots in the legendary Shaolin Buddhist Temple in China.  Literally hundreds of styles fall under the "Shaolin" definitional umbrella so any attempt to pigeonhole exactly what is - or is not - Shaolin is questionable at best.  In general, Shaolin systems are more athletic in appearance than T'ai Chi, Hsing Yi and Pa Kua, and feature quick, visibly powerful, movements with very little subtlety.  Many Shaolin forms feature a repertoire of high jumping kicks and rapid combinations of hand and arm techniques.  Shaolin fighters often condition their bodies with hardening techniques such as "Iron Palm," repeatedly striking bags, sand, wood and other objects, and a variety of demanding callisthenic exercises.  Shaolin styles are often patterned after the movements of animals, and bear their names.  Preying Mantis, Dragon, Tiger, Snake, Monkey Boxing, Eagle Claw, and White Crane are some of the more familiar systems hailing from Shaolin.  Other systems are associated with great fighters or Buddhist spiritual figures such as Lohan, Wing Chun and Yen Ch'ing Ch'uan, while still others have more esoteric titles such as White Lotus, Plum Flower Blossom, and Long Fist.

Created Forms: Kung Fu (today's style), Taekwondo


Chin Na: (Translation:  "Catch-Arrest," or "Seize and Immobilize")  Chin Na is at once both a martial art in itself and a part of virtually every other martial art.  The historical predecessor to the art of Jiujutsu, and its descendant arts of Judo and Aikido, Chin Na is the Chinese term for the techniques of grasping, joint-twisting, locking, and pressing vital points on the body.  Some Kung Fu practitioners train exclusively in Chin Na, but most utilize the Chin Na applications found in virtually every Chinese martial art - from T'ai Chi, Hsing Yi and Pa Kua to Shaolin - in concert with the striking and kicking techniques found in each particular style.