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
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
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,
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
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: ....
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
(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.