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Brief History of Traditional Kung Fu

Although no one can claim being the founder of kung fu, Chueng Kune is perhaps the original Kung Fu system. It’s powerful, courageous, and free-spirited techniques have made it one of the most influential styles in both China and North America.

Much has been said about the origins of Karate, (systematized in the 1930’s) Tae Kwon Do (systematized in the 1950’s), yet no one is certain about the true beginning of today's Kung-Fu. Of course, there is the Shaolin Temple story; however, that is fairly "recent" history. Among themselves and against others, the Chinese have been practicing the martial arts for thousands of years, but organized Kung Fu needed a father system from which to evolve.

Though recorded history is sparse, many indications support the theory that organized Kung Fu originated from the Chueng Kune (Long Fist) system. This system is thought to have been created during the reign of Tai Tzu, the first emperor of the Sung dynasty (960-976 AD). A vivid, wide-open style of Kung Fu, Chueng Kune is characterized by the courageous, bold spirit of the Sung dynasty, during which it quickly gained popularity. Martial arts teachers would establish schools in several villages and traveled between them, teaching their art until the villagers no longer desired to practice their style, or until another Master challenged their style and won, taking over the school and its remaining students. Kung Fu systems in China became diluted since many different Masters, each with differing degrees of expertise, taught their variation on the original system. Within a three-year period, a typical village might have up to five or six martial arts instructors, each teaching a divergent interpretation. As it was practiced and taught from village to village, the popular system spread and evolved.

Northern Shaolin (Bak Si Lum in Cantonese) is Father to Cheung Kune and could be easily mistaken for it. Present day Northern Shaolin is actually a variation of Chang Chuan that developed largely during the final stage of the Ming Dynasty and the first stage of the Ching Dynasty.

More recently, the Cheung Kune system was the predominant style of Kung Fu during the time of the Chinese republic, and at the same time it became popular in Shanghai and Nanking.At these locations it was integrated into many southern and northern styles, such as Choi Li Fut and Northern Praying Mantis.Cheung Kune contains many beautiful, straight forward and circular movements. It is symbolic of a brave, bold China where the fighters believed that the best man would win without tricks or deception.One can learn the basics of Kung Fu from this system since the footwork and the stances are extremely strong and balanced.Cheung Kune is not a specialized system, it includes many hand and foot techniques.Cheung Kune, contains all of the techniques of Judo, Karate, Ju Jitsu, Aikido, Tai Kwon Do, plus much more.It is in itself, a complete system

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