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Chinese Kung Fu - Kung Fu Martial Arts Styles, History & Basics

Chinese martial arts often named under the umbrella terms kung fu (/ˈkʊŋ ˈf/; Chinese: 功夫; pinyin: gōngfu; Cantonese Yale: gūng fū) and wushu (武術wǔshù), are the several hundred fighting styles that have developed over the centuries in China.

These fighting styles are often classified according to common traits, identified as "families" (jiā), "sects" (pài) or "schools" (mén) of martial arts. Examples of such traits include Shaolinquan (少林拳) physical exercises involving Five Animals (五形) mimicry or training methods inspired by Old Chinese philosophies, religions, and legends.

Styles that focus on qi manipulation are called internal (内家拳nèijiāquán), while others that concentrate on improving muscle and cardiovascular fitness are called "external" (外家拳wàijiāquán). Geographical association, as in northern (北拳běiquán) and "southern" (南拳nánquán), is another popular classification method.