Chinese martial art that is simultaneously a spiritual and a physical discipline. It has been practiced at least since the Zhou dynasty (1111–255 BC). Its prescribed stances and actions are based on keen observations of human skeletal and muscular anatomy and physiology, and many of its movements are imitations of the fighting styles of animals. Its combative techniques resemble those used in karate and tae kwon do. Self-discipline is emphasized. Kung fu performed as exercise resembles t'ai chi ch'uan.
Variants of KUNG FU
kung fu Pinyin gongfu
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on kung fu, visit Britannica.com.
Seen & Heard
What made you look up kung fu? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.