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Kung Fu: History, Philosophy, and Technique

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Good

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Book Overview

The Year was 1972. President Nixon had just made his historic visit to China. The West was just beginning to discover such concepts as herbal medicine and acupuncture. And the television series, "Kung... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

Very good info on Kung Fu

This book was originally published in 1977 as a way to introduce Westerners to the complex history and traditions of Kung Fu. This book covers the history of the Chinese martial arts quite well, given the space they had to work with. The history goes all the way back to the bronze age, and is followed throught the centuries. Bodhidharma, the legendary figure who brought the movements of Kung Fu and the philosophy of Chan (Zen) to the Shaolin temple is given an entire chapter. The Taoist influence over the Chinese arts is mentioned, specifically when talking about the internal styles of T'ai Chi, Pa Kua, and H'sing Yi. The emphasis is on T'ai Chi. Several external styles of Kung Fu are featured as well: Northern Shaolin, Dragon, Wing Chun, White Crane, Praying Mantis, Monkey, Hung Gar, and Choy Lee Fut. Each style is given a one or two page description that includes history, techniques, fight strategy, and overall philosophy. There is also a chapter on Chin Na, but those familiar with other Chin Na works will find that the techniques covered here, while effective for self-defense, don't even come close to showing the complexities of the "seizing and controlling" art. There is also a chapter on how to perform amazing feats, with much of the text taken from an ancient Chinese book. I believe that this chapter has some value, though I can't verify the various Kungs that emphasise Chi power. The last bits of the book are on Kung Fu films, the Westernization of Kung Fu, and some neat little proverbs. Overall, this book is very good for introducing people to the Chinese martial arts, whith a very broad range of subjects covered. There are some weaknesses, though, notably that the text seems a little dated, and the photos are in awful condition. Still, the self-defense moves are fairly practical, and the insight into the history of Kung Fu and the different styles makes this book worth buying.


This is a GREAT book. I originally picked up a copy half price in the bargain bin at a used bookstore. I would have purchased it sooner but didn't know if it was good or not. This is one of the greatest Kung Fu books I have ever found. It shows technique of defense/offense, talks about different arts origins (Hung Gar, Wing Chun, Mantis, Shaolin, Tai Chi, etc), media, and shows the old ways people trained years ago (digging a hole in the ground, punching sand, amongst others). I'd rate this higher if I could.

Excellent Kung Fu Book

If you are interested in the Shaolin history and spirit of shaolin system, this is a great book. It will give you a foundation of the shaolin system. It is even worth reading a second time to pick up missed details.

A masterpiece for those interested in the eastern arts

A well researched book that deserves more than 2 thumbs up! It seek to deepen our understanding and appreciation for eastern martial arts. An eye opener to definitions, origins, histories and techniques! Those who think that martial arts are more than just kicking and punching will get a real kick out of this book!
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