Sunday, November 25, 2012

Kung Fu: Fanda.

Once upon a time – around 6th century AD- there was an Indian Buddhist monk called Bodhidharma, who was given to a peripatetic life. And then one fine day he landed in a Chinese temple by the name of Shaolin. There he found the monks rather weak and unfit. So he devised a regimen of exercise which became the basis of what later came to be called Kung fu. It is actually a generic term for Chinese martial arts and there are various schools and styles. Among the major techniques are the ones based on animals: dragon, tiger, leopard, snake and crane. Kung Fu movements are circular in nature, with one movement flowing into the other. This gives it a rather graceful air, and some of the moves are reminiscent of the ancient martial arts called” Kalaripayettu practiced in Malaba r. Karate: Some time in the early ‘80s, small- town kids were yelling “kiyaah” and throwing their limbs at weird angles. Not only that. Dojos were springing up at every corner, tailors were busy stitching gis and pimply adolescents were tightening their obis. All thanks to a film called Enter the Dragon. Karate originated in the Japanese island of Okinawa sometime during the 14th century. Its origins lie in the mixing of the indigenous fighting system known as “te” with Chinese martial arts brought to the island by immigrants from Fujian province. Karate movements are more linear and crisp with clear stop and go movements. There is bias toward striking, punching and kicking. While the weapons are similar, a Karateka dresses (gi) is different: a kimono- like top and loose pants and a belt (obi). Karetekas do not wear shoes while practicing.What Bruce lee showcased in his films was neither Kung Fu nor Karate but Jeet Kune do. According to Lee it is a “style without a style”. “The art of fighting without fighting”. -Yusuf Begg.

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