The history of Kung Fu actually dates back over 4,000 years! There are actual drawings of martial arts movements on ancient tortoise shells from nearly 2,500 BC. While most believe that true Kung Fu dates back to Tamo, it actually reaches much farther back into antiquity. Tamo did develop several important exercise programs including Muscle Change Classic, Marrow Washing Course and the Lo Han Shou but he was not the founder of Kung Fu. Over the millennia, Kung Fu has evolved and grown to include a tremendous amount of internal programs (those designed to build chi in the body), external strength programs, and fighting forms and styles.
When a student graduated from Shaolin, he would become a master and often go on to not only hone his existing skills but often to create his own style thus making Kung Fu as diverse as its many hundreds of masters. This is just one important reason to choose Kung Fu as a martial art. With thousands of years of training and refinement, it is a complete HEALTH SYSTEM as well as a fighting SCIENCE! Unlike many of the new styles of Martial Arts that are much more limited in scope and diversity, Kung Fu’s extensive training means that an instructor with a solid background in many different systems does not have to push every student through the same program. The teacher can tailor the program to fit a student or class to provide maximum benefit for them. For example, if a class consists of shorter, stockier, stronger students, we would probably not teach them White Crane Kung Fu first. Instead, we might build a program around a system like Tams that is linear and power dependent or even something like ape or monkey. While a thinner, taller student might get taught Crane or even Long Fist.
Because a well versed teacher can offer teaching in many different styles (with and without weapons), students can grow better faster and be challenged not only in their weak areas but boosted in their strengths. When you’re looking for a Kung Fu School, it’s important to find out how many different styles they offer. A school that only teaches out of a handful of different styles can limit your progress and may not allow you to reach your potential!