Chinese martial arts
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Chinese martial arts, which are called kung fu or gung fu () () and wushu (), are a number of fighting styles that have developed over the centuries in China. These fighting styles are often classified according to common traits, identified as "families" (; ), "sects" (; ) or "schools" (; ) of martial arts. Examples of such traits include physical exercises involving animal mimicry, or training methods inspired by Chinese philosophies, religions and legends. Styles that focus on qi manipulation are called ''internal'' (; ), while others that concentrate on improving muscle and cardiovascular fitness are called "external" (; ). Geographical association, as in ''northern'' (; ) and "southern" (; ), is another popular classification method.
''Kung fu'' and ''wushu'' are loanwords from Chinese that, in English, are used to refer to Chinese martial arts. However, the Chinese terms ''kung fu'' and ''wushu'' (; Cantonese: móuh-seuht) have distinct meanings. The Chinese equivalent of the term "Chinese martial arts" would be ''Zhongguo wushu'' () (Mandarin).
In Chinese, the term ''kung fu'' () refers to any skill that is acquired through learning or practice. It is a compound word composed of the words 功 (gōng) meaning "work", "achievement", or "merit", and 夫 (fū) which is a particle or nominal suffix with diverse meanings.
' literally means "martial art". It is formed from the two words : (), meaning "martial" or "military" and (), which translates into "discipline", "skill" or "method". The term ''wushu'' has also become the name for the modern sport of ''wushu'', an exhibition and full-contact sport of bare-handed and weapons forms (Chinese: ), adapted and judged to a set of aesthetic criteria for points developed since 1949 in the People's Republic of China.
''Quan fa'' () is another Chinese term for Chinese martial arts. It means "fist principles" or "the law of the fist" (''quan'' means "boxing" or "fist" (''curled hand'' ), and ''fa'' means "law", "way" or "study"). The name of the Japanese martial art Kenpō is represented by the same characters.
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