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Kung Fu

Kung Fu (KF) is grounded in the philosophy of Taoism (pronounced as ‘Daoism’). Taoism, pre-dates even Buddhism which has played a significant role given KF was first practised by Chinese Monks who later established the Shaolin Temple.

Taoism Founded by Lao-Tzu (604-531 BCE) and recorded in the ‘Tao Te Ching’, Taoism is a collection of teachings for living in harmony with nature, other people and within yourself. The Tao (simply translated, ‘The way’ or ‘path’) is considered to be a transcendent force and the source of all creation.

The life goals or three jewels for a Taoist are compassion, humility and moderation. Taoism is about living within nature’s laws and in harmony with the cycle of nature. It is about recognising that everything is interconnected, that everything you do affects everything else around you. Taoists seek to live in harmony with the Tao. Kung fu aims to keep us in harmony and balance.

Lao-Tzu developed the concept of Yin and Yang to explain that all things have two aspects. Both are necessary and harmony can only be achieved through seeking a balance of Yin and Yang energies. Examples of Yin and Yang are hot and cold, bright and dark, male and female.

This notion is captured in the Taoist symbol comprised of an outer circle representing the universe. The circle is divided into a Yin division (black) and a Yang division (white) with the curved line separating the divisions indicating a state of flux (Qi) with a smaller circle of Yin in the Yang division and Yang in the Yin division.

The forces of Yin and Yang are well demonstrated in the nature of water — both soft and yet with immense power. The nature of water is also used to explain another central concept to Taoism which is striving for non-action or paradoxically ‘wei wu wei’ which means ‘action without action’.

In Taoism, Qi (pronounced chee) means air or breath, Qi is considered the basis of life. Very simply put, Qi is a kind of vital energy or force that is fluid and constantly changing form. Qi is an important energy which can be used to attain equilibrium.

In the human body, Qi (along with blood and fluid) travels along channels known as meridians which lead to the organs. The flow of Qi can be regulated through the use of points along these meridians to enhance health and wellbeing.

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