Kung fu or gongfu (功夫, Pinyin: gōngfu) is a well-known Chinese term used in the West to designate Chinese martial arts. Its original meaning is somewhat different, referring to one's expertise in any skill, not necessarily martial. Many consider wushu a better term for Chinese martial arts, as it translates directly into martial art.
Kung Fu (Gong-fu) literally means "hard work", "learned skill", or "skill acquired through application of time and effort", and is often used for the enormous variety of martial arts native to China.
(Chinese boxing) is, with karate, the most popularly known of all the martial arts. It employs kicks, strikes, throws, body turns, dodges, holds, crouches and starts, leaps and falls, handsprings and somersaults. These movements include more techniques involving the open hand, such as claws and rips, than those used in karate.
A very ancient form of martial arts which also has innumerable styles and substyles, Kung Fu includes the legendary Shaolin style of fighting, which was named after a 6th century monastery in Hunan, China. The Shaolin style was developed over many centuries, expanding from 72 basic fighting movements in its early development to 170 moves divided into five styles named after the animal the movements were supposed to resemble or represent; the Tiger, Leopard, Snake, Dragon and Crane. It is said that a monk named Bodhidharma (Ta Mo) traveled in 500 A.D. from India to China. He went to the Shaolin temple in Hunan Province. Bodhidharma found that the monks had no physical exercise and felt that meditation and physical movement were both important to attaining enlightenment. Bodhidhara designed a training program to help the monks strengthen their bodies, which then allowed them to endure long meditations. The series of movements developed by Bodhidharma eventually evolved into Kung Fu.