Gwong Zau 廣州 is the Cantonese name for the city of Guǎngzhōu, capital of the Chinese province of Canton (Guǎngdōng 廣东).
With a millenary culture and language, this flourishing city has been the most important seaport in southern China since the time of the Hàn 漢朝 dynasty (206 B.C.-220 A.D.), and a key place in the development of arts such as painting, calligraphy, architecture, opera and martial arts.
Gwong Zau Kung Fu is a site dedicated to Chinese Culture in general, and to Chinese Martial Arts in particular. In it we will share information and opinions about Kung Fu, Chinese calligraphy, the world of tea and many other aspects of Chinese culture and tradition.
There is nowhere to arrive except the present moment.
Thich Nhath Hanh
Gōng fu 功夫 is a term that can be translated as "mastery". It consists of two Chinese characters: 功 gōng, which literally means "work", "skill", "success", and 夫 fu, which translates as "man" or "person". Gōng fu is therefore a personal ability achieved through time by a prolonged practice that requires effort, patience and dedication.
Recently, and especially in the West, the term has been associated with the practice of Chinese Martial Arts, whose romanized name has taken the standard form Kung Fu. Nevertheless, in the same way that a martial artist has to develop his gōng fu, the same thing happens with any other person who wants to reach a high degree of mastery in his art. Calligraphy and the art of tea are considered, both, gōng fu. Of a chán 禪 master we say that he has gōng fu. The same could be said of a carpenter or any other highly skilled professional.
And gōng fu is, above all, a way of being present, since it requires attention and concentration that unites us indissolubly to the here and now. Through the development of gōng fu we can achieve full realization as persons, guide ourselves by virtue and discipline and, finally, be happy in the present with whatever we live at each moment.
Traditional Chinese Martial Arts are a set of very old combat and defense systems that have significantly influenced the rest of the martial styles of the world. Formerly referred to as wǔ shù 武術 ("martial arts") or guó shù 國術 ("national arts"), today they are popularly known as Kung Fu 功夫.
The Chinese culture (中華文化 Zhōnghuá wénhuà) is one of the oldest in the world. We will deal here with the customs, ideas, traditions and other aspects of Chinese thought, without pretending to imply that China as a nation has a single culture, for it is composed of a rich mosaic of ethnic groups, religions and philosophical currents that blend and overlap with each other to produce one of the richest cultural environments on the planet.
Qi Gong and TCM
Qì gōng 氣功 (or Chi Kung) is a kind of exercise that makes use of the energy (qì 氣) that circulates through the body and permeates all things. It is a fundamental practice of both Martial Arts and Traditional Chinese Medicine (中醫 zhōng yī) or TCM.
Calligraphy (書法 shūfǎ) is one of four traditional arts (四藝 sìyì) of China. Practiced with brush and ink on a type of rice paper known as xuān (宣紙 xuānzhǐ), it is also considered a way to cultivate character. Mastery of the technique requires years of practice and a high degree of attention and patience; in short, of gōng fu 功夫.
Gong Fu Cha
In China, the tea preparation ceremony is known as gōng fū chá 功夫 茶. As we already know, gōng fū means "mastery", "skill"; and chá 茶 means "tea." This expression indicates that a certain degree of gōng fū, of skill, is necessary in the preparation of tea.
Meditation is a fundamental part not only of Eastern Martial Arts, but also of many philosophical-religious systems, as well as a practice that has been proven very useful in maintaining people's mental and emotional balance.
China has a fascinating history, and has been the epicenter of some of the world's most extensive and powerful empires. Although here we will focus primarily on the history of Chinese Martial Arts, we do not want to set aside other areas, characters and events of interest.
The Chinese nation has a rich philosophical tradition that goes back to antiquity. Concepts such as yīn-yáng 陰|陽, dào 道, qì 氣, etc. were formulated by the Chinese through observation of nature and human society and mind, and they have lasted until our days, awakening the interest of people from all the nations of the globe.
Poetry and Literature
The Chinese nation is one of the most prolific in terms of literary and poetic production. The Chinese language, which also served as a vehicle for the transmission of culture, maintained its dominant position even in periods of foreign domination, during the Mongolian and Manchu dynasies.
About the Author
Juan Otín Uriarte was born in Zaragoza, in 1985.
He is passionate about Chinese culture and Martial Arts. Since 2012 he practices Choy Li Fut 蔡李佛 and Tài Jí Quán 太極拳. He started under the guidance of Grand Master Jie-Gao Pedro Rico, with whom he spent four years until his death in 2016. Short after, he met Sifu Manuel Lázaro, also a former student of Jie-Gao, and continued his learning with him, eventually becoming an instructor in his school, Jiŭ Long.
He is also a great tea enthusiast and in the past he managed his own retail business. When he was younger he spent many months in China and all around Asia, traveling and getting to know the culture, and since then he has returned several times.
Since 2018 he is student of Master Pun Seon Seoi 潘顺遂 of Guǎngzhōu 廣州, where he has lived for nearly two years studying Choy Li Fut from Master Pun himself, whose father was a direct student of Grandmaster Chan Yiu Chi 陳耀墀.
Finally, since he was a teenager he has been interested in Buddhist and Taoist philosophies and meditation. Specially attracted to Chán 禪 (Zen) Buddhism, which has precisely influenced our Kung Fu style Choy Li Fut, since it is a heir of the Shàolín 少林 Chán tradition, through monk Choy Fook 蔡褔.
Many Kung Fu styles trace their origins to an alleged Shàolín 少林 temple in the southern province of Fújiàn 福建, which would be attacked by the troops of the Qīng 清 dynasty, and from which only five monks, known as the Five Elders or Five Ancestors of Shàolín (少林五祖 Shàolín wǔ zǔ), would escape.Read more...
Many martial styles incorporate meditation practices in different ways or have an important meditative component in their practice. But, what is meditation, and why is it related to martial arts?Read more...
Qī Jìguāng 戚繼光, a general of the Míng 明 dynasty and military genius, not only invented the “mandarin duck” formation (鴛鴦陣 yuānyāng zhèn), but modified the design of the Chinese long sabre based on the Japanese one, and also studied Japanese sword techniques to introduce them into the handling of this weapon.Read more...