Sunday, August 14, 2011
It turns out that kung fu does not really refer to a specific style of martial art, or even to martial arts at all. It means something like "the achievement of excellence" in some undertaking or other. You could have kung fu in baking or poetry or swimming or meditation, or even in martial arts. A more appropriate generic term for martial arts might be wu shu, which means something like fighting technique. English speakers are now used to associating kung fu with fighting, so perhaps one shouldn't try to change it now. But it is worth remembering that one can achieve excellence in other things as well.