Kung-fu is a commonly-used generic term for several hundreds traditional Chinese martial arts, sometimes called Chinese boxing. Literally, Kung-fu means "a man's effort," which is understood as exercise; wu-shu, the more accepted term in mainland China, means "martial arts." Because of the populartity of Bruce Lee films in the United States in the 1970s, Kung-fu is the name by which Chinese martial arts became known in the West. In fact, the term Kung-fu is used by only one of China's many dialects, Cantonese. This is the dialect spoken in Hong Kong where Bruce Lee lived and where most of his movies were made. Other names for Kung-fu are quan-fa (in Beijing) and kakutei-jutsi (in Japan).

The various forms of Chinese boxing fall into two categories: the External System (waichia), which adobts rigorous physical training and an agressive approach to combat; and the Internal System (nei-chia), which stresses exercise and stillness to attain spiritual growth and as a means of self-defence. Most Chinese martial arts forms, including Tai Chi and Hsing-I, either fall into one of these two categories or incorporate aspects from both.


The origins of Kung-fu are rooted in the most ancient forms of warfare. According to one story, the third emperor of China, the legendary Huang-ti, or Yellow Emperor, defeated a horned monster in battle. Their fight was mimicked for centuries in sportlike ritual dances in which two opponents, one wearing a horned helmet, fought against each other. These mock fights were named Ch'ih-yu Hsi. References to this form of combat dates back over four thousand years. The next mention of a distinctive Chinese art of combat dates from the Chou dynasty (1122-255 b.c.). In the Spring and Autumn Annal, our most comprehensive resources from that period, mention is made of archery, wrestling and fencing. With the rise of Taoism in China in the sixth century b.c., some of the emerging martial arts took on spiritual aspects, which have since become an integral part of the martial arts. As China disintegrated into numerous warring states, the actual fighting techniques developed more rapidly. Whereas once they were practiced only by nobles, they were now taught even to common foot soldiers.

Vital points

The human body has 42 individual pressure points, or vital points, which may be used to neutralise an attacker. I have listed them below along with their name, location on the body and which effect a correct engagement will result in.

Tendo: located at the top of the cranium.
Trauma to cranial nerves causing loss of consciousness.
Tento: above the forehead.
Trauma to cranial nerves causing loss of consciousness.
Kasumi: temple on either side of the head.
Trauma to cranial nerves, loss of consciousness.
Seidon: upper and lower parts of the eye sockets on either side of the head.
Cerebral trauma causing loss of consciousness.
Gansei: the eyeball.
Severe trauma to cerebrune causing loss of consciousness.
Uto: point of base of the nose between the eyes.
Severe trauma to cerebrum causing loss of consciousness and loss of sensory and motor functions.
Jinchu: point directly below the nose, the juncture of the left and right upper jawbones.
Pressure causes trauma to cranial nerves with loss of consciousness.
Gekon: directly below the lower lip.
Trauma to cranial nerves resulting in loss of consciousness.
Mikazuki: lower edge of lower jaw.
Impact causes a concussion with resulting loss of consciousness and loss of nervous co-ordination.
Matsukaze: either side of the neck.
Pressure causes trauma to the carotid artery and the pheumogastric nerve leading to loss of consciousness and shock.
Murasame: front points of the throat on either side, just above the collar bone.
Trauma to the artery and nerve below the collar bone causing loss of consciousness.
Flichu: center bone at the base of the neck, just above the collar bone.
Impact causes loss of consciousness due to blocking of windpipe.
Tanchu: middle of the sternum.
This vital point causes loss of consciousness due to trauma to the heart, bronchus, larges arteries, including aorta. Malfunction of the respiratory system and shock follows.
Kyosen: lowest part of the sternum.
Severe trauma to liver, stomach and heart. Disturbance of the nervous system causign shock and loss of consciousness.
Suigetsu: solar plexus.
Trauma to stomach and liver, damage to nerves and causes loss of functions in internal organs. Loss of consciousness.
Myojo or Tandem: just below the navel.
Trauma to small intestine and bladder along with large blood vessels and nerves in the abdomen causing shock and loss of motor function.
Kyoei: just below the armpit on either side of the body.
Severe trauma to lungs and surrounding nerves. Loss of lung function, stoppage of breath with circulatory failture.
Ganka: just below the nipples on either side.
Loss of lung function, stoppage of breath and circulatory failure.
Denko: upper abdomen below the upper ribs on either side of the body.
Disturbance of nervous function of the heart and lungs.
Inazuma: abdomen at point of lowest ribs on either side of the body; waist.
Disturbance of nervous function of the heart and lungs.
Uchi shakutaku: Inside wrist on both hands.
Trauma to nerve and artery, causing chest and throat pain, loss of motor function and loss of consciousness.
Shuko: back of either hand, points between thumb and index finger, and middle and ring finger.
Shock to the median nerve causing severe pain in throat and chest with loss of motor function and loss of consciousness.
Yako: inner joint of the upper thigh on either side, just below the crotch.
Trauma to local artery and nerves, causing severe pain in hip and abdomen resulting in loss of motor function.
Fakuto: lower part of either thigh, just above the knee.
Pain in lower abdomen and loss of motor function in leg; loss of consciousness.
Naike Uchikurobushi: Point just below inner part of ankle bone.
Severe pain to the hip causes loss of motor function. Trauma to the tibial artery causing loss of consciousness.
Kori: instep between the tendoms of the big does and the second toe.
Trauma to the nerve inside the sole, trauma to the tibial artery and adjacent nerve leading to loss of motor function.
Soin kusagakure: top part of the foot and the end of the fourth and fifth metatarsals.
Trauma to the nerve inside the sole, trauma to the tibial artery and adjacent nerve leading to loss of motor function.
Kokotsu mukozune: either shin.
Trauma to the fibular nerve, severe pain and loss of consciousness.
Kinteki: any male's testicles.
Trauma to the nerves and arteries of the testicles and groin. Loss of motor function and inhibitions of breathing.