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History and Principles of Kung Fu Many of these schools or styles created their forms by imitating different types of fighting techniques from animals (e.g., tiger, panther, monkey, snake, or bear), birds (e.g., eagle, crane, or chicken), or insects (e.g., praying mantis). The reason for imitating the animals' fighting was that it was believed that, in order to survive in the harsh natural environment, all the animals still maintained a natural talent and skill for fighting. The best way to learn the fighting techniques was by studying and imitating these animals. For example, the sharp spirit of the eagle was adopted, the pouncing/fighting of the tiger and eagle's strong claws was imitated, and the attacking motions of the crane's beak and wings were copied. The beginning of Chinese martial arts probably started long before history was recorded. Martial techniques were discovered or created during the long epoch of continuous conflict between humanity and animals, or between different tribes of humans themselves. From these battles, experiences were accumulated and techniques discovered which were passed down generation to generation. Later, with the invention of weapons, different types and shapes of weapons were invented, until eventually metal was discovered. Following the advancement of weapon fabrication, new fighting techniques were created. Different schools and styles originated and tested one another. Since the martial techniques first developed in very ancient times, gradually they became part of Chinese culture. The philosophy of these fighting arts and culture has in turn been influenced by other elements of Chinese culture. Therefore, the Yin/Yang Taiji theory was adopted into the techniques, and the Bagua (Eight Trigrams) concept was blended into the fighting strategy and skills. The Shaolin Temple Buddhism traveled to China from India during the Eastern Han Ming emperor period (58-76 A.D.). Several hundred years after this, as several emperors became sincere Buddhists, Buddhism became very respected and popular in China. It is estimated that by 500 A.D., there probably existed more than 10 thousand Buddhist temples. In order to absorb more Buddhist philosophy during these five hundred years, some monks were sent to India to study Buddhism and bring back Buddhist classics. Naturally, some Indian monks were also invited to China for preaching.

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Remark: Through a display of Chinese dress, this exhibition at Powerhouse Museum, Australia, explores the extraordinary changes that have occurred in Chinese society over the last 300 years. The objects range from the sumptuous silk court robes of the Qing Dynasty to the latest designs from young fashion designers from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

 
 

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