The True Meaning of Kung Fu

One can learn more than martial arts in a Kung Fu academy. In fact one could treat Kung Fu as a way of living. In truth, Kung Fu itself is more than a martial arts practice, and the proof is in the derivation of the term Kung Fu. Let’s try to understand what Kung Fu truly means..

Modern culture often neglects the true definition of Kung Fu - and its universal application across the pursuits of life. Kung Fu is derived from the Chinese compounded word: gōngfu. Gongfu is an amalgam of the words gōng “功” - which translates as “work,” “merit,” or “achievement” - and fu “夫”- which loosely translates to “man” with vast subconnotations and meanings. In this way, Kung Fu - when translated literally - means the achievement of man. And interpreters point out that Kung Fu and gōngfu refer to working with effort over time.

Therefore, the idea of Kung Fu can translate into other skills in our lives. If we think of Kung Fu as one’s achievement, or one’s skill earned through work, we can come to realize that we can apply the idea of Kung Fu to any art or skill. One might harness Kung Fu in their writing. With practice and time a “Kung Fu writer” hones her skills. One might harness Kung Fu in their cooking. A chef may spend a lifetime perfecting his recipes.

Kung Fu is synonymous with growth, progress, and effort. And in practicing martial arts in a Kung Fu academy, one might find oneself applying the ideals of Kung Fu martial arts to a Kung Fu lifestyle.