What Is Chinese Boxing?

Why Study a Chinese Martial Art

What Does It Take

How To Select a School

What Is a Martial Art Master


Chinese boxing is a generic term that applies to the martial arts originating in China. They may include striking, punching, kicking, grappling, throwing, sweeping, blocking, weapons, joint locks and more. As opposed to traditional boxing we are familiar with in America, the Chinese martial arts are more than a physical activity. It is holistic in that mind-body integration is essential. There is a multitude of systems conceived in different regions of China with different bases as their underlying foundation. A small sampling of some of these styles follows:

  • Choy Li Fat
  • Xing Yi
  • Jeet Kune Do
  • Pa Kua Chang
  • Praying Mantis
  • Muay Thai
  • Hung Gar
  • Tai Chi (Taiji)
  • White Crane
  • Wing Chung

There are as many similarities as differences between styles. Often, when people look at someone performing a particular art they see differences; however, if one is careful, and uses a discerning eye, then the similarities become evident. Some like Taiji are further classified into different styles: Yang, Chen, Sun, and Wu for instance. Some are taught and practiced according to traditional methods and some are more modern. For practitioners of all levels, a good mix of modern and traditional training is beneficial. For best development, one should practice both internal and external. The human body is very adaptable and can easily become accustomed to one training regimin, which may lead to strength in one area, but result in a weakness in another. A wise student should take some of the traditional inner teachings with that of the external. The human body needs both fast and slow movements, hard and soft movements; working from the inside out and at other times from the outside in. Many people are attracted to the practice of Taiji and its internal methods; at the same time they eschew the external training of other systems and deprive themselves of everything that Chinese boxing (martial arts) has to offer.

All these systems incorporate elements of self defense, movement re-education, and require correct body alignment and posture. One should expect to spend years learning or relearning how to control your body. These are just the physical components of the art, however. At their deepest level individual cultivation is possible.

Is Chinese Boxing the Same as Gong Fu (Kung Fu)?

In America, the term Gong Fu is used to mean martial arts or to refer to Chinese Boxing methods. This is based largely on the commercialisation of Gong Fu as fighting or what is presented through the lens of Hollywood. Gong Fu means time, effort, a high degree of skill or workmanship, or art. Gong Fu represents the unending struggle for self-improvement and achievement. In that sense, it can be present in the martial arts as well as any endeavor one chooses to pursue, such as the management and balance of one's life. It is possible to find Gong Fu in many aspects of a persons life. The physical training and practice associated with Chinese Boxing is to strengthen and improve oneself. This practice is not merely for the physical body, but of the mind and spirit; as the body is merely the container for the whole person. To achieve a high level of Gong Fu requires perseverance, patience, humility, respect for others, benevolence and a willingness to learn.

Yi Dan Er Li San Gong Fu
First courage, second strength, third Gong Fu