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List of Chinese martial arts

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Title: List of Chinese martial arts  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Chinese martial arts, Drunken Monkey, Northern Shaolin (martial art), Yuejiaquan, Northern Praying Mantis
Collection: Chinese Martial Arts, Martial Arts-Related Lists
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List of Chinese martial arts

The hundreds of different styles and schools of Chinese martial arts (中國武術) are collectively called kungfu (功夫), wushu (武術), kuoshu (國術), or ch'uan fa (拳法), depending on the persons or groups participating. The following list is by no means exhaustive.


  • Alphabetical listing 1
    • Traditional styles 1.1
    • Modern hybrids 1.2
  • General terms 2
  • Internal and external styles 3
    • Styles often considered internal styles 3.1
  • See also 4

Alphabetical listing

Traditional styles

The following martial arts have not been influenced by other cultures or have a lineage that predates the 1940s:

Modern hybrids

The following martial arts systems are either influenced by other cultures or possess a lineage that started after 1940:

  • Hong Cha
  • I Liq Chuan (意力拳) - Mind-Body Art
  • Jeet Kune Do (振藩截拳道) - Bruce Lee's Way of the Intercepting Fist; though it is not considered a Chinese martial art it incorporates concepts from Chinese martial arts
  • Jing Quan Dao (精拳道) - A modern synthetic style
  • Kenpō - Japanese description of various Chinese arts
  • Kuntao (拳道 or 拳頭) - Way of the Fist, a Hokkien term referring to Chinese martial arts practiced in Southeast Asia and Indonesia in particular
  • Sanshou (散手) or Sanda (散打) - Free Fighting
  • Shaolin-Do ( 少林道) - Translated as the Way of Shaolin
  • Wushu (sport) (武術) - Exhibition and a full-contact sport derived from traditional Chinese martial arts.

General terms

  • Chi Gerk (黐腳) - Term used for sticky legs sensitivity training most notably used in Wing Chun. Similar concepts are also practiced in Hung Gar and other Chinese martial arts.
  • Chi Sao (黐手) - Term used for sticky arm sensitivity training most notably used in Wing Chun. Similar concepts are also practiced in Hung Gar and other Chinese martial arts.
  • Zui Quan (醉拳) "Drunken Fist" - Term used for "drunken" techniques in many styles of Chinese Martial Arts.
  • Dim Mak (點脈) - General term for point striking.
  • Iron Palm (Chinese: 铁掌功; Cantonese: tit1 zoeng2 gung1) is a body of training techniques in various Chinese martial arts.
  • Iron Shirt (Traditional Chinese: 鐵衫; Simplified Chinese: 铁衫; Pinyin: tiě shān; Cantonese: tit1 saam1) is a form of hard style martial art exercise for protecting the human body from impacts in a fight.
  • Lei tai (擂台; Lèi tái) - Full Contact competition platform used in Chinese Martial Arts.
  • Chin na (擒拿) - General term for joint locks.
  • Sanshou (散手) - General term for sparring methods, but also another name for the sport, San da. (散打)
  • Tuishou (推手) - Term used for the "push hands" partner exercises used in the neijia arts.

Internal and external styles

Chinese martial arts may be divided into neijia (內家, internal family) or wàijiā (外家, external family) styles. However, many styles combine both internal and external techniques.

There is a discussion within the martial arts community, at both the popular and scholar level, over the distinction between "internal" and "external" arts. Consequently, the list of styles considered internal or external may vary greatly from source to source. There are only three Chinese styles that are universally recognized as internal, sometimes referred to the "Orthodox Internal Styles." These three styles are: Xingyiquan, Baguazhang, and T'ai chi ch'uan (Taijiquan). These three internal arts were categorized as such by Sun Lutang, who greatly popularized the terms "neijia" and "wàijiā" as a method of classifying martial arts.

Styles often considered internal styles

  • Baguazhang (八卦掌 Pa Kua Chang) - Eight Trigrams Palm
  • Liuhebafa Chuan (六合八法 Liu He Pa Fa, Lok Hup Ba Fa) - Water Boxing
  • T'ai chi ch'uan (太極拳 Taijiquan) - Ultimate Supreme Fist
  • Tongbeiquan (通背拳) - Through-the-Back Fist
  • Xingyiquan (形意拳 Hsing-i Chuan) - Shape-Intent Fist
  • Yiquan (意拳 I Chuan) - Mind Boxing

See also

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