Kung Fu (功 夫), derived from the Shaolin Temple, is a Chinese martial art consisting of nearly endless series of forms, movements, techniques, and ideas about defense and fighting strategies. The genesis of Chinese martial arts has been attributed to the need for self-defense, hunting techniques, and military training in ancient China.
The basics of Kung Fu are a vital part of training, as a student cannot progress to the more advanced stages without them. They are usually made up of rudimentary techniques, conditioning exercises, and stances (步法, structural postures). Basic training may involve simple movements that are performed repeatedly; stretching, meditation, striking, throwing, or jumping as well as the use of weapons and forms (a series of predetermined movements combined to be practiced as one linear set of movements). Without strong and flexible muscles, management of breath, or proper body mechanics, it is impossible for a student to progress in Kung Fu. All students begin learning the basic techniques of Kung Fu and, as they progress, engage in more advanced techniques including weapons and animal style forms.
A popular Chinese philosohy in regards to Shaolin Kung Fu states:
"Train both Internal and External. External training includes the hands, the eyes, the body, and stances. Internal training includes the heart, the spirit, the mind, breathing, and strength."