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Kung Fu - History, Philosophy and Technique

Book Review

 

Title:

Kung Fu - History, Philosophy  and Technique

Author:

David Chow and Richard Spangler

Publisher:

Unique Publications,Burbank, CA

ISBN:

0-86568-011-6

Reviewed By:

Frank Fogg

Review Date:

April, 2000

Rating:

West meets east in this treatise on  the history and philosophy of the Chinese martial art Kung Fu. Martial arts enthusiasts will recognize many of the experts presented in this book due to the ongoing popularity of martial arts movies.

ama-0865680116.jpg (3334 bytes)This book is unlike many others of its genre. It does not try to teach the reader Kung Fu. It does try to provide a historical perspective and philosophical background to the foundations of the art. The story begins with the travels and teachings of the founder of ancient boxing arts, Bodhidharma. An entire chapter is devoted to the relationship between Taoism and the development of Kung Fu to its current form. Finally, the different styles are explained along with the theory and philosophy behind each. Hard and soft style systems are both adequately covered and described.

Throughout this book are a number of interesting photographs of the masters of various styles of Kung Fu and some of the amazing feats they perform. Included are such displays as pushing a large needle through the face without the release of any blood, traditional breaking of a brick and bending of rods, and one photograph of a master with a car parked on his stomach (don't try this one at home!)

The book has an extensive section explaining how certain "miracles" are performed. Such stunts such as climbing a vertical brick wall, leaping ability and hand hardening are described along with the training exercises necessary to perform these stunts. All of these stunts that at first seem impossible suddenly become plausible with the explanations that Chow provides.

This book provides a valuable insight to the foundations of the Kung Fu martial art. It is a great addition to the library of any martial arts enthusiast and the pictures are mostly one-of-a-kind that one is unlikely to see elsewhere.

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