Gong Fu hieroglyph

"Master, they say that Hayden could stand on one finger?" - "So what's the big deal?" - he wondered. And the teacher was busy doing a very intellectual thing at the time - peeling potatoes. And so he put away the knife and the potato, wiped his hands - and made a stand on one finger! He stood like that, then picked up the potato again, and said, "Did it do anything for you?" - "No," I said. "It didn't do me any good! I have to peel the potatoes, because dinner is coming up."
It's called gungfu. It's not about mastery, it's about the utter ordinariness of mastery...

Gunfu can be said to refer to any skill: wood carving, cooking, tea making, martial arts...
The concept of "gongfu" is usually to be understood contextually. It is "supreme mastery", "great work", "hard work", "asceticism", "time" (more precisely, "having time to do some work").
Since ancient times the term "gongfu" has been used both as "time" and as "long work done with great skill" (this was, for example, the characteristic of the ruler Chang Wanjun in the Han era, who could work in this way for more than ninety days without rest). Since the UP century it began to be understood also as a grandiose success of a ruler, sage or other great person, the fruits of which were for the benefit of people. Moreover, the presence of such "gungfu" in the activities of a ruler becomes almost the most important characteristic of his deeds, and woe to those who, like, for example, the ruler Yang Xing, was accused of the absence of gungfu - it was tantamount to covering with shame.
The presence of gungfu is understood as a universal concept, because gungfu, acquired in one thing, say, in wushu, extends to all other areas of human life. Hence the numerous stories of wushu masters who were famous philosophers, poets, astronomers, etc.
Time-gunfu was understood as the greatest jewel - for it is by having time that one can achieve this gunfu. Otherwise, as stated in the treatise of the Taoist mystic Ge Hong (3rd-4th centuries) people are born "who value neither art nor writing, they only waste time (gungfu) in vain". Note that already in antiquity gungfu in the sense of "great doing" and "precious, skillfully spent time" became synonymous. It is interesting that in Ge Hun we see probably for the first time a parallel use of two variants of spelling of the first character "gun" from the word "gungfu". The first variant means "deed", "achievement", "action", "skill", the second variant means "work", "craft", "skill". Since both variants sound exactly the same in the spoken language, both concepts became absolutely interchangeable, and the Chinese dictionaries consider them as synonyms. This interchangeability is also largely due to the fact that the concept of "gungfu" largely belonged to the oral folklore tradition of sectarian societies and martial arts schools, where the vast majority of knowledge was transmitted orally.
In wushu the concept of "gungfu" was used in two senses: first, as the highest revelation on the way of self-attainment, gaining mastery as the ability of the spirit to accept the wonder of the world and trust (xin) it, second, as the totality of time and effort spent on achieving such mastery. One of the modern meanings of the word gungfu, "free time," is close to this. Gungfu - is both the goal and the way to it, the highest achievement and unhurried, painstaking work.
Three components are said to be necessary to achieve gungfu: patient study, the right environment, and an experienced teacher. A remarkable passage on this subject we find in a famous master of Tai Chi chuan Chen Xin (the Х1Х century): "Modern students, without making zeal (gong), immediately strive to achieve success, making minimum effort and strive for great achievements. Is this similar to what Confucius said:
"Difficulties first, only then successes"?

 The origin and development of martial arts


Historical records show that agriculture, hunting, medicine, trade and writing were prevalent in China as early as 3500 B.C. during the reigns of Emperors Bok He, Sip Nong and Hwang Je.

Rock paintings found in the Nile River valley as well as hieroglyphs in the burial vaults of the Egyptian pyramids show that the Egyptians practiced fist fights even before 3000 B.C., resembling modern boxing. There is documentary evidence of the cultivation of fist fights by the Mesopotamians and Sumerians (11th to 11th century B.C.).

Based on historical materials, it is easy to imagine how much the survival of primitive humanity depended on the ability to use hands and feet to fight enemies, wild animals, and the environment. As mankind evolved, primitive fighting techniques were continually improved, eventually evolving into martial arts.

Since the time of the ancient Greeks (700 BC), boxing, wrestling and other martial arts have been a permanent feature of the Olympics. In the works of Homer (800-900 BC) there are descriptions of fights held without weapons. Ancient Greek philosopher Plato (347-427 BC) mentions the "fight without an opponent" (something similar to the shadow fight in modern boxing), elements of which, along with elements of wrestling and boxing techniques, were combined into pankration - a kind of fighting, in which blows could be delivered by any segment of the body.

Over time, Greek pankration evolved into Roman gladiatorialism. During the Golden Age of the Roman Empire, gladiatorial performances designed to entertain spectators were extremely cruel. After the fall of the Roman Empire these performances were staged in Germany, Normandy and England, and then gradually transformed into modern boxing and wrestling.

There are documents which show that some types of fist fights were widespread in ancient China. The art of palgwaye, which originated in the Ju Gong era (about 2000 BC), reached its perfection almost a thousand years later - during the Song Dynasty.

A large number of martial arts styles using hands and yoga evolved throughout the world. Each of them reflected the peculiarities of the time, as well as the cultural traditions of the respective countries. In China kung fu and daiji-chon were widespread, in India - selambam, in France - savate, in Japan - judo, karate, aikido and diujitsu, in Russia - sambo, in Malaysia - bosilat, in Thailand - kick-boxig, in Korea - tae-kyon, su bak-gi and taekwon-do. Some of these martial arts are as old as humanity itself. It is almost impossible to trace the history to say where and when the use of hands and feet in martial arts first began.

There are many legends relating to unarmed combat, many of which are readily accepted as fact. Some authorities claim that the main impetus for the development of arm and leg techniques in martial arts came from the sixth century Buddhist monk Bodhidharma (called Tamo in China and Daruma in Japan), who was the third son of the Indian Brahman emperor known as the 28th Indian patriarch of Zen Buddhism.

It is believed that Daruma (448-529) traveled across the Himalayas to China from a monastery in southern India to teach the monarch of the ruling Liang dynasty the principles of Buddhism. (The essence of Zen doctrine is the pursuit of inner self-purification through abstinence from material goods, avarice, emptiness, etc.)

After reaching China in 520, he went to the Shaolin monastery on Mount Shao Shik. Here he began teaching Buddhism to Chinese monks. Daruma's strict discipline and intense physical training soon exhausted the monks. In order to prepare the monks for the rigorous discipline, Daruma began to train them from the books of Yi-Jnn Knong (perfecting the body) and Si Shim Kyong (perfecting the spirit). The training system used was aimed at freeing the trainees from all prejudice and thus contributed to their inner self-purification. Among other things, the monks daily practiced Shnng Pa Lo-han - 18 sets of hand movements imitating the poses of 18 different idols of the monastery. As a result, the monks became some of the strongest fighters in China.

The described training system combined with the performance of Shin Pa Luo-han formed the famous system of self-defense, the Shaolin fist.

 There is very little verified evidence to support this story. A careful summary of the historical facts suggests that Daruma did indeed arrive in China in the middle of the sixth century during the Liang dynasty. At first he was going to teach Buddhism to Emperor Mu Rong Kwang Zhdu, but later he refused the invitation to the palace and went to the small state of Wu Yi located in the north of China, where he was invited to teach King Myong Je. For reasons unknown, Daruma also declined this invitation, Arriving at the Shaolin monastery, he lived there for nine years until his death.

Between the first century B.C. and the sixth century A.D. Korean peninsula was divided into three kingdoms: Silla, Goguryeo, and Baekje. The smallest of the Silla kingdoms was constantly under threat of attack from its stronger northern and western neighbors.

During the reign of Chin Heung, the 24th king of Silla, an elite officer corps called Hwa Rangdo was formed by young aristocrats and warriors. In addition to traditional training with maces, bows, swords, and hooks, the warriors of the corps practiced spiritual and physical discipline and a variety of forms of hand and foot fighting. They climbed steep mountains, swam in turbulent rivers during the cold months of the year to strengthen their bodies, and tirelessly prepared themselves for defending their Motherland.

For the self-government and spiritual unification of the members of the brotherhood of arms, under the leadership of the eminent Buddhist monk of the country, Won Kang, the following code of conduct was developed:

1. be loyal to the king.

2. Obey your parents.

3. Respect your friends.

4. Never back down in battle.

5. Be ready to kill.

The warriors of the Hwa Rangdo corps became known throughout the peninsula for their bravery and skill, gaining respect even among their worst enemies. The strength the warriors drew from their respect for the code of conduct allowed them to reach the heights of heroism, to become legendary. Many of these warriors died on the battlefield on the threshold of their youth - at the age of 14-15.

There are quite a few historical documents attesting to the existence of various forms of martial arts using hands and feet in Silla and Koguryo, some of which are similar to the techniques of tae-kyon and Japanese jnujutsu.

Hwa Rangdo warriors took these primitive foot fighting techniques to a new level by upgrading them to take into account the properties of special army footwear, and by implementing the training principles used in Hwa Rangdo. The new concept of moral and physical training turned foot wrestling into an art form.