I have long believed that continuous practice of kung fu and/or tai chi would help one maintain a healthy long life. The article Kung Fu Granny by Chieu Luu and Nanlin Fang published by CNN on February 19, 2017 reinforced this belief. Zhang Hexian, a 93-year-old grandmother started practicing kung fu when she was four and still wakes up at 5 a.m. to practice each morning. She has been practicing kung fu for 89 years. Kung fu has been a tradition in her family for more than 300 years.
Ms. Zhang says “to have good body you need to exercise and keep a positive attitude”. She credits kung fu, plenty of sleep and a healthy diet for keeping her healthy. She has never had to go to a hospital. Zhang, who lives in China’s southeastern Zhejiang province says all of her family members have learned kung fu. She believes it instills discipline and strength. She also feels it is a good way to learn self defense. I personally have been practicing either tai chi or kung fu several times a week for over 25 years and I feel great. Hopefully I can also keep doing it until I am 93.
Photo by CNN – http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/19/asia/china-kung-fu-granny-trnd/index.html
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Although I regularly practice Tai Chi for stress reduction, I have also been practicing both Kung Fu and Taekwondo for many years for exercise. Because I am involved in both of these martial arts many people have asked me to explain the difference between them.
If you watch demonstrations of Kung Fu and Taekwondo you will immediately notice a significant difference. The Kung Fu participant will be using a lot of flowing circular movements. Often one Kung Fu movement will smoothly flow into the next. The Taekwondo participant will use strong snapping movements with hard blocks, straight punches and a variety of different kicks. They are both fun to watch and provide a lot of great exercise.
Kung Fu comes from China and is often based on the movements of animals. The style I practice, for example, is Shaolin Five Animal Kung Fu which is based on the tiger, leopard, snake, crane and dragon. The emphasis in my style of Kung Fu is generally on hand fighting. Taekwondo comes from Korea and employs a lot of snapping motions where the emphasis is mostly on kicks rather than hand strikes. Northern schools of Kung Fu also emphasize kicks more than hand strikes.
Photo by Peter Gordon – http://tinyurl.com/zuk5gwk