Kung Fu is the most ancient and famous martial arts in China. In the beginning, it was only exclusively taught to and used by the elite people including soldiers. But over time, it has also become popular among the common people, and has also spread out to many other countries.
In fairly recent history, there were several famous Kung Fu masters who introduced and taught the different Kung Fu styles and techniques:
Wong Fei Hung (July 9, 1847 to March 25 1924)
One of the earliest Kung Fu masters is Wong Fei Hung. He was a physician, acupuncturist, a folk hero and a renowned master of Hung Gar style martial arts. He was only five years old when his father taught him Hung Gar. At a very early age, he was able to do the Shadowless kick, which is one of the most difficult stunts. As a master, he is famous for introducing a new version of Tiger Crane Paired Form Fist where he incorporated his famous Ten Special Fist Techniques.
Although Wong Fei Hung died in the early 1920s, his legacy remains because he has been a subject of many movies and television series.
Yip Man (October 1, 1893 to December 2, 1972)
Also known as Yip Kai Man, Yip Man is a famous Kung Fu master in Wing Chun style. He was a martial arts teacher and many of his students became famous teachers as well. The most notable of them are Bruce Lee, Ip Chun and IP Ching who were his sons and Lo Man Kam, his nephew. Yip Man started learning Wing Chun when he was just 13. His most important legacy is the worldwide practice of Wing Chun. He is also key figure in writing the Wing Chun history.
Bruce Lee (November 27, 1940 to July 20 1973)
Many people know Bruce Lee as an actor who has great skill in martial arts. He started learning Wing Chun from Yip Man at the age of 13. Bruce Lee also teaches Kung Fu. But because he was not a pure-blooded Chinese, many students are reluctant to train under him.
Bruce Lee is famous for introducing Jeet Kune Do also known as The Way of the Intercepting Fist. This style is also known as “the style of no style.” He introduced this because he thought that Wing Chun is just very rigid and formal.
Huo Yuanjia (January 18, 1868 to August 9, 1910)
Huo Yuanjia is also a famous Kung Fu master and a co-founder of Chin Woo Athletic Association which is a famous martial arts school in Shanghai. He is a master of the martial arts style called mizongyi. Huo is named as one of the heroes of China for defeating many foreign fighters in a number of highly publicized matches during his time.
These are just some of the famous Kung Fu masters in China who left important legacies in their respective styles. Their personal life became influential in the lives of many people not only in China but also in other parts of the world. It would be good to learn more about these people especially if you are interested in Kung Fu because you can learn many things from them.