Muslim Kung Fu is an important legacy of Islam in China. It was developed throughout history by Muslim Masters, who trained between physical & spiritual perfection, embedding the uniqueness of Chinese culture with Islam.
We explore the art & heritage of Muslim Kung Fu in China…
Western media has always been saturated with images of Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li, but what we don't hear about often is the relation between Islam and martial arts.
Li Shengjun, practices traditional Hui martial arts in front of the mosque in Zhabu - China Daily
The Legacy of Muslim China is the legacy of Muslim Kung Fu. Muslim Masters have trained continuously and arduously, venturing the never-ending journey towards physical and spiritual perfection, poised by serving a lifelong inspiration to their Muslim communities and China.
The early trade that led to a great relationship between Arab Muslims and the Chinese acted as a pivotal role in the spread of Islam in the far east as well as cementing the Muslim-Chinese identity.
Islam in China is well documented with the Hui people acting as the largest Muslim minority within the country. From approximately 19 years after the death of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ a relationship between China and Arabia was already in place.
It was the third Khalifah (Caliph) ‘Uthman (RA) who initiated the first conscious efforts to spread Islam in the region, with subsequent trade missions also contributing to the spread of Islam.
The Hui Muslims came from this lineage, a unification of Arabia & China to form this unique position of authentic Chinese culture, infused with the Islamic tradition, the likes of which can still be seen to this day in various parts of the country.
Not only did martial arts combine with practical aspects of defence for long seafaring trade missions, but it also was a spiritual tool of many Muslim masters. The need for self-control and restraint reflect in both martial arts and traditional Islamic teachings.
Muslim Masters have succeeded in harmonizing the internal & external form of Kung fu, successfully remaining close to their original faith, applying tremendous “ijtihad” (effort) in producing ultimately effective & indigenous martial arts of their own, based on their religion.
The concept of Islamic self-control was used by martial art masters in the physical realm as well. With practitioners putting emphasis on both spiritual and physical aspects of training.