Kung Fu (Chinese: Originally meaning "Hard Work" now generic term for especially non-mainland China martial art types), is a martial art, both a form of exercise with a spiritual dimension stemming from concentration and self-discipline and a primarily unarmed mode of personal combat often equated with Karate or Tae Kwon Do.
As a martial art, kung fu can be traced to the Chou dynasty (1111-255 BC) and even earlier.
As exercise it was practiced by the Taoists in the 5th century BC. Its prescribed stances and actions are based on keen observations of human skeletal and muscular anatomy and physiology, and it employs great muscular coordination. The various movements in kung fu, most of which are imitations of the fighting styles of animals, are initiated from one of five basic foot positions: normal upright posture and the four stances called dragon, frog, horse riding, and snake.
There are hundreds of styles of kung fu, and armed as well as unarmed techniques have been developed. Kung fu performed as exercise resembles T'ai Chi Ch'uan