The Origins of Kung Fu
There are three great Eastern schools of thought : Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. They have all influenced Kung Fu and its two main schools: Shaolin and Wudang.
The Shaolin System is known as external because it’s originator hailed from outside of China. During the 5th century, an Indian savant and Buddhist monk by the name of Bodhidarma came to China with the purpose of teaching Buddhism. When he arrived at the Shaolin Temple, he found the monks in a pitiful state. He knew they would not be capable of achieving Nirvana as they were weak from fasting and lack of exercise. Bodhidarma retreated to a cave and meditated for 9 years on a solution for the monks. He returned to the Shaolin Temple with three books, each one covering the health of one of the three components of humanity: the body, the mind and the spirit.
The Wudang System is known as internal as it is the combination of all existing Chinese martial arts techniques at the time. According to the myth, a mysterious Taoist monk hailing from the Wudang Mountains by the name of Zhang San Feng created Tai Chi Chuan around the year 1270. Zhang San Feng is said to have and achieved immortality.