Top 10 Chinese Kung Fu Styles

Kung Fu (or Wushu) is one of the most well-known traditional Chinese cultures. It was first introduced abroad by Chinese-American Kung Fu master Bruce Lee. His Kung Fu movies made Chinese Kung Fu sweep across the world. Kung Fu has many systems and styles such as Shaolin Temple and Tai Chi. Below are top 10 most famous Chinese Kung Fu styles.

1. Shaolin Kung Fu 少林功夫

shaolin kung fuShaolin Kung Fu is well known both at home and abroad. It originated from the Shaolin Temple on Mount Songshan, Dengfeng County, Henan Province.

It integrates the wisdom of Zen Buddhism into Chinese Kungfu and formed various kinds of sub-styles. Its basic skills mainly include tumbling, jumping, rolling and others. In recent years westerners are becoming more and more interested in learning it.

2. Tai Chi Quan 太极拳

taijiquanTai Chi only has a history of several hundred years, yet it has been practiced widely by the public in many parts of China. When you visit any park in the early morning anywhere in China, you can find old people practicing Taichi.

Tai Chi absorbs the advantages of different marital arts, integrating Yin and Yang theory, traditional Chinese medicine and other ideas, creating a set of marital art. Practicers move their bodies slowly and gently to develop one’s internal power.

3. Wing Chun Quan 咏春拳

wing chun quanWing Chun is one of the strongest, most direct Kung fu styles. Wing Chun was originated in the early 1700s at the Shaolin Temple and was then was widely spread by Bruce Lee’s Wing Chun teacher, Yip Man.

The main principle of Wing Chun is “simplicity.” The less complex the techniques are, the more effective they will become.

4. Baguazhang 八卦掌

BaguazhangBaguazhang is a soft and internal style martial art. The creation of Baguazhang, as a formalized martial art, is credited to Dong Haichuan in the early 19th century.

Baguazhang attaches importance to the interplay between mind and outside movements and is often characterized by slow and flowing movements.

5. Xing Yi Quan 形意拳

xing yi quan

Xingyiquan is one of the oldest Internal Martial Arts styles, the other two are Tai Chi and Baguangzhang.

Xingyiquan pays more attention on internal power, with loose movements but clear intention. It features aggressive movements, explosive power and unpredictable fighting skills.

6. Choy Lai Fut 蔡李佛

Choy Lai FutChoy Li Fut is a kind of Chinese martial art founded by Chen Heng from Guangdong province in the 1830s.

The system compromises the merits of different martial arts techniques, forming his own Kung Fu style. Choy Li Fut stresses on relaxed, internal power instead of muscular force.

7. Bajiquan 八极拳

bajiquanBajiquan was originated Hui Minority Kung Fu of the Cangzhou county, HeiBei province.

Contrary to Tai Chi, Bajiquan is a powerful Kung fu styple featuring explosive, short-range power techniques, and is closely related with the military system. Many bodyguards who protect politicians practice Bajiquan.

8. Praying Mantis 北螳螂拳

Northern Praying MantisPraying Mantis was created by Wang Lang during the late Ming and early Qing periods. It mimics the actions of a mantis with two hands like hooks. It emphasizes hand play and footwork as well as speed and agility.

9. Nan Quan 南拳

NanquanNan Quan, also known as the Nanfang Quan, is the combination of Southern Shaolin boxing and other southern boxing techniques such as Hung Gar, Mok Gar, and Choy Li Fut. Nan Quan stresses on simple actions, changing and short-range hand plays and steady footwork.

10. Chang Quan 长拳

changquanChang Quan is a family of external martial arts styles which combines many Chinese martial art styles. It emphasizes fully extended kicks and striking techniques. Chang Quan was formed in recent years and is often displayed in various Martial Art Contests.

Above are famous types of Chinese Kung fu. Actually, there are many Chinese fighting styles such as Tiger Kungfu,  across the country. Do you know other famous Chinese Kung Fu styles?  Please leave your comment below.

64 Responses

  1. martialartscool says:

    Lung Ying (Southern Dragon Kungfu) is a very powerful art with short to medium range attacks and shares many techniques Wing Chun. Bak mei is it’s sister art and it is effective aswell.

  2. Steph says:

    Thank you for this resource! And just to add on a little, I love that we can (to an extent, I know it’s best to learn with a professional) learn kung fu from home now if anyone wants to check this out:

  3. Ronnie Sons says:

    I’m looking for a place near Terre Haute IN U.S.A to learn real Kung Fu any suggestions

    • kung fu camp says:

      Martial arts camps is an ideal place where individuals can improve their physical fitness and martial arts skills. Here, participants will receive professional instruction and training in a variety of martial arts techniques and build strength, flexibility and endurance.

  4. Volkuere says:

    There are so many styles to choose from to say that one is the greatest of all time would be foolish. I have studied martial arts for 40 years on three continents and can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that the student who gives him or herself wholly to reach as close to perfection as can be attained in any style, will always be better than anyone who puts half of their heart in any other. The most well known artists I can assure you are not always the greatest of their style. Additionally, anyone who would call someone a liar or an idiot behind a screen (internet warrior), does not, and possibly will not ever understand the purpose of any martial art. The ultimate goal is not to be the greatest in the world, it is to acquire the knowledge and skill to be a better version of oneself. Be a better Person today than you were yesterday. As far as the “best” place to learn or start is wherever you can. One of my masters, unfortunately for a brief period due to geography, was Sifu Nick Gracenin. If you are an American studying, or wishing to study Chinese martial arts, you probably have or should have heard of him. Not all styles are meant for all body types. I can tell you when i studied under Sifu Gracenin i was an active member of a special operations team, had 20 plus years of martial arts training and instructing experience and in tue best shape of my life-so i thoight. It was one of the most physically demanding training of my life to include U.S. Army Ranger School, and SFAS. Learn as much as you can from anywhere you can, never losing sight of the desire to “mastee” the style of your choosing. Do not condescend to others regardless of their art or ability, if one is “stupid” for not knowing what you know, then you are degrading your work to acquire this knowledge, not theirs. Value All knowledge, and integrate what you can to you style and ability. Most important, my favorite two quote from my special ops commander were – “practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect”, and “prepare in peace as you would fight in war”. Meaning the same thing. 100% All the time. Philosophy of the mind Does effect the ability of ones body. Just a long winded bit of advice for new practitioners from a lifelong student who thinks the title “Master” is used too often. As a true master knows they still have so much more to learn.

    • 王震 says:


  5. Lee says:

    Hey, a small mistake. Wing chun kung fu also a Southern kung fu style, choi gar also a kung fu style

  6. Bodhiasskicker says:

    Monkey kung fu is thr most complete surviving ancient shaolin kung fu system and also the most brutal and devastating form ever practiced.

  7. Charles says:

    Am Charles from Nigeria
    Looking on Kung Fu
    Practicing Kung Fu needs more furcus
    And a great teacher
    And it determine if you are ready to learn..
    I my self I don’t have teacher because I haven’t find a great and true master
    That’s why I decided to teach my self Tai chi in my own style of Kung Fu

  8. Jim says:

    Seems to me there is a lot of talk here, but, little action. This is said not as a challenge, but, as a statement of reality. My Sigung passed several wisdoms to me during his lifetime. Of those wisdoms are that at the highest levels all high level gung fu looks the same, because, the human body can only move in so many ways. Also, the highest level gung fu make the not good fighters good fighters, the good fighters the best, and the best fighters invincible. The last advice I can provide is the difference between “old man gung fu” and “young man gung fu”. In youth many good fighters can make bad systems work effectively, but, a great system makes the fighter the best regardless of the vem and vigor of youth. If your system tears ones body up to the point that it can’t be used just as, if not more, effectively in old age as in youth then that system is a low level martial art.

    I’ve practiced in my family Pai for nearly 30 years, and, have been healed, and, been in a number of conflicts within that time in real life. Still, I am always learning and learning to improve my skill in my chosen family of gung fu. All high level gung fu MUST have balance, inner outer, left right, hard soft, up down, internal and external. If it doesn’t then it isn’t a high level martial art, let alone the best.

  9. Eileen Benson says:

    It was interesting when you talked about how Wing Chun is all about simplicity but is still one of the strongest styles of Kung fu. I want to focus on getting in better shape this year, and I think taking a Kung fu class would be a good way to improve my health while also learning helpful defense techniques. Reading your article made me excited to find a local Wing Chun studio and see what it’s like!

  10. Sean says:

    For someone to say there is a better “style” is ignorance. Once you get to the true masters, not a single one would tout a single martial art as the single greatest of all. They were each created out of many influences. They take into consideration environment and surroundings and body. For example, a person that is massive, say 6’6″, 300 lbs, wouldnt be effective at something such as wing Chun or jet kun do do to his sheer bulk. Judo and mma or wrestling would fit his body much more cause said person would be able to use that sheer mass to his or her own advantage. The other factors are also dedication and natural skill. If someone has no natural skill or dedication, they will never realize their true potential. That goes for learning anything. A third factor would be having a competent master. Without this, you can only learn so much. A true master will be accepting of the fact that after so much time their student has nothing else to learn and will inform the student. They may even recommend another master which they hold in high regard. All of this is just my opinion.

  11. Ell Dee says:

    I have been a kung fu practitioner since 1985. I will always be a student, even when others come to me as a master. I am always learning and finding ways to utilize what I have learned. No single style is better than the other. It is all dependent on the person who is using it, their intentions and their own inner disciplines. A flower will grow sideways if that is it’s only path to the light.

  12. Dee says:

    I prefer to use the American classic Gun Fu. You can beat any other style with just a few basic classes!!

  13. Tupi says:

    I’m a martial arts master. I read the book seen the movie got the DVDs?!?!? Unless you train hard under a competent teacher for at least ten years then you are still a novice no matter what style. Namaste

  14. Crabby says:

    I believe Wing Chun is 1 of the best styles. Yip Man taught Bruce Lee and Bruce developed his Power to Weight Ratio to take care of far bigger opponents. That is the essence of Kung Fu I believe. Pick a very good style and develop your abilities in it (skills and Power to Weight) and you will be a good or Very good exponent of it. Spoken by A Non-Martial Artist looking in from the outside!! Thank you.

    • Rob says:

      You are right on the point guy.Bruce did the right thing for sure. Steady the one u like and take it to another level of your own. Figure a better way of doing the style.

  15. Joshua says:

    Well actually this is wrong. I mean. I don’t wanna prove people wrong nothing like that. I’ve been,training in white crane even jeet-kun-o since I was 15 or 16. Well what I was getting at was, it’s been over 1000 years not hundreds since tai-chi came into place. The oldest records of it was 500 ad. Could go back farther. And white crane is shaolin white crane. As well as Tai chi. Kunfu. It’s one in the same.

  16. Chip K says:

    It is not the place of an enlightened practitioner to openly judge rights from wrongs… it states that individual has not yet grasped the spirituality that should always accompany training in any discipline. I will state it is the form of practice that exercises tactical and procedural advantages that may concur their opponent in the end. In general, learning a specific form to a great degree is beautiful art… learning and combining techniques and forms from several can give you advantage and become an additional exercise in flexabity, assessment, and constant alteration. In the end it depends on skill level, countering, and execution that may win the day. Peace.

  17. Dan says:

    “I’m a king fu master…”

    I imagine there are lots of people who have trained to a minimum of 5th black belt Who are trolling on the Internet. Thanks for the laugh !

    • Angel says:

      I am 24years old and interested in learning kungfu or Martial art but I don’t know whether it is possible for me to learn I still hope I can get a chance with good master.

    • Leon Chang says:

      Kung Fu styles don’t go by belts, they go by sashes or sometimes no physical ranks. Belts are specific to Japanese and Korean styles.

  18. Jay M says:

    Which INCIDENTALLY, was the creator and innovator of Jeet Kune Do. He was defeated, ever. This speaks for itself. xi xi!

  19. Jay M says:

    You students are all wrong, as a great master once said, “Don’t think. FEEEEEEEEL! It is like a finger pointing away to the moon. Do not concentrate on the finger or you will miss all of that heavenly glory!” -Master Bruce Lee

    • Geo says:

      Actually it was Lao Tzu that said that known also as Laozi he authored a book called Tao Te Ching. In it you will find a great many Bruce Lee quotes but Laozi lived 2000years ago so not actually Bruce quotes but everyone in China knew who spoke them so no need for Bruce to explain

  20. None of your buisness says:

    There is no better Kung Fu it just depends on how you do it as long as you give it your best.(just as IP man quoted) personally i am going to learn Wing Chun,Jeet Kune Do ,MuayThai, Brazilian Jujustu, and am currently learning Tae Kwon Do, just so you know tae kwon do is very reccomended

  21. Happy Vu Phung says:

    love wing chun

  22. Jeff says:

    Drunkken iss beestt stylle in me opinion

  23. Idiris says:

    Iam somali boy and i interest this type of martial art so any one can help me

  24. Adam says:

    Which one is the strongest

    • samurai says:

      bence shaolin kungfu

    • k says:

      It is hard to say ,their styles are different,and i have learned Xingyi for seven years ,but i know i am still sick compared to my master.

    • Geo says:

      According to Bruce Lee jeet kun do but really depends on you Xingyi is an amalgam if southern boxing styles good if you desire to be a brute but if a brute is what you want to defeat then wing Chun as that is what it was created for find quotes from a styles great masters and that will give you an idea of what they may offer if you want to look like you have flair go for taeKwon do Quickest to master is jeet kun do. Always be kind and to injure is not your goal but a failure You train because it is better to be a warrior in the Garden than a Gardener in a fight

      • SiFu G says:

        Very nice quote warrior gardener
        We are all in the garden together
        The goal is to be free
        Truth is the only way
        Your words were great wisdom

  25. Sanchez says:

    I have master ALL OF THESE style of Kung Fu. In my opinion The Strongest Kung Fu style is the drunken style. 2 years for me to learn it

  26. Travis Economy says:

    Actually your all wrong. There is no better style, only better opponent, one with higher level of skill, cultavated spirit of ying & yang. Well thats my opinion anyway.i could be wrong. I don’t think so

  27. Chinese Kung Fu (Martial Arts or Gongfu or Wushu) is a series of fighting styles which has developed over the centuries in China. Although being fighting styles, Kung Fu advocates virtue and peace, not aggression or violence. This has been the common value upheld by martial artists from generation to generation. With a number of movement sets, boxing styles, weapon skills and some fighting stunts, Kung Fu keeps its original function of self-defense. Now its value in body-building and fitness is also highly appreciated.

    Shaolin Traditional Kung Fu, Wing Chun, Sanda (Chinese kick boxing), Qin Na, Tai Ji,Chi Kung,Ba Ji Quan, Xing Yi Quan, Bagua

    • Silky says:

      So wat. Anout mma

      • Tung Nguyen says:

        Kung fu is technically MMA there’s to believe over 900 different styles of king fu. One of the being Trampling and Grapling . MMA was what Bruce Lee calls No Way Is Way. Meaning no one technique is dominate. In the movie Enter The Dragon people forget when Bruce Lee out his opponent in an arm bar to defeat him. Wasn’t action packed enough to remember

  28. Adeesha Dulanjana says:

    Kung fu is the best martial art in the world

  29. If you are searching for a good place to learn Kung fu in China, Taizu Shaolin Kung Fu Academy is the best choice. Improve your tai chi techniques. Learn Tai Chi And Martial Arts in China!
    Taizu Shaolin Kungfu School, located in Handan City.
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  30. Matthew says:

    Hi I am looking to further my skills in kung fu is there any suggestions on what type of kung fu I should look for? I currently go to a school that teachers a small variety of kung fu

  31. Motheo Bruno Mogwera says:

    I greatly love all the kung fu styles China has to offer and I would appreciate the privilege and honour to study the one thing most I adore with all of my soul, spirit and mind along with all it has to offer such as its culture along with its spiritual and mental wisdom

  32. Asmar says:

    Hello i want to learn kung fu so plz any one can help me

  33. abhishek says:

    hey i m a kung fu master i have 5 kung fu training schools , u have missed a most strongest style in the world that is drunkun boxing ,if u learn this by heart then u can defeat any one in the world

    • Four Owls says:

      Bullshido!!! That claim is totally subjective and false. Real Kung Fu masters don’t call themselves “Master” either! There is no strongest style in the world and no superior way!

  34. sumanth says:

    Tiger style should also be included.

  35. Aviad says:

    Wing chun is my most desired to learn kung fu style. I am a huge fan of up man movies and how Donnie yen demonstrates wing chun

  36. Badsha laskar says:

    Hang ga kuan is also a kungfu style that is missing

  37. Badsha laskar says:

    I m a kungfu master. And i think there was many power style that u miss in the list such as ng ga kuan, zi quan ect

  38. Carlos says:

    Hung Gar deserves a spot on this list.

  39. Master Dragon says:

    ….I wish I could learn wingchun (kung fu) some day,,,,,,…… Still tryin to move like bruve lee, jet li .ETC…. …….

  40. seth says:

    wing chun wasnt invented by ip man. it was brought together by a called wing chun

  41. YzK says:

    Okay, but 南拳 is a modern style developed purely for modern performance art, not use. It is not in the same category as the rest of these styles.

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