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KUNTAO

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Published on Jun 12, 2010

An Independence Day Celebration at the City of Lucena presented by Ms. D Creative Dance Studio Scholars
June 12, 2010

Kuntao (Tagalog: kuntaw) is a Hokkien term for martial arts created by the Chinese community of Southeast Asia, particularly the Malay Archipelago. Written as 拳道, its literal meaning is "way of the fist", the word kuntao more accurately translates as fighting art, but its pronunciation is unique as it reflects the mixture of Chinese dialects found in immigrant Chinese communities that maintained the art. 拳道 "Quan Tao" in northern Mandarin or "Kun Do" in southern Cantonese, Kuntao is an art that attempts to bring together the styles of the North and South under one school. Although it is most commonly practiced in Indonesia among the Chinese Indonesian communities, styles of kuntao are also practiced in Singapore, Malaysia (especially Borneo) and the Philippines where Chinese martial arts were brought by merchants, labourers and other settlers from south China. The styles had to be adapted to different terrain, competing against local styles and fighting with local weapons. Many if not most styles of kuntao have incorporated techniques from silat and some forms even changed their name from "kuntao" to "silat". Styles which combine both kuntao and silat together are sometimes called kuntao silat.

Kuntao was once practiced in secrecy and passed down through families. It was kept hidden not only from non-Chinese but also from people of differing clans. Although a few non-Chinese in Southeast Asia are known to have historically learned kuntao, this only became widespread in the latter half of the 20th century. Old styles of kuntao are today considered by some to be "true" Chinese martial arts because they predate the Shaolin Temple's destruction. With the advent of Mixed Martial Arts in the United States, the art has begun to approach mainstream dissemination. Even so, few traditional kuntao schools exist in the States today and it is little known in the West.

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