Kung fu (Chinese: 功夫 pinyin: gōngfū), "wushu" (simplified Chinese: 武术; traditional Chinese: 武術; pinyin: wǔshù Zh-wu3shu4.ogg; Cantonese: móuh-seuht) and "kou shu" (國術) are just some of the many names used to describe the cultural heritage bequeathed by the Chinese Martial Arts. 

At the Ottawa Chinese Martial Arts Association (渥太華武術學會), we believe in training the proper way – the traditional way. Martial arts are not just a science of personal combat but a method to achieve health, wellness and peace of mind.

 1.  Terminology
 2.  Kung Fu
 3.  School Motto


Kung fu, a term from the Cantonese dialect of Southern China, can be literally translated as "work". This expression is used colloquially to designate the martial arts, and is the most commonly understood term in the West. However, in Chinese, the term kung fu can be used in contexts completely unrelated to martial arts, and refers colloquially to any individual accomplishment or skill cultivated through long and hard work. In contrast, wushu is a more precise term for general martial art activities.

In the East, Wu Gong (traditional Chinese: 武功; simplified Chinese: 武功; pinyin: wǔgōng; Literal translation: "Martial work") or Zhōngguó Wǔshù Gong (traditional Chinese: 中國武術; Literal translation: " Chinese martial art ") might be more appropriate. Wushu is the term selected by the People's Republic of China because it is translated as "Martial Arts". The term Wushu is now commonly applied to the sport of Chine martial arts.

There are many other terms used for the practice of Chinese Martial arts. For example, "Kuo shu" (國術) was a term introduced at the dawn of the New Republic and can be literally translated as "country's art". This term is now used in Taiwan, where the connotation is also closer to the idea of martial arts as a sport. 


Kung Fu

This web site uses the colloquial term "kung fu" because of its familiarity. In the West, most people first encountered the term "kung fu" through martial arts movies. Indeed, in this cinematic context, kung fu was presented as some mysterious or magical means for fighting. Others see kung fu more as a series of health-promoting exercises or in relation to spiritual development. More recently, some people have begun to consider the martial arts as a physical sport. Chinese martial arts are all of the above and more. The secret is to keep an open mind and to give yourself time to discover what they mean to you. In this sense, "kung fu" simply means "effort through time ".

School Motto

Our school, the Ottawa Chinese Martial Arts Association, provides discourse in both the philosophy and the applications of the martial arts. Our school motto is

“發揚國術, 修心尚武”

which can translated to be

"To advance in the skills of Wushu

  Dedicate yourself to the practice of martial arts"

The practitioner is encouraged to understanding the marital spirit not just during training but in everyday life. That is why we go for lunch and try to foster a spirit of harmony and community between our students. Training and understanding is not just a physical activity but also requires knowledge of the Chinese history and philosophy. Such information provides an understanding of the heritage, culture and tradition in your training.