gōng fu 功夫

actually means “skill”, specifically in the meaning of the result of work spend over time. So everything we need to practice to gain afterwards. Mostly gongfu is considered synonymous to “wushu 武术”, the martial arts, and usually it is written in the older transcription “Kung Fu”.

But this is quite incorrect, as the martial arts are just one example of skill which is gained after time of practice. The more complete meaning is that also things like playing music, any other form of arts or even handcrafts, and also things like cooking etc, all can be called “gōng fu 功夫”.

Also in Daoist spirituality and the field of Qigong we do use the term “gōng fu 功夫”.


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