Who is Bodhidharma? Is he credited with inventing Karate or Kung Fu?

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elmk99 | College Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

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Bodhidharma was a Buddhist Monk that lived during the 5th Century AD.  There is not much credible information on Bodhidharma, but through the tracing back of folklore, history has placed him as being from Indian descent.  Unfortunately, he did not invent karate or kung fu.  He is credited with bringing the teachings of Zen to China. 

According to a legend that stems from the Qigong manual that was disseminated in the 17th century, Bodhidharma is the founder of Kung Fu. However, the historical evidence on this is skeptical at best.  However, according to legend in Southeast Asia, Bodhidharma did travel to the Xioalin monastary (Shaolin) - near Kaifeng, and was disturbed thatthe monks were in poor shape.  He then created a workout regimine for the monks, however, this is not the creation of Kung Fu. 

Chinese martial arts have been said by legend to be recorded back to the Yellow King of 2700 BC.  However, the first references historically documented are from around 400 BC in manuals showing hand to hand combat.

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