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Kung Fu - An ancient form of martial arts that originated in the Shaolin monasteries of China featured on the western adventure KUNG FU/ABC/1972-75.

David Carradine as Kwai Chang Caine - KUNG FU

David Carradine starred as a half-Chinese Shaolin Monk, Kwai Chang Caine who wandered the vastness of the western frontier searching for serenity from a hostile world of assassins and bigoted Americans. His only defense against the many evils he encountered was his training in the mystic arts of Kung Fu. (Translated: "Accomplishment Technique").

According to the program "It is said a Shaolin priest can walk through walls...listened for, he cannot be heard...looked for, he cannot be seen...felt, he cannot be touched." (episode No. 3 "Blood Brother" 1-18-73)

In his book "The Spirit of Shaolin" (Charles Tuttle, 1991), David Carradine defined "kung fu" as "an ancient fitness program through which humankind realizes its full potential through better understanding, learning to set high limits and standards, transcending rigid and false values and achieving harmony with the law of nature and the universe. Kung fu is training with a useful purpose, and leads to the learning of refined skills, which will remain with the student for a lifetime, and, perhaps, even longer."

An excerpt from the TV script had Master Chen Ming Kan (Philip Ahn) explain the various kung fu fighting styles used by the Shaolin priest.

"In the Shaolin Temple, there are three kinds of men...students, disciples and Masters. The development of the mind can be achieved only when the body has been disciplined. To accomplish this, the Ancients have taught us to imitate God's creatures...From the Crane we learn grace and self control. The Snake teaches us suppleness and rhythmic endurance. The Eagle, the duality of hard and soft. The Praying Mantis teaches us speed and patience. The Way of the Tiger...tenacity and power. And from the Dragon we learn to ride the wind."

The kung fu student practices the Animal styles so he or she can reduce conflict and be one with nature, one with the universe. It may take a person half-a lifetime to master just one system. When Master Kan was asked which style he taught. Master Kan replied "I teach them all."

David Carradine as Kwai Chang Caine - KUNG FU: THE LEGEND CONTINUES

TRIVIA NOTE: Kwai Chang Caine resurfaced on the spin-off TV pilot KUNG FU: THE NEXT GENERATION/CBS/1987 (aired on SUMMER PLAYHOUSE) starring David Darlow as a modern-day descendent of Kwai Chang Caine (with Brandon Lee as his son, Johnny); Kung Fu: The Movie (1986) continued Caine's adventures; and the first-run syndicated series KUNG FU: THE LEGEND CONTINUES/SYN/1993-97 starring David Carradine as the grandson of original Shaolin Priest.  


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