In Chinese, gōngfu (功夫) is a compound of two words, combining 功 (gōng) meaning “work”, “achievement”, or “merit”, and 夫 (fū) which is alternately treated as being a word for “man” or as a particle or nominal suffix with diverse meanings (the same character is used to write both).
In its original meaning, kung fu (a popular term) can refer to any discipline or skill achieved through hard work and practice, not necessarily martial arts.
A literal rendering of the first interpretation would be “achievement of man”, while the second is often described as “work and time/effort”. Its connotation is that of an accomplishment arrived at by great effort of time and energy. In Mandarin, when two “first tone” words such as gōng and fū are combined, the second word often takes a neutral tone, in this case forming gōngfu. The word is also sometimes written as 工夫, this version often being used for more general, non-martial arts usages of the term.
Originally, to practice kung fu did not just mean to practice Chinese martial arts. Instead, it referred to the process of one’s training – the strengthening of the body and the mind, the learning and the perfection of one’s skills – rather than to what was being trained. It refers to excellence achieved through long practice in any endeavor. This meaning can be traced to classical writings, especially those of Neo-Confucianism, which emphasize the importance of effort in education.
In the colloquial, one can say that a person’s kung fu is good in cooking, or that someone has kung fu in calligraphy; saying that a person possesses kung fu in an area implies skill in that area, which they have worked hard to develop. The colloquial use of the term has thus returned to the original literal meaning. Someone with “bad kung fu” simply has not put enough time and effort into training, or seems to lack the motivation to do so. Kung fu is also a name used for the elaborate Fujian tea ceremony (kung fu cha).
However, the phrase 功夫武術 (kung fu wu shu) does exist in Chinese and could be (loosely) translated as ‘the skills of the martial arts’.
Yoga vs KungFu (GungFu)
Yoga means to bind or integrate
Kung-fu means a skill gained over time
Yoga and KungFu are words used very broadly to mean many things
Yoga is often martial though the martial content was almost unknown outside of India, until yoga gurus were invited bu west to teach them about secrets of Yoga. The same goes for meridians, the yoga system uses the same points and pathways as the internal arts. Yoga is an internal martial art, in some forms.
To make it overly simple:
The difference is that external arts employ and exhibit muscular tension for power, while the internal arts exhibit muscular relaxation.
some arts combine the two powers with limited success, but they are more or less exclusive when it comes to the divergent paths they represent.
The origins of yoga dates back to pre-Vedic Indian traditions, is mentioned in the Rigveda (at least 25,000 years), but most likely developed around the sixth and fifth centuries BCE, in ancient India’s ascetic and śramaṇa movements.
The chronology of earliest texts describing yoga-practices is clearly credited to Hindu Upanishads probably of third century BCE or later. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali date from the first half of the 1st millennium CE, but only gained prominence in the West in the 20th century. Hatha yoga texts emerged around the 11th century with origins in tantra.
Yoga gurus from India later introduced yoga to the west, following the success of Swami Vivekananda in the late 19th and early 20th century. In the 1980s, yoga became popular as a system of physical exercise across the Western world. Yoga in Indian traditions, however, is more than physical exercise, it has a meditative and spiritual core. One of the six major orthodox schools of Hinduism is also called Yoga, which has its own epistemology and metaphysics, and is closely related to Hindu Samkhya philosophy.
Many studies have tried to determine the effectiveness of yoga as a complementary intervention for cancer, schizophrenia, asthma, and heart disease.
Experts who experienced both; yoga and kungfu clearly stated that yoga has more mental, physical and spiritual benefits than kungfu even to the extent of curing diseases.