KUNTAO Origins

Admiral Cheng Ho KUNTAO

Admiral Cheng Ho KUNTAO



KOON-TAO is an ancient Chinese form of Martial Arts which originated about 3,500 years ago in southern coastal province of Fukien China.


KUNTAO is a generic term used in much of Southeast Asia to designate martial arts of Chinese origin, the term deriving from the Fujian Chinese (Hokkienese) words for ‘fist’ (kun) and way or method (tao).  


KUNTAO is one of a number of martial arts styles found in Indonesia and Malaysia, coastal Thailand and the Western Philippines, including pukulan, silat, and pencak.


The term KUNTAO is in fact a loan-word used in the Austronesian language variants common to Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Eastern Thailand and the Philippines to refer to martial arts, sometimes, but not always, of Chinese origin. It derives from a Hokkienese (Fujianhua) idiom, kun tao literally translated as ‘fist way’ but really an idiomatic generic meaning ‘martial arts’. One encounters these same words romanized in a variety of different ways, such as koontao, kuntau and kun thau as well as KUNTAO. It is roughly equivalent to the Mandarin (Guoyeu) Chinese generic terms ‘wushu’, ‘kuoshu’ and ‘chuan fa’.


KUNG –FU is an ancient Chinese Martial Arts. KUNG means accomplishment, while FU Is effort. In general actual Chinese term for Martial Arts is so-called WU SHU, denotes militaristic training for self-defense and bravery. Wu means militaristic, while SHU is techniques. Wu Shu (wu su) known as WU KUNG is also called MARTIAL KUNG-FU, the National Sport of People’s Republic of China.





In the ancient Chinese Almanac, the Philippines was called SAN-TAO, three islands, the Luzon, Visaya and Mindanao.


The Chinese regained control of the Philippines trade when the MING Emperor, YUNG LO came to the throne of China during the era of 1402-1424. Yung Lo sent a large fleet consisting of more than sixty vessels to the Philippines under the command of Admiral Cheng Ho. The fleet visited Manila Bay, Mindoro, Lingayen in Pangasinan and Sulu.


Those other vessels of the fleet that anchored at the shore of Jolo took an active interest in the Philippine trade and maintained a kind of sovereignty over the island where some Chinese traders are KOON-TAO (KUNG-FU) experts who introduced the ancient fighting art to the native of Jolo. With the death of Yung Lo his sovereignty over the island came to an end. However, up the early 1970s it had been assumed that the Philippines was still a part of mainland China, which the art of KOON-TAO continue to flourish, promoted and developed by the Joloans called KUNTAW.


Admiral Cheng Ho

Admiral Cheng Ho

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