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In 39-92 CE, " Six Chapters of Hand Fighting", were included in the Han Shu (history of the Former Han Dynasty) written by Pan Ku.Also, the noted physician, Hua T'uo, composed the " Five Animals Play" - tiger, deer, monkey, bear, and bird, around 220 CE.The Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing), often credited to Lao Zi, contains principles that are applicable to martial arts, but the dating of this work is controversial.Archery and charioteering were a part of the "six arts" (Traditional Chinese: 六藝; Simplified Chinese: 六藝; pinyin: liu yi, also including rites, music, calligraphy and mathematics) of the Zhou Dynasty (1122 BCE - 256 BCE), according to the text Zhou Li. Jiao li became a sport during the Qin Dynasty (221 BCE - 207 BCE). Currently, Jiao li is known as Shuai jiao, its modern form.Taoist monks are claimed to have been practicing physical exercises that resemble Tai Chi Chuan at least as early as the 500 BCE era.Main article: Styles of Chinese martial arts For a list of styles, see list of Chinese martial arts.
The fighting styles that are practiced today were developed over the centuries, after having incorporated forms that came into existence later.
Chinese martial arts can also be categorized by location, as in northern (北拳) and southern (南拳) as well, referring to what part of China the styles originated from, separated by the Yangtze River (Chang Jiang); Chinese martial arts may even be classified according to their province or city.
The main perceived difference about northern and southern styles is that the northern styles tend to emphasize kicks, jumps and generally fluid and rapid movement, while the southern styles focus more on strong arm and hand techniques, and stable, immovable stances and footwork.
As the Chinese writing system traces back to the Shang Dynasty (1766 BCE - 1122 BCE), claims of entire books regarding the martial arts being written at earlier times are suspect.
The Art of War, written during the 6th century BCE by Sun Tzu, deals directly with military warfare.