Wander alone; bearing the light and thy staff. And be the light so bright that no man seeth thee. Be not moved by aught without or within: Keep silence in all ways.
The superior man, when he stands alone,
One stands unafraid in isolation,
Nothing and no one can destroy the Chinese people. They are relentless survivors. They are the oldest civilized people on earth. Their civilization passes through phases but its basic characteristics remain the same. They yield, they bend to the wind, but they never break.
Legend has it that Fang Qi-Niang, on her way home from washing clothes one day, observed a great white crane on the roof of her home. Driven with curiosity and apprehension that the crane would damage the clothes she hung out to dry, she took a stick and attempted to scare the crane away. When she tried to hit the head of the crane, the crane moved its head and extended its wings to defend against the strike. When she tried to hit the wings of the crane, the crane jumped agilely away and used its claws to deflect the stick. When she tried to spear the crane’s body, the crane shook its wings, while retreating and striking forward with its beak.
(from The Legend of the White Crane)
Kung Fu - The Hard Work
By Jens-Arthur Leirbakk, this page has a section on history and a discussion of some of the main substyles.