Many of the members of the Kshatriya or warrior’s class in India become monks. Indian Virami, “warrior method”, was taken with the monks who traveled to China to teach Buddhism. Specific names and dates are not reliable, although some accounts claim that Buddhism was first transmitted from India to China during the Southern Liang dynasty (502-557 A.D.) by Da Mo, the first Buddhist patriarch to travel there. Others records indicate that the transmission occurred during the Sung dynasty (420-479 A.D.).
Hundreds of forms of Chuan-fa (Japanese: Kenpo) or “fist methods” developed in China over the centuries. They have been classified in many ways, but the most common is Northern Kenpo and Southern Kenpo. The Northern methods were developed in the mountains and open plains, so originally their stances, kicks and punches tended to be long and delivered from a far distance from their opponent. It also included throwing and grappling. The Southern Kempo systems were developed in crowded coastal cities and on boats, so the original emphasis was on short stances, and close-in blocks and punches.
Of course, over the years these forms blended together, so the Northern and Southern classifications are only useful in historic terms.