play kung fu

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Sun14, Feb 15, 2017.

  1. Sun14

    Sun14 Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Chinese
    Hello, my friends,

    I was wondering whether I can say play kung fu:

    "I can play kung fu.."

    Thoughts and context: I told my friends I can do kung fu. I was wondering whether the collocation is idiomatic.
     
  2. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    No - we don't say that.
     
  3. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima (English Only)

    Singapore
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    No, that sounds really strange to me. Just stick with 'I can do kung fu'.

    Cross-posted.
     
  4. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    Also, you "practise", or "know" kung fu.
     
  5. meijin

    meijin Senior Member

    Tokyo
    Japanese
    Is it possible to say, "We played kung fu yesterday"? (=We had a kung fu match yesterday.)
     
  6. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    That sounds just as strange as Sun's "I can play kung fu", meijin:(.
     
  7. meijin

    meijin Senior Member

    Tokyo
    Japanese
    Interesting. Thank you very much, Loob.
     
  8. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima (English Only)

    Singapore
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I think you might be giving a word-for-word translation from another language. I hear people talking about 'playing computer' here, but the construction is from Chinese and sounds strange to English speakers, who are happy about playing a particular sport or musical instruments, for example.
     
  9. dojibear

    dojibear Senior Member

    Fresno CA
    English - Northeast US
    The word "play" is used for games, including games that are sports (lacrosse, football, tennis, baseball etc.).

    But "play" is not used for all competitions. It is not used for competitions in archery, rifle shooting, martial arts (judo, kung fu), boxing, wrestling, swimming, horse-riding, and many others.
     
  10. Sun14

    Sun14 Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Chinese
    Yes they might mean enjoy the time on computer or play computer games.
     
  11. Sun14

    Sun14 Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Chinese
    Thanks for all your kind replies.
     
  12. RM1(SS)

    RM1(SS) Senior Member

    Connecticut
    English - US (Midwest)
    I used to work with a guy who "played judo," so some people do say it. It's very rare and/or very strange, though. :D
     
  13. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    It's a direct translation from the Japanese, I believe.
     
  14. Sun14

    Sun14 Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Chinese
    Got it. Thank you very much.
     

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