How Shaolin Kung Fu Became Famous in the West?
Kung Fu martial arts became famous worldwide (shown everywhere that syndicated US TV shows were broadcast), after the US television series of the same name, starring the US actor, David Carradine, was launched. The TV series was set in the US' Old West, a place characterized by the most un-subtle displays of power (think of a free-for-all bar fight in a typical western movie), while David Carradine, in the role of the Shaolin monk, Kwai Chang Caine, was the epitome of a polite, unassuming (read: subtle) figure who, as a master of kung fu, was also capable of amazing, mind over matter power displays, but resorted to this only when there was no alternative (there is perhaps a large measure of truth in portraying the Old West in the US as the "Wild West").
In spite of ostensibly being a master of "external" (shaolin) martial arts, Kwai Chang Caine turned out to be more of a master of "internal" (wudang) martial arts, which is also what gave the series in general – and David Carradine in particular – rave reviews, as Kwai Chang Caine's respectful self-restaint contrasted so sharply with the typical loudmouthed, bar-brawling cowboy's total lack of self-restraint. Kung Fu martial arts has since become even more famous due to the many video games devoted to its practice.
Another famous figure that made tremendous contribution in spreading Kung Fu in the west is Bruce Lee (1940 - 1973), the famous Chinese-American martial artist and actor. He is considered by many as the most influential martial artist and an important cultural icon of the 20th century. His films include the Big Boss, Fist of Fury, Way of the Dragon, Enter the Dragon, and the Game of Death.