Kung Fu: Frequently Asked Questions

With us offering martial arts classes starting this week (November 1st), we figured now would be a perfect time to discuss some frequently asked questions regarding Kung Fu!

What is Kung Fu? The term "kung fu" is broad, but can be applied as "effort gained through hard work." In relation to martial arts, this means that we put in the effort to understand how to move in order to gain ability in fighting, increase our health, and focus our minds. Ok, but does it work? Absolutely, but only if you train it properly. 8 Step Mantis in particular is very effective with the mantis' drawing in ability combined with devastating hand and leg strikes, throws, and joint locks. There is a period of time when you first start where you are retraining your body's instincts in which you might actually get worse at fighting until you have trained to the point where techniques are natural and reflexive. Once that is ingrained in you, your ability to defend yourself and others keeps going up and up. What is the difference between Kung Fu and Tae Kwon Do or Karate? If it is a true system of traditional martial arts, they all go to the same place, just by different paths. Tae Kwon Do often focuses on using the legs to deliver powerful strikes, and karate emphasizes power. Kung Fu uses flow, circular movements, and the opponent's own power to deliver devastating attacks. One of the primary aspects of kung fu is developing the ability to react using the entire body while flowing with the movements of the opponent. Developing this following ability takes time- but when it is in the body you fight how Bruce Lee used to describe: like water. Kinetic linking, or body connection, allows you to strike with incredible force no matter how large or small you are, and while we train to get very strong, fighting with proper kung fu technique evens the field when facing larger opponents. Is Preying Mantis kung fu the same as Shaolin or other styles of kung fu? The basic idea is the same, though 8 Step uses the mantis techniques to draw in the opponent and often wrap up their arms and legs. The forms are wide open and low like most Northern Chinese systems, and 8 Step is a complete system that takes advantage over all aspects of fighting rather than a single focus. Why all these forms/kata/sets? Traditional martial arts, whether they be kung fu, karate, or others, use sets of movements called forms or kata to retrain the body how to move more effectively in a fighting situation. Some forms focus on aligning the body, some on coordinating or infusing kinetic linking, some on specific techniques, and some on training the ability to smoothly flow from one technique into another. Training forms are an important tool to use to allow the body to be able to move properly, and should be treated as only a piece of the whole. Not practicing them means the body does not have the ability to properly use techniques; hands-on application in addition to forms in more free-from environments is necessary to learn how to apply learned techniques. Do you teach weapons? I teach weapons at a certain point to interested students who express a genuine interest in learning them and who have demonstrated that they practice diligently. Do you compete? The focus of our school is not competition. However, should you have a genuine interest in participating in form or sparring competitions, we will train you to win. I want to fight! Can you teach me right away? If you want to fight right away, go to a boxing gym or MMA. If you want to change your body and how you move into something much more, and then be able to fight naturally and reflexively, flowing like water from one technique into the next, using deceptive footwork and lightning quick hands, tangling up your opponent's joints and throwing them into the ground, all while getting healthier, then come here. Just don't expect to fight day one. It comes when you are ready. Are uniforms required? For kung fu classes, yes. For tai chi or open mat times, street clothes are welcome. I'm not in shape. Should I go to a gym before joining your school? No! Come in. We get you in shape. The perfect time to start is now. Don't keep putting it off because you don't think you are ready. Everyone is welcome, and you start wherever you are at.

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