Kung Fu means hard work or effort, suggesting the result of high skill in something, anything – if your work / effort was built upon correct principles. Thus, the statement ‘good Kung Fu’ has come to mean what you do works. Today, Kung Fu can refer to the healing arts, fighting, self defense, fitness, knowledge, health, chi, etc. To be a true Master at one thing, one must know a lot about a lot of things. It was largely Hollywood movies that gave the impression the term Kung Fu only refers to Chinese fighting or martial arts. Yes, Shaolin Kung Fu is a very famous and effective fighting system. History has shown time and time again how good it is. Almost all known types of martial arts came from the systems of Shaolin.
Some individuals prefer the term Gung Fu instead of Kung Fu or Wushu, etc. With three different major written forms of the Chinese language alone and over 400 different spoken, confusion in terms can grow quickly. With the Arts embracing many different peoples, countries and time period’s languages did change. Our goal here is to understand the meaning behind the Arts and the results that have and can happen in practicing them. Languages and cultures can be beautiful, but they are just tools to explain and feel what is really happening – to touch the substance within.
As Kung Fu Artists, our goal is excellence. Excellence in all we do. To be at peace with all the world around us. Not to abuse, not to be abused. In the process of gaining proficiency in our Arts we discover ourselves, enlightenment, understanding, confidence, and self awareness. We laugh; and sometimes cry. We sweat; we ponder; we share; we truly live. In the end we experience the joy of growth, the empowerment and the freedom that it brings. It’s fun, it’s rewarding, it develops; it’s real. It builds upon all the good that is in us. Yes, there is a myriad of kicks, multi hand strikes, stances, grabs, weapons, and patterns or techniques thousands of years old to utilize, for control, to heal with and to energize. In the end you just have to experience good Kung Fu to understand. Come in. There is no time like the present to discover, to enjoy the adventure.
Many refer to the Arts of Kung Fu or Karate as either internal, meaning developing or dealing with the internal parts of the body, and external, meaning the external or outer shell of the body. Internal is likewise thought of as being soft or gentle in movement while external is only hard or focused. There really is no such thing in the Arts. Rather there is some degree of both in all. One type or style of Art may have become more known for being soft or hard, gentle or focused, but both are still needed, just like the outside of the body has need of the inside and the inside needs the outside. Neither can live without the other. Karate styles such as Japan’s Wado Ryu or Korea’s Tae Kwon Do, tend to be linear with a force meets force type philosophy while Kung Fu styles more circular, redirecting energy, if compared to each other. Again, this may tend to be true, but there are still very “hard” styles of Kung Fu and very “soft” ones as well.
At Shaolin Arts Kung Fu we teach the five classic Shaolin Animals: tiger, leopard, dragon, crane and snake. Or, simply put, Shaolin Chuan Fa. Within this complete system both hard and soft, focus with fluidity, are embraced. Each Shaolin Arts animal represents a different body type and personality. The tiger is known for its strength and tenacity. It is used to being the biggest and strongest animal in the jungle using direct force in confrontations. As long as you are the biggest and strongest tiger this is a good method. The weakness of the tiger is that it can be ‘out foxed’. The leopard is known for its speed. Rapid multiple strikes with coordinated footwork are utilized. Boxing would be one example of a sport evolving from leopard techniques. The crane is known for its balance. It is more conservative, keeping its main body back while reaching out with its wings and beak. The last thing the crane wants to do is grapple. The snake uses wrapping movements and poisonous strikes. The sports of judo, jujitsu, wrestling, and aikido all came from the snake. Poisonous strikes are the pressure point strikes Kung Fu is famous for. The dragon is mystical. It is the thinker. Whipping and whirling with hidden strikes is its trademark. It understands and can use all the other four animals to fulfill it’s needs and purpose. Put together these five animals create a complete package or program of the Arts.
Shaolin Arts is a family system thousands of years old and has survived because it works. MMA, Mixed Martial Arts, has become a term used today referring to an aggressive sport type event for the entertainment of spectators. More than one ‘style’ or type of martial art is used. Using more than one style, or a complete program of arts is what Shaolin Arts Kung Fu programs have always done. Just like people, each Kung Fu animal has its strengths and weakness due to individual body style and personality. For example, in self defense applications, kicks are an excellent too,l but, if you are standing on a patch of ice, or wearing a tight dress, you may not be able to throw too many kicks. If someone gets behind you and pulls you down to the ground different skills are needed. What if you have more than one attacker? If weapons are used? etc. Putting all the animal styles together, as traditionally done, creates a complete package or system of Arts. Our goal is to teach you all the principles of the Arts and you will naturally gravitate to the style that works best for you.
We do have students who study just one aspect of the art. It may be a weapon, self defense, sport, or the health and fitness it generates. Let us know ahead of time and we can set up a specialized program.
Kung Fu weapon training can give the body great feedback because weapons are just an extension of the body. Any error the body makes the weapon will exaggerate. They are wonderful tools for developing the mind and body. Certain traditional weapons aid in this process more than others. Thus at Shaolin Arts Kung Fu, for those students who are interested, we like to introduce classic or traditional weapons training. Secondly, weapons are a part of our society. Understanding how they work increases our understanding of how to defend against them. Ancient principles well understood, only improve one’s skill and responsibilities with the weapons of our time.
About our Kung Fu Classes
To keep classes smaller and facilitate learning, our adult classes are divided by skill level. Beginning classes are from white through purple sash students. The Intermediate class covers those with a blue through green-advanced sash rank. Advanced classes are for those who have achieved one of the red through brown-advanced sash ranks. All classes include a rigorous workout appropriate for the class level. Instructors help each student scale the workout to the student’s ability.
In the beginning class, you learn basic stances, kicks, and strikes. You learn forms and defense combinations that teach you how to move in and out of stances with kicks and strikes. As you progress, you learn how to fall safely and improve your balance. You learn how to apply the techniques you are learning to real-life situations through partner practice. Towards the end of the beginner phase, you begin full contact sparring with protective gear.
In the intermediate class, you continue practicing the basic skills and begin learning more advanced forms, combinations, strikes, kicks, blocks, and grappling techniques. You begin internalizing the techniques so that you can spontaneously apply them under pressure. You sparring skills begin to improve.
In the advanced class, you continue learning advanced forms and techniques. You begin to understand how the techniques apply to your body type and personality. Your own style begins to develop and you fine-tune all of the previous material you have learned accordingly.
Having learned the basics of Shaolin Five-Animal Kung Fu, in the black sash class you embark upon your personal kung fu journey of mastery. You learn kung fu at a deeper level. You learn how to harness your energy (Chi). You learn to fluidly improvise attacks and defenses based on previous material. Your attack and defense techniques are applied at “fight speed”. You are ready for a life-long journey of discovery and fitness.
Come in and enjoy our programs; the fun, fitness, depth and results are wonderful.
Fill out the form below or call us at 623-581-2000 to schedule your Free Trial Class today.
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