Kung-fu masters, what don't they talk about? Well, that there are no secrets in kung-fu whatsoever. There are no magical energies, no super combos, no way of turning oneself into a martial artist in a week or a month. Kung-fu is quite exciting on a TV screen sure, but in the gym it's basic elements' repetition, constantly intensifying physical training, bumps and bruises from sparrings and most importantly - everlasting fight against yourself and your laziness, which gets even more complicated due to the absence of any external motivation: we haven't got belts or ranks, competitions or rewards.
Why kung-fu then? As a martial arts system kung-fu was being built throughout more than a thousand years. Generation after generation of masters were refining the ways of physical and psycho-emotional development of both body and mind. Kung-fu does not teach only how to parry, grapple or punch, it's only the top of it. The foundation, however, is the basic training, which aims for building up the 5 main attributes of a human body: coordination, flexibility, strength, endurance and speed. But, as you probably know, kung-fu is not all about the physique: overcoming yourself during the training, defeating the fright of your opponent, leads you towards the emotional serenity, the ability to concentrate on a given task and to the overall self-reliance. In other words you are improving spiritually, which is the main purpose of any martial art.
The Kung-Fu Project's instructors have devoted their last 10 years - at the very least - to the everyday training. During that time we've learned well our own capabilities, therefore we know what to ask from you: you have no chance to be lazy or to spare yourself. With our help you'll be able to discover your own potential, you'll learn how to plan your own training, and, naturally, you'll master the kung-fu.
Your life won't negotiate its terms with you, therefore you have to be prepared to any surprises. To overcome whatever obstacles there are ahead of you, you must constantly temper your body, spirit and mind. In this lies one of the main purposes of kung-fu.
Kung-fu teaches you to atack and defend with any means possible. That's why its arsenal is truly the biggest: various kicks, pushes, throws, clinches and grappling techniques. There are no limitations or restrictions during a fight: your only goal is to win.
To use the whole technical arsenal one has to be physically prepared. You must know how to use your own body: to have good coordination, flexibility, speed, endurance and strength. That's why you can't expect the kung-fu training process to be one-sided. Kung-fu is like a living organism with all of its elements connected together. To reach the success you must be developing in harmony. Kung-fu builds up from the human nature because it's based on the biomechanics: it does not break a person, but it makes her perfect.
Kung-fu is independent of age or physical condition, everybody finds here something worth looking for: good physique, nice body, ability to fight, and, of course self-reliance. You can always gain something useful from a training.
Kung-fu, like the life itself, - does not have rules. Kung-fu, like the art, does not have limits.
While everybody now is more or less familiar with yoga, qigong is far less clear. A lot of people think that qigong is something very obscure and always related to internal energies. Many people know that qigong is good for health, though why, and how exactly does it affect one's body they can't explain.
Qigong is well-know as a breathing technique. While true, this definition does not truly reflect the essence of the practice. It is too narrow to define it this way. The point of qigong is the accordance of breathing, motion and mind. This probably sounds too vaguely, but constantly practicing the qigong leads to a good physical development (due to the muscles', joints' and tendons' load) and a substantial health improvement without any stressful workout.
Given that qigong is an essential part of chinese martial arts we perform various qigong complexes during our tai-chi trainings and practice the hard qigong during the kung-fu trainings.
However, if you are interested in the qigong only, you are always welcome to our morning sessions - good spirits guaranteed!
First thing one usually notices in tai-chi is the general smootheness and "roundness" in every move. Slow and steady performance of the forms, as though you were watching a movie in slow motion. At the first glance tai chi can hardly be associated with martial arts, more likely with a kind of dance or fitness exercises. But as you look closer you begin to notice among those strange moves the common parries, punches, grapples and counteratacks with nearly the same technique as in any other martial art.
The thing is that the tai-chi is based on the chinese philosophy. You perform softness avoding a direct confrontation with your opponent, but at the same time you are as hard as a steel when you strike, - that's the way of Yin and Yang.
One never atacks first in tai-chi but instead follows the opponent's move, every atack is preceeded by the defense. Round and smooth movements relieve you of the neccesity to overcome your own body's inertia and muscle reactivity, which makes you more effective in a fight due to the technique, but not the physique. Tai-chi is too many-sided to put it in a few paragraphs. Apart from a fighting perspective tai-chi is indeed fairly effective as a health-improving or reabilitating practice. And it certainly allows you to improve your concentration, attention, patience and a lot off other important qualities.
It is easy to grasp but very hard to master the essence of tai-chi. If you're certain you want to learn tai-chi, then be prepared for long and difficult trainings over many years. And good luck to you, if you are indeed certain.