Kung-Fu as a martial art includes:
- Techniques for attack and defense, including kicks with both fists and legs and blocking techniques
- Clenching techniques, ways to affect muscles and joints. Also there are ways to counteract those
- Weapon wielding: sword, staff, spear, nunchaku
Kung Fu as a system has been developing for centuries based on experience of countless generations of warriors and the necessity of a common man to protect oneself. Together with the knowledge of medicine kung-fu has become a complex system of self-development.
One of the main purposes of kung-fu is to teach how to prevail against a more physically strong combatant by means of technical and tactical advantage.
We consciously do not stick to any single style of kung-fu and stress the importance of the basics, which are the same for all martial arts. This approach makes it possible not to limit yourself with any borders or conventions.
Chinese wisdom teaches us to be flexible and to adjust to any circumstances, extracting valuable lessons from them. During hundreds of years of wars and invasions Chinese masters were not only fighting against the intruders, but they were also assimilating all the best that there was, thus building the knowledge of martial arts as well.
Kung-Fu and health
The cornerstone of kung-fu is basic training, which includes a complex program of physical conditioning. This program is aimed to develop five main parameters of human body: coordination, flexibility, strength, endurance and speed.
Even if you don't have a goal of learning how to fight efficiently but simply want to be in good shape, kung-fu training will allow you to build you body in a thoughtful and, most importantly, comprehensive manner, acquiring many useful skills along the way, skills which may one day be of a good use to you.
While practicing kung-fu, by constantly overcoming yourself during the trainings, by fighting the fear of your opponent you won't notice how you begin to get develop psychological traits. You'll forge your will, temper your self-reliance and, most important of all, learn to understand yourself, and consequently those around you, better. Those are not just empty words – we've experienced this ourselves and we constantly watch our students to get it. The skills you get will help you during your everyday life. A healthy and well-built person can achieve any goal she wants.
On the traditional kung-fu
Traditional kung-fu does not have any rules – that's the main difference compared to a combat sport. In real life when you defend yourself you are free to use any means to neutralize your opponent. This condition applies to traditional kung-fu as well. Given that the traditional kung-fu is a strictly practical discipline it doesn't include acrobatics and any show-off elements (nevertheless acrobatics is an important part of our physical training, it is aimed to develop some of the essential parameters of the body).
There are no complex sequences of moves in traditional kung-fu. The main principle is precise and efficient execution of the basic elements which is then tuned to the specifics of a given person. This allows you to fight “by your own rules”, by sequencing the moves depending on the situation.
Bruce Lee once said: ”I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times”. This phrase catches one of the most important principles of kung-fu: your efficiency depends not on the number of the moves you know but on their quality.
Here in Kung-Fu Project you learn the principle of applying the technical element and in the end you get the ability to transform it into a hundred moves.
We think that competitions do not just interfere, but they also spoil the martial arts. The way of sport is aimed to achieve the maximum result at the competition. At that moment all of the athlete's abilities and skills are mobilized.
In the traditional kung-fu the other way is advocated: it is unacceptable to “overload” oneself just for the one occasion, you ought to be able to act at any given time. Combat sport, no matter how brutal it might get advertised, does always have strict rules, which are fully aimed to keep the competitors alive and healthy. This applies some strict limitations on the training process and the combat tactics. Thus in its essence a martial art loses its original idea.
For the same reasons there are no belts or ranks in the traditional kung-fu. Rewards give you the wrong motivation but their absence allows you to keep you mind free for the true purpose of you training. The absence of an achievable goal is the philosophy of kung-fu. You have to practice for the whole life and then your abilities in the course of life will be your true rewards. The absence of an external motivation tempers your will and allows you to train in consciously.
How quickly can I master the Kung-fu?
This one is the most frequent and the most difficult question that we have to answer. You progress depends solely on your devotion and responsibility. If you take your trainings seriously, work out at least 3 times a week (which is a standard evening group schedule) and do everything your instructor tells you, then in a year you'll notice the first results, and the improvements in your physical condition will occur as quickly as the first couple of months.
The training process
Your age and physical condition do not matter. We don't have a preliminary group. New students are training together with the older ones. Nobody will force you to do the exercises at full – at first the new student's task is just to do them carefully and thoroughly, without sparing herself. We are against the spirit of competition and try to maintain friendly relationships and support, that's why there's no need to be shy if you are new.
The training process consists of two halves:
50% - physical training, developing the basic parameters, performing the exercises aimed to build up the skills you'll need for the technical elements. This half includes:
- various physical exercises
- exercises for flexibility
- Qi gong complexes “5 stars of Shaolin” and “The iron shirt”
- acrobatics and exercises for coordination
50% - learning and practicing the technique.
This half includes:
- learning the basic theory
- learning the kicks and blocking moves with both arms and legs
- learning the grappling techniques and the counter-actions
- strategy and tactics of a close combatant
During the first part of the training you follow the instructor. Your goal is to repeat after him all the exercises. Pay close attention for his performance. Ideally you have to do the same amount of repetitions as he does. We understand that your physical condition can be far from the perfection, that's why at first you have to do as much as you can. Don't be too hard on yourself – this will be the foundation of you further development. During the work in pairs you have to maintain full concentration on the quality performance of the technical elements. The work in pairs implies the contact with your partner. The moves you do ought to reach their target. This way supports the mutual training and allows you to overcome the psychological obstacles.
Here at Kung-Fu Project we practice the free sparring for the students who reached a certain level. Slowly at first but steadily increasing the speed up to the real one. The sparring is usually conducted without rules and with the minimum protecting equipment but under the instructor's control. The aim of the sparring is to learn the basic techniques of fighting, to learn the real applications of your moves, and to learn how to control you fear. The traditional kung-fu and the stuff you see in the movies have very little in common. So prepare for a very long and hard work on your body and your technique. In real life a fight doesn't look as spectacular as in a movie and physical strength and good health need years to achieve. What's worst – if by some reasons you have given up your trainings, your physical condition will reset to default – that's a basic property of a human body. But don't feel sad, we can't be near you for your whole life, so we're going to pass you the knowledge of how to make a right exercise program, we're going to explain you the basic principles of kung-fu. Thanks to that you will be able to continue your trainings throughout your life. Remember this: it is essential to train for your whole life and kung-fu is a very good way to always stay in a good shape.
Here is the usage of the term “kung-fu” in Kung Fu Project:
- Kung-fu or wu-shu? Wu-shu is Chinese for “martial art”. In terms of sense, wu-shu is more of a correct word as it reflects the main idea. Nevertheless by the term “wu-shu” they nowadays mean a relatively young sports based on, but having nothing common, with the traditional chinese martial arts. That's why for traditional chinese martial arts they use the term “kung-fu”, which means “hard work” or “mastery”. In terms of sense, the most correct word is “chuan-fa” (“quan-fa”), which “the law of a fist” or “the principle of a fist”. But this term is not very clear to the europeans that's why it is rarely used.
- What do we mean by kung-fu? To make it easier for our students we willingly simplified the terms. Chinese schools of martial arts are often divided in internal and external styles, judging by the main principle. Internal styles include tai-chi quan, ba-gua-jan, sin-y-quan etc. External styles include hun-gar, shaolin quan etc. In our experience this classification further overwhelms the student instead of making easier for him to choose. That's why we called the external school – kung-fu and internal – tai chi and qi gong.