Showing posts with label Kung Fu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kung Fu. Show all posts

Friday, August 11, 2017

KUNG FU: History And Basic Principles

Shaolin kung fu
Shaolin kung fu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Term:
Historically, the term “Kung Fu” is not really featured in any ancient texts. It was first coined by a Frenchman named Jean Joseph Marie Amiot, a missionary who lived in the 18th Century, in reference to Chinese martial arts. Kung Fu is also called Gongfu, Wushu, or Kuoshu, and originally denotes expertise in any skill, and not exclusive to martial arts.

Brief History:
The practice, philosophy, and concept of Kung Fu can be traced back to ancient Chinese texts such as Zhuang Zi, Dao De Jing, and Sun Zi Bing Fa (Art of War written by Sun Zi), all written between 1111-255 BC. These texts contain passages related to the practice, propagation, and principles of Chinese martial arts, or Kung Fu as it is known today.

One theory regarding the first written history of Kung Fu suggests that the Yellow Emperor, who reigned from 2698 BC, wrote the first treatise on Chinese martial arts. Others give credit to Taoist monks for introducing an art form that resembles modern Tai Chi around 500 BC. Then in 39-92 AD, Pan Ku included "Six Chapters of Hand Fighting" in his discourse on the history of the Han dynasty (Han Shu). As the popularity of martial arts progressed, a physician named Hua Tuo also wrote his own treatise entitled, “Five Animals Play" in 220 AD.

Kung Fu had become a common word in the West beginning in the late 1960s, popularized by martial arts movies and TV series. The Western world today has also seen an immense upsurge in the creation and production of martial arts movies starring great actors/masters such as Jackie Chan and Jet Li.





Basic Principles:
The concept of Kung Fu revolves around three basic principles – Motivation, Self-discipline and Time.

According to experts, the real motivation behind learning Kung Fu is an inspiration and not force, which should come from an inner craving to learn and develop the mind and body. The motivation here is the fundamental driving force. There is no external or worldly gain for the learner, and the only reward is that of knowledge, skill, strength, and wisdom.

In Kung Fu, discipline is complementary to motivation. Discipline puts motivation into deed and action. A learner has to make an effort into what he has been motivated for, and self-discipline helps him get started and guides him to achieve that goal. Therefore, without discipline, motivation is just a dormant state of mind.

Time is the path to perfection in martial arts. Once motivation and self-discipline have set in, a learner has to spend a considerable amount of time putting mind and body into practice. A truly inspired learner does not have the privilege to waste time, stay idle or indulge in fruitless activities. Everything done by him/her should reflect real motivation and self-discipline.

Variants and Styles:
With the passage of time, numerous variants and styles have come up in martial arts, or Kung Fu. Some of the more popular ones include Karate, Escrima, Wing Chun, Jujitsu, Judo, Tae Kwon Do, Shaolin, White Crane, T'ai Chi Ch'uan, and Bagua Zhang.




Saturday, August 5, 2017

Methods Of QIGONG In KUNG FU Training

Qigong is a general name for the systems of hardening and improvement of body and mind, treatment and health enhancement created in China. They primarily based on the ability to control your own consciousness, mentality and through them all the physiological processes of the organism. Practicing Qigong you can achieve stunning results some of which even the powerful modern science cannot conceive and explain.

There are three main categories of Qigong: Health-improving, Fighting and Mystical.

1. It was Chinese physicians who developed and evolved the Health-improving Qigong during many centuries. They created special exercises aimed to preserve and promote health as well as to cure various diseases.

2. Fighting (or Hard) Qigong was developed by those practitioners of Qigong who at the same time were masters of martial arts. These exercises serve to enhance the energy concentration in muscles and other parts of the body allowing to hugely increase the bodily strength and its resistance against the attempts to cause it a physical injury.

3. Mystical Qigong is a child of Buddhist monks and Taosian anchorites. The goal of Mystical Qigong consists in achieving the so called Enlightenment – a special psychophysical state of the human being. Taosian anchorites also developed methods of anti-aging based on Mystical Qigong. Mystical Qigong is the most difficult to master.

qi-gong_brocart-6
Qigong - Photo by No-Stress 
Qigong is not only the art of Qi energy control; it trains the mind and helps to work out the ability to control your volitional impulse. Qigong techniques include a huge variety of exercises but they all consist of the three main parts: control of position, control of breath, and control of mind.

Controlling his position, a man can acquire some optimal posture of body which would allow Qi to flow in the organism without delays or blockages not causing any disturbing feelings and removing diseases. The exercises are mostly performed in common stands, for example, in the Rider’s stance.

You need to control your breath to let the external Qi (from the air) not only to pass mechanically into the internal state but to spread along energy channels, fully feeding all the organs.

Consciousness is crucial in breath control; it distributes Qi along the body. At the highest stage, the breath is controlled at the level of subconsciousness and do not require too much of your attention.

Step by step learning to control his energy resources, a practitioner will pass from using the physical strength (Li) to the internal burst of effort (Tsin). This internal effort, as Chinese masters believe, is produced not by muscles but in tendons and marrow.

This is the reason why the most of Kung Fu exercises aimed not to increase the mass of muscles but to strengthen tendons and bones. While muscles tend to loose their strength (Li) as the man grows older, masters preserve their internal effort (Tsin) until great age. That’s why Chinese masters of Kung Fu say: “If you do not practice Fighting Qigong but train only your physical strength you’ll be left with nothing when you grow old enough.”

Qigong exercises advance “internal Qi” our organism contains. “Internal Qi” is also called “true Qi”. The state of “true Qi” depends on many factors: regular Fighting Qigong exercises, nutrition, mental state, environment, etc. Every human being has internal Qi but only few can use it properly, develop it. The Qi of the vast majority of people is destabilized. The goal of Fighting Qigong is to fill the organism with “true Qi”, calm it, make Qi flow along channels freely without obstructions.

So what is Qi after all? According to Chinese notions, it is an energetic substance which represents the foundation of all, i. e. the energetic foundation of the Universe. Our body can be compared to an electric appliance: if it is supplied with electric power it works but if the power supply is cut down the device operation stops. Likewise with the man: if Qi supply of his body is insufficient or it gets stagnant in it, the man gets sick or even dies.

To have a healthy robust body, one needs to learn how to keep the Qi circulation smooth and to be able to accumulate sufficient amount of Qi. To do so, it is necessary to understand the system of circulation and storage of Qi in your organism.

The human body has twelve so called primary channels (meridians) along which Qi is spread across the entire organism. There also exist eight “miraculous” vessels serving as a kind of reservoirs storing and regulating Qi. One end of each channel is attached to one of twelve internal organs while the other end is connected to one of fingers or toes.


These twelve channels supply with Qi energy twelve internal organs. Besides, these channels also take the excessive energy away from internal organs allowing us to through it out of the body. When due to blockage or disease the circulation of Qi along the channels is interrupted, one or several organs cannot get enough Qi which leads to their functional disturbance.

To be healthy, you need to learn how to keep the circulation of Qi in the twelve channels smooth and constantly replenish the “miraculous vessels” with energy.

If you understand the theory of Qi circulation in the human body you will be able to understand how Qi relates to martial arts as well. Remember, your body is not simply a machine it is an organism able to improve itself. The stronger Qi is, the stronger the human body gets.

Fighting Qigong practice sessions serve to enhance the capabilities of your body. We know that using our mind we can control various parts of our own body. The process of control is simple. Our mind generates a thought, and the thought leads Qi to the corresponding parts of the body which perform the requested action. The key thing about Fighting Qigong is in learning to lead your Qi as efficient as it can be. In this case you can increase you strength very much.

Chinese martial arts masters learn to focus their minds through meditation or other kinds of training practice to make Qi obey them easily. This can substantially enhance the strength of a fighter and increase the efficiency of his technique.




Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The 5 Animals Of KUNG FU

Also known as the Kung Fu fist forms, the 5 animals of Kung Fu are known all across the world, and are some of the deadliest martial arts you can study.  There are other specific fist styles in Kung Fu, although none of them are as powerful or as well known as the 5 animal styles.  As the name implies, these forms were derived from the animals in which they got their names from.

Students of Shaolin Kung Fu school perform ren...
Students of Shaolin Kung Fu school perform renowned shaolin kungfu (martial art). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



The Dragon Claw

The Dragon Claw is very well known, with the Chinese believing that this style comes directly from the ancient dragon.  This style uses an open hand technique that is used for controlling the opponent through grabbing and throwing.  Using an open hand technique, stylists may also use the fingers to poke as well.  Dragon Claw is very fast, very hard to defend against - and nearly impossible to predict.

The Leopard Claw
The Leopard Claw style utilizes a half opened fist.  The ideal striking method with Leopard is the ridge of the hand, which is formed by folding the fingers towards the palm of the hand, with the palm being the backup or secondary striking method.  Leopard Claw is very fast as well, and very lethal if the stylist has enough technique and power behind his strikes.

The Tiger Claw
Tiger Claw uses an open hand movement that is used for tearing and grabbing.  Tiger Claw is the most well known of the 5 animal system, and also one of the most well known forms of Kung Fu as well.  It isn’t affected by simply grabbing and gripping with the hand, but from the digging of the fingernails deep into the skin.  Once the fingernails have been embedded in the opponent’s skin, the Tiger Claw stylist can shred the skin right off the bone, tearing the opponent apart.  Tiger Claw is very powerful - and one of the deadliest forms in the world of martial arts.

The Snake Head
Snake Head resembles the attack of a snake in combat, using an open hand technique which requires the fingers to be held together tight, fully extended.  The tips of the finger form a very hard surface, used to attack the softest and most vital areas of the opponent.  In order to be effective, both hands need to be used together at the same time.

The Crane Beak
Crane involves the fingers being pressed together tightly, forming a striking surface at the base of the stylist’s fingertips.  Although the fingers can be conditioned to a high level of strength, most attacks using the Crane technique are focused towards the most vital areas of an opponent.

The 5 animal styles of Kung Fu are very popular, and very deadly.  Martial artists that know any of these forms are very deadly - and more than capable of defending themselves against anything that comes their way.


Monday, May 8, 2017

Keys Of HUNG GAR KUNG FU Mastering

1. While polishing your technique you should never stick out your chest or stomach either when fighting or practicing. It stiffens your body and makes your movements awkward. As a result, you are losing control over your body. While practicing always make sure to keep your back bent outward and chest incurved. This is the right sign to distinguish between Kung Fu masters and Kung Fu athletes.

2. Despite the fact that the back should be a bit bent outward, you have to maintain the body centrality; by no means should the body be bent too much. Otherwise it will lose the balance, which can result in loss of equilibrium and steadiness, and make the outgoing energy weak. The back and pelvis must be in the same plane.

Championnat national du 13 & 14 juin 2009
Photo by kungfulyon


3. Bending your head down in fight is like blindfolding yourself, since with your head down you cannot fully control all the actions of your enemy. Moreover, it can lead you to losing the balance.

4. During the fight, your waist should be down. If it is not, it makes Qi to go upward and accumulate in the chest. This accumulation of Qi in the chest causes you to lose the steadiness; your movements will immediately become clumsy and awkward. A man with his Qi in lower Dan Tian can be compared to a weeble wobble, since it is virtually impossible to throw him down on the ground. Now, consider moving the load in the lower part of the weeble wobble upward; the slightest push would overturn the weeble wobble.

5. The hand is rounded in elbow and wrist.

6. Practicing, always make sure to perform movements correctly. Otherwise, you would get bad habits, which is rather harmful than advantageous. Mastering new techniques, you should always act without haste; only when you have repeated movements correctly many times, you can consider increasing speed and strength.

7. It is not good performing already learnt techniques with negligence, so-so, since it is hardly of any use. Performing already mastered techniques you need to fully use your consciousness, i.e., using consciousness (Yi) send your energy Qi to the section of the body engaged in this technique. For example, kicking with your heel the moment the heel touches the enemy (target) you need to fully focus on throwing the energy through the heel.



8. Inside yourself, you should work out your mind, spirit, consciousness and Qi until they join together. Only when this happens you will be able to send your Qi anywhere at your wish.

9. The key to mastering is in everyday work at the thing neither master not disciple can do without, namely polishing the basic technique.




Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Difference Between KARATEand KUNG FU

A karate student wearing a karategi
A karate student wearing a karategi 
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)


For many people, especially those who are not familiar with martial arts, the question often arises on what the difference between karate and kung fu is.  Upon watching somebody doing martial arts, the untrained eye will find it hard to tell whether that person is doing karate or kung fu.  Even those who are beginning martial arts may sometimes be confused about the different styles until further exposure to them will reveal just how different they really are.

Historically, the people living in the islands of Okinawa just south of Japan got exposed to Chinese kung fu martial arts due to the close proximity to China.  Over time, the Okinawans and Japanese developed their own styles of martial arts now known as karate from the original influence of Chinese kung fu.  Although both karate and kung fu utilize many similar martial arts techniques, most kung fu styles will usually have more variety of techniques compared to karate systems.  It’s almost like the Japanese streamlined the number of techniques from Chinese systems to develop karate.  The Japanese also modified the way techniques are executed in karate as they became more linear compared to kung fu.  This is especially evident in the forms or katas (traditional sequence of set moves) where karate techniques are performed with crisp movements that have distinct stop and go motions.  

In kung fu forms, movements involve the use of more circular techniques, particularly with the hands.  These circular motions give kung fu forms a more visually graceful look as techniques seem to flow from one to another.  There is less stop and go with most kung fu styles.  This is why some martial artists, especially in North America, often refer to Chinese kung fu as ‘soft’ styles while karate and tae kwon do are ‘hard’ styles.  This is not to say that hard styles such as karate or tae kwon do are more powerful martial arts than kung fu and other soft styles.  The term ‘soft’ is a bit misleading because the power from circular kung fu moves is often hidden.  Circular moves can generate just as much power as linear ones found in hard styles.   Most kung fu forms are also usually more complex and longer in duration than most karate forms.   To most martial artists, a kung fu form will look much more exotic while a karate form will look more straight forward in terms of martial arts techniques.  Interestingly enough, there are karate styles such as goju which do have quite a lot of circular techniques similar to kung fu.  Kempo styles are considered a hybrid of Chinese kung fu and Okinawan karate techniques with both circular as well as linear techniques.  There are also many more different styles of kung fu compared to karate.  

A shaolin student doing a kung fu moves. Shaol...
A shaolin student doing a kung fu moves.
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)
A shaolin student doing a kung fu moves. Shaolin Kung Fu is more than just a martial art. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Martial arts weaponry is found in both kung fu and karate styles but different sets of weapons are utilized in each martial arts system.   Much like the empty hand forms, the kata with karate weapons are also more linear compared to those with kung fu weapons which have more circular movements.  As expected, there is a lot more variety of different Chinese kung fu weapons than found in the Japanese karate styles.
    
Traditionally, practitioners of karate wear a white uniform called a gi which features the overlapping kimono-like top.  Less traditional schools like those in North America will allow colored uniforms.  A colored belt will be the finishing touch to the gi with of course the black belt for those at instructor level ranking.  Most of the time and especially inside a dojo studio, karate stylists will not wear any shoes while training.  Most kung fu stylists will wear a very different looking uniform.  Kung fu uniforms usually consist of tops with Chinese ‘frog-style’ buttons rather than overlapping fronts like the karate gi top.  The uniforms can be black or a variety of colors with often lighter fabrics such as satin and shoes are commonly worn.  The modern acrobatic Chinese martial arts of wushu can feature satin uniforms with many different bright colors.  Many kung fu schools simply utilize t-shirts and baggy pants as uniforms.  Satin colored sashes are often worn to signify rank of students but this is actually more of a North American style as most kung fu schools in Asia do not show rankings in uniforms.

Overall, there’s more variety of techniques, styles, weapons and uniforms found in the Chinese kung fu systems compared to karate.  However, that is not to say that one system or style of martial art is superior to another.  They are just different and to the observer, it could come down to personal preference.  Some prefer kung fu and some prefer karate.  Some ambitious martial artists who desire a full well rounded education practice both kung fu and karate.






Saturday, June 4, 2016

Training with Martial Arts Weapons - KARATE KUNG FU Weaponry

English: Martial arts weapon.
Martial arts weapon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There are opportunities in martial arts training to learn to use various martial arts weapons.  Many martial arts schools, especially those that teach Japanese karate and Chinese kung fu styles have weaponry as part of their overall curriculum.  Popular weapons from karate systems include the bo staff, kama, sai, sword, nunchaku and tonfa.  Chinese kung fu styles have broadsword, 3 section staff, kwan do, whip chain, butterfly knives as well as their own versions of staff.  Of course, there are many other types of weapons in martial arts but the above are the more common ones taught.  

Some of the more exotic weapons include the fan, rope dart and the hook swords.  Martial arts weapons can be divided into short and long range.  An example of a short range weapon would be a pair of sai.  The bo staff would be a long range weapon because of the longer reach.  Weapons can also be divided into bladed and non-bladed.  Kamas and swords of course would be bladed weapons where staffs and nunchakus would be non-bladed.  In most training situations with bladed weapons, the blades are not live.  That is, the blades of swords and kamas are blunt rather than sharp.  This adds to the safety aspect of martial arts weapons training.  Weapons can also come in different weights from heavy traditional models down to ultra light weight versions for forms competition.  

Martial arts weapons are considered as extensions of a martial artist’s own body.  For example, strikes with a weapon are really extended hand strikes.  Blocks with weapons are modeled after traditional martial art blocking techniques.  Therefore, it is important for martial arts students to be relatively proficient with martial arts techniques using their own bodies first before learning to use any martial arts weapon.  This will help the students understand the applications behind each weapons technique much better.  In most Japanese karate schools, weapons training won’t be offered until students reach an intermediate level such as green or blue belt.  There are martial arts that are strictly weapons oriented.  An example is Japanese kendo which is modeled after samarai sword fighting.  Philipino arnis is stick fighting which was developed in the South Pacific islands.  

There are many benefits in training with martial arts weapons.  Because most weapons have some weight to them, their use will help develop muscle tone and strength.  Performing forms or katas with weapons will also develop coordination.  In today’s world, martial arts weapons may not be as practical as the days of the past when it was acceptable to carry weapons wherever one traveled.  However, with some understanding of weapons techniques, a martial artist today can turn almost any household item such as an umbrella, cane or even a set of keys into weapons of self defense if required.  Another important point that shouldn’t be ignored is that most practitioners will claim that training with martial arts weapons is a lot of fun.  


However, not all martial arts clubs and studios will teach weapons.  Many tae kwon do schools for example do not include weapons in their overall training.  This is not to say that Korean martial arts do not have weapons.  The Korean martial art kuk sool won features the staff, sword and cane.  So if a martial arts student wishes to learn the use of weapons, a school that includes them in their training should be sought after.  Another alternative for students who are otherwise happy with their martial arts club that doesn’t have weapons training is to get supplementary private instruction from instructors who can provide it.

Weapons training can open up a whole new dimension to overall martial arts training.  Even advanced tai chi practitioners use swords in some of their forms.  It doesn’t matter if sometimes the swords are made entirely of wood either since the actual weapons techniques will still be used in the forms.  For many martial arts competitors, weapons forms are their favorite divisions to compete in.  From a spectator point of view, weapons forms can be very exciting to watch especially when weapons such as whip chains or kamas with strings are used since their presentations are so dynamic and even somewhat dangerous to the user.   Such weapons have caused injuries to users when certain techniques were sloppy or mistimed.  But like other aspects of martial arts, proficiency with a martial art weapon after much hard training can bring a high sense of satisfaction to a martial artist.



Thursday, April 7, 2016

A Look At KUNG FU

The martial art of Kung Fu is an exchange of culture, a type of exercise, and also a way of defending yourself.  The art is very popular throughout the world, also being known as Gung Fu, Wu Shu, and even Kuo Shu.  It shares some common traits with Karate, such as using both hand and foot techniques.  Kung Fu is one of the most popular forms of martial arts - and also one of the oldest.

Students of Shaolin Kung Fu school perform ren...
Students of Shaolin Kung Fu school perform renowned shaolin kungfu (martial art).
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Within Kung Fu, there are several styles and variances, although the most popular are those that have their roots in the well known Shaolin Temple.  What most people aren’t aware of however, is the fact that Kung Fu was practiced in China years before the first Shaolin temple was even though of.

A majority of martial arts enthusiasts think of self defense as being the ultimate goal of any martial art, including Kung Fu.  While self defense is involved with Kung Fu, the martial is so much more than just fighting and defense - it is a true art, one that develops the mind, body, and the soul.

Kung Fu doesn’t teach students to overcome others, as it teaches students to look within themselves and learn to have complete and total control over their emotions.  Kung Fu is an art of harmony, that teaches to students to remain at peace and avoid confrontations.  If a situation threatens bodily harm to the student, then he must rise to the occasion - becoming the warrior and defending himself.

Just like other types of martial arts, Kung Fun teaches the balance that is crucial for executing techniques and the proper movement.  The basic concept behind the balance is that same balance that the Chinese believe keeps the balance between heaven and earth.  This concept of balance can be achieved by students if they completely focus their thoughts and empty their minds free from any type of distractions.

Kung Fu is a martial art that can be learned by anyone.  It does take a strong desire, just like any other martial art.  It has a rich heritage, and a proud legacy.  Kung Fu is indeed a deadly martial art, if used in the wrong ways.  There are variations of Kung Fu as well, which include the infamous five animals - Tiger, Dragon, Eagle Claw, Crane, and the Snake. 

Adapted by the animals in which they are named after, the five animals style is some of the most impressive in martial arts.  Tiger Claw is by far the deadliest of the five animals, teaching students to strike just like the dreaded tiger.  This style teaches the student power in his hands, so that when he strikes, he tears the flesh.  Tiger Claw is very deadly, although it is very hard to find instructors that teach this style now days.



Unlike other martial arts, there really are no competitions for Kung Fu.  Stylists can compete it other competitions, although there really aren’t any that are for only Kung Fu.  It is an ancient martial art, that is to be used only in instances were there is no other option than to fight back.  When provoked, the stylist should try everything he or she can to avoid confrontations.

Kung Fu aims to teach the lessons of respect, fairness to others, harmony of the spirit, and total self control no matter what.  These characteristics, when paired together, allow students to achieve success in a hard to deal with society.  Kung Fu is all about developing the student’s overall well being - and following the straight path to mental and physical toughness.