Learning Fujian White Crane Kung Fu

How to learn Kung fu

Kung fu means "hard work" in Chinese. That means you should not expect to master it without putting a great amount of effort into doing so.

That said, like most Chinese martial arts, White Crane has different levels of difficulty. As an illustration it is, on the face of it, quite simple to learn how to deliver a powerful straight or vertical punch. Or a kick. It is another thing to learn how to do that and use those techniques to put your opponent into a situation where you can do what you want with them.

Therefore, like Tai ji, you cannot learn Kung fu on your own. You need a teacher who can show you how to learn.

Unfortunately too many people think of Kung fu based on what they see in movies. You must understand. Movies are meant to be "sexy" and dramatic. As a result fights last a long time and the hero takes many blows before winning. That is not realistic. The idea is to avoid taking blows and to defeat your opponent quickly by using their strength against them.

To be able to do that the basics of Kung fu must be automatic. In simple terms these are speed, moving from the center and being aware of what your opponent is doing. All the rest is simply techniques to use when your opponent is at a disadvantage. Put there because they don't know what you're doing.

From that you can see that the "hard work" in White Crane Kung fu isn't just physical. At least 50 percent is mental. Learning to relax and listen to your opponent.

Because of our understanding of these facts our training differs between juniors and seniors.

Senior Kung Fu

Seniors start out learning, or refreshing themselves on, the basics. Punches, kicks, interceptions and redirection.

When a certain level of proficiency is reached students are taught to carry out those techniques in a relaxed manner. Relaxation is, therefore, the key to making further progress in the art.

When students have started to develop an awareness of how to relax they are introduced to moving drills where they must combine relaxation and speed.

Junior Kung fu

Juniors should concentrate on proficiency in the techniques The emphasis is on learning how to execute techniques accurately and with speed. The self-defence side of Kung fu is not emphasised. In fact students are advised not to attempt to use what they learn as a form of self-defence.