Toughening and protective skills in kung fu

Grandmaster Lam Sai Wing, a well-known master of Hung Gar kung fu in recent times, demonstrating "Separate Gold Fists" in the Iron Wire set. He looks quite fit and healthy, not at all banged up from his training. Image taken from www.shaolin.org

Grandmaster Lam Sai Wing, a well-known master of Hung Gar kung fu in recent times, demonstrating “Separate Gold Fists” in the Iron Wire set. He looks quite fit and healthy, not at all banged up from his training. Image taken from http://www.shaolin.org

In June 2013, someone on the G+ Martial Artist forum noted that he was doing “tree toughening” exercises and asked for our opinions on the exercise. Here was my response:

Are you swinging your arms, legs into the tree and striking your body against a tree? Provided you follow the correct method and gradual progression, you’ll eventually develop what kung fu people call Iron Arm, Iron Leg, Iron Vest, Iron Head, and so forth, depending on the conditioning you do.

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Full body power and sequences in sparring

Kung fu and Boxing use very different manners of attack, defense, developing power, issuing that power, and strategies. Here, Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit attacks with White Snake Shoots Venom while his disciple wards off the attack with Beauty Looks at Mirror. Image taken from www.shaolin.org

Kung fu and Boxing use very different manners of attack, defense, developing power, issuing that power, and strategies. Here, Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit and his disciple spar using Taijiquan. Grandmaster Wong attacks with White Snake Shoots Venom while his disciple wards off the attack with Beauty Looks at Mirror. Image taken from http://www.shaolin.org

I had a discussion with someone asking about power generation and someone else who disagreed with the notion of sequence training being useful for sparring, as well as the principles of “safety first” in sparring or fighting. Here’s how I replied to them:

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Force training, cross training, angles, and sequences

All kung fu styles have characteristic stances used to develop force. Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit demonstrates Golden Bridge, the most characteristic stance chosen for force training in Southern Shaolin kung fu. Image taken from www.shaolin.org

All kung fu styles have characteristic stances used to develop force. Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit demonstrates Golden Bridge, the most important stance for force training in Southern Shaolin kung fu. Image taken from http://www.shaolin.org

A discussion in 2013 May cropped up in the G+ Martial Artist forums about force training and cross training, with a little bit of sparring methodology and angles of attack. Here’s what I had to say:

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Xingyiquan’s Five Elemental Fists

Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit demonstrating Thrust Palm (also known as Splitting Fist) from the Five Elemental Fist set in Xingyiquan. Image taken from www.shaolin.org

Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit demonstrating Thrust Palm (also known as Splitting Fist) from the Five Elemental Fist set in Xingyiquan. Image taken from http://www.shaolin.org

I had a brief discussion with some pals about Xingyiquan after showing them the videos posted below. Here’s what I had to say about this art. One of these days, I’ll have to get my brother (who actually practices Xingyiquan) to make a guest post here…

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