Continuing the Basics

Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit demonstrating One Finger Shooting Zen, a "ta chong" (force training on stance) exercise. Image taken from www.shaolin.org

Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit demonstrating One Finger Shooting Zen, a force training exercise from Shaolin Kung Fu. Image taken from http://www.shaolin.org

Had a fun training session (aren’t they all?) split across 2015 January 2. My first session emphasized One Finger Shooting Zen. I may have mentioned to a few folks that my previous sessions of tachong (force training exercises performed while “sitting” in a stance, such as One Finger Shooting Zen from Shaolin Kung Fu or Lifting Water from Taijiquan), when going through the whole form-flow-force method (for example, doing five rounds each of One Finger Shooting Zen emphasizing form, then flow, focusing force,¬†and closing would take upwards of a half hour. A fair amount of time for force training, especially for a busy student like me! I experimented with having less rounds at form and flow and more rounds with focusing/consolidating and was quite happy with the result; again, more force and mental clarity developed in a shorter period of time.

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The survival of authentic kung fu

Venerable Hai Deng, who was famous for his One Finger Zen skill, was the last abbot of the Shaolin temple who advocated traditional kung fu training. After he left the Shaolin temple in the 1960's, the focus of the Shaolin temple gradually shifted towards demonstration wushu rather than martial arts. Image reproduced from www.shaolin.org

Venerable Hai Deng, who was famous for his One Finger Zen skill, was the last abbot of the Shaolin temple who advocated traditional kung fu training. After he resigned in the 1960’s, the focus of the Shaolin temple gradually shifted towards demonstration wushu rather than traditional kung fu. Image reproduced from http://www.shaolin.org

Many kung fu practitioners have heard of the Cultural Revolution in China which led to the death or exile of many practitioners of traditional arts, including kung fu. In fact, many people have the mistaken belief that no authentic kung fu exists anymore!

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Northern or Southern, Internal or External?

Baguazhang, demonstrated here by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit, is often considered an internal style of kung fu. Image taken from www.shaolin.org

Baguazhang, demonstrated here by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit, is often considered an internal style of kung fu. Image taken from http://www.shaolin.org

Someone asked the very good question of what kung fu system would be best for them. Naturally, this is informed by many factors such as what you want to get out of kung fu, what you are willing to put up with, if a master is willing and able to teach you, etc. Here is what I replied with:

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Hidden salutes in Eagle Claw kung fu?

Eagle Claw kung fu is a famous style of Northern Shaolin kung fu and was developed by the great general Yue Fei in the Song dynasty for use by his soldiers. Image taken from www.shaolin.org

Eagle Claw kung fu is a famous style of Northern Shaolin kung fu and was developed by the great general Yue Fei in the Song dynasty for use by his soldiers. Image taken from http://www.shaolin.org

A discussion on the G+ martial artist forums turned towards Eagle Claw kung fu. One master contributed his insight into the classical set “50 Sequences of Eagle Claw” and we had a brief discussion about military versus temple systems of kung fu:

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Is Wushu the same as Kung Fu?

Wushu literally means, in Mandarin, “martial art.” But many practitioners of traditional kung fu do not believe that wushu artists are martial artists. What gives? What do wushu people do that is different from kung fu people? Is there a difference? Keep reading to find out!

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