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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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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Developing and exploding force in kung fu

Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit teaching the horse riding stance, perhaps the most important and fundamental exercise in all of kung fu. Image taken from www.shaolin.org

Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit teaching the horse riding stance, perhaps the most important and fundamental exercise in all of kung fu. Force must be developed before it can be used for combat. You wouldn’t try shooting an empty gun, would you? Image taken from http://www.shaolin.org

A discussion on the G+ forums back in 2013 May led to the subject of fa jing, or “exploding force.” This is the usual term used by kung fu practitioners to describe manifesting their force in various ways, usually an explosive or powerful strike.

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Experience at the Chicago branch of the Shaolin Temple

The logo of the Chicago branch of the Shaolin temple. Image taken from  http://www.shaolintemplechicago.com/

The logo of the Chicago branch of the Shaolin temple. Image taken from http://www.shaolintemplechicago.com/

On Sunday, 2013 July 7, I learnt that a branch of the Shaolin temple exists in Chicago, IL. Being a little bit of a kung fu nut, I decided to take a look and see how they operated on 2013 July 8. According to the schedule on their website, they hold a morning kung fu class for adults, so that’s the one I attended (thank you, summer vacation). The schedule also had kung fu classes for children and teenagers, as well as a san da (Chinese kick-boxing) and qigong class. Their weekend schedule also includes a qin-na (grips and locks) class as well as a free and open-to-the-public sitting meditation class.

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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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