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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Training goals and philosophy

Sorry about the radio silence, folks! I’ve been a little busy with final projects, exams, and job interviews. But enough of that, let’s talk kung fu training.

Ever since becoming “serious” about my martial arts training a few years ago, I have been greatly inspired by the example of my grandmaster, whose training philosophy is “setting and attaining aims and objectives.” The philosophy of most other traditional kung fu schools is “attaining skill through sweat and toil” and take about ten to fifteen years to churn out a martial artist who is fit, powerful, agile, and capable of using his kung fu even against masters of other styles. Why does it take a decade and a half? Ignorance and haphazard training tend to be the major reasons.

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