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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Harmonies and planes in kung fu stances

A discussion on the G+ forums turned towards stances and directions used in different styles of kung fu. There are certain difficulties involved even in discussing different types of kung fu thanks to certain phrases meaning different things to different people. One example in this thread came from the Three Body stance of Xingyiquan:

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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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Power generation in kung fu

"Single Whip" is a famous Taijiquan pattern that is often used to practice exploding force. Image taken from www.shaolin.org

“Single Whip,” demonstrated by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit, is a famous Taijiquan pattern that is often used to practice exploding force. Image taken from http://www.shaolin.org

There was a G+ question about how power is generated various styles of martial arts on 2013 May 11. Here was my response, from the kung fu paradigm:

Power generation comes from what’s called “spiral force” in kung fu. By rotating the waist (in addition to maintaining other harmonies), force is transferred from the abdomen to the fist (or foot, shoulder, etc.) This is most often expressed in the phrase, “Striking force begins in the heel, is guided by the waist, and manifests in the fingers.”

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Handedness in kung fu

Master Adam Hsu demonstrates "Sun Emerges From Clouds," the opening and closing pattern of Tantui. This pattern is only performed on one side in the classical set. Image taken from www.adamhsu.com

Master Adam Hsu demonstrates “Sun Emerges From Clouds,” the opening and closing pattern of Tantui’s solo sequences. This pattern is only performed on one side in the classical set. Image taken from http://www.adamhsu.com

In many kung fu sets, one hand is emphasized in attacking an opponent (the “emperor hand”) while the other is emphasized in defending or taming an opponent (the “minister” hand).  There are several reasons for why the majority of kung fu sets are not ambidextrous.

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Learn from a master. You’ll live longer.

Hey there, fellow Rubiks Cubers. Cubists? Puzzlers? Kungfubes? I don’t know, I don’t have enough of a fan base to really call anyone anything. Put your own recommendation in the comments below!

As you might be aware, kung fu is something very dear to my heart. I am quite annoyed at the debasement of kung fu and Taijiquan in general to mere “kung fu-do” and “tai chi dance.” On the one hand, it is wonderful that we live in a society where you do not need martial arts merely to walk down the street. On the other hand, these wonderful arts have been thrown so far from their roots that it is cringe-inducing to see people who say they “know kung fu” or “do Tai Chi” performing virtually every little thing wrong.

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