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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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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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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