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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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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