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What style of Kung Fu do you teach?
The style of Kung Fu you will be learning is Northern Shaolin Long Fist. It is best described here.
What is the difference between Kung Fu and Karate?
For many people, especially those who are not familiar with martial arts, the question often arises on what the difference between karate and kung fu is. Upon watching somebody doing martial arts, the untrained eye will find it hard to tell whether that person is doing karate or kung fu. Even those who are beginning martial arts may sometimes be confused about the different styles until further exposure to them will reveal just how different they really are.
Historically, the people living in the islands of Okinawa just south of Japan got exposed to Chinese kung fu martial arts due to the close proximity to China. Over time, the Okinawan’s and Japanese developed their own styles of martial arts now known as karate from the original influence of Chinese kung fu. Although both karate and kung fu utilize many similar martial arts techniques, most kung fu styles will usually have more variety of techniques compared to karate systems. It’s almost like the Japanese streamlined the number of techniques from Chinese systems to develop karate. The Japanese also modified the way techniques are executed in karate as they became more linear compared to kung fu. This is especially evident in the forms or katas (traditional sequence of set moves) where karate techniques are performed with crisp movements that have distinct stop and go motions.
In kung fu forms, movements involve the use of more circular techniques, particularly with the hands. These circular motions give kung fu forms a more visually graceful look as techniques seem to flow from one to another. There is less stop and go with most kung fu styles. This is why some martial artists, especially in North America, often refer to Chinese kung fu as ‘soft’ styles while karate and tae kwon do are ‘hard’ styles. This is not to say that hard styles such as karate or tae kwon do are more powerful martial arts than kung fu and other soft styles. The term ‘soft’ is a bit misleading because the power from circular kung fu moves is often hidden. Circular moves can generate just as much power as linear ones found in hard styles. Most kung fu forms are also usually more complex and longer in duration than most karate forms. To most martial artists, a kung fu form will look much more exotic while a karate form will look more straight forward in terms of martial arts techniques. Interestingly enough, there are karate styles such as goju which do have quite a lot of circular techniques similar to kung fu. Kempo styles are considered a hybrid of Chinese kung fu and Okinawan karate techniques with both circular as well as linear techniques. There are also many more different styles of kung fu compared to karate.
Martial arts weaponry is found in both kung fu and karate styles but different sets of weapons are utilized in each martial arts system. Much like the empty hand forms, the kata with karate weapons are also more linear compared to those with kung fu weapons which have more circular movements. As expected, there is a lot more variety of different Chinese kung fu weapons than found in the Japanese karate styles.
Traditionally, practitioners of karate wear a white uniform called a gi which features the overlapping kimono-like top. Less traditional schools will allow coloured uniforms. A coloured belt will be the finishing touch to the gi with of course the black belt for those at instructor level ranking. Most of the time and especially inside a dojo, karate stylists will not wear any shoes while training. Most kung fu stylists will wear a very different looking uniform. Kung fu uniforms usually consist of tops with Chinese ‘frog-style’ buttons rather than overlapping fronts like the karate gi top. The uniforms can be black or a variety of colours with often lighter fabrics such as satin and shoes are commonly worn. The modern acrobatic Chinese martial arts of wushu can feature satin uniforms with many different bright colours. Many kung fu schools simply utilize t-shirts and baggy pants as uniforms. Satin coloured sashes are often worn to signify rank of students but this is actually more of a Western style as most kung fu schools in Asia do not show rankings in uniforms.
Overall, there’s more variety of techniques, styles, weapons and uniforms found in the Chinese kung fu systems compared to karate. However, that is not to say that one system or style of martial art is superior to another. They are just different and to the observer, it could come down to personal preference. Some prefer kung fu and some prefer karate. Some ambitious martial artists who desire a full well rounded education practice both kung fu and karate.
Are there additional fees?
What is Wushu?
Wushu (simplified Chinese: 武术; traditional Chinese: 武術) is both an exhibition and a full-contact sport derived from traditional Chinese martial arts. It was developed in China after 1949, in an effort to standardize the practice of traditional Chinese martial arts, although attempts to structure the various decentralized martial arts traditions date back earlier, when the Central Guoshu Institute was established at Nanking in 1928. The term wushu is Chinese for "martial arts" (武 "Wu" = military or martial, 术 "Shu" = art). In contemporary times, wushu has become an international sport through the International Wushu Federation (IWUF), which holds the World Wushu Championships every two years; the first World Championships were held in 1991 in Beijing and won by Yuan Wen Qing.
Competitive wushu is composed of two disciplines: taolu (套路; forms) and sanda (散打; sparring).
Taolu involves martial art patterns and maneuvers for which competitors are judged and given points according to specific rules. The forms comprise basic movements (stances, kicks, punches, balances, jumps, sweeps and throws) based on aggregate categories of traditional Chinese martial art styles and can be changed for competitions to highlight one's strengths. Competitive forms have time limits that can range from 1 minute, 20 seconds for some external styles to over five minutes for internal styles. Modern wushu competitors are increasingly training in aerial techniques such as 540-, 720-, and even 900-degree jumps and kicks to add more difficulty and style to their forms.
Sanda (sometimes called sanshou or Lei tai) is a modern fighting method and sport influenced by traditional Chinese boxing, Chinese wrestling methods called Shuai jiaoand other Chinese grappling techniques such as Chin Na. It has all the combat aspects of wushu. Sanda appears much like Kickboxing or Muay Thai, but includes many more grappling techniques. Sanda fighting competitions are often held alongside taolu or form competitions.
Most notable Wushu practitioner:
- Donnie Yen (甄子丹) – Chinese martial artist and actor, trained with the Beijing Wushu Team. Gold medalists for various international Wushu Competitions.  Known for his portrayal of Ip Man, mentor ofBruce Lee.
- An Tianrong (安天荣) – having graduated from Changchun Physical Education and Sports College, An Tian Rong is a former national (China) champion and wushu pioneer. He was approved as a national (China) and international level judge in 1980, has taught at numerous universities throughout China, and authored more than 50 books on internal and external martial arts. Among the national/international champions he's coached, while on Wu Bin's coaching staff for the Beijing Wushu Team, he provided guidance to the international celebrity, Jet Li and his student, Jinzhao Au, won the Japanese national champion title in 1986.
- Steve Coleman – Longest running Great Britain Wushu champion 2002–present, Captain GB Wushu Team, starred as Shane Powers in film On the Ropes (2011 film).
- Jon Foo – Learned Kung Fu when he was 8 years old, but didn't begin serious training in Wu Shu until he was 15. Starred as Jin Kazama in the film adaptation of Tekken.
- Jiang Bangjun (江邦軍) – a well-respected international Wushu Champion. He was the Mens All Around Wushu Champion in 1996 and 1998. Personally invited to the Beijing Wushu Team by Wu Bin, he became the lead Athlete and Coach for the Beijing Wushu Team. Today, he has opened a Wushu school in Virginia Called PMAA (Professional Martial Arts Academy).
- Jet Li (李連杰) – possibly the most famous wushu practitioner in the world. He started wushu as a competition sport and gained fame as he took the National Wushu Champion of China title five times as an original member of the Beijing Wushu Team, he was later selected to demonstrate his wushu on the silver screen in the worldwide hit film Shaolin Temple. Many of his old teammates have also appeared on-screen with him, especially in his older movies.
- Jade Xu (徐慧慧) is a martial arts actress and multiple World Wushu Champion. She won the World Championships three times in a row and the first (gun/staff) and second (dao/broadsword) place in the Olympic Wushu Tournament Beijing 2008 and became one of the most famous female Wushu athletes in the world. Soon after her athletic career, Jade Xu received offers to star in various international Film and TV productions, such as Tai Chi 0, Tai Chi Hero, The Legend of Wing Chun and Michael Jackson: One, and successfully launched her second career, as an actress.
How much should I practice?
We recommending practicing everyday even if it's just 5 minutes a day. Practicing everyday even just 5 minutes will allow you to retain what you learn and help you gain muscle memory.
Muscle memory has been used synonymously with motor learning, which is a form of procedural memory that involves consolidating a specific motor task into memory through repetition. When a movement is repeated over time, a long-term muscle memory is created for that task, eventually allowing it to be performed without conscious effort. This process decreases the need for attention and creates maximum efficiency within the motor and memory systems. Examples of muscle memory are found in many everyday activities that become automatic and improve with practice, such as riding a bicycle, typing on a keyboard, typing in a PIN, playing a musical instrument, or martial arts.
How much are your classes?
Adults and Kids Group classes are only $10.00 per class. We have a simple plan. You come to class you pay, you don't come to class you don't have to pay. It's that simple.
Private classes are only $30.00 per class and we schedule them around your schedule.
How long will it take me to get my Black Sash?
The length of time to obtain a Black Sash is different for everyone. At New Life Kung Fu we don't set time frames between Sash levels. It's up to you how long it takes to test to the next level. You must be very proficient in your current Sash level before you test to the next.
This is not a race. Kung Fu is a life long journey and it is important to nearly master your current Sash level before moving onto the next.
We will not test you if we feel you are not ready!!!
When are classes?
Our schedule of group classes can be found here.
What is the history of Kung Fu?
While the complete history of Kung Fu is debated and we really are not 100% sure of it, here is a good amount of ready for you on the subject.
Kung-Fu is the most ancient of all martial arts and it is possible to trace its roots back more than 4,000 years. The earliest form of Chinese martial arts were those practised by soldiers for direct use in battlefield combat. Ancient legend states that weapons and hand-to-hand martial arts’ techniques were propagated by China’s Yellow Emperor. Before he rose to the imperial throne in 2698 BC, the Yellow Emperor had been a notable general and had already written at length on elevated subjects such as astrology, Chinese medicine and the Martial Arts. He developed a form of wrestling called Horn Butting(Jiao Di) where contestants wore horned helmets and attacked each other with their headgear. It is said that this same martial technique was employed on the battlefield, leading to victorious results.
Whatever the truth of such legends, Jiao Di horn-butting developed into a system of wrestling known asJiao Li during the Zhou Dynasty, 1122 BC – 256 AD. Jiao Li is one of the most ancient systems of Martial Arts in the world and was first put down on paper in the ancient Chinese tome, The Classic of Rites. Jiao Li extended its wrestling repertoire to include sophisticated techniques such as joint-locks, pressure-point attacks plus systemised strikes and blocks. The art was taught to military personnel who also learned archery, war strategy and weapons techniques. Later on Jiao Li became a sport accessible to anyone in the Qui Dynasty around 221 BC. Competitions were held on raised platforms called leitai for popular amusement and military recruitment purposes. A Jiao Li champion could hope to win a post as a military trainer or bodyguard to the court. A form of Jiao Li, called Hui Jiao is still taught today to Chinese police and military personnel. Shui Jiao is also popular in Mongol festivals, although they call it bohke.
During the Zhou Dynasty, martial arts began to develop concurrent with the philosophical trends of society at the time, namely Confucianism and Taoism. In Taoism the universal opposites, Ying and Yang, were transposed to fighting systems, resulting in the hard and soft techniques that are existent in Kung-Fu today. The Taoist system of divination, the I-Ching contributed many mystical elements to Kung-Fu philosophy. Meanwhile Tao itself is a cosmic energy, likened to the Chi power that martial artists sought to harness to boost their powers. Confucianism meanwhile included the practice of martial arts as part of its six arts that should be practised in ideal worldly living alongside calligraphy, mathematics and music.
The most famous part of Kung-Fu’s history dates from sometime in the sixth century AD with the arrival of an Indian Buddhist monk, Bodhidarma, at the newly formed Shaolin Temple. Buddhism had been brought to China a few hundred years before but Bodhidarma brought the new religion to the martial arts. Whether or not the monks at Shaolin were already versed in the martial arts and what exactly Bodhidarma taught them, is much disputed. The result, however, is not. Shaolin monks dedicated themselves to Kung-Fu and became a warrior elite whose fame spread throughout China. They were engaged in countless military campaigns and are credited as bringing peace to their own bandit-ridden province. By the 17th Century Kung-Fu experts travelled from far and wide to learn their secrets. Shaolin Kung-Fu is extremely demanding on the body. Only by dedicating themselves to hours of rigorous daily training could the Shaolin rise above the feats of ordinary men. Around the same time, rival Taoist monasteries, such as the one on Wudang Mountain, taught different styles of Kung-Fu, classified as internal.
Kung-Fu in the 20th Century
Up until the early 20th century, Kung-Fu continued to be something practised by the elite, be they military elite, learned men, warrior monks or the members of a particular family. The negative effects of European interference in China had brought Chinese national self esteem to an all time low. First of all, China had been brought to its knees by a mass drugs trade in opium, perpetrated mainly by Britain and France in the two Opium Wars, 1839 – 1842 and 1856 – 1860. The Boxer Rebellion of 1899 was an attempt by the Righteous Harmony Society, previously known as the Righteous Fist Society, to expel foreign elements and reclaim China for the Chinese. The Boxers believed that their Chi Gung expertise would allow them to repel bullets, as it did swords and clubs. The limitations of internal Chi power were quickly discovered as many died among hails of enemy gunfire. The failed rebellion only saw more concessions given to the occupying powers, as the Chinese government were unable to protect their thousand year old traditions against the humiliation of European colonisation. In an attempt to recapture cultural aspects that were essentially Chinese and boost national pride (and health), the government encouraged martial artists to open up their doors to the (Chinese) general public. Much of the mythology surrounding the Chinese martial arts was also created around this time, serialised in popular novels. At this point, many Kung-Fu organisations were established that are still in existence today. The Chin Woo Athletic Association was founded in 1910 and a central governing body for Kung-Fu was established in 1928. By 1932 National Kung-Fu competitions were being held throughout China and in 1936 Kung-Fu was put on the world stage at the Berlin Olympic Games.
The Cultural Revolution and the persecution of Kung-Fu
In 1966 Mao Zedong, the creator of China’s unique brand of Communism, launched the Cultural Revolution. His aim was to rid China of all remnants of traditional thought so that it could radically modernise into a fully functioning Communist State. 80 million speakers communicated Mao’s revolutionary doctrine to some 400,000 Chinese through the Central Peoples Broadcasting Station. In a kind of nationwide hysteria, millions of revolutionary youngsters, entitled Red Guards, marauded through the provinces, destroying ancient buildings and artefacts, and torturing and killing people as they saw fit. Persecution of Chinese traditions hit Kung-Fu hard and no one was safe. Even the venerated Shaolin Temple was subject to revolutionary purges and the abbots were made to parade in public with paint slashed on their robes. Books and ancient martial arts manuscripts were looted from the monastery and burnt. The extent of the damage wreaked in the turbulent years of the Chinese Cultural Revolution was on a scale never seen by the world before and the physical losses can never be repaired.
Those Kung-Fu masters that could, fled overseas, whilst the remainder went into hiding or suffered harsh reprisals. Kung-Fu continued to flourish in its overseas setting and many famous masters set up Kung-Fu schools in Hong-Kong and Taiwan. A lesser number moved to the United States and Europe. Chinese cultural traditions became stronger in expat Chinese communities than back home in mainland China. After the tumult caused by the Red Guards had settled down, China began to rethink its policy toward Chinese martial arts as a sport.
Wushu: The Modernisation of Kung-Fu
After the Communist Party of China (CPC) took leadership of China in 1949, Kung-Fu had to be brought into line with Communist party doctrine. The old Confucian traditions of family and ancestor worship needed to be replaced with loyalty to the CPC above all else. Buddhist and Taoist lore also had to go, as Communist thought does not tolerate religious beliefs. Traditional Kung-Fu was standardised into a sportive version called Wushu and centrally regulated by the All China Wushu Association, founded in 1958. Wushu was introduced as a national sport at High School and University levels across China. Standardised forms were created to represent many of the most popular styles of Traditional Kung-Fu such as monkey pole, Tai Chi Chuan and both Northern and Southern Kung-Fu styles. Finally in 1998, the CPC decided to decentralise the regulation of Wushu and by this point had severely relaxed its attitude towards traditional Kung-Fu. The new market-driven form of Communism saw the government promoting traditional forms of Chinese Martial Arts as well as Wushu. The Beijing 2008 Olympics will feature Wushu but not as an official medal event nor as a display event. Instead it has a special classification of its own in a separate Tournament.
At what age can you join New Life Kung Fu?
We recommend the student be at least age 7, however if your child is very focused and has a great attention span they can be younger.