Feb 02

What are your opinions of ‘Traditional Chinese Kung Fu’?

Traditional Chinese Kung Fu systems and training examples: Hung Gar, White Crane, Wing Chun, Choy Lay Fut, Praying Mantis, Eagle Claw etc.
Do you think these types of arts and others not mentioned -are good methods of training martial arts? -for the purpose of self- defense or combat with a realistic approach or not?
Are Chinese Arts difficult to show any practical applications in the forms or kata of traditional arts?

Traditional Chinese martial arts are very practical because most of the major disciplines are found solely for the purpose of application in real life scenarios. Even Tai-Chi was first invented solely for the purpose of self-defence. Most of them has an interesting story behind the founder and its founding, and you can see they were invented with an urgent need for self-defence in mind (e.g. ward off bandits, to retaliate for the death of family, rebels uprising against corrupted government etc.). Traditional Chinese martial arts are real fighting systems (also for self-development), with some moves being direct and potentially "fatal", so you are limited to "only" using them in real situations and not in a sports match .

Bruce Lee denounced traditional CMA’s to be too rigid because of the overwhelming components of katas. He being a very advanced martial artist has the right to look beyond this level. But he left out one point, kata forms are supposed to be trained many many times until it becomes your natural muscle reflexes, that is when you have "laid down" your foundation and the next part of the story [more advanced] is how you *interpret* it’s forms in each unique situation. A ‘form’ and it’s ‘moves’ can possibly have "few" more minor alternatives or minor change of angles (e.g. Shaolin animal forms, Sanchin kata in WhiteCrane) to respond to each coming attack. This opens up a whole new realm of your self-defence arsenal. A good Traditional CMA discipline makes you train these rigid forms and katas tirelessly to build your "foundation", to condition your body and natural reflexes until one can utilize the ‘core fighting philosophy’ of that discipline in a real scenario [e.g. W.Chun, Hung Gar, Praying Mantis, BaguaZhang], in which you can later on flexibly adapt each kata to each unique cases.

8
comments

8 comments!!!

  1. smokey says:

    to much "flair" for self defense. a fast , staright forward attack will always be your best bet . as far as training goes, they promote disipline, but i would think practicing real world application is always more productive.
    References :

  2. Ray H says:

    If you find a good teacher, traditional kung fu styles work well. I especially like choi li fut, and hung gar.
    References :

  3. Blue Siytangco says:

    The flash and flair that a lot of people relate to TCM’s (traditional Chinese martial arts) are a result of performance-oriented modern wushu and the movies. If poeple actually take the time to investigate good TCM’s they will find completely practical and no-nonsense training. Everything that is done has a completely legitimate reason behind it. One of the reasons that the forms (like kata) seem complicated is that we are compressing a seemingly infinite number of applications, body mechanics, energetic principles and fight theory into a finite form. These forms once studied appropriately under a legitimate master are actually very, very profound. They provide a lifetime of learning – learning that will benefit the practitioner beyond just punching and kicking.
    References :
    20th Generation Chen Style Taijiquan Successor

  4. sophomore says:

    Traditional Chinese martial arts are very practical because most of the major disciplines are found solely for the purpose of application in real life scenarios. Even Tai-Chi was first invented solely for the purpose of self-defence. Most of them has an interesting story behind the founder and its founding, and you can see they were invented with an urgent need for self-defence in mind (e.g. ward off bandits, to retaliate for the death of family, rebels uprising against corrupted government etc.). Traditional Chinese martial arts are real fighting systems (also for self-development), with some moves being direct and potentially "fatal", so you are limited to "only" using them in real situations and not in a sports match .

    Bruce Lee denounced traditional CMA’s to be too rigid because of the overwhelming components of katas. He being a very advanced martial artist has the right to look beyond this level. But he left out one point, kata forms are supposed to be trained many many times until it becomes your natural muscle reflexes, that is when you have "laid down" your foundation and the next part of the story [more advanced] is how you *interpret* it’s forms in each unique situation. A ‘form’ and it’s ‘moves’ can possibly have "few" more minor alternatives or minor change of angles (e.g. Shaolin animal forms, Sanchin kata in WhiteCrane) to respond to each coming attack. This opens up a whole new realm of your self-defence arsenal. A good Traditional CMA discipline makes you train these rigid forms and katas tirelessly to build your "foundation", to condition your body and natural reflexes until one can utilize the ‘core fighting philosophy’ of that discipline in a real scenario [e.g. W.Chun, Hung Gar, Praying Mantis, BaguaZhang], in which you can later on flexibly adapt each kata to each unique cases.
    References :
    I asked this same question to a very well respected traditional CMA Sifu many years ago.

  5. Benji F says:

    if you put the time and effort into it, it is beautiful and effective
    however, i am an enthusiast of Karate,
    more simplified and straight forward,
    but kung fu is amazing, especially if you can find a very good instructor.
    References :

  6. CTC says:

    Traditional Kung Fu is very effective and very practical. The hard part is finding a good sifu. The forms teach u how to react in different situations Like Blue Siytangco said u just need to take the time to think of its applications while practicing them.
    References :

  7. callsignfuzzy says:

    If trained right they can be as serviceable as any other martial art. However, I think a lot of their practitioners get caught up in the idea that if they don’t spar in a way that looks like a Hong Kong Kung Fu flick, they’re not doing it right. All these systems, to my knowledge, teach you the same basic punches and kicks found in every other striking system out there, with minor stylistic variations. As long as people bear in mind that the basics are what wins fights, then they should be good to go.

    Also, like other Asian systems in modern times, some schools haven’t kept up with modern training systems and are content to have their students do nothing more than line work, instead of taking advantage of modern training and protective equipment. This will lead to less effective incorporation of training into ones biology. To be fair, you see this less in the Chinese systems than in Japanese and Korean systems. But it’s still a hang-up.
    References :

  8. brodan says:

    I respect traditional Chinese kung fu highly. And I respect the teachers who have been very careful about teaching the more destructive aspects of their arts.

    What we commonly see and regard as flashy or flowery fists (fa kune) actually assume their destructive meanings if the practitioner has trained in the basics, like iron palm. For ethical reasons, where students are prone to join competitions, these basics are withheld.

    A real iron palm expert, for example, would simply be murdering people should he join the MMA or UFC.

    Most traditional kung fu styles are wholistic. If you can find a good sifu, he can show you how practical every aspect of training is. Every move in tai chi, for instance, has a meaning. Many are so deadly, they can’t be taught to just about anybody. One example is dim mak or the death touch.
    References :

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