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"The original fighting art of the shaolin monks, not flashy just effective."
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The True History Of Southern Shaolin Kung Fu
The Chinese characters for the art of kung fu literally translate to "skill through hard work" or "devotion". It does not mean martial arts or fighting skills.
Here's the story...
A long time ago in China people developed fighting techniques through experience.
They realized that being efficient with motion and attacking the vulnerable points of the human body, such as the eyes, throat and groin area, were the most practical ways to defend yourself when your life as on the line.
Through the years families would pass on this knowledge to their sons and daughters and slowly it became a system of fighting.
Each family had their own style, and they would only teach this style within their own circle of trusted friends and relatives.
Buddhist Monk Fist Style Of Shaolin Kung Fu
In addition, the criteria for incorporating a technique from each style the technique must fit within the philosophy and logic of effective fighting.
His new style became known as Sil Lum Fut Gar Kuen (Shaolin Fo Jia Chuan) or Buddhist Monk Fist
Shaolin is a place. It is an ancient Buddhist temple high in the mountains of China.
This temple is located within a forest, so when it was first built, the builder gave this temple its name. "Shaolin". The term Shaolin literally translates to "young forest"
Let me explain...
The people who chose to live here could be either Buddhists and Taoists. The monks of Shaolin Temple, however, were not just regular monks they were warrior monks. These warrior monks were masters of the martial art of kung fu.
Monks Doing Martial Arts
Now, fighting monks may seem a bit strange to people in Western society, because when you think of religious people like priests you don't visualize them as warriors.
But, for people living in ancient China, it was quite common for people to practice self-defense, after all, one could not simply call the police if they were attacked.
Let me be a bit more specific…
For most of its long history, China was virtually a lawless land. There were many tribes of marauding bandits that roamed the countryside looking for easy targets to seize.
The Shaolin Temple The Birthplace of Shaolin Kung Fu
The Shaolin temple had many halls and grounds that would make it a perfect target for these outlaws. Thus out of this very basic need for self-protection did this class warrior monks arise. Self-defense was the motivator that led these pacifists to start learning martial arts.
These men and women dedicated their lives to a grueling regimen of martial arts training in hopes of reaching the highest levels of inner knowledge.
They would train for up to 8 hours per day in the martial arts of kung fu, chin na, Shuai Chiao, and tai chi chuan in addition to farming, meditating and studying the scripture of Buddhism and Taoism.
Shaolin Kung Fu Becomes Famous
Shaolin Kung Fu became famous. First within China itself and now the entire world.
Today, the word Shaolin can be used as an umbrella term. Shaolin Kung Fu can mena all martial arts that have come out of the Shaolin temple over the past few centuries. Styles like Wing Chun, Hung Gar, and Choy Lee Fut all trace their origins to the famed temple.
Kung fu practitioners are truly limitless in how much they can achieve. They are capable of reaching the most advanced levels of awareness and inner harmony.
What Makes Shaolin Kung Fu Different From Other Styles?
The style of Shaolin Fo Jia Chuan itself is really not as important as the theory or science behind it.
The techniques of kung fu itself are not difficult to execute. If the movements were difficult they would not work in a real-life self-defense situation.
However, what makes kung fu special is not the simplistic techniques, but rather the conditioning that is behind them.
The simplest punch can be devastating when thrown with velocity. For example, take the cross punch of Western Boxing. The right cross is a very simple punch. Nothing complicated at all. However, it has knockout power.
Shaolin Kung Fu Is About Repetition Of The Basics
One of the goals of students training in Shaolin kung fu should be to practice a technique at a minimum of 10,000 times. Repetition is the mother of skill. Having a superficial understanding of movements is one thing, while mastery is another. There is always room for improvement in any endeavor. Striving for perfection is something that most people today no longer have the stomach, or patience for.
The key to greatness is to practice, practice, and practice some more. Shaolin kung fu is not about being good, but about learning to love the journey. Learning to love to idea of practicing the basics. Learning to instill one's own personality and creativity into the movements.
When you enjoy the journey and commit yourself; both mentally and spiritually to learning kung fu in its entirety. You put yourself on the PATH to mastery. Nothing is boring and then real learning can take place.
Students who realize that success in the martial arts comes from knowing that their training will never be over. To say the martial arts is a never-ending journey is a cliche. But this cliche is true.
About The Shaolin Style Of Kung Fu
Some Concepts You Will Learn
More Concepts You Will Learn
Shaolin Kung Fu Uses The Whole Body As A Weapon
In the Shaolin Kung Fu, your entire body becomes a weapon. The principle behind this movement is first to evade the strike than to use your bcalance and body weight to blast through the opponent.
Your connection to the ground can be transferred through your body into the shoulders which is the part of your body where you contact the opponent.
However, you can also strike the groin at the same time that you enter for the body check, then follow up with an upward elbow strike.
Shaolin Kung Fu Includes All Of The Weapons
In the Shaolin system of Kung Fu the staff is the mother of all weapons. In addition, as you might deduce, it is also the oldest of all weapons.
The first person to ever use a staff was probably someone in danger who realized that if they picked up that broken tree branch, they would have an advantage in combat. In ancient times the staff was the first weapon taught to Shaolin Kung Fu students.
Weapons work such as staff training don't have a lot of practical usage in real-world self-defense. Although some might argue that in a self-defense situation a staff-like weapon, such as a broom, might somehow be available, what's the chance of getting into a fight near a broom?
Ancient Weapons Of Shaolin Kung Fu
However, I do believe that learning ancient weapons like the staff have tremendous value. First, you will learn how to coordinate your stance and tyour weapon to move together. Remember, your staff strikes will not have any power unless you can synchronize them with your footwork. The body and the weapon must be unified. Once they get this, most students will begin to understand the concept of leverage.
Secondly, the Shaolin staff training teaches is the concept of range. The staff form is very good for developing spacial awareness. As you can see in the video, The kung fu students practicing the staff, have to know whether their weapon would accidentally hit the mirrors or walls within the school.
Thirdly, Learning the staff also teaches students how to have rhythm and timing.
Lastly, In addition to teaching useful concepts, staff training is one of the best workouts you can do. The weight of the weapon itself, combined with having to use your stances and trying to put speed into your set come together to provide a total body workout. If you replace the wooden staff for a length of electrical conduit used in construction, you increase the weight you are whipping around and you can break a heavy sweat.
Shaolin Kung Fu Relies On The Element Of Surprise
Beginner students sometimes expect to learn to apply kung fu moves from a fighting stance similar to those you would see boxers take up.
However, when you take up a fighting stance or position you put yourself at a serious disadvantage.
First, it reveals to your opponent that you may know some kind of martial arts or that you have had some previous training.
Next, taking a fighting posture shows that you are willing, committed and prepared to fight. Consequently, the opponent is ready for the fight as well. Taking up a fighting posture may also lead to your opponent becoming even more aggressive.
Shaolin Kung Fu Tries To Remain "Formless"
In facing an aggressive adversary you should remain formless most of the time. Do not take up a typical fighting stance with your hands up like a boxer
Instead, when confronting a possible adversary, take a non-aggressive, normal, standing posture with the hands lightly resting on the front part of the hips. Keep in mind you are not just standing there, waiting to get punched, rather you are in a mode of readiness. You can move instantly and with full force from this posture.
under these circumstances, taking up a natural formless posture will permit you to use the element of surprise to its maximum advantage.
Only For Self -Defense Situations
If the fight is unavoidable, and the kung fu student does decide to move from this formless posture, it will be a complete surprise to the criminal or aggressor. This is very powerful. The opponent's body tends to react differently when taken by surprise. When someone is expecting a force to come in contact with their body, they tend to naturally brace for the impact. This makes any strike to that braced area less effective.
Whenever a strike hits unexpectedly, it feels like it has twice the power. Once, the element of surprise has been taken advantage of, it is easy to capitalize on any opening the opponent will be presenting.
For example, If the martial artist lands a low kick to the opponent's groin area. The opponent's own central nervous system will take over his body and force him to react by bringing his hands to his groin area, jutting out his chin, and bending slightly forward. When the opponent is in this position the martial artist can then pick and choose his next target to take.
In class, you should devote some training time to practicing defending from a fighting posture. However, taking a fighting stance should only be done if the element of surprise has already been lost.
I want my students to understand that one should be ready for any situation.
All self-defense situations are inherently different. Imagine there is a thug / criminal / drug addict who is prowling about inside of your house. Subsequently, you come upon him in the middle of the night. In this situation remaining formless and trying to surprise the criminal would be useless.
The element of surprise has already been lost. This is a perfect time to take up a "fighting stance"
However, when someone being belligerent and trying to provoke a fight, for example, in a bar, this formless posture will allow you to use the element of surprise. The element of surprise is one of the kung fu practitioners' greatest weapons. This is one weapon whose power should never be underestimated.
The Truth About Kung Fu Forms – Practical Training Tool Or A Huge Waste Of Time?
Forms training is one of the best things about the style of Kung Fu.
I recently read an article written by a Jeet Kune Do instructor. In this article, he advocated the idea that learning forms or choreographed patterns are a useless endeavor.
My humble opinion is that whenever someone tells you that there is no value in training in a certain way or using a certain method it says a lot about their understanding of the martial arts.
Broad sweeping statements such as those are the equivalent of saying that that it never snows in Las Vegas.
Training In Forms Is Not Useless
Forms can teach you many things. It can develop many attributes that will help you become both a better fighter and a martial artist. One attribute that training informs can develop in you is the attribute of fluidity. Kung fu forms are famous for their flowing and powerful movements.
Performing a set of kata without stopping or pausing between moves will directly translate to being able to fight without stopping. In a real-life self-defense situation, the ability to flow is so much more important to your success than almost anything else.
Practicing forms or sets will also teach you the correct way to strike and block while in motion. Many times students can perform blocks and strike perfectly while standing still but, add in footwork and they now have to concentrate on moving multiple body parts at the same time.
Practicing Forms Are The Best Way To Workout
At the highest level of training, forms become the ultimate conditioning tool.
How much of a workout you get out of doing forms it all depends on how much intensity and speed you put into the forms. Much like a boxer that does shadowboxing, his workout will depend on whether he shadowboxes at a lackadaisical pace or at a very high pace with intensity.
I have trained in many different systems of martial arts. I have found some styles and systems will teach forms, and self defense as two completly separate things. It is almost as if they were teaching an entirely different style.
These systems teach sparring in the same way as a kickboxing gym would teach sparring. They never teach the how to use the movements found in the form in actual sparring.
No Practical Use Of The Movements Found In The Form
In these types of programs, it seems as though the traditional forms have no real use. However, the movements contained within the forms of Shaolin Kung Fu each have a direct application in the fighting.
If the movements you are learning have no martial application, then the movements become a dance.
Practicing Forms Has No Value?
It has taken me literally half of my life to feel like I have a firm grasp of all of the forms in Shaolin Kung Fu. Even today, I feel that I have more room for improvement. Shaolin Kung Fu can take an entire lifetime to learn.
Saying forms has no value is like saying hitting the heavy bag has no value.
You could just as easily make an argument that the heavy bag does not hit back at you, therefore, hitting the heavy bag is useless. The Heavy bag nothing like a real opponent. Hitting or kicking the heavy bag will help to develop the attribute of striking with power. Jumping rope will help develop fast footwork in you. Jogging will develop your endurance.
Forms are just one method you can use to practice Shaolin Kung Fu. There are many methods and ways to train the same style. A boxer, will work sparring, heavy bag, double end bag, running, jump rope, and focus mitts all on the same day.
However, there are a couple of things that training in forms will not help you with.
Training In Forms Will Not Teach You A Feel For What Is Correct Range Or Distancing
You need to develop a good instinct or feel for what is the correct distance needed to apply the blocks. Forms practice also will not teach you how to flow or follow up effectively when striking an opponent. Being able to recognize the next target to strike is an essential skill. This type of skill should be learned against a partner who is willing to give you a glimpse of what it would happen if you were to hit someone.
It took me almost a full year to learn my first Shaolin Kung Fu form. Sometimes, I tell my students how long it took me to learn the first form. They do not believe me.
This intrinsic difficulties of Kung fu are one of the things that initially drew me to it. Also, I think one of the reasons why Kung fu is not as popular in the United States as Tae Kwon Do is because training in kung fu appeals to a certain type of student. Shaolin Kung fu appeals to people interested in continuous and constant work and improvement. Learning Kung fu is the opposite of instant gratification. It takes hard work and perseverance to be successful.
Minimal Movement Maximum Power Is One Of The Philosophical Guidelines Behind The Art Of Shaolin Kung Fu
What does it mean to have minimal movement? You should strive to shorten both the amount of movement and the duration of any movement.
Let's use the traditional rising or upward block seen in most tae kwon do and karate systems as an example. Most people tend to extend their very far above their heads in an effort to generate more power when blocking.
However, this is too much movement. It is wasteful and takes much needed time. Instead, condense the movement down to what is essential. In other words, once you have dissipated the power of the oncoming attack, any more movement is superfluous.
If you could shave off a split second off the time it takes to block he would literally be twice as fast as his opponent. Keep in mind, split seconds all add up.
Ultimately, All blocking techniques are defensive in nature. Anyone expecting to block an incoming attack must either move twice as fast as their opponent or must move less in order to counter.
Blocking Is Really Striking
The one caveat to the minimizing of movement in blocking is to not sacrifice any power.
Remember that all blocking is really striking.
In reality, when using blocking techniques, you are really striking the opponent's arm. You want to cause damage to his main weapons. Namely, his hands.
f a person needs to rely on physical strength alone to win a fight, the bigger and stronger person will always win.
The style of Shaolin Kung fu does not rely on strength. Instead, Shaolin Kung Fu uses speed to generate massive amounts of power.
There are a few key principles you need to know, of how kung fu increases the speed of techniques. Learning both principles and theory are equally important when learning martial arts.
4 Principles Of Speed In Shaolin Kung Fu
Some principles of speed:
1. That there is actual speed which we refer to as velocity: This is the type of speed that everyone is familiar with. The velocity of techniques like a punch or kick can be clocked in the feet per second. Only through relentless training can you gain this type of speed be gained.
2. However, there is yet another principle of speed. This principle involves shortening the distance between your striking weapon (fist, palm, heel) and the actual target. Shaolin kung fu has many techniques that travel in a straight line. A straight line between two points is the shortest distance. Your punch cannot get any faster if you throw it in a straight line.
Shorten The Distance
Shortening the distance between your hands and the opponent's face can be accomplished through heavy blocking. Think of a down block that simultaneously blocks and jerks the opponent's head forward. If one takes advantage of this forward jerking movement, one can double the power issued by forcing the opponent to ram his face into the oncoming fist. I want you to imagine a car crash. Now tell me, which car crash generates more force, a car crashing into another parked car or a head-on collision?
Kick The Right Targets
In kicking, to attempt to kick an opponent to the upper body would mean that your foot would have to cover a greater distance to reach its target. Now, there are some instances where kicking above the waist would be effective, but in general, kicking below the waist is more effective. you want to target the knee and groin of your opponent.
The opposite would be true of hand techniques.
Attempting to punch someone in the knee would require your hand to travel a great distance and doesn’t make much sense. The best example of this principle in everyday life is to try and think of your own house. Two people start at the entrance and try to make their way to the back yard, one person walks all the way around the house to get to the back yard. The other person walks straight through the house. In both instances, they arrive at the same destination. However, walking around the house takes longer because of the greater distance covered.
Conservation Of Motion In Shaolin Kung Fu
3. The third principle of gaining speed involves conservation of motion. Kung fu believes in striking without winding up. Shaolin Kung Fu does not use wind up and use arm power to generate force. Instead, Shaolin kung fu does not wind up any strikes. Shaolin Kung Fu uses the whole body to hit. Even very short movements, become devastating strikes when your body weight is behind it. The style of Kung fu always sets up the next movement while executing the first. This is to conserve time and motion.
Reaction Training In Shaolin Kung Fu
4. Lastly, you need to learn how to react instantly, to random attacks. In reacting to an attack, if a student has not practiced to the point of perfection, even serious martial artists may fail.
Reaction time is the hardest skill to develop. Even the most expert of fighters, still have to see the attack coming, process what to do, then react appropriately.
Now how do you block fast enough to overcome these hurdles?
The secret? There is only one answer.
You must first go from seeing thinking, reacting to seeing, reacting. Train relentlessly, until the reaction is built into your subconscious.
A kung fu student must go from seeing-thinking–reacting to seeing-reacting. This is similar to reflex action. In Western boxing, fighters practice the inside and outside slips ad-nauseum. The result? A good boxer no longer has to think about what to do. Rather, he flows with the situation. As we all know, The art of slipping can make a boxer virtually unhittable. The same principle applies to kung fu.
Reaction training in kung fu starts with scenarios. For example, your first defensive technique might be a counter technique to the right sucker punch. As you progress, your training becomes more difficult. Punches become more random, Next, kicks and takedowns are added into the equation. At the end of this process, students come out to be excellent fighters. They know that they are able to react to whatever attacks may come at them.
Our Philosophy Is That Anything Worth Learning Is Worth Learning Well
The ONLY way to get good at something is to practice, practice, practice. There are no shortcuts. There are no secrets. Learning the ancient art of Shaolin Kung fu requires you to go through and overcome a very strenuous training regimen.
What you put into it is what you will get out of it. I believe that only through hard work and dedication can you achieve your goals in life.
How will training in the martial art of kung fu benefit you? Well, martial arts give you a chance to channel your energies into movement. By concentrating on developing your martial arts skill, men, women and children alike, can learn to focus longer, concentrate more and start to attain their full potential.
Self-discipline and focus are intrinsic to learning the martial art of kung fu. Learning the power of self-discipline enables you to accomplish anything you set your mind to.
What's prevented you from enrolling in a martial arts school? Did you think joining a martial arts school is very intimidating? Or perhaps it's the fear that you would look foolish in front of others?
In short, we specialize in teaching beginners. The class environment at the school is only encouraging and never discouraging. Instructors are always patient and always progress students at their own pace. Finally, classes are challenging, it takes hard work and perseverance to succeed.
Benefits of training in Shaolin Kung Fu:
Here's the story:
I started training in martial arts as a teenager. At that time in my life, I was getting into a LOT of trouble. I was hanging out with the wrong crowd.
But wait, it didn't stop there...
Unfortunately, I was staying out late without calling. Basically, I was a juvenile delinquent. In truth, I was my parent's worst nightmare come true.
Astonishing, isn't it?
Suffice to say I owe my parents a BIG apology!
Anyway, at this time, I wasn't actively looking for the benefits that the martial arts had to offer.
Honestly, I just thought it was the coolest thing in the world to be able to actually learn this stuff. However, it was only after a few months of training that I became aware of all of the benefits that training in martial arts had to offer.
My name is Kevin Kawada and my wife’s name is Renee Kawada. Martial arts training had a remarkable positive impact on my life.
Because of this, we decided to open our own martial arts school in March of 2004. At that time we made a promise to improve the lives of all our students. Truly, we want you to experience the life-transforming experience that is martial arts.
Please come in and see our school in person! We would love to have you as our next student!
Shaolin Kung Fu F.A.Q.
Question: Can I come in and either observe or try a class?
Answer: Yes, of course. You are welcome to observe or try a class. However, please contact us to schedule an appointment to come in. The trial class is free.
Question: What do I wear for my trial lesson?
Answer: Adult classes are 90 minutes. Also, you can check out our class schedule here:
Question: When are the Shaolin Kung Fu classes?
Answer: Adult classes are 90 minutes. Also, you can check out our class schedule here: https://www.lvshaolin.com/schedule/
Question: What if I'm not in shape for Shaolin Kung Fu classes?
Answer: You're never too old to start martial arts. indeed, we have students of all ages and at different fitness levels. Don't worry about not being in shape. Enrolling in martial arts will help you get in shape. Here at our school, you work at your own pace and set your own goals. in short, we are here to help you in reaching your own personal goals.
Question: Can I enroll in Shaolin Kung Fu classes even if I have no experience and not very athletic?
Answer: Of course! You don't need to have any experience to start. Eventually, you will improve and soon you will feel very comfortable in class.
Question: When can I enroll?
Answer: Our program is on-going. in addition, you can start at any time.
Question: How often should I attend Shaolin Kung Fu classes?
Answer: Everyone's schedule is different. Most people come twice a week. However, some students love our classes so much, they come every day.
Question: Do I need my own equipment?
Answer: Usually, If you are on a trial program, you can borrow our equipment. However, if you enroll in the ongoing program, you should have your own equipment. In addition, your equipment can be purchased here.
Question: Are there any testing fees?
Answer: Yes, testing fees are $55 per student. Usually, belt tests are held twice a year in April and October.
Question: How much does the Shaolin Kung Fu class cost?
Answer: Presently, you can check out the prices for our classes here: https://www.lvshaolin.com/prices/
Question: Will I get hurt training in the Shaolin Kung Fu classes?
Answer: Martial arts (like any other sport) has its various risks and dangers. However, we always try our best to prevent injuries. In addition, we always promote a culture of safety at our school. This helps keep students from getting injured.
What People Are Saying About Our Shaolin Kung Fu Classes
"I'm someone that has always had an interest in kung fu and martial arts but I was always too busy or lazy or scared to try a class at a kung fu school."
"Finally, I made an effort to try my first class. After my first class, I was hooked on kung fu. It felt good like something I needed.
Kung Fu has helped me in many ways. It has helped me improve my balance, agility, strength, and speed. Even more, the Kung Fu class has increased my mental focus and clarity. It has sharpened my reflexes.
One of the things I really like about this style of kung fu is the efficiency of movement.
Not only does Instructor Kevin teach us correct technique in forms and application (fighting) but, very importantly, he explains and tells you why.
There is a reason for every hand and foot position, and technique. Basically, Shaolin Kung fu is a very effective fighting style.
Anyone without any previous martial arts training will find easy to learn from a teacher as good as Instructor Kevin."
"I can’t" was a phrase that I had gotten used to saying.
When I first stepped into the Kung Fu Academy, I didn’t know that it would change my life. Actually, I didn’t plan on joining, but they had a special offer where when my 2 kids joined I could train for free.
In any event, I decided to give Martial Arts a try for myself. I don’t remember much from my first class. However, I do know that after that first class I was hooked on how training made me feel.
I had gotten into the habit of using the phrase "I can't"
But as I started to progress and see results of my constant practice, that phrase changed to it's challenging but I can do this.
Now, martial arts influences countless aspects of my daily life. I feel confident. I feel pride.
Martial arts has given me more confidence to try new things, more perseverance when times are difficult, and more discipline to strive at the most important things in my life.