Salutation for Chuan Fa

Last week, Arkansas Wushu began online classes for the style Chuan Fa. Chuan Fa opens up with a salutation rather than a bow. Many beginners struggle with learning the opening salutation, it seemed best to create an article going over the steps.

Step out right and swing both arms out to the side until your hands meet over your head touching the thumb and index fingers together

Step 1

Bend the knees dropping down into a horse stance as you bring your palms down in front of you forming a prayer position.

Step 2

Make your right hand into a fist

Step 3

Bring your legs back together as you bring your hands straight up, and then let them fall down to the side.

Step 4

Bring your right fist and left palm to the right side of your right ear. Step forward with your leg turning your foot sideways.

Step 5

Step forward with your left foot and drop into a cat stance. At the same time, push your fist and your palm forwards.

Grab with both hands and in a tiger claw position.

Step 7

Close fist and begin pulling the arm back as you step back left

Step 8

Bring your right foot back so that your feet are together

Step 9

Let the arms down and relax

Step 9

That concludes the salutation. In Chuan Fa, this is what is used as the opening and closing to every class. It is also used at the opening and closing of most forms, excluding the beginner forms.

The next online class will be Tuesday at 7pm central time on the YouTube channel for Arkansas wushu. You can find our channel here:

Thank you for reading.

Live classes from Arkansas Wushu starting 8/6/2022

Arkansas Wushu has spent the last year working on YouTube content. We have worked to make the channel go hand in hand with the website as an online manual. While it has been a slow process, there is now a lot of material up and we feel it is time to take the next step.

To grow the channel even more, we are now offering a once-a-week class on YouTube live! This will ensure that new content is being added every week while giving students more of a platform to ask their questions.

The style taught in the classes will be Chuan Fa. Chuan Fa is a self-defense focused martial art that has been passed down from China to Japan, and from Japan to America. This style of martial art is also known as Kenpo. Chuan Fa is very rounded and includes a wide range of kicks and strikes, throws, and a few grappling techniques.

Classes will generally start with a warm-up followed by a stretch. This workout will then proceed to cover basic techniques and self-defense combinations. Last, we will look at some forms and then cool down. While I would love to work some sparring in as well, that is simply impossible to do in an online class. I will however cover some sparring tips and techniques.

Classes will be held every Tuesday from 7pm to 8pm on our YouTube channel at Subscribe today to make sure you don’t miss any. See you there!

Snap Kick Drills

When you start practicing a martial art, The first kick you will learn will likely be the front snap kick. This is a simple and quick technique meant to buy time for a follow up strike. The most common target for this kick is the groin. Practicing this kick can get monotonous as many only drill the kick in the air or on a bag repeatedly. There are a few exercises that may add some variation to your practice and help you improve your front snap kick.

The snap kick consists of 4 parts.

Part 1 Lift the knee up and point your knee at your target.

Part 2 Extend the bottom half of the leg rapidly.

Part 3 Bring the leg back to previous position, standing on one leg with the knee raised.

Part 4 Bring the leg down and return to your fighting stance.

The first exercise is a snap back drill. This drill is usually done with strike film. If you would like to purchase a strike film target, simply click the link below.

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For this drill, hang your target at about groin level. Throw the kick with the toe turned down. Try to stop the kick right before it actually makes contact. Get as close as you can and then withdraw the kick rapidly. Your goal is to cause the film to pull down from the air off of the kick. Try throwing this 10 times on each side, starting the count over if you accidentally kick the striking film.

The second drill will teach control and balance, while building a bit of leg strength. For this drill you will hand wrap rolled up. Put the hand wrap on the top or your foot and try to get it to where you can balance it in the middle. Use a wall or a chair for assistance until you no longer need it. You are going to slowly bring your foot up, extend the snap kick, and bring it back in (don’t worry about setting down yet) without dropping the hacky sack. This shows that you are able to maintain good form throughout the kick without getting wobbly or off balance. Try extending the leg out and bringing it back 10 times without dropping it. If you do drop it, start the count over.

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The last drill is a simple strength training drill. It is very similar to the previous drill, except instead of a hacky sack, you are going to use a resistance band. Stand on one side of the resistance band to hold it in place. Reach down and grab the other side, stand up, bring your knee up, and wrap the band around your ankle. Now slowly extend the leg out and bring it back. Repeat 10 times. This is going to add a bit of resistance to your kick.

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I hope these drills help you in your training or give you something new to try. They are simple drills that I feel really help you develop the snap kick more than just throwing the same kick over and over again. Thank you for reading.

Alternative methods for the Wing Chun Dummy

Wing Chun is a very popular form of Kung Fu. The style was first made popular by Bruce Lee, and has renewed fame thanks to the Ip Man movies. The wooden dummy is the most iconic training tool used in the style. Watching a Wing Chun practitioner do the wooden dummy form can be mesmerizing. If you do not know Wing Chun, there are still many beneficial ways to practice on the dummy using your own martial art.

The simplest way to begin may be with basic blocks. The wooden arms give you something solid to slam your forearms into, allowing you to practice the technique while conditioning your forearms. Most blocking drills that are done with a partner can be done on the Wing Chun dummy. You can even use the dummy to help develop other Kung Fu skills such as Iron Arm or Iron leg.

The wooden dummy is also a great tool for developing kicks. The solid wood base can be used to condition your shins if you dare to kick it with a Round House kick. The extra arms are great for swiping kicks like the Crescent Kick. The foot on bottom is perfect for practicing sweeps. I personally like combos such as a mid level knee followed by a low Side Thrust Kick to the Knee.

My favorite way to use the dummy would be to test self defense techniques. You learn Bunkai in traditional Karate forms you can try to apply on the dummy. Styles like Chuan Fa/Kenpo have a long list of techniques worth trying. The dummy will not cooperate and is very difficult to move, so can show you ways you may need to adjust when fighting a much larger opponent. Borrowing from Chuan Fa, I like to use techniques such as Hand Staff A and Brushing Lances. They are short and simple and work well with the dummy.

I hope you enjoyed the article, try to come up with some of your own creative ways to use the wooden dummy. This is a great tool that deserves a lot of attention outside of the Wing Chun Style. There are other many other variations of the wooden dummy that are worth checking out as well. Thank you for reading.

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Stretching 101

Stretching is one of the most important parts of a martial artist’s training. Proper stretching can increase flexibility, improve range of motion, improve posture, and simply make techniques easier to perform. Unfortunately, many people do not know the correct way to stretch.

Sadly, many martial arts school have their students stretch before they even warm up! This is backwards and can lead to injury. Your muscles need to be warm before you stretch or you could risk tearing a muscle. You will want to do some light cardio before you begin your stretching routine.

Another common mistake is using the wrong type of stretch at the wrong time. In order to know how to stretch correctly, you will need to familiarize yourself with the different types of stretching.

Stretching is usually divided into dynamic stretching, static stretching, isometric stretching, and ballistic stretching.

To get it out of the way I will start with ballistic stretching. This basically means that you pick a stretch and sort of bounce up and down in hopes that the momentum will push you further into the stretch. While this can be effective to help you overcome a plateau, it is not advisable as it often results in injury. While many people do use this type of stretch, at Arkansas Wushu we simply believe the risk outweigh the benefits of the exercise. Especially when there are other effective ways to achieve the same goal.

Dynamic stretching will be what you want at the beginning of your workout. You do increase and decrease how far you go into the stretch, but unlike ballistic stretching, you use slow controlled movement. Stretch Kicks are an excellent example of a dynamic stretch. You will want to go through the full range of motion in a controlled manner, and then return to your starting position. A dynamic stretching routine for Wushu often consist of front rising kicks, side stretch kicks, slap kicks, crescent kicks, reverse and reverse crescent kicks.

Static stretches are better to use at the end of a work out. You will to use them as a cool down to aid in muscle recovery and relieve soreness. These exercises require you to hold a stretch for a small period of time. 30-45 seconds is a good time to start. Remaining in the splits or holding a back bend could be considered a relaxed stretch. You do not necessarily need to stretch to those extreme limits, but you will progress faster by pushing yourself a little. Static stretching may also be divided in passive stretching and active stretching. Passive just means that you have assistance like from an object or another person. Active stretches require you to hold a stretch just using your muscle groups. A good example would be holding your leg as high as you can in there and trying to maintain that position. Use a combination of both for the best results.

The final type of stretching is isometric stretching. This is one of the fastest ways to increase passive flexibility. Isometric stretches basically consist of tensing a muscle by trying to force it into a stretch against an impossible amount of resistance. An example of this would be instead of trying to do the splits, put your legs about twice the length of your shoulders. Next, try to pull the ground together with your feet. Your feet should not move but now you will have resistance against pulling your legs inward. After holding tension for 30 seconds, let yourself relax. Your legs will naturally want to spread further into the split now that the tension has been release. Repeat this exercise with your legs a bit further and slowly work your way down. Isometric stretches are great to do before ending your workout with a passive stretch as it also provides some strength training and may help you go further into your cool down stretches.

What’s new in Arkansas Wushu?

At Arkansas Wushu, we have been working very hard on putting together a comprehensive online manual. This way all of our practitioners have a reliable reference they can turn to whenever there are questions about a particular style or technique.

Programming these manuals has been a rewarding, yet challenging experience. Trying to get everything clearly formatted has raised almost as many questions as it has answered and as a result, many changes have been made.

One example of this is the Chuan Fa/Kenpo manual. When we look back at some of the documentation Sifu Kyle Russell had to learn from, it is amazing anyone could make any sense of it all. The written manual was not broken into steps, there were no pictures, and every self defense technique was simply written as run on sentence. To make matters worse, many of the techniques were written incorrectly! In some cases the technique was given two different names due to extremely minor changes, making the manual larger than it actually needed to be. This created a lot of unnecessary confusion. A video was put out from the original school in an attempt to clear things up, however the video only includes the name and the performance. With no breakdown and all the video being taken from only one angle, the practitioner was still left with many questions. If you would still like to see the original video we are working on improving from, you can find it at

There was no reference at all for Shotokan is Sifu Kyle Russell’s school. Everything was done from memory or by asking an elder student. At Arkansas Wushu, we fixed that by doing a step by step breakdown of every form all the way to black belt! We plan to continue and get a full reference of all the 26 Shotokan forms. This step by step breakdown is also linked to the Arkansas Wushu Youtube channel. Originally we did very short videos for each technique. This became problematic as it created 100’s of videos that were only a few seconds long. We are now in the process of remaking the videos as an entire belt, and adding time stamps to for the individual techniques.

We have began the list of requirements on Chan Quan, Nan Quan, Wing Chuan, and Shaolin but do not currently have much content to train from. The website does have a good insight to how the styles are broken down as these styles do not necessarily use a belt system. Instead Chan Quan is broken down into 4 levels while Nan Quan and Wing Chun have 3 levels. Weapons are an optional addition to the Wing Chun system.

With everything formatted and mapped out, we should begin adding new videos this week. Hopefully before much longer, we will have a complete distance learning program in place for those who choose to use it.

Step by Step Shotokan Form reference complete!

We have been working hard on the website here at Arkansas Wushu, and are happy to announce that we are now a step closer to completing our online Shotokan manual! Each form has been broken down into step by step movements for quick reference.

The most important part of grading for a belt in Shotokan Karate, is to know and be able to perform the forms. In the beginning ranks, there are the Heian Katas. These Katas may also be known in The Pinan Katas or the I Katas. All of them have two Kiya spots throughout the form.

After the 5 Heian Forms, there is Tekki Shodan, Bassa Dai, Enpi, and Kanku Dai. Tekki Shodan is part of a series of forms that are performed almost entirely in Horse Stance, helping build a strong foundation. This form is aimed at helping someone fight with their back against a wall. The other 3 are advanced forms that are required curriculum to obtain a Black Belt in Shotokan Karate.

The steps have been typed out but we are still trying to improve! We are slowly adding video links for each step to avoid any confusion about how each movement should be performed. This will make it easier to learn things that might get over looked, such as which direction you should spin.

We at Arkansas Wushu hope this helps you with your Martial Arts journey and makes it easier for to master your Shotokan forms!

Kung Fu vs Karate

I find that people often ask me, what is the difference in Karate and Kung Fu? Today, I would like to explain some of those differences.

Let’s start with Karate. Karate generally refers to a form of martial art that originated in Japan. There are several people who assume that Karate refers to one style of martial art. It would be more accurate to say that Karate refers to the striking techniques found in Japanese martial art. Judo would be the throwing arts and Jujitsu the ground work. The main styles of Karate taught by Arkansas Wushu are Shotokan Karate, and Kenpo Karate. You may hear someone who has practices Karate called a Karateka

Wushu, refers to the martial arts that have originated from China. There are many styles of Wushu, though most people in America refer to this as Kung Fu. Kung Fu is not actually specific to martial arts, but translates to mean a skill that has been acquired through years of practice. Today, Wushu generally refers to the styles Chan Quan, Nan Quan, and Shaolin. Jeet Kune Do and Wing Chun were also made into very famous styles thanks to the help of Bruce Lee.

Kung Fu and Karate often have similar techniques and may even teach the same basic movements. Techniques like the Back Fist and The Front Snap Kick are almost Universal to most Martial Arts throughout the world. Though the movements may be similar, they are often combined or used in different ways. To prove a point lets use forms to compare the styles.

A Karate form is called a Kata, and it almost always begins with a bow. In contrast, a Kung Fu form is called a Taolu. Rather than bowing, Chinese forms tend to begin with a greeting known as a Salutation. These can very from a simple gesture to an almost dance like introduction. Sometimes self defense techniques are incorporated into the salutation itself.

After the introduction, there is always a particular stance every movement is performed in. The stances for Kung Fu can be found in Karate as well. In performance, Karate tends to use somewhat higher stances. This makes it easier to transition from one movement to another but does not have a very appealing look. Kung Fu often tends to use deeper stances both for flare, and to help build flexibility and leg muscle. You will see many more flashy techniques such as spin kicks and performing the splitz in Modern Kung Fu forms than you will in your traditional Karate, however that is not always as practical.

Outside of the stances, you have the actual movements. This is where things get very confusing. There are soft style and hard style techniques in both of these martial arts. Karate usually teaches hard style techniques in the beginning, meaning almost all closed fist techniques. The soft techniques are incorporated in the advanced ranks. Kung fu does the opposite, teaching soft skills first like parrying a punch rather than trying to stop it with your fist. As Kung Fu advances, it adds in more hard style techniques. There are many styles of martial arts within both of these general styles however, meaning there are many exceptions to the rule.

Self of the Defense: Striking Asp C

There is one more variation to the series of striking asp attacks. This time, the attacker has not quite gotten a hold of you yet. This attack takes place as the attacker is reaching for you.

Before your opponent can get a hold of you, step in with your foot. At the same time, use your left hand to parry their right arm outward, creating an opening in the center. As all this is happening, you should also be performing a ridge hand strike to the groin area with your right hand.


Go ahead and grab their wrist with your left hand to help hold them in place, You will then want to shuffle in and perform an elbow strike underneath the chin.



You will then want to turn your body away from the opponent as you drop your hammer fist down, at this point you should be facing away from them.


At this point, open the hand and bring the heel of the right foot up. This should crush the groin between your palm and the heel of the foot. This completes the technique Striking Asp C.

Hope you enjoyed this weeks self defense technique!

Self Defense Technique of the week: Striking Asp B

Last week we covered “Striking Asp A”. This week, we will cover another variation of that technique. There is no difference in the attack. Your opponent is still grabbing you and pulling you towards them in this scenario.

As before you will still trap the opponents and wrist and let them pull you towards them. The harder they pull, the better it is for you as this will put more force into your strike. At the same time, you want to perform a middle knuckle punch to their solar plexus. Keeping this middle knuckle out a little bit will help you concentrate the force into a small area, hopefully knocking the wind out of your attacker on impact.


You hand comes back to your ear just like in “Striking Asp A”, however this time your hand will remain a fist.  With the bottom of your fist, also known as a “hammer fist”, you want to strike your opponents jaw. I recommend hitting right at the hinge of the jaw for maximum damage, with enough force there is a chance of breaking the jaw at that point. Make sure to follow all the way through with your strike as it will help set up your next attack.

Once the hand is across your opponents jaw and you have reached the point that your hand is now in front of your left shoulder, open your hand and get ready to perform a knife hand strike. This strike will go straight to the esophagus.

This is where the technique ends. If everything was done correctly, your opponent should no longer be able to fight. I hope you enjoyed this weeks self defense technique. Thank you for reading!


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