The process of learning Kung Fu online can be confusing and overwhelming, so here are some things you should know before starting.
Know your goals!
Those who choose to learn Kung Fu may do it for a variety of reasons, such as self-defense, health, or just for fun. If you do not know what your goals are, you will have difficulty getting the most out of your training. There are many types of kung fu that emphasis on different aspects, you could waste a lot of time if you choose a style that is not in line with what you want to achieve.
Know the focus of the style:
While there are many different types of kung fu, they tend to focus on different things. Chan Quan is an example of Northern style. It focuses on long range movements and develops a high level of flexibility. In contrast, there are styles like Wing Chun, which is a southern style, that focus mainly on the hands and fighting at a close range. Picking the right style can make it easier to achieve your goals. For the most part, you can divide styles into internal arts and external arts.
First let’s discuss internal arts versus external arts. Examples of internal styles include Tai Chi, Chi Kung, and Baqua. These styles use principles of motion and body positioning to develop power. They are known to focus on breathing and tend to use slow relaxing motions. Internal arts are often practiced more for their health benefits than for a self-defense purples. In contrast, hard styles use many external exercises for conditioning. These exercises can include jamming fingers into beans, striking bags or hard objects, and calisthenic workouts. Some examples of a hard style martial art may include Hung Gar, Wing Chun, or Choy Li Fut. These styles tend to focus more on fighting ability.
Kung Fu can also be divided into northern styles and southern styles. Northern styles tend to use a high kicks, acrobatics, and long-range techniques. Southern styles tend to use deep stances to develop power but do not tend to kick lower. While both styles can be used for combat, Northern styles tend to be a bit flashier whereas southern styles seem to take a simpler more direct approach.
Start with stances:
The first thing you should learn, regardless of your path, are the stances. In Kung Fu, almost every style uses 5 basic stances. Those stances are Horse Stance, Cross Stance, Bow Stance, Drop Stance, and Cat stance. Learning these 5 stances will benefit you in almost every style.
Learn the basic hand positions:
Different styles often have different hand positions they use while striking. Shaolin uses up to 18 different hand positions. Those hands can include the phoenix eye, the tiger claw, the eagle claw, etc. In most styles of Kung Fu, 3 major hand positions will be used, so learning those tend to be a great place to start. Those hand positions include the fist, the palm, and the hook hand.
Learn some basic kicks:
Developing flexibility is extremely important when it comes to kicking. It is for that reason that many styles of Kung Fu use kicks that can also be used as stretches in their basics. Prime examples of these kicks include the front rising kick, the side rising kick, the crescent kick, the reverse crescent kick, and the slap kick. For combat, it also helps to learn a few more practice kicks such as the front kick, the side thrust, and the round house kick.
Learn your 1st basic Taolu:
Once you know a few basics, it’ is time to start learning your first Taolu. Most styles design the first Taolu to improve your basics. In multiple styles of Wushu, Wu Bu Quan is the 1st form chosen. Wu Bu Quan includes the 5 basic stances, all 3 basic hand positions, and transitions through them in a simple matter. It is a great choice for a 1st form.
Hopefully this article will leave you better prepared to pick the right style for you, thank you for reading!