What is the difference between Kung-Fu and other martial arts?
Most martial arts were developed during war time. Karate was developed to enable Okinawans to fight against Japanese Samurai. Tae Kwon Do, in its oldest forms, was developed to help Korea fight Chinese and Japanese invaders. As such they had to be able to be learned relatively quickly. The practitioner did not care how much damage the fast training did; if he did not train he died. Today, the same war time practices continue and, though the practitioners of these arts are effective, the damaging aspect such as arthritis, injured knees and limbs continue. Kung-Fu was largely developed during times of relative peace. As such, the training was intense but not damaging to the practitioner and developed over years. The Kung-Fu practitioner trained to give his body special abilities, such as unusual tendon strength enabling incredibly powerful blows, the ability to fight using only sense of touch which enables one to fight at close range. These special abilities, known as Kung, are essential for Kung-Fu to be effective and take years to develop, which is why Kung-Fu takes longer to be effective but is better for the practitioner.
What is the difference between the styles taught at Authentic Kung-Fu?
Wing Chun is a Southern Chinese style created by a Buddhist nun about 300 years ago. It specializes in close-range urban combat. It is known for not requiring strength to be effective. Wing Chun overcomes size, strength and numbers with rapid-fire precise technique.
Mantis is a Northern Chinese style which is an amalgam of 18 different types of Kung-Fu. It is a much larger system than Wing Chun and in its repertoire are techniques that will accommodate any body type. It was used by caravan guards and had to be able to fight outnumbered in terrain and any under any circumstance.
Taiji and Mantis share a common ancestor. However, they developed along very different lines. Taiji fights at all ranges and on any terrain. However, Yang style Taiji refuses to fight strength against strength regardless of any advantage they may have. The ability to harmonize with an opponent in order to use their strength against them is a high-level skill attainable only after many years of training. For this reason, Taiji as a martial art is rare. Taiji is taught at Authentic Kung-Fu mostly as a health practice. However, for those so interested, it is available as a martial art.
Can I take more than one style at a time?
At Authentic Kung-Fu, we offer the complete system of every style we teach. This means that you will spend many years learning all of the style you are studying, especially at the advanced levels. To study more than one style means that you will be dividing the time you would spend perfecting the special ability of the style that makes you effective. Instead of making you better, it would slow your progress significantly. For that reason, it is discouraged. If you wish to discuss further, please see Sifu.
I am out of shape or I have a physical difficulty or injury. Can I still do Kung-Fu?
At Authentic Kung-Fu, we do not train in group classes where everyone follows the person leading. In such situations, detailed instruction cannot take place and the class either moves at the pace of the most talented person in the room or at the slowest. Neither makes for a fulfilling or effective learning experience. Instead, senior students from the intermediate and advanced classes volunteer their time to come work with beginners. You are one on one with a senior student in nearly all classes with Sifu observing and making assignments. Because of this we can accommodate physical limitations to a large degree. Of course, every case is different. Please see Sifu.
I cannot make the classes twice a week. Can I still train?
Kung-Fu does not depend solely upon your class attendance, though it does help a great deal. If one is a disciplined individual and can practice at home, then it is indeed possible to study Kung-Fu successfully. Financial obligations will be adjusted to reflect days attended.
I see that classes are offered on weekends; can I attend then?
At Authentic Kung-Fu, the basic classes are offered during the week, either Monday and Wednesday for Wing Chun, or Tuesday and Thursday for Mantis. After a couple of months, the student tests and is allowed to attend weekend classes. Fundamentals, which are taught during the week, are not the focus off the weekend classes and so would not meet the needs of the new student. Many students who cannot attend weekday classes take private lessons until they can test then attend weekend classes.
How can I know which one to study?
Martial arts, like many things in life, is not necessarily about logic. Sifu will meet with you to discuss what the school offers and if these offerings meet your particular needs. In the end, the aesthetic of the art; how it inspires you, is the key. If an art inspires you, you will practice and be good at it. If it does not, then it will become like the stationary bike that doubles as a clothes rack in many homes.
Can my child and I study together?
Kung-Fu, unlike Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Ju-Jitsu and others, never became a sport. As such it never went through the filtering process these arts underwent. These arts had those techniques that could potentially cause serious injury removed so that they could be safe and entertaining sport and physical fitness disciplines. Kung-Fu has transitioned, in many places, into a health practice with little martial content and in such places you and your child could participate together. However, at Authentic Kung-Fu, the art is still taught in its fully combative form. As such, for reasons of morality, children cannot participate in our adult classes. Adults in children’s classes are a distraction for other children. The answer would be for you to study Mantis in adult classes while your children study in the children’s classes. That way you could help your child at home to train effectively as you would know the full meaning of what they were learning.