Shaolin Kung Fu for Beginners

Here is a list of several standing exercises within Kung Fu that will help improve balance, fitness, and mental tranquility. These stances also form the basis of other Kung Fu exercises and forms. The presenter is Master Wu Nanfang, as a part of his Shaolin Wugulun Kung Fu Youtube series.

 

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1) Tranquil stance

Stand squarely on both feet to about shoulders’ width, relax your body and your mind. Raise your hands gently in front of you abdomen and meanwhile bend your knees slowly. Stand quietly for 5 minutes.

 

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2) Horse Stance

Plant your feet squarely apart and bend your knees, like you are riding a horse

 

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3) Nail Stance

Shift part of your weight to your left leg. Take back your right leg slowly and keep the sole of your right foot’s toes on the ground. Turn your hip gently. Stand quietly like this for a while and then change side.Put your right foot in front of your left foot and keep the sole of your right foot’s toes on the ground. Stand quietly for a while and then change side.

 

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4) One legged stance

Raise your right leg slowly and stand like this for a while and then change side.

 

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5) Drop stance 1

Move your hands upwards and to the side while leaning forward with most of your weight on one foot

 

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6) Drop stance 2

Move your hands downward and shift your weight to your other leg. Repeat for the other side.

 

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7) Ending Posture

Take your feet back and put your hands with fingers crossed in front of your chest. Relax your body.

Practice these moves in succession for up to an hour to help master the basics of some Kung Fu forms/taolu

 

 

Written by Amber @ InteractChina.com

Posted by Yuqing@ InteractChina.com


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How to Choose A Martial Art

  1. Set a budget. Some arts require a significant investment in equipment. There’s no point in getting interested in something you ultimately can’t afford to do.

  2. Determine your ultimate objective. The four major categories are usually as follows. (a) Health & Fitness with martial efficacy as a subordinate benefit. (b) Martial skill as the primary concern with a nice side dish of discipline and health & fitness. (c) Being part of a heritage and cultural tradition stretching back hundreds or thousands (depending on the art) of years. (d) Winning trophies in sporting events.

Chinese Kungfu

Chinese Kungfu

Chinese Kungfu

  1. Decide on a martial arts style. You might choose a hard style, such as Muay Thai (Thailand) or Western Boxing, a semi-hard style such as Tae Kwon Do or Hapkido (Korea), a soft style traditional art, such as Aikido (Japan) or one of the many Kung Fu styles (China), or a grappling/ground fighting art, such as Jiu Jitsu (Brazil/ Japan) and Western Martial Arts (Europe). Do you want to compete one-on-one in the ring with opponents who use the same style as you, or study the traditions of a particular culture’s martial art, or learn to defend yourself against real-life attackers on the street? The training methods are vastly different, and most martial arts schools focus on one aspect.

Chinese Kungfu

Chinese Kungfu

  1. Recognize your physical limitations. If you are older or not very acrobatic, Wushu (China) probably isn’t for you, but Tai Chi (China) might suit you nicely. Furthermore, recognize that striking martial arts like Karate or Taekwondo may or may not be well-suited for smaller physiques.

  2. Consider your cultural interests. If you have a respect for or interest in a certain culture, learning more through one of their martial arts can be a great experience. If that is part of your goal, choose a school taught by a native of that culture, or someone who trained directly under someone of that culture.

  3. Consider the effectiveness of the martial art as well. For example, a modern martial art such as Krav Maga (Israeli), reconstructed Western Martial Arts such as ARMA or the AES (European) or classes led by experienced soldiers or police officers will place a greater emphasis on the “martial” aspect rather than the “art.” This is not to say that traditional Asian arts are less important; it may take longer to learn basic self defense this way as many Eastern arts are about developing more than just basic self-defense skills.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com

About Interact China


“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

We co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.

P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!
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Styles of Chinese Martial Arts

China has a long history of martial traditions that include hundreds of different styles. Over the past two thousand years many distinctive styles have been developed, each with its own set of techniques and ideas. There are also common themes to the different styles, which are often classified by “families”, “sects” or “schools”. There are styles that mimic movements from animals and others that gather inspiration from various Chinese philosophies, myths and legends. Some styles put most of their focus into the harnessing of qi, while others concentrate on competition.

 

Geographical classifications— Northern Styles and Southern Styles

The traditional dividing line between the northern and southern Chinese martial arts is the Yangtze River. A well known adage concerning Chinese martial arts is the term “Southern fists and Northern kicks”. This saying emphasizes the difference between the two groups of Chinese martial arts. However, such differences are not absolute and there are many Northern styles that excel in hand techniques and conversely, there are many different type of kicks in some Southern styles. A style can also be more clearly classified according to regional landmarks, province, city and even to a specific village.

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The main perceived difference between northern and southern styles is that the northern styles tend to emphasize fast and powerful kicks, high jumps and generally fluid and rapid movement, while the southern styles focus more on strong arm and hand techniques, and feature low stable stances and short powerful movements that combine both attack and defense.

 

External Styles and Internal Styles

 

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External styles are often characterized by fast and explosive movements and a focus on physical strength and agility. External styles include both the traditional styles focusing on application and fighting, as well as the modern styles adapted for competition and exercise. Examples of external styles are Shaolin Kung fu, with its direct explosive attacks and many Wushu forms that have spectacular aerial techniques. External styles begin with a training focus on muscular power, speed and application, and generally integrate their qigong aspects in advanced training, after their desired “hard” physical level has been reached. Most Chinese martial art styles are classified as external styles.

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Internal styles focus on the practice of such elements as awareness of the spirit, mind, qi (breath, or energy flow) and the use of relaxed leverage rather than unrefined muscular tension, tension that soft stylists call “brute force”. There are only three Chinese styles that are universally recognized as internal: Taijiquan, Baguazhang, and Xingyiquan.

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Components of internal training includes stance training, stretching and strengthening of muscles, as well as on empty hand and weapon forms which can contain quite demanding coordination from posture to posture. Many internal styles have basic two-person training, such as pushing hands. A prominent characteristic of internal styles is that the forms are generally performed at a slow pace. The goal is to learn to involve the entire body in every motion, to stay relaxed, with deep, controlled breathing, and to coordinate the motions of the body and the breathing accurately according to the dictates of the forms while maintaining perfect balance. But at an advanced level, and in actual fighting, internal styles are performed quickly.

Chinese martial arts can also be divided according to religion, imitative-styles, and family styles. There are distinctive differences in the training between different groups of the Chinese martial arts regardless of the type of classification. However, few experienced martial artists make a clear distinction between internal and external styles, or subscribe to the idea of northern systems being predominantly kick-based and southern systems relying more heavily on upper-body techniques.

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Wing Chun

Wing Chun (literally “spring chant”), also romanised as Ving Tsun or Wing Tsun, is a concept-based Chinese martial art and form of self-defense utilizing both striking and grappling while specializing in close-range combat.

Chinese Kungfu

 

Origin

The history of Wing Chun, like most of other martial arts, has historically been passed from teacher to student as an oral history rather than through written documentation, making it difficult to confirm or clarify the differing accounts of Wing Chun’s creation.

The common legend involves Yim Wing Chun (beautiful springtime), a young woman who has rebuffed the local warlord’s marriage offer. He says he’ll rescind his proposal if she can beat him in a fight. She asks a local Buddhist nun to teach her boxing. The style they develop enables Yim Wing Chun to defeat the warlord. She marries her sweetheart and teaches him the style. Her husband names it after her.

 

Style

 

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Wing Chun boxing emphasizes speed of play, keeping fists and feet close to one’s body for better protection, as well as to prepare for attacks and fighting the opponent at close range. When fighting, Wing Chun boxers contain their chest, arch the back, close their elbows and knees, draw in their ribs, and keep their thighs closed to protect the groin. When they use their feet for attack, they must also use their hands in cooperation. When they kick they do not expose their groin and when they deliver fist blows, their hands do not leave the front of their body.

 

Features

 

Tenets of Wing Chun include practicality, efficiency and economy of movement. The core philosophy becomes a useful guide to practitioners when modifying or refining the art.

Chinese Kungfu

Wing Chun techniques emphasize practicality and effectiveness. Most strikes have the intention to injure the target. Wing Chun concept is based upon the fact that the closest distance between two points is a straight line. In addition to efficiency being understood as the “shortest distance to the opponent’s core”, it is also important to understand the importance of energy efficiency within Wing Chun.

Wing Chun believes in using the least amount of required force in any fighting situation. It believes properly, correct timed position and movement can and should be used to defeat their opponent. A person using Wing Chun is said to be able to defeat a stronger person, but this is achieved through balance, body structure and relaxation.

 

Balance, Structure and Stance

 

Chinese Kungfu

Wing Chun practitioners believe that the person with body structure will win. A correct Wing Chun stance is like a piece of bamboo, firm but flexible, rooted but yielding. This structure is used to either deflect external forces or redirect them into the ground.

Balance is related to structure because a well-balanced body recovers quicker from stalled attacks and structure is maintained.

Structure is viewed as important, not only for reasons of defense, but also for attack. When the practitioner is effectively ‘rooted’, the force of the hit is believed to be far more devastating.

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Drunken Boxing

Drunken Boxing, also known Drunken Fist or Drunkard’s Boxing, is a style of boxing that imitates a drunkard in its movements, involving both offensive and defensive skills. The striking features of the boxing are its fast speed and unpredictable changes in beating the opponent. It is also known for its unique appreciating, health-boosting and practical values.

 

Origin

Chinese Kungfu

It is said that Drunken Boxing was derived from the fighting skills used by Wu Song, one of the characters in the novel Outlaws of the Marsh, when he beat a hooligan surnamed Jiang after getting drunk, as well as the attacking skills used by Lu Zhishen, also a character in the novel, when he caused an uproar in the mountain as he was drunk. The movements of Drunken Boxing are guided by the principle of “drunken in appearance but not in spirit”.

 

Style

 

Chinese Kungfu

The postures of Drunken Boxing are pretty much like the staggering movements of a drunkard, but the boxing is actually well choreographed with no drunkenness at all. It is a routine of martial art skills involving stringent arm, leg and body movements.

Chinese Kungfu

Even though the style seems irregular and off balance it takes the utmost balance to be successful. To excel one must be relaxed and flow with ease from technique to technique. The major postures include beating, pushing, throwing, rolling, leaping and jumping. While retaining the beauty of body art, all the postures are practical fighting skills. Swaying, drinking, and falling are used to throw off opponents. When the opponent thinks the drunken boxer is vulnerable he is usually well balanced and ready to strike. When swigging a wine cup the practitioner is really practicing grabbing and striking techniques. The waist movements trick opponents into attacking sometimes even falling over. Falls can be used to avoid attacks but also to pin attackers to the ground while vital points are targeted.

 

High Requirement

 

Chinese Kungfu

Drunken Boxing techniques are highly acrobatic and skilled and require a great degree of balance and coordination. The postures are created by momentum and weight of the body, and imitation is generally through staggering and certain type of fluidity in the movements. So it is considered to be among the most difficult martial arts styles to learn due to the need for powerful joints and fingers. It also has a fairly high requirement on the practitioner in terms of the person’s flexibility in the waist, legs and joints as well as the functions of internal organs, willpower and moral integrity. In addition, the performance of the boxing is supposed to give a straight, light and graceful feel.

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Animal Styles of Chinese Martial Arts in Kung Fu Panda

In the Kung Fu Panda Ⅰ, as a kung fu fanatic, Po idolizes the Furious Five- Master Tigress, Master Monkey, Master Mantis Master Crane. In reality, Other than the Po the panda, the Furious Five characters and Tai Lung are created and based on Chinese martial arts styles.

Chinese Kungfu

In the Chinese martial arts, imagery of the Five Animals (literally “Five Forms”)—Tiger, Crane, Leopard, Snake, and Dragon—appears predominantly in Southern styles. An alternate selection which is also widely used is the crane, the tiger, the monkey, the snake, and the mantis.

In Kung Fu Panda, Tigress uses Tiger Claw Kung Fu System; Crane uses Fujian White Crane Kung Fu; Monkey uses Monkey Kung Fu; Viper uses Snake Kung Fu; Mantis uses Northern Praying Mantis Kung Fu; and Tai Lung uses Leopard Kung Fu.

 

Monkey Style Kung Fu

Chinese Kungfu

Monkey style Kung Fu is a Chinese martial art where the movements imitate monkeys or apes in fighting. One of the more acrobatic kung fu styles, movements often include falling, lunging, grabbing, jumping, and tumbling. The staff features prominently in its weapons training, with practitioners using it for attack, defense, and even climbing it like a pole to gain height in combat.

A wide array of facial monkey expressions is also practiced, inclusive of happiness, anger, fear, fright, confusion and bewilderment etc. Except for very brief periods, most movements inclusive of running are executed from either a squatting or semi-squatting position and are normally accompanied by very swift and ‘jerky’ head movements as the practitioner nervously looks around.

The flamboyant movements and sometimes comic actions of the monkey style have made it a popular subject in martial arts movies.

 

Tiger Style Kung Fu

 

Chinese Kungfu

Tiger style Kung Fu is one of the local boxing in Fujian Province, southern China.

Tiger Claw Kung Fu System was modeled after the demeanor and fighting strategy of an attacking tiger. The striking movements are lightning fast, agile and powerful. Techniques unique to Tiger Claw Kung Fu System are ripping, tearing, clawing and grasping applications.

 

Crane Style Kung Fu

 

Chinese Kungfu

White Crane Kung Fu is a Southern Chinese martial art which originated in Fujian Province and is now practiced throughout the world. According to oral traditions, the creation of this style is attributed to Fong Qoniáng, a female martial artist.

The characteristics of this style are deep-rooted stances, intricate hand techniques and fighting mostly at close range. The Crane Stylist has no Weapons. As with the Crane, all parts are tools, wings, claws and beak.

The Crane Stylist is a dancer, the most beautiful mover of all the Animal styles. It forms a beautiful, graceful and full of elegance. They are very light on their feet and can be mistaken for Ballet Dancers at the highest level

 

Snake Style Kung Fu

 

Chinese Kungfu

Snake style Kung Fu is created following the snake’s behaviors. Main routines of Snake style Kung Fu are composed of many animal-imitation actions. These actions mainly imitate the circling, flexion and extension, swallowing and stretching of the snakes. The movements should be flexible, link the whole body tightly and move forward along the wave curve.

For Snake stylist, action should alternate hardness with softness, open and close properly. Emphasize on soft force, and combine pliability with toughness. Upper limbs and flank should be soft and easy to control; pelvic limbs should be steady and flexible. Make sure that the stance is flexible and the stake is firm and steady. Actual combat requires the body vibrate and the stance change, cope with the situation flexibly.

Snake Style Kung Fu generally aims for weak points of the body, such as eyes, groin and joints.

 

Mantis Style Kung Fu

 

Chinese Kungfu

Northern Praying Mantis Kung Fu was named after the praying mantis, the aggressiveness of which inspired the style.

Northern Praying Mantis is especially famous for its speed and continuous attacks. It emphasizes on fighting according to its movement, looking for the weakness of the opponent and hit his weak point, fighting in order to defend, hitting and smashing hardly and firmly. It is fast and agile, with the image of the mantis.

One of the most distinctive features of Northern Praying Mantis Kung Fu is the Praying Mantis Hook: a hook made of one to three fingers directing force in a whip-like manner. The hook may be used to divert force (blocking) or to attack critical spots (eyes or acupuncture points).

 

Leopard Style Kung Fu

 

Chinese Kungfu

Leopard Style Kung Fu was founded on the creators’ observation of the movements of the leopard.

Leopard Kung Fu does not overwhelm or rely on strength, but instead relies on speed and outsmarting its opponent. The power, as in all kung fu forms, comes from a solid stance, but in Leopard Kung Fu it particularly comes from the aggressive speed. The Leopard Kung Fu practitioner will focus on elbows, knees, low kicks, and Leopard Punches.

The primary weapon is the Leopard Fist, which can be likened to a half-opened fist. The primary striking surface is the ridge formed by folding the fingers at the first phalange joint; the secondary striking surface is the palm hand. The Leopard Claw can also be modified for grabbing and tearing by slightly lifting the fingers to form a hook.

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Wudang Martial Arts

Wudang martial arts are one of the key schools of Chinese martial arts. It originated in Wudang Mountain in Hubei Province, which is one of the four famous Taoist mountains in China.

Chinese Kungfu

 

Origin

Wudang martial arts are greatly related to the Chinese native religion – Taoism. It is said that Zhang Sanfeng, a Taoist who lived in the Song Dynasty (AD 960-1279) created Wudang martial arts. He has been honored as the founder of Wudang School. By ingeniously combining the essence of I Ching and Tao Te Ching with martial arts, Zhang Sanfeng created Wudang Martial arts that are dominated by Tai Chi Chuan, Hsing I Chuan and Pakua Boxing with important bodybuilding and health keeping values. The Ming Dynasty (AD 1368-1644) saw the formal popularity of Wudang Kungfu. In order to promote Wudang Taoism all over China, Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty assembled 300,000 civilian workers to build 33 Taoist complexes in Mt. Wudang. It took them 13 years to finish the whole construction. With a long history, Wudang Martial arts are broad and profound.

 

Development

 

After continuous innovation, improvement and enrichment by Martial arts masters of later dynasties, Wudang Martial arts became one of the major schools of Chinese martial arts. It has long been honored as the most authoritative kungfu in the south China alongside Shaolin, the most authoritative martial arts in the north China. Currently, Wudang Martial arts have been introduced overseas, becoming a sport activity for health preserving, disease curing and life prolonging.

 

Connotation

 

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Wudang Martial arts embody distinctive Taoist culture and are a natural combination of Martial arts and regimen, profound in both traditional martial arts culture and scientific theory. It’s in line with the concept of internal cultivation and external exercising that integrates physical with psychological training.

Chinese Kungfu

Wudang Kungfu values martial spirit rather than strength, and encourages the use of softness to conquer the unyielding, focusing on the principle of “levering a ton of weight with four ounces of force” and “letting flexibility control hardness”. Meanwhile, Wudang martial arts are more for defense than attack. It doesn’t advocate attack but at the same time it is hard to defeat. Its functions and features also include prolonging life, helping cure and prevent diseases and boosting intelligence etc.

The basic Wudang Martial arts spirit is to value martial arts while at the same time upholding virtue; this has been advocated by martial arts performers from generation to generation. Wudang martial arts are just like a knowledgeable teacher from whom people can learn a lot in order to survive in this complicated world.

by Xiao Xiao @ InteractChina.com

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