How to Make a Wing Chun Dummy
How to Make a Wing Chun Dummy

A Wing Chun dummy is an essential training aid for anyone looking to master advanced techniques. They’re also a must-have for anyone who struggles to maintain a regular schedule of live sparring in a face-to-face setting. Although incredibly useful, a ready-made Wing Chun dummy is a costly investment. The best Wing Chun dummies can set you back several thousand dollars, while even the most budget-friendly of models can put a serious dent in your bank balance. If you’re looking for a cost-effective alternative and have some basic DIY skills under your belt, it might make sense to consider building your own from scratch.

How to Make a Wing Chun Dummy

Wing Chun Dummy Build Basics

The average Wing Chun dummy is made up of a body section, along with two arms positioned at shoulder level. A standard dummy should also include a lower arm, usually positioned at around the same height as the stomach of an average person. The final core element of a Wing Chun dummy is a leg, which should take on a slightly curved angle. Once completed, a Wing Chun dummy may look fairly simple, but there’s a considerable amount of engineering that goes into the design and build of one of these training aids.

Essential Materials

In the past, premium hardwoods were the material of choice for Wing Chun dummies. Although teak is a great choice of material to use if you can afford it, working with this particularly robust wood can be difficult. You also don’t want to run the risk of damaging costly materials as you carry out your build project. As a general rule, any durable hardwood should be sufficient for a DIY Wing Chun dummy. When selecting suitable wood, avoid any materials with obvious cracks or impurities. This is less about aesthetics and more to do with the fact such imperfections are a sign of structural weakness. You should also avoid the temptation to purchase more affordable softwood to build your dummy. Softwoods are simply too brittle to stand up to the demanding requirements of a Wing Chun dummy.

Building the Body

Once you’ve selected your materials, you can move onto the build itself. Use a quality piece of hardwood for the dummy body, making sure you have a core piece that is close in weight to an actual human. This provides you with a more realistic weight simulation when training. Ideally, the overall height of this body section should be around 150 centimeters. You don’t have to carry out too much prep work with this section, but you should at least ensure the exposed surface is smoothed out and free of splinters to avoid minor injuries as you train. The outside edges should also be smoothed out to prevent injury.

When the dummy body has been prepped, you can start creating holes to mount the arms and leg. Use a circular drill to make pilot holes, before moving onto a manual chisel to shape square holes for the arms. As you’ll need to leave room for both of the higher arms to pass through the center of your dummy, the arm hole on the left-hand side of your dummy should be positioned slightly higher than the one on the right.

Installing the Arms and Leg

The arms of your dummy need to be incredibly strong, so make sure you’re using the same hardwood material that you’ve made your dummy body from. Although you can make the arms by hand, doing so is incredibly time-consuming. Instead, use a mechanical lathe or something similar to create the smooth edges required. Create three of these arms. Each arm needs to measure approximately 56 centimeters in total, although you’ll then need to cut each arm down into two identical halves. One half is slotted into the main dummy body, while the other is stuck in the front of the Wing Chun dummy itself. While the arms that slot fully into the dummy will need to be square, the halves that are protruding from the front of the dummy will need to be cylindrical. A slightly tapered profile is also ideal.

Crafting a leg for your Wing Chun dummy is a little more difficult. As with the arms, the leg needs to be divided into two distinct sections. One half makes up the bulk of the leg, culminating at an artificial knee. The second half curves slightly downwards, capping off at an artificial ankle. The upper half of the leg needs to be around 56 centimeters long. Half of this length is to be pushed through the wooden dummy, while the other half will extend outwards in front of the main body. When crafting your dummy leg, make sure the half that will be slotted through the body is thinner in profile than the exposed section. This will prevent the leg from becoming lodged in place when you make contact with it. A square profile is also essential as this will prevent the leg from rotating in place as you train.

Final Steps

Once you’ve taken care of all the hard work, you can think about framing your Wing Chun dummy so it can be used for training. An easy way to do this is to use two vertical posts. There’s no strict requirements when it comes to dimensions here, but the posts should be sturdy enough that they can take the full weight of your dummy. Once you’ve decided on your support posts, securely mount your dummy in place. You then to attach these posts to the wall, ceiling or floor. When framing your dummy, just ensure you’re not restricting access to it. A completed DIY Wing Chun dummy can be left untreated. However, if you don’t like an untreated aesthetic, consider applying a light coat of natural wax for a low-key finish.

Here’s how to build your very own Wing Chun dummy from home.

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How to Use a Wing Chun Dummy
How to Use a Wing Chun Dummy

If you’re serious about progressing with Wing Chun, you’ll want to eventually invest in a wooden dummy to help you train. Although these dummies are often used for Wing Chun training, they can also be utilized to help you master other martial arts techniques. In effect, they’re a more advanced alternative to a punching bag, although they offer a raft of additional benefits you won’t get from a stationary training aid.

How to Use a Wing Chun Dummy

What is a Wing Chun Dummy?

The majority of Wing Chun dummies are made from high-quality wood, although more affordable materials are now commonly used. If you’re tied to a particularly tight budget, you may want to consider purchasing an inexpensive PVC alternative. A Wing Chun dummy broadly represents the human body, although this is not always obvious at first glance. The most basic dummies include a leg and several individual arms, with the column at the core replicating the body itself. Variations exist, with some dummies including additional arms. Wall-mounted models also exist, although these are somewhat limiting when it comes to circling around your training aid as you perfect techniques.

Wing Chun dummies tend to be made from high-grade wood, such as teak, and are therefore incredibly hard to the touch. Despite this, it’s not all that difficult to break them. If you encounter a situation where you break your dummy, chances are you’re using improper technique.

Training with a Wing Chun Dummy

The design of these training dummies is closely aligned with the philosophy behind Wing Chun. This sub-style of kung fu has been engineered so that even the smallest and physically weakest of individuals can turn their opponent’s strength against them. The static design of a Wing Chun dummy is intended to replicate the immovable nature of a real-life opponent. When training with a dummy, you’re encouraged to constantly move around and approach your opponent from different angles.

The spring-back arms of a Wing Chun dummy also provide fairly realistic physical feedback that you won’t get from a wall bag or conventional training aid. When you make contact with a Wing Chun dummy, impact energy is absorbed, before the arms spring back. This spring-back effect provides the practitioner with the energy they need to push themselves away from the dummy, before adopting a new position from which to make their next move.

Ultimately, using a Wing Chun dummy helps practitioners focus on fluidity of movement and footwork, rather than relying too heavily on putting brute force behind their attacks. Another useful feature of these dummies is that they provide acoustic feedback. Different sounds are produced for different angles of attack. This provides the user with an additional guideline by which they can judge their technique. If you’re not able to regularly partake in face-to-face teaching or live sparring with a fellow practitioner, a Wing Chun dummy is the next best thing when it comes to a training partner.

Here are some great tips for your own wooden dummy training.

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How to Learn Wing Chun
How to Learn Wing Chun

Beginning your journey with Wing Chun is fairly easy, thanks to some accessible fundamentals and a wealth of online resources. If you’re looking to start training from the comfort of your own home, you’ll find ample training videos and in-depth walk-through material to guide you through entry-level techniques and simple solo drills. However, if you want to get the most out of this highly effective martial art, you’ll almost certainly want to find a nearby school and undertake one-to-one training with an experienced instructor.

How to Learn Wing Chun

The Importance of Face to Face Training

Although you can become highly proficient in Wing Chun in just a few years, mastering advanced techniques requires you to train under an experienced instructor. Unlike many other forms of martial arts, Wing Chun is based on tactile-kinaesthetic impulses. In other words, you need to be able to feel and respond to pressure from an active sparring or training partner in order to react accordingly. Although wooden dummies and other training aids can be useful to a point, these items can never fully substitute for a live partner. You can of course begin your Wing Chun at home with these kinds of training aids, but you’ll inevitably have to advance to face-to-face training with an instructor.

Another major benefit of training in front of an actual instructor is that any improper technique can be quickly identified and rectified before bad habits are firmly entrenched. Many people who begin their training at home often fall foul of misguiding videos or technique guides. If this poor form is adopted and followed for long enough, it can be hard to shake off bad habits and start performing techniques properly.

Remote Learning with Live Online Classes

Many people who live in remote areas may find it difficult to find a nearby Wing Chun training center, forcing them to turn to the internet for reference material. While online guides and videos can be useful to a point, they should only really be referenced as an initial introduction to Wing Chun, or to complement continued studies with a live instructor. Thankfully, the internet and remote networking software has made it easier for would-be Wing Chun practitioners to perfect their techniques at home.

WingChunAcademy.org is the ideal destination for those looking for live online classes. These online classes demonstrate new techniques in real-time, with instructors performing movements their end with a partner. Those viewing these live classes can then replicate the techniques from home, with the instructor able to give instant feedback and advice on how to rectify any issues. Although it might not quite match up to being able to train mere feet away from an instructor, it’s certainly the next best thing.

In the following video Sifu Adam Chan gives some examples for solo drills that will improve your Wing Chun skills.

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How to Learn Wing Chun From Home
How to Learn Wing Chun From Home

Many people are interested in pursuing Wing Chun training because of its effectiveness in real-world situations. If you’re looking for a tried and tested martial art form with significant self-defense benefits, Wing Chun is an obvious choice. As with any form of martial art, face-to-face training will yield the best results. However, if you’re looking to start your Wing Chun journey from home, you’ll be glad to know that there are many aspects of training you can undertake from the comfort of your living room or custom training space.

How to Learn Wing Chun From Home

Fitness Training

Before you embark on Wing Chun training from home, you may want to focus on improving your general fitness levels. Although this form of martial art is designed that it can be used by just about anyone, you’ll get the most out of it and be able to progress further if your fitness levels are at a good standard. Focus on basic cardio exercises, work on your core strength and consider interval training to start with. You needn’t purchase an expensive gym membership or costly equipment either.

Understanding the Fundamentals

One of the core disciplines behind Wing Chun is the center line theory. If you want to get the most out of your at-home Wing Chun training, you’ll want to brush up this foundation theory beforehand. The center line starts at the top off the head, continuing through the chest toward the lower half of the body. It’s important to visualize this when undertaking Wing Chun training as you should be aiming to protect your center line at all costs. Being able to visualize the center line of your opponent is also important. When it comes to attacking your opponent, you should be aiming to strike down the center line of your assailant during the attack. When defending, you should be working against the center line of your opponent. Visualizing your own center line is fairly easy to do when training solo, but you will ultimately need to train with a partner in order to contextualize the center line of opponents.

Footwork Training

If you’re looking to begin your Wing Chun training at home, you’ll also want to allot plenty of time to perfecting your footwork skills. Investing in a wooden dummy is a good idea here, especially if you want to take your Wing Chun techniques to the next level. However, in lieu of a dummy, you can use stationary objects such as a small table or a chair to begin with. You can use this object to focus on when training in general, although you should be aiming to circle around it if you want to focus on your footwork. Many people underestimate the importance of footwork when training at home. However, footwork is a crucial element of Wing Chun.

Solo Drills and Wing Chun Forms

Repetition is something you’ll have to be prepared for when pursuing Wing Chun training. Solo drills are particularly useful for those who are limited to home training sessions, requiring no input from a partner or teacher. Solo drill training can help develop muscle memory, which will ultimately help improve your reflexes and allow you to respond more intuitively when facing off against a sparring partner or attacker in the real world.

Solo drills should become a constant and ongoing element of your home training. However, once you’ve been performing solo drills for a while, you can begin to explore the various Wing Chun forms. Although you shouldn’t attempt advanced forms at home without the guidance of a teacher, you can investigate the more basic forms. Forms should be approached successively, with each one introducing you to distinct Wing Chun aspects like structure, balance, rotational energy and so on. When learning Wing Chun at home, avoid attempting to master forms completely, even if you think you have in-depth resources to hand. You may teach yourself bad habits that will hold you back in the future.

Essential Training Equipment

Learning Wing Chun at home will be made easier if you first invest in some basic training equipment. We’ve already mentioned how useful a wooden dummy will be for footwork training, but they’re particularly useful for when it comes to perfecting advanced Wing Chun forms. If your budget won’t stretch to a ready-made wooden dummy, you can always consider putting together a training aid yourself. At the very least, you should think about purchasing a wall bag to facilitate your Wing Chun training. Using a wall bag will help with overall upper body conditioning, while also giving you something physical to interact with when practicing punches and strikes. Although Wing Chun is keenly focused on unarmed combat and self-defense techniques, some aspects of training do indeed utilize knives and long pole techniques. If you want to explore these aspects of training at home, investing in these items is a must.

Next Steps

Even the most committed home learner will eventually need to think about undertaking face-to-face training. Physical interaction with an experienced practitioner will ensure you’re not adopting bad habits, while being able to spar and train with a partner is the only way you’ll be able to explore certain techniques. If your location is limiting you to remote learning, there are some ways to overcome the issue. Well-produced instructional videos are always a good resource to follow, although nothing can beat live online classes with an experienced instructor. If you’re for first-rate remote learning, WingChunAcademy.org offers plenty of live online classes for practitioners of all levels.

Here’s a great resource to learn Wing Chun from where ever you are.

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How Effective is Wing Chun?
How Effective is Wing Chun?

Wing Chun is wholly distinct from most other forms of martial arts. More so than may other martial art forms, this sub-style of kung fu is focused on self-defense strategy and close-quarters combat. When used correctly, a Wing Chun practitioner can quickly turn the tables on multiple attackers, even if those assailants are physically more imposing and stronger. This is a martial art designed to be used in the real world. While it can be used to deflect and defend, it can also be used to deliver direct blows and intuitive attacks that will quickly put an end to even the most daunting confrontation.

How Effective is Wing Chun?

No Rules, But Real World Applications

Unlike other forms of martial arts, Wing Chun isn’t limited by countless rules and restrictive regulation. Wing Chun is a kung fu sub-style that is squarely focused on self-defense. In theory, anything that works to protect the practitioner from harm is allowed. This philosophy is maintained throughout training, meaning that practitioners are always thinking intuitively and behaving instinctively. This makes it incredibly useful for real-world situations that require an individual to respond with lightning speed, without their thinking being slowed down by rigid frameworks and established rules.

There are some downsides to this fluid and flexible approach, however. Because of its lack of rules, Wing Chun is never going to prove a good fit with tournament scenarios. Wing Chun is pretty much impossible to referee and score. Even mixed martial arts, which is often considered fairly laid-back when it comes to having a rigid rule book, still has plenty of mandates in place when it comes to tournament scenarios. Therefore, if you’re looking to undertake martial arts training with the ambition of entering into professional leagues and tournament-level play, Wing Chun is likely not for you.

The Martial Art Style of Choice for Special Forces

If you needed any more convincing about the effectiveness of Wing Chun as a seriously effective form of self-defense, you only have to consider the number of elite special forces and tactical units that are using it on a daily basis. Wing Tsun, a form of Wing Chun with several distinct differences, makes up a key part of training for several special force units. The SEK, the special commando response unit of the German police, as well as the German Customs Service SWAT unit (otherwise known as the MEK) are both taught Wing Tsun as part of their foundation training. Even GSG 9, the elite-level counter-terrorism and special operations unit of the German Federal Police are given in-depth Wing Tsun training. Those based in other volatile environments, such as those working in German border control and individuals based in correctional facilities are also given the benefit of being trained in this distinct lineage of Wing Chun.

Wing Tsun training is not reserved to Germany alone. Elsewhere in the world, other law enforcement agencies have taken note of how effective this established martial art is at diffusing dangerous situations without relying on lethal force. The Brazilian BOPE, the tactical unit of the Rio de Janeiro Military Police, is one such unit that has incorporated Wing Tsun as part of its core training for officers. It’s likely that more jurisdictions will follow suit in the future, especially in countries where the majority of active law enforcement professionals are assigned to unarmed duties.

Final Thoughts

Although Wing Chun is not the best match for those looking to compete in martial arts tournaments and professional arenas, it’s well worth investigating if you’re looking for something that can protect you in a life or death situation. This is a highly effective form of kung fu that can be utilized well by just about anyone. Regardless of your size or physical strength, Wing Chun can allow you to quickly turn the tables on a mugger, armed attacker or even multiple assailants.

In the video below Master Wong demonstrates how to use Wing Chun in a street fight in his usual very entertaining fashion.

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Is Wing Chun Effective in a Street Fight?
Is Wing Chun Effective in a Street Fight?

Many martial art forms claim to be effective for self-defense, but even the most experienced practitioner can struggle to put their moves to practical use. Many martial art forms are simply too rigid and restrictive outside of a training situation, with many techniques requiring significant range in order to be delivered effectively. Wing Chun is a different animal entirely. This established kung fu style provides the practitioner with a fluid and flexible approach to self-defense.

Wing Chun is designed so it can be utilized by just about anyone. Provided you’ve undertaken sufficient training and understand the fundamentals behind key techniques, Wing Chun can be used to fend off multiple attackers, even if they’re considerably larger and physically stronger than you.

Is Wing Chun Effective in a Street Fight?

Using Wing Chun in a Street Fight Scenario

In theory, any style of martial art should be able to be used effectively in a real-world altercation, such as a street fight. However, many forms of martial arts require that some distance is established between two practitioners in order for offensive strikes and kicks to be delivered. This simply isn’t going to happen in the real world. If someone is attempting to rob you, they’’ll often be inches be away from you before you notice their presence. Likewise, in the event of an unexpected altercation, your assailant is going to be try and get as up close and personal as possible so they can deliver the most damage. In other situations, the first notice you’ll have of an attack is the initial blow. In these instances, you need to be focusing on lightspeed responses and effective defense. Thankfully, Wing Chun provides you with the perfect repertoire of techniques to protect yourself in a street fight.

Why is Wing Chun So Effective in Real Life?

Wing Chun was designed for close combat situations. Pretty much every technique and discipline is centered around being in close proximity to your attacker. It’s arguably the most perfect form of self-defense, with techniques build around innovative response to your attacker, as well as well-maintained balance and physical awareness of an opponent.

Although Wing Chun does teach offensive maneuvers, the real strength of this martial art form is its defensive disciplines. Hand and limb trapping is particularly useful for those looking to protect themselves from larger attackers, with a successful trapping technique allowing the practitioner to respond with offensive strikes. These techniques are particularly useful in situations where there’s a significant size imbalance between two individuals.

Wing Chun also encourages a simultaneous defense and offense. Many deflecting techniques in Wing Chun do more than simply block an incoming punch. When you deflect correctly, you’ll in fact be putting your assailant at a distinct disadvantage. Deflecting attacks correctly will not only stop you from sustaining injury, it will also drain your assailant of energy. If you can’t outright escape from a fight, you can use these techniques to ebb away at your opponent and exhaust their energy reserves.

Another staple Wing Chun training exercise is Chi Sau. Otherwise known as ‘’sticky arms’, this exercise is a great way to improve combat skills for close-range situations. Here, practitioners are encouraged to developer a looser, more innovative approach to attack and defense. If implemented properly, Chi Sau will allow you to simply respond to the movement of your attacker, rather than requiring you to employ any advanced strategy. You can easily anticipate a next move and respond accordingly, turning a planned attack against your assailant or snuffing out an offensive strike entirely. Practitioners who’ve mastered Chi Sau can often use this training to defend themselves while blindfolded.

Provided you’re prepared to put in the training hours and discipline, Wing Chun is one of the best martial arts for self-defense. Should you ever find yourself having to defend yourself in a street fight, the close combat techniques and intuitive physical responses at the heart of this martial art style make it incredibly effective.

Here are some great tips that you may want to remember in order to be able to apply Wing Chun in a street fight.

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Can Wing Chun beat Taekwondo?
Can Wing Chun beat Taekwondo?

Wing Chun and Taekwondo are both popular self-defense disciplines. However, comparing these two martial arts styles to determine which is better is nigh on impossible. In its current form, Taekwondo is a fairly rigid discipline operating with a tight framework of offensive strikes, defensive techniques and footwork. Wing Chun is a more established martial arts form, with this style of kung fu dating back several centuries.

One of the key draws of Wing Chun is that it doesn’t require the practitioner to possess considerable physical strength in order to be victorious over an opponent. Instead, Wing Chun makes use of a variety of fast-paced techniques designed to confuse and outwit an attacker. Used effectively, Wing Chun can be used in real-world situations to fend off multiple attackers at once.

Can Wing Chun beat Taekwondo?

The Origins of Wing Chun

The exact details surrounding the invention of Wing Chun is hotly contested, although one of the most widely accepted origin stories is that these martial arts form developed several centuries ago in southern china. It is said that Wing Chun was created by Ng Mui, a female Buddhist monk who perfected a range of techniques that could be used to capitalize on the inherent weaknesses of male assailants who were generally larger and physically stronger. Generally speaking, Wing Chun puts a keen focus on speed and flexibility. Many techniques also make use of fairly narrow stances, while a strong emphasis on external factors is also important. Above all else, Wing Chun was developed so it could be used in real-life situations, making it one of the most practical forms of martial arts around.

The Origins of Taekwondo

While Wing Chun is a fairly new style of martial art, Taekwondo can trace its roots back more than two millennia. Although Taekwondo has its roots in centuries-old Korean martial arts, it was only firmly established in its current form during the mid-twentieth century. Taekwondo is generally practiced as an unarmed form of martial arts, especially in competitive settings. Many Taekwondo techniques, including kicks, are intended to be delivered with considerable force. All offensive techniques are designed to systemically weaken opponents. Although Taekwondo can be used for self-defense applications, it is more heavily regimented with a firm groundwork of rules and regulation. This makes it the perfect style of martial art for competitive tournaments. Since 2000, Taekwondo has been a staple of the Olympic Games as a competitive form, although it was established as a demonstration event prior to this.

Key Differences in Techniques

To understand the effectiveness of Wing Chun and Taekwondo, we need to delve deeper into the techniques utilized by these two martial arts styles. With Wing Chun, techniques are designed to be delivered in close quarters, with the assumption that the practitioner is using such techniques to protect themselves from an assailant. Because of this assumed proximity, many of the key techniques employed by Wing Chun practitioner rely on the hands. By contrast, Taekwondo is intended to be deployed with more of a distance between the practitioner and their opponent. As such, more footwork is involved, even when it comes to delivering punches and hand strikes.

However, Wing Chun still relies heavily on footwork, although the application of these skills is far more fluid and flexible. With Wing Chun, the practitioner needs to exploit the weaknesses of their attacker. Many sub-styles of Wing Chun are inspired by the natural movements and defense tactics adapted by animals. Unlike Wing Chun, Taekwondo focuses on ranged combat. This Korean martial arts form makes use of strikes and defensive techniques, with a considerable focus on kicks.

Wing Chun vs Taekwondo: Which is the Most Effective?

Taekwondo can be particularly effective in self-defense situations, although this effectiveness hinges on the scenario being specific. If two Taekwondo practitioners are facing off against each other, long-range combat is likely to be the standard. This means both individuals can utilize high-powered kicks and strikes. However, a Taekwondo practitioner will need to be able to maintain sufficient distance from their opponent throughout in order to be able to put their learned techniques to good use.

By contrast, Wing Chun can be used to devastating effect in close quarters. Provided the practitioner maintains proper technique and remains fast on their feet, they can quickly overcome the defenses of their opponents and sap them off energy before sustaining any real injury. One of the great things about Wing Chun is that it can be mastered by just about anyone, regardless of their build and height. Even if an assailant is using considerable force, these attacks can be defended against successfully. Many techniques can be used to prevent attacks outright, with hand-trapping maneuvers being particularly useful. Ultimately, if you’re looking for a martial arts style that can be put to use in the real world, Wing Chun wins out every time.

Watch Wing Chun matches against a variety of other styles.

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How was Kung Fu created?
How to Wing Chun Punch

Although Wing Chun is a style of self-defense that relies heavily on quick movements and strong footwork, hand techniques are also particularly important. While other aspects of the martial arts discipline focus on defending from an attacker, the Wing Chun punch is a particularly effective offensive maneuver that can make all the difference in a life or death situation. However, in these situations, time is of the element. Therefore, it’s essential you know how to deliver a Wing Chun punch correctly.

How to Wing Chun Punch

Key Elements of the Wing Chun Punch

There are several areas you need to factor into play when delivering an effective Wing Chun punch. The first core element is fist positioning. A good Wing Chun punch requires you make use of a vertical fist position. Adopting this position will ensure that the first is strategically placed behind the elbow. This makes a huge difference when it comes to the amount of power you can expect to put behind your punches. A vertical fist position is the foundation of any successful Wing Chun punch, so always avoid adopting any variation of this.

Next you need to focus on the point of impact. When it comes to connecting your punch with an assailant, the brunt of the force will be carried by the lowest knuckles of the fist. This allows for more substantial impact energy to be delivered to a considerably small surface area. If performed correctly, a Wing Chun punch should delivered with a slight tilt come the moment of impact. However, you need to be careful to avoid forcing this upward tilt as you connect with an opponent. Doing so can take away from the impact force of the punch, as well as risk you suffering an injury.

Another way to maximize the effectiveness of your punch is to try to ensure that your opponent is as stationary as possible come the moment of impact. Ideally, you want to be capitalizing on the downward weight of your opponent to ensure maximum force transmission from your punches. Avoid delivering punches that will encourage your opponent to move backwards, as this will detract from the kind of force transmission you can impart..

Finally, you should think about body tension, especially tension within your wrist and arm. Tension levels should be at a minimum here, with the wrist and arm of your striking hand kept as loose as possible. This allows you to deliver your punches with substantial speed,. However, you will want compensate for this looseness just prior to impact. As you make contact with your opponent, your arm and wrist should become more rigid. This will also work alongside a dropped stance, allowing you use your body weight to put more force into your punches.

How to Improve Wing Punches with Training

Understanding proper technique will only help you deliver first-rate Wing Chun punches if the groundwork has been taken of. If your center line fundamentals are lacking, you’ll need to develop these with consistent training. You should also consider arm tension. Understanding how to switch between a loose wrist to something more rigid prior to landing your punch is crucial when it come to offensive Wing Chun techniques. Established open-hand forms such as Siu Nim Tao are worth investigating if you’re struggling in this area.

Less experienced practitioners may also want to consider chain punch training. Although a shining example of a Wing Chun punch won’t be mastered here, chain punch training will help you polish your core hand skills and general punching proficiency. Work in a variety of techniques when undertaking chain punch practice. Ensure you’ve a good mixture of direct hits, as well as more relaxed punches with a looser wrist.

If you’re not training with a partner, you may struggle when it comes to mastering how to use your own body weight when landing a Wing Chun punch. However, there are some basic training strategies you can adopt to improve in this area. Using training aids like wall bags is always a good idea. These training aids will give you better physical feedback when it comes to understanding impact transfer. They are also useful in ensuring you perfect wrist movement, especially when it comes to rotating the first and ensuring it tilts upwards at the moment of impact.

In the video below Sifu Vik Hothi teaches some valuable wall bag drills for effective punching along with applications for these drills.

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Does Wing Chun really work?
What is Wing Chun good for?

Wing Chun is without doubt one of the best martial arts to study if you’re looking for reliable self-defense techniques that can be used in everyday situations. In fact, this traditional sub-style of kung fu can yield massive benefits for your physical health and fitness levels, as well as bring improvements to your mental health and emotional well-being.

What is Wing Chun good for?

Refined Reflexes, Focus and Coordination

As with any martial art, a commitment to Wing Chun training will considerably improve your focus. What’s more, your overall coordination will also improve. Although Wing Chun doesn’t necessarily hinge on the same kind of hand-eye coordination encountered with other forms of martial arts, you’ll still notice a considerable benefit to things like spatial perception as you undertake Wing Chun training. Wing Chun also brings considerable benefits to reflexes. One of the key areas of focus of Wing Chun training is repetitive physical movement. This helps develop muscle memory, allowing practitioners to respond with more instinctive movements when faced with an assailant.

Improving Health and Fitness Levels

Wing Chun also brings key fitness and health benefits to the practitioner. However, the extent of this will be determined by your commitment to training. If your Wing Chun learning incorporates high-intensity interval training, you’ll benefit from considerable improvements to cardiovascular health and overall endurance. Continued training can also lead to weight loss and moderate muscle growth.

Building Muscle and Stamina

Although Wing Chun doesn’t require considerable physical strength to be utilized effectively, in can help you build muscle and improve your overall strength levels. Focusing on developing your upper body strength is definitely something to consider if you’re looking to get the most out of Wing Chun. If you want to master the Wing Chun punch and put as much force as possible behind your strikes, consider exercises that will strength the muscles in your shoulders and arms. It also makes sense to build some muscle in your back and chest to improve overall upper body strength.

Although some practitioners may choose to undertake weight training to build muscle in these areas, it’s not really essential. Simply using wall bags and undertaking drill training of punches should be enough to boost muscle in all the areas you’ll need it most. Over time, your muscles will benefit from increased endurance, while your stamina levels will also improve.

Developing Sensorimotor Skills

Wing Chun isn’t simply about blocking attacks and responding in kind when facing off against an opponent. A key part of Wing Chun is developing sensory motor skills. Otherwise known as sensorimotor skills, this process essentially involves you utilizing various senses such as hearing, touch, vision and balance to produce physical responses. They’re particularly important when it comes to mastering things like Chi Sau, with touch being crucial in allowing you to respond instinctively to your opponent. Although we all develop sensorimotor skills in the early stages of life, most people let these fundamental skills lie idle and they’re rarely developed during later years. Wing Chun ensures sensory motor skills and ability continues to be fine-tuned and improved throughout life.

Reduced Stress and Mindfulness

Pretty much every aspect of Wing Chun can help you relieve high stress levels. Basic interval training and improving your fitness levels will help you keep on top of general stress in daily life. However, the more involved aspects of Wing Chun training looked upon as a more meditative exercise that encourages a state of mindfulness. Wing Chun training requires considerable focus, which will require you to focus on the moment, rather than let your mind wander off and worry about a multitude of minor issues that are causing you undue levels of stress.

In the following video the host takes a critical look at Wing Chun and how it compares to other martial arts.

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How Martial Arts Training Effects the Mind
How Martial Arts Training Effects the Mind

If you’re looking to improve your health and fitness levels, committing to martial arts practice is definitely something to consider. The physical aspect of martial arts practice brings obvious benefits to your physical health, but can also boost mental well-being. In fact, there is considerable evidence to show that martial arts can yield significant improvements to cognition, focus and attention spans. Furthermore, martial arts training can massively improve your emotional well-being. 

How Martial Arts Training Effects the Mind 

Enhanced Focus and Attention

Martial arts can be considered a form of attention state training. Unlike conventional attention training, which usually involves practising a certain skill repeatedly with the aim to improve, attention state training requires the individual to achieve a certain mental state. Achieving this focused mental state can be achieved through yoga or meditation exercises, although practising certain forms of martial arts can achieve similar effects. Martial arts is also useful for those who need to split focus and commit their attentions to multiple tasks at any one time. Enhanced attention and focus ability has several general applications, not least when it comes to handling demanding workflows in the office or in the classroom. 

Reduced Stress Levels 

Martial arts can also help individuals deal with high stress levels. Many forms of martial arts, including several styles of kung fu, incorporate breathing exercises and some element of meditation. These basic exercises can be used independently of martial arts practice, helping the individual reduce heightened stress levels in their daily lives. Breathing exercises are particularly useful for those looking to combat stressful situations as they arise. 

Boosted Memory Recall 

Martial arts training can also greatly improve your memory function. Many forms of martial arts involve complex patterns and techniques, which practitioners required to master advanced techniques via repetitive training and repeated practice. Provided an individual is committed to a training routine, this training can have a direct impact on the working memory function of an individual. This has far-reaching benefits for martial practitioners, allowing them to put their improved memory function to use in their daily lives. 

Improved Confidence 

Developing a proficiency with any form of martial art can also lead to improved confidence and a greater sense of well-being. Physical exercise has been shown to combat things like depression, but mastering a martial art form can also boost self-confidence. Developing a martial arts proficiency can also leave an individual with a general sense of confidence, safe in the knowledge they have the tools and techniques to protect themselves in a potentially volatile situation. 

As you can see, the impact martial arts training can have on the mind can not be underestimated. Claire Bouchard, a member of the AJKA United States National Karate Team lays out the complexities of the martial artists mindset in her TEDx talk.

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Can Martial Arts Help You Lose Weight?
Can Martial Arts Help You Lose Weight?

If you’ve struggled to achieve your weight loss goals with conventional forms of exercise, martial arts training may be something to consider. Although some low-key martial arts styles might not provide the rigorous workout required to burn a sufficient number of calories, many martial art forms are ideal for improving overall fitness levels and shifting those excess pounds. 

Can Martial Arts Help You Lose Weight?

Thai Boxing 

Thai boxing, otherwise known as Muay Thai, is one of the most popular styles of martial arts for those looking to lose weight. What makes this martial art form so effective at triggering weight loss is that it involves all areas of the body, with particular demand put on the limbs. Muay Thai relies fairly heavily on kick-boxing techniques, with leg movements particularly useful for those who want to burn calories. In fact, you can expect to burn hundreds of calories after just half an hour of rigorous Muay Thai training. 

Taekwondo 

This Korean martial art form is another great choice for those looking to shift weight quickly. Although this martial art has plenty of detractors, the fitness training side of the fighting style can’t be called into question. Taekwondo is a fairly accessible martial art, with foundation-level training involving low-key techniques and basic moves. As you progress, techniques and patterns become more complicated. As you develop proficiency with taekwondo, you’ll have to develop some key muscle groups, including your core and those in your leg. Developing these muscles will dramatically increase your strength, which will make it far easier to perform more demanding exercises and techniques. The more you train, the stronger you become and the easier it becomes to undertake extensive cardio training sessions that will help you achieve considerable weight-loss results. 

Mixed Martial Arts 

If you’re new to the world of martial arts, mixed martial arts may be worth investigating. As the name suggests, this martial form involves a diverse range of approaches that incorporate styles from across the world. Mixed martial arts not only provides you with effective self-defence techniques you can utilise in everyday life, it also provides you with an incredibly accessible gateway into the world of martial arts. Unlike other fighting styles, teaching of mixed martial arts often compensates for existing shortcomings on the part of the practitioner, helping sharpen skills in the weakest areas before moving onto other areas. Not only does this prevent frustration from derailing training efforts, it also ensures the entire body is granted a rigorous workout. This makes mixed martial arts one of the best options for those looking to maintain steady weight loss as they train. 

Watch Inanna Sarkis’s journey to getting rid of access pounds in order to reach her goal of becoming a successful actress.

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Can Martial Arts Build Muscle?
Can Martial Arts Build Muscle?

Martial arts training can be a great way of improving your general fitness levels, while a commitment to training can also help you shift the calories and lose weight. Martial arts can also be utilised to build and maintain muscle. Some martial art forms, such as Thai boxing, are incredibly useful at developing the core and leg muscles. However, many other martial arts styles can achieve similarly impressive results. The reason for this is that many martial arts classes incorporate high intensity interval training (HIIT). 

Can Martial Arts Build Muscle?

High Intensity Interval Training Explained 

HIIT training is increasingly popular with those who are short on time, but still need to ensure their fitness levels remain in check. If you are struggling to find time in your schedule for an hours-long gym visit, HIIT training can be a good compromise. Generally speaking, most HIIT sessions will not exceed more than 20 minutes. However in many cases, HIIT sessions are often much shorter. When incorporated into a martial arts class, a HIIT session may last as little as a few minutes. 

One of the main reasons why HIIT training is so effective at building muscle mass is that such training leaves many areas of the body with depleted oxygen levels.

This is particularly important when it comes to the muscle groups. When muscles are left with depleted levels of oxygen, they need to work considerably harder after HIIT training in order to recover. In other words, HIIT puts more demands on muscle tissue when training. In some cases, HIIT training can put almost twice the demand on muscle fibres than conventional exercise.

Provided you are undertaking HIIT training regularly, such demanding exercise will inevitably lead to improved muscle growth. What’s more, if you’re practising a martial art that involves all key muscle groups, you can expect to see impressive growth and development throughout the body. 

Bruce lee workout

When it came to writing this article, I accidentally stumbled upon the workout below. The truth is, I’m not entirely sure if this is the workout Bruce Lee actually did – however, there’s no denying that it’s a fantastic regime.

Bruce Lee Workout
From Pinterest

Key Benefits of HIIT

High intensity interval training is not only effective, it is incredibly easy to work into a busy routine. A rigorous workout of just 10-15 minutes is often more than sufficient to help everyday practitioners achieve their muscle-building goals. In addition to helping build muscle, HIIT can help you lose a considerable amount of weight.

Provided you are partaking in HIIT on a regular basis, you can look forward to an increased metabolism that will continue to remain active long after you’ve finished your workout. In many cases, increased metabolism levels will remain active for up to a day after training has been completed. 

Here’s a 5 minute martial arts ab workout session by Jesse Enkamp

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Will Martial Arts Help with Soccer?
Will Martial Arts Help with Soccer?

If you’re looking to give yourself an edge on the soccer field, martial arts training can help you improve your game. However, it’s worth noting that some martial art styles are more effective at improving soccer ability and playing techniques than others. Styles that incorporate elaborate footwork will help you evade tackles from rival players, while those martial art forms that put an emphasis on muscle-building in the legs and lower extremities will certainly help strikers improve their abilities on the field. 

Will Martial Arts Help with Soccer?


METHODS FOR Kicking Techniques & Leg Muscles 

If you’re struggling to put sufficient power behind your kicks on the soccer field, it’s worth exploring martial arts that incorporate effective kicking techniques. Obvious options include kick-boxing and Thai boxing, although karate and taekwondo can also help develop stronger leg muscles that can be better utilised behind a soccer ball. 

Core Muscles & Balance 

Balance on the soccer field is also crucial. Many martial arts incorporate techniques that help you improve your core strength, while associated workouts will allow you to develop your core muscles quickly. In terms of soccer, core strength is particularly important as it allows you achieve steady balance and stability for the duration of a match. Good core strength will also contribute toward more impressive endurance levels, which is definitely something you’ll need if you intend to stay in play for more than 90 minutes at a time. 

Improved Focus, Reaction & Timing 

Physical fitness is all well and good, but a good soccer player also needs to be focused on the game and remain alert at all times. Martial arts training is particularly good at improving focus, with repeated practice of techniques that need to be mastered boosting cognitive function and improving overall alertness. This will also improve reaction time, which is a must for players who need to remain in tune with the actions of their teammates and rival players. In soccer, a mere second is all it takes for a game to turn in favour of one team or the other. 

The Importance of Cross-Training 

Cross-training is recommended for all athletes, not just who play soccer. Although many soccer players look to other sports for their cross-training needs, martial arts is arguably a far more useful resource. Although other sports and gym exercise can provide useful techniques and fitness training benefits, martial arts encompasses a broad range of practices that will yield the best results. 

Soccer legend and Taekwondo black belt Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been benefitting immensely from his cross-training experience.

Here are some scenes from his games in which you can clearly see the results of his martial arts training.

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How Can Self Defense Help You
How Can Self Defense Help You?

Self-defense classes offer much more than a few basic moves that can be deployed in a dangerous situation. While self-defense techniques are certainly important to have in your repertoire, there are numerous other benefits to self-defense training that can enhance your life. 

How Can Self Defense Help You?

Check out these easy applicable self defense moves.

Developing Skills for Staying Safe 

The main advantage of committing to self-defense training is that you will learn invaluable techniques for protecting yourself in the event of a dangerous situation. If you’re particularly worried about your personal safety, the benefits of self-defense training are obvious. Some people may not feel comfortable in carrying self-defense equipment, while others may live in jurisdictions where such items are not permitted. Thankfully, self-defense training provides you with the techniques you need to protect yourself while unarmed. What’s more, self-defense techniques are designed to deter attackers, rather than causing serious bodily harm. Provided you exercise control when using learnt techniques, you won’t have to worry about falling foul of the authorities. 

Improved Health & Fitness Levels 

Martial arts and self-defense training will also help you improve your overall fitness levels. If you’re undertaking conventional martial arts training, these benefits will be more significant. Many martial arts now incorporate high intensity interval training, which is known to boost metabolic response and help with muscle growth. As long as you are undertaking such training on a regular basis, it’s fairly easy to maintain developed muscles. What’s more, such rigorous exercise will help you burn a considerable amount of calories, making it ideal for those looking to lose weight quickly.

Martial arts and self-defense classes also incorporate considerable balance training. Good balance is crucial in allowing practitioners to pull off advanced techniques, but is also required to ensure sufficient force is put behind kicks and punches. Mastering your balance will also prevent you from suffering strains and injuries as you work out. 

Renewed Focus 

Many people find it hard to stick it out with a new exercise regime, especially if it’s a gym-centric program. If you’re someone who finds it hard to engage with repetitive exercises, martial arts training and self-defense classes are an ideal alternative. In both scenarios, you’ll be introduced to fresh disciplines and new techniques regularly. This eliminates repetition and staves off boredom. Even if your martial arts and self-defense training involves extensive cardio workouts or interval training, the promise of being introduced to new disciplines and fresh techniques later in a class will give you the drive to push forward.

The topic of self-defense can be broken down in five phases. In the video below Sifu Thommy Luke Boehlig gives valuable information about how to avoid a physical escalation and what to do once you’re in it.

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Are Self Defense Classes Effective?
Are Self Defense Classes Effective?

Martial arts training can be a great way of working on endurance levels and improving health and fitness, but it also has real-world applications. Although some people are dismissive of the effectiveness of self-defense classes, there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence to demonstrate just how important it is to know how to protect yourself. Below are some standout examples of how self-defense training and martial arts proficiency made all the difference in life-or-death situations. 

Are Self Defense Classes Effective?

It’s all about where to strike. Below you can find some effective self-defense tips.

A Floridian Man Fights Back 

Age is nothing but a number when you have some solid self-defense training behind you. Fred Kemp, a 63-year old man from Boynton Beach in Florida turned to his college wrestling training to ward off an armed attacker. Kemp was returning to his car with his wife when a mugger approached, drew a gun and made is intentions known. Thankfully, quick-thinking Fred Kemp wasted no time in letting his would-be attacker who was really in charge of the situation. As soon as the mugger began his assault, Kemp deployed some effective grappling techniques to remove his attacker from the vicinity of his wife and vehicle. Once clear, Kemp unleashed an effective sweeping technique that lay the attacker on their back. Kemp then kept the mugger in a chokehold until police were able to respond and arrive at the scene. Although Fred Kemp hadn’t actively used his wrestling skills for several decades, his impressive reaction times and intuitive response to the situation demonstrate the long-lasting impact of self-defense training. 

Off-Duty Policewoman Deploys Muay Thai 

Normaswanida Alias may have been off-duty when she was attacked by a knife-wielding mugger, but her martial arts training kicked in within a fraction of a second when faced with the potentially deadly scenario. Alias was just about to climb into her car when a mugger approached her and demanded she hand over her cash and cellphone. When the plucky policewoman refused to oblige, things took a sinister turn when the would-be mugger attempted to slash at her throat with a knife. Before the mugger could strike again, Alias brought her assailant to his knees with an effective kicking technique picked up from her Muay Thai training. She quickly gained the upper hand, turning the table on her assailant and giving chase before he escaped on the back of a motorcycle. 

Teenage Girl Uses Martial Arts to Thwart Kidnap Attempt 

With sufficient self-defense training, even the youngest martial arts practitioner can bring down an assailant. In the United Kingdom, a 14 year-old teenager turned to her martial arts training to fend of an attack from a man in his 30s. After the much older man attempted to grab the girl, the feisty teen unleashed a barrage of kicks and punches, leaving her attacker stunned and allowing her to flee to safety. The man was quickly identified by police and arrested. An even more impressive showcase of self-defense effectiveness is the story of an 8 year-old girl from California. The youngster awoke in the middle of the night to find herself being plucked out of bed by an unknown intruder. Unbeknownst to her would-be kidnapper, this youngster was well-versed in martial arts. The girl unleashed some strategic strikes to the man’s throat, forcing him to release her from his grasp before fleeing the scene. 

Here are some tips for effective self-defense techniques that you can use in a number of dangerous scenarios.

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Best Kung Fu Movies
Best Kung Fu Movies

Although martial arts is a staple of modern action cinema, kung fu movies only really entered the public consciousness in the 1970s. While kung fu stories were being told out on-screen for many years before then, it wasn’t until the heyday of Bruce Lee that western audiences finally discovered an appetite for martial arts cinema. Below, we spotlight five of the best kung fu movies ever to grace the silver screen. 

The BEST KUNG FU MOVIES

Way of the Dragon (1972)

Bruce Lee both headlines and directs this kung fu classic. Even if you’ve never seen Way of the Dragon the whole way through, you’ve more than certainly seen clips of Bruce Lee showcasing some seriously impressive nunchaku skills from one standout scene. Fellow martial arts legend Chuck Norris also stars, with Norris and Lee going head-to-head in the memorable finale. 

Fist of Fury (1972)

This is another Bruce Lee vehicle that many consider his finest effort. Fist of Fury was one of the very first kung fu movies to reach Western cinema screens and quickly became a hit with American audiences in particular. This movie showcases Lee at his best. Not only does it include some of his finest on-screen fight scene scenes, it also boasts a surprisingly complex tale or revenge and honour, with the perfect balance of comedy and dramatic beats. 

The Five Venoms (1978)

Otherwise known as Five Deadly Venoms, this Shaws Brothers classic is one of the most dazzling kung fu pictures of the 1970s. The plot is fairly straightforward, with an ailing kung fu master sending his final student on a mission to trace the whereabouts of five former students. These five, the Poison Clan, are the titular Venoms, with each member taking their code name from a poisonous animal. Each member of the clan has their own unique style, making for some truly unique fight scenes across 98 minutes of screen time. 

Project A (1983)

Few actors in martial arts cinemas juggle comedy and action as well as Jackie Chan. Project A is definitely one of Chan’s best efforts, with the kung fu legend both headlining and directing this much loved movie. In Project A, Chan stars as a Hong Kong Marine Police sergeant tasked with fending off raiding pirates in the South China Sea. Although Project A is heavy on Chan’s signature slapstick, there’s some truly impressive fight sequences and death-defying stunts aplenty. 

Ip Man (2008) 

Considering he was Bruce Lee’s mentor for so many years, it’s somewhat surprising it took so long for this Wing Chun master to be celebrated on the silver screen. Although loosely rooted in reality, this semi-autobiographical film series went down a storm with Hong Kong audiences and hit high notes with martial arts fans across the globe. Donnie Yen takes on the titular role, while Wilson Yip handles directorial duties. After the considerable success of the first movie, several sequels and spin-offs followed. 

Watch a ranking of the 10 best Kung Fu Movies of All Time!

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Did Bruce Lee do Kung Fu?
Did Bruce Lee do Kung Fu?

Bruce Lee began his Kung Fu training at the tender age of seven. Initially, the young Lee was assigned a Tai Chi teacher to help improve his fitness levels and combat ill health. However, after becoming proficient with Tai Chi at an early age, he subsequently broadened his horizons and pursued Wing Chun training under the tutelage of Yip Man. A renowned Wing Chun master, Yip Man was arguably the most important influence on the young Bruce Lee. Because of his mixed heritage, Lee often encountered discrimination from fellow students, with many of them refusing to spar with him. Thankfully, Yip Man saw great potential in the young Lee and decided to foster his talent with one-on-one training. 

Although a promising student, Lee’s extracurricular activities soon landed him in hot water. After becoming involved with countless street fights and conflicts away from the training room, Lee’s parents decided to send him to stay with his sister in the United States. He finally settled in Seattle, where he continued his university studies and furthered his martial arts training. 

Did Bruce Lee do Kung Fu?

Bruce Lee and his teacher Yip Man

Mastering Multiple Styles 

Throughout his training, Bruce Lee would complement his Wing Chun training with a variety of other Kung Fu styles. Lee quickly became proficient with the Praying Mantis style, as well as several forms of boxing. More importantly, Lee was keen to bolster his Chinese martial arts teachings with western influences. Aside from learning conventional western boxing methods, Lee also looked to sports like fencing to develop his footwork. He also took inspiration from grappling methods utilised in wrestling. Lee also developed a reputation for his proficiency with several types of weaponry. In addition to his mastery with the short and long staff, Lee was synonymous with his masterful technique with the nunchaku.

Maintaining the Wing Chun Philosophy 

During his life, Bruce Lee not only became a master of Kung Fu, but also one of its chief proponents. His lifelong commitment to training and improvement epitomises the true meaning behind the term. His affinity for Wing Chun also endured from his early days training under the instruction of Yip Man. He eventually founded his own martial art philosophy, Jeet Kune Do. Although this style was firmly rooted in free boxing, it took inspiration from many other martial arts styles. It shares notable similarities with wing chun philosophies, namely an emphasis on defensive techniques and fighting in close quarters. 

Learn more about the life of Bruce Lee by watching this documentary.

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Is Kung Fu better than Karate?
Is Kung Fu better than Karate?

It’s important to ask yourself what you aim to get out of martial arts training before selecting a style to pursue. Some forms place a clear emphasis on self-defense, while others are better utilised by those looking to improve their fitness levels and improve their health. Others are more geared toward competition and tournament matches, with a focus on sparring and a point-scoring approach that makes them less effective for use in the real world. Karate and Kung Fu are two of the most popular styles of martial arts worth investigating, with both styles ultimately rooted in self-defence. 

Is Kung Fu better than Karate?

Kung Fu Explained 

Unlike other styles of martial arts, Kung Fu is a fairly broad term that encompasses hundreds of individual styles. Kung fu has along and varied history in its native China. The first practitioners of Kung Fu pioneered the style more than 1,500 years ago. Since then, a diverse range of sub-styles has emerged, some of which are dramatically different than others. Unlike most forms of martial arts, many types of Kung Fu incorporate weaponry into techniques and displays. However, Kung Fu is rarely considered an offensive martial arts style. Instead, many Kung Fu disciplines have been designed and developed for self-defence purposes. 

Wing Chun, a centuries-old style native to Southern China is considered particularly effective at warding off attackers. This style is less uniform than other disciplines, with no set rules determining technique. Instead, the style focuses on defensive manoeuvres, swift footwork and offensive counter-attacks that can be used to ward off opponents in close quarters. The aim of wing chun is not to unleash blow after blow upon an attacker, but rather end an altercation as quickly as possible. 

Karate Explained 

Karate is another popular style of martial art and was first developed in Okinawa, Japan. However, Karate is said to have been inspired by a distinct form of Kung Fu, the Fujian White Crane style. Although Karate shares some DNA with Kung Fu, the styles are very different. Karate is fairly restrictive compared to the free form of Kung Fu, with most techniques limited to offensive strikes using the feet and hands. Training is also formal, with combat practice and sparring largely regimented. Whereas Kung Fu is considered a lifelong commitment, progression in Karate is marked by ever-changing coloured belts. If you’re looking to compete in martial arts tournaments, Karate is a better option than Kung Fu. While kung fu competition is usually limited to displays and demonstrations, Karate is a staple of many international sporting championships. 

Check out more about this topic in the awesome documentary below.

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What is the Best Kung Style for Self Defense?
What is the Best Kung Style for Self Defense?

There are more than 400 individual styles of Kung Fu currently practices across the world. Almost all of these are rooted in self-defense disciplines, although some are more effective in real-world scenarios than others. Below, we explore three of the most effective Kung Fu styles for self-defense. 

What is the Best Kung Style for Self DefenSe?

Choy Li Fut 

This popular style of Kung Fu originated in the early 1800s. Developed by Chan Heung, this Kung Fu system brings together distinct techniques from across China. Some of the most effective techniques utilised by this style are influenced from Shaolin Kung Fu, with many of the key animal forms present. Unlike less aggressive styles of Kung Fu, Choy Li Fut is particularly useful for those who want to access techniques that can be put to use against multiple assailants. This style brings together an incredibly rich array of approaches, including sweeps and kicks, as well as locks and grappling techniques. It also focuses on a variety of punches and offensive techniques that can be used in both close quarters and at longer range. Because of its diverse selection of techniques, Choy Li Fut can be hard to defend against. 

 

Hung Gar 

Hung Gar is another popular choice of kung style if you’re looking for solid self-defence techniques. Although Hung Gar is often dismissed as a purely external form of kung fu, this is not strictly true. Admittedly, this style puts a keen emphasis on striking techniques and physical strength, although it also encourages internal focus. This kung fu style is synonymous with strong, deep-set stances. It also teaches a range of striking techniques that be can utilised at both long and short ranges, making it useful for self-defence applications. Hung Gar also encourages practitioners to develop proficiency with a range of movements, including straight lines and more circular techniques. Not only does this foster improved coordination, it also allows the practitioner to deploy effective evasion techniques. 

 

Wing Chun 

Wing Chun is often considered the premier form of kung fu for self-defense. This style is more free in form than other varieties, with a focus on swift footwork and fast arm and hand movements. Trapping and grappling techniques are also hallmarks of this style, negating the need for brute force when defending yourself from an assailant. One of the main reasons why Wing Chun is so effective for self-defense is that it encourages the practitioner to remain relaxed and flexible, reserving strength for when it is needed to deploy strikes and counter-attacks. 

 

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How Many Styles of Kung Fu Are There?
How Many Styles of Kung Fu Are There?

Kung Fu has been around in a recognisable form for more than 1,500 years, so it’s not surprising there are hundreds of individual styles practised around the world today. The dispersal of fundamental Kung Fu techniques is widely attributed to the monks of the Shaolin Temple. In times of war and conflict, these monks were often conscripted into the armed forces, with these travelling monks eventually passing on their techniques to individuals in new territories. Over centuries, individual practitioners and larger clans would perfect their own takes on Kung Fu takes. Eventually, dramatically different styles emerged, with many of these forms enduring to the present day. 

How Many Styles of Kung Fu Are There?

Kung Fu Clan Styles & Family Legacies 

Throughout China, many clans developed their own unique Kung Fu styles. The Hung family are responsible for the Hung Gar style, while the Cho clan developed the incredibly effective Cho Gar technique. In many cases, newly developed Kung Fu styles were passed down from generation to generation. For centuries, these unique styles remained closely guarded secrets, with few if any individuals outside of the family being taught techniques. In the past few centuries, more and more of these secret styles have been introduced to the wider world, contributing to a significant rise in the overall number of recognised Kung Fu varieties. However, it’s likely that many styles still remain firmly within the boundaries of family groups, with techniques passed down through the generations through oral history and one-to-one instruction. As such, there may be dozens, if not hundreds of additional kung fu styles not currently recognised by the masses.  

Mainstream Appeal & International Development 

Kung Fu’s penetration of mainstream popular culture is another reason behind the huge number of styles currently practiced. Martial arts legend Bruce Lee is largely responsible for bringing several Kung Fu styles to an international audience, particularly the Wing Chun style taught to him by Yip Man. Since the 1970s, Kung Fu has become more commonplace outside of China. Many regional variations of Wing Chun and other styles have been developed in the latter half of the twentieth century. As the overall number of practitioners of increases, it is likely we will see even more sub-styles of Kung Fu emerge in the years to come. 

Here are some of Bruce Lee’s best Kung Fu scenes.

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What does Kung Fu mean?
What does Kung Fu mean?

Although many people assume that kung fu is little more than a name for a style of martial arts, the term is something of a western invention. In its native China, kung fu is more commonly called guo shu or guan fa, meaning “national art” or “boxing art”. In more cent years, China has come to use the term wu shu to refer to kung fu, which more neatly aligns it with the field of martial arts. However, none of these terms are accurate representations of the true meaning behind kung fu. 

What does Kung Fu mean?

Kung fu quite literally means “hard work”. The term is also synonymous with high levels of skill and a great deal of effort involved to achieve such proficiency. Kung fu has long been associated with Chinese martial arts as a whole, with the term becoming known internationally thanks to the efforts of Bruce Lee throughout the latter half of the twentieth century. 

Before Bruce Lee made the term famous, gong fu was often considered the preferred spelling and pronunciation. However, it was Lee’s promotion and championing of the style that brought it global attention, leading to most of the world adopting kung fu as the terminology of choice. Lee deserves recognition for his efforts, not just for bringing kung fu to the attention of the masses, but also in highlighting the importance of hard work and commitment behind. Although regularly used in martial arts context, kung fu can in fact be applied to just about any type of self-mastery. The term denotes a keen engagement with years-long training and high levels of discipline, which can also be applied to any profession that requires a considerable amount of expertise. 

Key Kung Fu Styles 

There are countless individual kung fu styles currently practiced throughout China and across the world, but some are more popular than others. The Shaolin Temple style of kung fu can trace its origins to more than 1,500 years ago. This pioneering kung fu style was originated by Shaolin monks and requires incredible levels of commitment, with rigorous daily training essential for mastering techniques. 

Several kung fu styles take their name from the animal kingdom, with each style boasting techniques inspired by beasts from the natural world. This is a fairly broad category that in fact includes dozens of individual styles. However, some of the most legendary include the crane, snake, mantis and dragon. 

Wing Chun is another enduringly popular style of kung fu, made famous by Bruce Lee and Yip Man. There are several competing theories about how this style was originated, but it has become synonymous with kung fu as a whole. While this style incorporates incredibly swift movements and a range of rapid offensive techniques, it is more heavily associated with defensive manoeuvres, intuitive responses and counter-attacks. 

Here’s a very practical explanation of the Wing Chun system by Sifu Thommy Luke Boehlig.

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How to Learn Kung Fu
How to Learn Kung Fu

Getting to grips with the fundamentals of kung fu can seem easy enough, but if you want to become proficient with a particular style, you’ll certainly want to pursue more formal training. Thankfully, many kung fu styles are fairly accessible to the beginner, meaning you can explore the fundamentals at home before pursuing more advanced training. However, you’ll ultimately want to consider choosing a kung fu school so you can carry out training with fellow students under the guidance of a skilled instructor. If you’re looking to undertake combat training or self-defense training, it’s pivotal that you practice along with fellow students and skilled practitioners. 

How to Learn Kung Fu

Choosing a Suitable School 

If you’re serious about learning kung fu, you’ll want to seek out a nearby school or training venue as soon as possible. Although many basic techniques can be practised individually at home, you’ll ultimately need the guidance of an experienced teacher to talk you through more advanced techniques and concepts. Practising in the presence of a teacher also prevents you from learning bad habits that can impede your progression. What’s more, many kung fu styles involve sparring with a partner, which makes training in the presence of fellow students and experienced practitioners essential. 

The Importance of Personal Training 

Even if you’ve signed up to a kung fu class, you’ll want to ensure you have one-on-one training time allotted with an experienced coach. Kung fu teachers will generally make time for one-to-one coaching during larger classes, but if you want to perfect advanced techniques and master an individual style, it makes sense to arrange one-to-one instruction. 

Kung Fu Training at Home 

Although advanced techniques can only be mastered with the aid of an experienced coach, there are many steps you can take to learn kung fu basics at home. The internet provides a wealth of visual resources for those looking to polish up on the basics from the comfort of their living room or home training space, while there’s plenty of written material you can refer to. What’s more, it’s easy to connect with kung fu teachers over the internet, with the advent of Zoom and video conferencing making it simple to train remotely. If you want to undertake kung fu training at home, you’ll want to ensure you have a suitable space picked out, leaving plenty of clearance for kicks, long and short-range strikes and jumps.
WingChunAcedemy.org provides these kind of classes.

Here are 10 training tips coming from Wing Chun legend Bruce Lee.

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What Kung Fu Style Should I Learn?
What Kung Fu Style Should I Learn?

With hundreds of individual kung fu styles out there, it can be hard to single out an individual form to pursue. Before you commit to years of training, you should first ask yourself what you’re looking to get out from learning kung fu. If you’re aim is to enter competitions and compete at a professional level, you are better off pursuing more conventional martial art styles. If you are instead looking to improve your fitness levels and better your overall health, you may be want to think about focusing on Chi Kung styles. Finally, there are offensive varieties of kung fu can be used very effectively in a dangerous situation. 

What Kung Fu Style Should I Learn?

Shaolin Kung Fu 

Shaolin kung fu is generally considered one of the most ancient forms around. In fact, the origins of this Shaolin kung fu go back than 1,500 years, when monks at the synonymous monastery first pioneered the many techniques that make up this instantly recognisable style. Mastery of Shaolin kung fu often requires becoming acquainted with in-depth Buddhist teachings, while the physical side  puts a keen emphasis on self-defense techniques, wide stances and a range of strikes. This style involves mastering hundreds of individual moves and stances, although in recent years, many sub-styles have emerged that are far more accessible than traditional forms. 

Health Improvement 

If you’re looking to overhaul your fitness levels, it may be worth investigating a more low-key style, such as tai chi. This style is said to have originated around 800 years ago, with the style passed down from Zhang Sangfeng through the Chen family. Like many styles of kung fu, tai chi remained something of a family secret until the 1800s, when the style was eventually opened up to a broader audience. Tai chi is popular with a broad demographic and is incredibly accessible. Rather than focusing on offensive or defensive techniques, tai chi incorporates slow and steady movements that need to be performed in coordination with fellow practitioners. This is definitely a softer style of kung fu that those with limited mobility can easily learn. Regular practice will help improve focus and enhance awareness, while an emphasis on breathing techniques also brings many health benefits. 

Best Defensive Styles 

Wing Chun is a fairly new addition to the kung fu sphere, having first originated in Southern China during the 1700s. Although origin stories regarding this style vary somewhat, the main philosophy behind wing chun remains the same. This a style designed for self-defense. There’s a keen emphasis on effective positioning of the body, with plenty of evasive techniques involved. However, counter-attacks and offensive techniques are not neglected by this style. Wing Chun also teaches practitioners effective techniques that can be used in close quarters, with intuitive responses and swift strikes integral to the style. If you’re looking for a style of kung fu that can be effectively used to protect yourself in everyday life, look no further than Wing Chun. 

Learn more about some of the deadliest martial arts in the documentary below.

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How was Kung Fu Created?
How was Kung Fu Created?

Pinpointing the exact origins of kung fu is fairly complicated. Although kung fu itself is a broad term that relates to a wider group of Chinese martial arts, many historical sources point to India as the birthplace of what would eventually become kung fu as we know it. Separating historical fact from legend is difficult, with many conflicting sources and quasi-fictitious stories complicating matters.

How was Kung Fu Created?

Kung Fu Beginnings & Bodhidharma 

One individual often credited with the invention of kung fu is Bodhidharma, a Buddhist monk originating from India. Although some scholars doubt the existence of Bodhidharma, there is some evidence to suggest he was a very real person. Depending on the source, Bodhidharma is said to have lived during the fifth or sixth centuries. Although not the first monk to bring Chan Buddhism to China, he is often considered the one responsible for firmly entrenching it in Chinese territories. He is also considered the forefather of kung fu as we know it today. Legends say he crossed paths with Shaolin monks shortly after arriving in China and eventually trained them in the art of kung fu. Some of his disciples are also named as important figures in the early days of kung fu.

Evolution of Kung Fu 

Although the veracity of stories regarding Bodhidharma and his disciples is open for interpretation, the history of kung fu is far easier to document from the sixth century onward. During the Sui Dynasty, there is plenty of documented evidence to show that Shaolin monks were practising an advanced form of kung fu. The popularity of kung fu would spread far and wide during periods of military engagement in China. One of these boom periods was during the Ming Dynasty, which lasted up until the 1600s, with Shaolin monks developing a varied range of kung fu styles. 

Modern Kung Fu Styles

Today, there are hundreds of individual styles of kung fu practised around the world. One of the most popular of these styles is Wing Chun, a form which places a keen emphasis on swift movements and self-defense techniques. As with the early days of kung fu, the origins of Wing Chun are unclear. Wing Chun relies on oral histories and verbal teaching, rather than written scripture, which makes identifying its source difficult. However, one enduring legend often attributed to Wing Chun is that of Ng Mui, one of the Five Elders who escaped persecution from the Qing Dynasty and the annihilation of the Shaolin Temple. Legend has it that Ng Mui took her inspiration from the natural world after seeing a snake and crane locked in combat. She is said to have weaved their movements into a new form of kung fu, passing on this newly created martial arts system to a female disciple so she could defend herself. This woman, Yim Wing Chun, would give the martial art its name. 

Although Wing Chun takes its name from this legendary account, the real origins of the martial likely lie with the Red Boat Opera Company. In the early 19th century, this travelling company of opera singers rose up against the Qing Dynasty, deploying a newly developed form of kung fu to fend off enemy troops. Today, many styles of Wing Chun trace their origins back to this travelling company. 

Watch this documentary about the origins of Kung Fu and learn more about Shaolin monks and their connection to today’s martial arts styles.

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Can Kung Fu Masters Really Fly?

If you’ve seen more than a couple of kung fu movies in your time, you’ll no doubt have witnessed martial arts masters flying through the air or leaping from treetop to treetop. While the flying kung fu master is a staple of Asian cinema, practitioners of this fighting style can not in reality break the laws of physics. However, that’s not to say the most experienced kung fu masters aren’t capable for some truly extraordinary feats.

Can Kung Fu Masters Really Fly? Or is that just in the movies?

Arguably the biggest contributor to the flying kung fu master myth is the Chinese wuxia genre. This subgenre tends to focus on ancient martial artists from China’s rich history, with stories told out on page, screen and stage. In wuxia movies, the heroes are almost always practising some real form of kung fu or Chinese martial arts. Despite having some basis in reality, the fighting displays seen on screen are often highly exaggerated. Kung fu masters in these films are almost superhuman, with the ability to take down dozens of enemies single-handedly. They also possess enhanced stamina and durability, as well as sometimes demonstrating the ability to channel qi energy to unleash devastating attacks on their opponents.

Another signature of wuxia fiction, especially stories told out on the silver screen, is qinggong. This is in fact a very real element of Chinese martial arts, but in wuxia stories, it is highly exaggerated for dramatic impact. In the real world, qinggong can be utilised to scale walls or jump great distances. In wuxia cinema, martial arts practitioners use qinggong to defy gravity altogether. It’s not uncommon to see someone scale tall trees or buildings in just a few movements, walk on water, or take to the sky and fly considerable distances. Since the introduction of wire work stunts, flying martial artists and gravity-defying displays have become even more synonymous with wuxia cinema.

Qinggong in the Real World

While kung fu masters will never be able to overcome the laws of physics and take flight, qinggong training can help them achieve some truly amazing feats. Qinggong is essentially a training technique that allows practitioners to scale walls and vertical surfaces, before launching themselves backwards. It is synonymous with Baguazhang, but other Chinese martial arts make use of similar training. In order to master qinggong, a practitioner runs along a plank of wood, with one end of the plank supported by a wall. Over time, the placement of this plank is adjusted, resulting in an increasingly steep gradient. Eventually, the plank will be removed entirely. By this point, the practitioner should be able to scale a vertical surface without any support whatsoever.

The Bottom Line

A mastery of kung fu styles can result in seemingly superhuman abilities, but even the most dazzling display is rooted in reality and limited by the laws of physics. The rise of wire fu films and enduring popularity of wuxia fiction has certainly led to unrealistic expectations. However, kung fu masters are still capable of spectacular things. A lifetime of martial arts training and rigorous body conditioning can allow some practitioners to engage in combat while blindfolded, while others can utilise qinggong to enhance their fighting styles with acrobatic athleticism.

Curious to learn more about gravity-overcoming Kung Fu masters in wuxia cinema? Watch this awesome documentary.

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Can Kung Fu Be Used in a Real Fight?
Can Kung Fu Be Used in a Real Fight?

Not all martial arts fighting styles are that effective in the event of a real fight. Case in point is kung fu. In fact, kung fu is something of a misnomer. Rather than referring to a single martial arts discipline, it in fact refers to a broader collection of fighting styles. Many of these individual styles are very distinct. Some styles require a lifetime commitment to training and even then, mastery is not assured. However, others are somewhat more accessible and offer a repertoire of fighting fundamentals that can be used in the real world. 

Can Kung Fu Be Used in a Real Fight?

Shaolin Kung Fu 

Some styles of Chinese martial arts are more practical than others. One of the most effective kung fu fighting styles is also one of the oldest. Shaolin Kung Fu dates back centuries and in fact encompasses many individual styles. However, all key Shaolin styles focus on the same core elements. This fighting style puts a keen emphasis on attacks, including throws, strikes and punches. However, it also incorporates many reliable blocking techniques, making it an effective form of self-defence. 

Shaolin Kung Fu is a complex martial art that involves a few key fighting styles. Many wrestling techniques are employed by those who practice Shaolin Kung Fu, while grabs, kicks and strikes are also utilised. After sufficient training in all of these areas, a practitioner should have all fundamentals to hold their own in a fight. However, mastering these techniques takes years, if not decades. Provided you have the patience and willpower to commit to a years-long training schedule, you will ultimately benefit from enhanced balance, improved flexibility and exceptional endurance. Physical strength and powerful attacks will come naturally after that. 

LunG Ying Kung Fu 

Another highly effective form of kung fu is Lung Ying. This style of kung fu combines multiple fighting techniques that are highly effective in a one-on-one situation. Lung Ying techniques include elbow strikes, low kicks and punches, all of which can be used when fighting in close quarters. More advanced techniques include palm strikes and hammer fists, but these can be harder to master. One of the most important aspects of the Lung Ying fighting style is locking onto your opponent with techniques like forearm trapping. These techniques not only allow you to restrain your opponent and limit their defences, they also allow you to deliver devastating attack in close quarters. 

Lung Ying isn’t all about the attack, however. A key element of this form of kung fu is that the stance adopted by the practitioner limits the amount of damage an opponent can do. Practitioners of this style tend to adopt a stance similar to what you’d see in wrestling. By arching the back and bending the knees, it becomes very difficult for an opponent to land any major blows. It also means your opponent will find it nigh on impossible to unleash throws. With Lung Ying, the hands are also kept close to the face in a defensive position. This not only protects the face and throat from direct hits, it also ensures fists are primed and ready to attack. Footwork is another crucial element of this form of kung fu. Practitioners need to be nimble and fast on their feet, especially when it comes to deploying restraining techniques. 

The Bottom Line 

Kung fu can certainly prove effective in a real fight. However, not every style is practical for everyday use. Shaolin Kung Fu is a rich tapestry of disciplines, with many offshoot styles falling underneath the broader term. If you’re looking for a solid base of practical skills that can be used in a conventional fight, Shaolin Kung Fu is bound to provide you with something you can take forward and use in everyday life. An arguably more practical alternative is Luan Ying. This kung fu style is slightly more accessible, with many of the stances and attacks involved somewhat resembling wrestling techniques. Many Luan Ying techniques can also be self-taught, although you’ll certainly want to undertake sparring practice and body conditioning in order to stay sharp. 

Here’s a clip discussing the role of kung fu in the MMA and other free-fight scenarios.

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Can Kung Fu Be Self Taught?
Can Kung Fu Be Self Taught?

There are many reasons why people may be looking to learn kung fu at home without the aid of a teachers. For starters, people may be based too far away from a physical training venue, making conventional classes or one-to-one training impractical. Others may find it difficult to make room for classes due to a busy schedule. Affordability is another concern for those with little cash to spare. Provided you are prepared to put in considerable effort at home, kung fu can be self taught to a point.

Can Kung Fu Be Self Taught?

Essential Resources for Learning Kung Fu 

If you’re serious about teaching yourself some kung fu basics, you’ll need some essential training basics at your disposal before you begin. Firstly, you’ll need to establish a dedicated training space in your home. You don’t necessarily need a spare room you can transform into a full-time training space, but you should certainly have enough clearance for carrying out kicks, punches and jumps. You should also think about investing in some training equipment. Punching bags are particularly useful to have to hand when undertaking kung fu training. If your space won’t accommodate a hanging bag, think about investing in a free-standing model that can be stored away when not in use. Finally, you need to track down some quality instructional material. In lieu of a teacher, you’ll need instructional videos you can refer to. These can be found easily enough online. If your location is making it impractical to attend kung fu training in person, it is also worth investigating remote learning opportunities. 

Conditioning & Fitness Training 

One area that you can focus on effectively at home is body conditioning and improving your overall health and fitness. Ideally, your workouts should focus on the entire body. Intense cardio is particularly effective, although you should also look to incorporate some degree of aerobic exercise and resistance training. It is also a good idea to undertake some weight training, as this will help you improve your overall strength levels, without you needing to add too much muscle mass. 

Solo Drills 

You can also undertake some solo training drills yourself at home. Footwork and grappling techniques can both be practised to a certain degree without a partner, as can some grappling techniques. However, for the latter, you will at the very least need to have a heavy bag to hand. A throwing dummy is also a useful stand-in for a physical partner. Ultimately however, you will need to train with a proper partner in order to master advanced techniques. You will also need to eventually train under the direction of an experienced instructor to ensure you are not developing poor techniques. 

In the video below Jake Mace will give you some exercises you can train from home, even if you don’t have a partner.

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Can Kung Fu Masters Really Fly?
Can Kung Fu Masters Really Fly?

If you’ve seen more than a couple of kung fu movies in your time, you’ll no doubt have witnessed martial arts masters flying through the air or leaping from treetop to treetop. While the flying kung fu master is a staple of Asian cinema, practitioners of this fighting style can not in reality break the laws of physics. However, that’s not to say the most experienced kung fu masters aren’t capable for some truly extraordinary feats.

Can Kung Fu Masters Really Fly? Or is that just in the movies?

Arguably the biggest contributor to the flying kung fu master myth is the Chinese wuxia genre. This subgenre tends to focus on ancient martial artists from China’s rich history, with stories told out on page, screen and stage. In wuxia movies, the heroes are almost always practising some real form of kung fu or Chinese martial arts. Despite having some basis in reality, the fighting displays seen on screen are often highly exaggerated. Kung fu masters in these films are almost superhuman, with the ability to take down dozens of enemies single-handedly. They also possess enhanced stamina and durability, as well as sometimes demonstrating the ability to channel qi energy to unleash devastating attacks on their opponents.

Another signature of wuxia fiction, especially stories told out on the silver screen, is qinggong. This is in fact a very real element of Chinese martial arts, but in wuxia stories, it is highly exaggerated for dramatic impact. In the real world, qinggong can be utilised to scale walls or jump great distances. In wuxia cinema, martial arts practitioners use qinggong to defy gravity altogether. It’s not uncommon to see someone scale tall trees or buildings in just a few movements, walk on water, or take to the sky and fly considerable distances. Since the introduction of wire work stunts, flying martial artists and gravity-defying displays have become even more synonymous with wuxia cinema.

Qinggong in the Real World

While kung fu masters will never be able to overcome the laws of physics and take flight, qinggong training can help them achieve some truly amazing feats. Qinggong is essentially a training technique that allows practitioners to scale walls and vertical surfaces, before launching themselves backwards. It is synonymous with Baguazhang, but other Chinese martial arts make use of similar training. In order to master qinggong, a practitioner runs along a plank of wood, with one end of the plank supported by a wall. Over time, the placement of this plank is adjusted, resulting in an increasingly steep gradient. Eventually, the plank will be removed entirely. By this point, the practitioner should be able to scale a vertical surface without any support whatsoever.

The Bottom Line

A mastery of kung fu styles can result in seemingly superhuman abilities, but even the most dazzling display is rooted in reality and limited by the laws of physics. The rise of wire fu films and enduring popularity of wuxia fiction has certainly led to unrealistic expectations. However, kung fu masters are still capable of spectacular things. A lifetime of martial arts training and rigorous body conditioning can allow some practitioners to engage in combat while blindfolded, while others can utilise qinggong to enhance their fighting styles with acrobatic athleticism.

Here’ a cool documentary about the world of flying masters.

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Can Kung Fu Masters Really Fly?

If you’ve seen more than a couple of kung fu movies in your time, you’ll no doubt have witnessed martial arts masters flying through the air or leaping from treetop to treetop. While the flying kung fu master is a staple of Asian cinema, practitioners of this fighting style can not in reality break the laws of physics. However, that’s not to say the most experienced kung fu masters aren’t capable for some truly extraordinary feats.

Can Kung Fu Masters Really Fly? Or is that just in the movies?

Arguably the biggest contributor to the flying kung fu master myth is the Chinese wuxia genre. This subgenre tends to focus on ancient martial artists from China’s rich history, with stories told out on page, screen and stage. In wuxia movies, the heroes are almost always practising some real form of kung fu or Chinese martial arts. Despite having some basis in reality, the fighting displays seen on screen are often highly exaggerated. Kung fu masters in these films are almost superhuman, with the ability to take down dozens of enemies single-handedly. They also possess enhanced stamina and durability, as well as sometimes demonstrating the ability to channel qi energy to unleash devastating attacks on their opponents.

Another signature of wuxia fiction, especially stories told out on the silver screen, is qinggong. This is in fact a very real element of Chinese martial arts, but in wuxia stories, it is highly exaggerated for dramatic impact. In the real world, qinggong can be utilised to scale walls or jump great distances. In wuxia cinema, martial arts practitioners use qinggong to defy gravity altogether. It’s not uncommon to see someone scale tall trees or buildings in just a few movements, walk on water, or take to the sky and fly considerable distances. Since the introduction of wire work stunts, flying martial artists and gravity-defying displays have become even more synonymous with wuxia cinema.

Qinggong in the Real World

While kung fu masters will never be able to overcome the laws of physics and take flight, qinggong training can help them achieve some truly amazing feats. Qinggong is essentially a training technique that allows practitioners to scale walls and vertical surfaces, before launching themselves backwards. It is synonymous with Baguazhang, but other Chinese martial arts make use of similar training. In order to master qinggong, a practitioner runs along a plank of wood, with one end of the plank supported by a wall. Over time, the placement of this plank is adjusted, resulting in an increasingly steep gradient. Eventually, the plank will be removed entirely. By this point, the practitioner should be able to scale a vertical surface without any support whatsoever.

The Bottom Line

A mastery of kung fu styles can result in seemingly superhuman abilities, but even the most dazzling display is rooted in reality and limited by the laws of physics. The rise of wire fu films and enduring popularity of wuxia fiction has certainly led to unrealistic expectations. However, kung fu masters are still capable of spectacular things. A lifetime of martial arts training and rigorous body conditioning can allow some practitioners to engage in combat while blindfolded, while others can utilise qinggong to enhance their fighting styles with acrobatic athleticism.

321 Views0