Can Kung Fu Be Used in a Real Fight?
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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.