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.

71 Views0
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