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Thread: Do you prefer The Old Traditional way of training Kung Fu or the New Way?

  1. #1

    Question Do you prefer The Old Traditional way of training Kung Fu or the New Way?

    So I went out shopping for a kung fu School to train and I found a interesting concept starting to take hold in the U.S.A. Sure I found few and I mean very few legit traditional studios such as a Wing Chun Studio 90 minutes away and a traditional Tai Chi Chuan 108 long form but , itís what I found locally that is the heart of this topic.

    I found a Tai Chi and Kung Fu Academy where the Sifu/Instructor had attended a Wushu Institute and University where he majored in Wushu. His career began at age eight when he was selected from thousands of children to attend the Jiangsu Wushu Institute. At 17, he continued his study of Wushu culture and philosophy at Nanjing University and eventually joined its faculty.

    Wow ok, so help me here. With hundreds of different styles in Kung Fu alone, if Iím understanding this right, and please correct me if Iím wrong. So those students who attend this Jiangsu Wushu Institute is like say a grade school or high school in the U.S. if you will for Wushu. Not any particular style but a general knowledge or studies of many different styles of Kung Fu.

    Then when you graduate there you go to college such as the (Nanjing University) and study a major interest such as Nanquan or Changquan and maybe a minor in Tai Chi Chaun. Basically picking the styles to study per semester till graduation. Where he will graduate with say a Bachelor of Arts degree in Wushu or a Wushu degree if you will. So the student decides to go on and really specialize in a specific system or style. I guess he would apply for graduate school for a particular system or style right?
    So if I understand this correctly this is a way to combine all kung Fu styles into one system (hypothetically speaking). But what happens to the traditional way, the old Masters, and their secrets of a particular style or system of kung Fu. Where it takes a lifetime to master one system. Is it lost to time and progress and time? I can see where this progress in times could be the end of the romantic and traditional way of learning. I hope Iím wrong this is not the case for such styles such as Wing Chun, Fujian White Crane, Praying Mantis and other's. Even the temples of Shaolin had many different styles and systems but in the end if you were a monk you may have dabbled in many other styles but he specialized only in one for only one life is what he had. Also I must say that according to the academyís web page Master Zhuang's went on to become part of the faculty at Nanjing University where He worked on the effects of Tai Chi exercise on patients with Peripheral Neuropathy and Parkinson's disease.

    Thank you for your time and hope you all respond to this very interesting concept and topic. Whatís your Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    It sounds like the teacher you're describing was a standardized wushu performance athlete.

    Nobody can combine and learn every Chinese martial arts (CMA) style there is and get good at any of them. There are too many, and in many instances, training practices and concepts in some CMA are incompatible with those of other CMA. There are only so many ways a person can fight, and only so many hours in a day for training. Even someone who actually 'masters' a single martial arts system does not (or cannot) necessarily use or apply every single skill or technique in his/her system. It's rare enough to find someone who can naturally apply the characteristic skills from one CMA system under pressure against an uncooperative opponent, let alone multiple systems.

    While experience in other MA is very important, especially experience in facing people trained in other MA or sport fighting systems, in the long run, it's far better in your own practice to gain a deeper understanding of one, or maybe two arts at most. You can learn one or two systems deeply or a whole bunch of them superficially. Sometimes it can take awhile to find the art that really fits you best, but if you already know what you're looking for, and it's available to you, you can save yourself a lot of time.

    If one's major concern is training CMA for health or exercise, IMO it's best to find whichever teacher can legitimately help you meet your goals. Research the teacher's credentials as best you can. Watch their students. Are they all just kids, or are there other adults there who have the same goal(s) as you? And if so, how does it appear to be working out for them? What is the general quality of their students, and does the emphasis and the atmosphere of the school feel compatible with you? Can the teacher comprehend your goals and tailor your training to suit your needs? Is the school well-established and successful, or a fly-by-night operation? Those are questions only you can answer.

    Note:
    A good class/school doesn't need to be big or fancy, with all the bells and whistles, to be legitimate.
    Last edited by Jimbo; 09-13-2017 at 09:09 AM.

  3. #3
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    It's a mistake to think you have to choose, a mistake that many do for whatever reason.
    You simply take the best of old school and new school and do what works for you.
    This is how it has ALWAYS been done by the way.
    Psalms 144:1
    Praise be my Lord my Rock,
    He trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle !

  4. #4
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    s_r fTW

    Quote Originally Posted by sanjuro_ronin View Post
    It's a mistake to think you have to choose, a mistake that many do for whatever reason.
    You simply take the best of old school and new school and do what works for you.
    This is how it has ALWAYS been done by the way.
    Well, actually this is the old way. The new way is to debate about it over the internet.
    Gene Ching
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by sanjuro_ronin View Post
    It's a mistake to think you have to choose, a mistake that many do for whatever reason.
    You simply take the best of old school and new school and do what works for you.
    This is how it has ALWAYS been done by the way.
    Very true.

    The reason I gave my specific answer is because in a thread in the southern forum, OP mentioned he's in his 50s dealing with health issues. I'm not sure he has the time, luxury (or access?) to try out many different MAs/CMAs.

    Also, if the above-described teacher was a PRC government-trained wushu athlete, the different courses in 'styles' he studied were very likely just standardized wushu forms created to imitate and/or accentuate the aesthetic characteristics of different styles, i.e., Mantis, Snake, Monkey, 'Nanquan', etc., as opposed to in-depth training in a system's fighting applications and other important aspects.

    Years ago, a friend and I were attending a Lily Lau tournament in Cupertino(?), and during the masters exhibition, a 40-something year old master from China in a yellow silk uniform demo'd a Northern Mantis form. An American friend of mine who is a Mantis sifu who is really into the fighting aspect was interested in possibly learning something from him, and asked me to talk to him after the demo, because my friend couldn't speak Mandarin. We approached him, and I introduced him to my friend. He told me that he only knows the Mantis form, and also mentioned several other 'styles' he did, but not really the application aspect. He seemed friendly enough, though.

    Now, maybe the master was being humble, and/or didn't want to deal with my friend. Maybe he thought my friend was trying to challenge him (he wasn't). Or maybe he really did only learn and teach the forms aspects. Either way, my friend came away disappointed.
    Last edited by Jimbo; 09-14-2017 at 09:19 AM.

  6. #6
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    D3W,

    Good topic. First, the new way is not to combine all kung Fu styles into one system (hypothetically speaking). The study and training provide the student basic knowledge of athletics, then general martial art knowledge and skill. These are necessary foundation for specialization later on. I myself prefer this way than the traditional way of Kung Fu training. Because the traditional way lacks a broad picture of the martial world, and they are without much science (which I do not blame people much at that time. But nowadays science is almost always part of athletics training, there is no excuse not to be scientific). So when you see instructor still force child student to stretch their muscles to tear, you should keep your children away from the school and report the incident to the police.




    Regards,

    KC
    Hong Kong

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbo View Post
    It's rare enough to find someone who can naturally apply the characteristic skills from one CMA system under pressure against an uncooperative opponent
    .
    I think this might have more to do with a lack of systematic methodology than anything else. What do you think?
    Last edited by Neeros; 09-16-2017 at 08:17 PM.

    "Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win."
    - Sun Tzu

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neeros View Post
    I think this might have more to do with a lack of systematic methodology than anything else. What do you think?
    I think systems are well established.

    The old traditional way is fine. It has all the components required to become skilled in martial ways.

    The rest is a simple rule. IE: Do the work, don't be lazy.
    Kung Fu is good for you.

  9. #9
    I'll write my random thoughts about this topic - they're a little jumbled, but hopefully you get the gist.

    If we agree that fighting never ends up looking like the forms - then forms are just representations of an ideal, they're just martial like movement.

    You can systematically train the basic martial like movements found in most forms regardless of style. Kicking, flexibility, range, power, focus, jumping, spinning, striking, squatting - they're movements. Athletic movements which require conditioning and training. In your story, the best people (out of thousands) who show the most grace, power, flexibility, and athleticism get selected for more intense training with the best instructors at teaching those things.

    Once you look past style you find similarity. True there are variations, but there are a lot of similarities.

    The people learning the martial like movement aren't necessarily trained in the applications behind those movements. But people are pretty smart and probably can figure those things out. Plus - I think more and more are being trained in the applications because they help the performance.

    After learning the basics and the representational forms - they start to specialize. Specialization leads to curiosity which often leads to deeper study.

  10. #10
    If you think about it... call it divine inspiration or whatever, but at some point - someone made that sh*t up (regarding forms). It was the practitioners who followed who built the significance of the form through their interpretations.

  11. #11
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    Forms are a simple way of cataloging technique.

    Some people place more value on penmanship than on storytelling...figuratively speaking.

    If you get caught up in the minutia of anything, you are bound to fail at getting the big picture.

    In Kung Fu, that can mean that if you are not willing (or not clever enough) to break down the forms and work the drills both solo and with a partner then it`s unlikely you`re going to grasp the system.

    As for fighting, literally anyone can fight. It's a matter of how well.
    Kung Fu is good for you.

  12. #12

    Unhappy

    This is a great discussion; yes it is true that i am in my late 50's and yes i have been diagnosed with Diabetes and Diabetic neuropathy. I have studied in the Past Hapkido as a younger man and love BJJ today. the reason for my question if you will was I was looking for something to accompany my BJJ such as a southern style like Wing Chun or even a Tai-Chi Style. I have always been intrigued with the romanticism and history of the CMA and decided to look into it but unfortunately there were only two schools to choose from. The first was a new concept tp me from
    Mr. Zhang's Tai Chi and Kung fu academy (http://www.taichiperson.com/index.html) His career began at age eight when he was selected from thousands of children to attend the Jiangsu Wushu Institute. At 17, he continued his study of Wushu culture and philosophy at Nanjing University and eventually joined its faculty. He seemed to teach many different styles.

    The second was guy who has been around for years who teaches White Crane Kung fu, unfortunately there has been several people tell me that he can not provide any training documentation basically it's just claims, although if you read his bio you would think with all his national and international accomplishments you would be well recognized well, you would be wrong his school is only known locally and for his school performing the lion dance. Now before anyone says you have to go and see your self I did and to be honest I left more confused than when I arrived except he wrote the Movie Sidekicks. (http://www.whitecranestudio.com/index.htm).

    For me I must admit, I am very disappointed and it's a bit confusing. I have come to the conclusion there are way to many CMA schools that tend to be on the shady side of legit In my opinion at least in my part of the world. So when it comes to the martial side of things I'll depend on My kick boxing and BJJ and use either Tai Chi or Yoga for the health benefits.

    Thanks for all of your comments

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