Taiji Union Blog Tai Chi Classes in New York City

16Nov/112

Do you have Kung Fu?

Kung Fu!  Being child of the 70's,  these words evoke images of shirtless chinese men in white paints, shouting poorly-sync'ed insults at each other, before launching into gravity-defying leaps and astounding feats that beggar belief.  But did you know that Kung Fu is something that everyone can attain, and not just through the martial arts?

Tea Master GongFu
(Credit:Bernt Rostad)

When you apply your sincere effort, every day, over a period of years, you are growing your Kung Fu. You might be a writer, a chef, a painter, a dancer, a scholar or a warrior, Kung Fu is the pinnacle of your art or craft. It is like laying down a sheet of paper every day: after years you have a ream that can not be torn asunder.

The heights of Kung Fu, no matter what discipline, are of seemingly super-human ability. Kung Fu of words can accomplish what an army of 10,000 cannot. Chefs with Kung Fu can heal the body and heart. Martial Artists with Kung Fu can live to be more than 100 years old. The abilities manifested with GongFu in each art are not always predictable, and can be surprising. Those abilities can amaze the masses, but can also be so subtle that not 1 in a million will notice.

In order to develop your own Kung Fu, you must commit yourself daily to your art.  Don't be lazy!  Sacrifice time that you'd spend in front of the TV or computer honing your craft.  Most of all, when things are hardest, do not give up!  That is when your Kung Fu is being tested, and will be stronger yet.

Chuang Tzu said, "Do what you love, and you'll never work a day in your life!" Though achieving Kung Fu means hard effort, throughout your life, it is a labor of love. After each day in my own practice I feel renewed, content; as if I have met my responsiblities to my maker. Find your Kung Fu, work at it daily. Its rewards are boundless, and if you achieve the highest Kung Fu, you will change the world!

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  1. Often the first step is to educate ptetnoial participants.They need to understand what Kung Fu is and what Tai chi is firstly and the differences between the arts. Initially Kung fu (supposing that the style of kung fu is an external art) will appeal to a different type of person than Tai Chi. Unerstand the group you are targeting for recruitment.If they are young and energetic a external style of Kung Fu will appeal to them.If they are older and more mature an internal style will appeal more to them.Demonstrating both arts is a good point for attaining interest. demonstrating an energetic Kung fu hand form as well as a weapons form will gage lots of interest from spectators. Finishing of with a Tai Chi Short form will offer people a visual way of discerning the differences between the two styles.Be prepared and do your research you may have a lot of questions asked of you About the differences between Kung Fu and other arts specifically Japanese and Korean arts.Be prepared to answer questions about street effectiveness, grading, sparring and your school history.Lastly with your Sifu’s permission of course, invite ptetnoial students to view a beginners class.

    • This has been asked a million times. It’s a coommn misconception that one style can beat another. You will get people saying “Karate could beat Kung Fu” or the other way round, or they’ll say BJJ could beat everything if they’re MMA meat heads. The reality is that it depends on the fighter, and it depends on the training.Karate and Kung Fu were both made for actual fighting. Kung Fu is Chinese and developed from the Feudal infighting in China. Karate is Okinawan (Japanese now) and was developed from Kung Fu for Okinawan peasants to defend themselves against the Japanese.Kung Fu is an overarching term for many many styles – some are more effective than others. Modern Wushu is more flashy, traditional Shaolin is less so, Sanda/Sanshou is essentially kickboxing with throws. It usually involves hand and foot striking, elbow and knee strikes, joint manipulation and throws/wrestling and will also involves forms. It sometimes uses weapons. The philosophy in Kung Fu tends to be softer and more circular; by rotating body parts you gain more power and also can redirect.Karate also has many styles within it – again, some are more effective than others. It mostly involves hand, foot, elbow and knee strikes, with forms (or kata) with some styles also teaching grappling, locks, joint manipulation and throws. The philosophy in Karate is more linear, which is not to say it doesn’t utilise rotation to gain power. However, it remains very much rooted, using the legs to supply the power for punches and kicks. (I would mention I’ve done a total of 3 months of Karate, so my knowledge is more limited)I’d recommend going to a few classes, checking out which style looks better taught, and which one you like the look of more. Remember, both of these styles are very traditional, so you’re going to need to keep at it for a long time to get good. It’s very rewarding though.


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