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Do you really believe in gong fu?

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  • Do you really believe in gong fu?

    I want to discuss the reasons why so many of us train gong fu. (I mean Chinese MA, dont bother with the real meaning of the word being skill crap... most of us know that already)
    Please tell us wich style and forms you practice and if you feel the techniques are realistic and effective.
    I'm very interested in the different forms and styles and what peple are experiencing training them. What is the state of gong fu today? Are you/ we gong fu practitioners only doing gong fu because of assumed health benefits, a true belief in the chosen style etc...
    Why gong fu and not some other martial art?
    Do you believe your style will be useful in combat? ( I mean a one on one barehands situtation so please dont bother fantasizing about super andvanced scenarios)
    Wich style of gong fu do you believe is the most practical and does it compare to other MA like for instance BJ or MUY Thai? There are a lot of questions and details within them, please take your time to share your beliefs- it tells us all something about the state of gong fu today at least among us and the different worlds around us.
    Secret qi gong master Shi Yan-LU

  • #2
    I study Wushu... Love it.. think its lots of fun... Train it for the saem reasons I train gymnastics and acrobatics to push my physical and mental limits and challenge myself... I dont plan on getting into sword fight or saff fights or even physical fights... I think its possible to avoid hose before fists even start flying....

    I train because I love the challenge and benefits..
    The essential point in science it not a complicated mathematical formalism or a ritualized experimentation. Rather the heart of science is a kind of shrewd honesty the springs from really wanting to know what the hell is going on!


    • #3
      I practice Shaolin wushu for the same reasons as IC. I should have done gymnastics as a kid but thought it was gay. It's a big regret of mine.

      However, back homw I practiced Zheng Tong Wushu (orthodox martial arts). It was forms, barehand and wepons, that were all in a straight line for the most part with no fancy aerial moves or running. It would be considered "traditional" by all typical standards but I wasn't learning how to fight. We also learned joint locks and takedowns. I think that was the most beneficial part of learning that style as far as practical applications go.

      I also did Taekwondo for 5 years as a kid. I sparred A LOT. As far as getting into a fight, I fight those years of sparring helped the most. Gave me a sense of distance and the right times to actually throw a kick, as well as the right amount of force to use and how to generate that force with enough speed to to be effective.

      It depends what you want out of your MA and your life. I'm not scared of getting in a fight. I'm a pacifist and a a generally nice guy. I avoid serios altercations by not putting myself in that situation, or at least that's how it's worked out to this point in my life. So I want to push the physical limitations of my body, not becaome a perfect killer. So I like Wushu and do consider it a MA, even if it's not completely efective at training me to fight. I still feel I'm learning to use my body in a way that will allow me to defend myself if put in that situation. And maybe I'm wrong and I would get beat down, but at least I'm not living my life looking for a fight in order to know how good I am. Not that everyone training in a more practical MA is looking for a fight, but there has to be some rason behind your wanting to be able to beat someone to the point that you spend large amounts of time and energy training for it. Maybe it just makes you feel alive ! I plan to get into Sanda for just that reason.

      Anyway, that's my thoughts on that.....
      "Winners turn to losers, losers are forgotten..." - A Tribe Called Quest


      • #4
        You know I still like learning the martial applications behind movements and working a heavy bag and all the fight related stuff.. though I still would be happy if I never get in a fight in my life.... I personally love the acrobatic elements... in both wushu and gymnastics.. flips, twists, falls, balancing all that fun stuff... I love the feeling i get when i see a movement and think to myself thats impossible and then learn to do it myself...

        My favorite moment of this was watching a girl in Cirque Du Soleil balancing on canes.. she went from a ahandstand into a straddle planche.. I actually said out loud "What the **** thats impossible" thankfully i was alone in my apartment... now about a year since i saw that I can do the same trick...
        The essential point in science it not a complicated mathematical formalism or a ritualized experimentation. Rather the heart of science is a kind of shrewd honesty the springs from really wanting to know what the hell is going on!


        • #5
          I guess I've studied hung ga the most (although it's not much), but I train for practicality first and foremost. I've gone through some joint lock stuff, some forms, some weapons drills...they were all a ton of fun and I loved every second, but since I'm no longer learning anything new, in addition to not having any training partners, I've reduced my practicing to a little form work, a lot of bag work, and lifting. Most of my basis is from gong fu, so depending on how good I am in a fight suggests the magnitude of my gong fu's...usefulness.

          That is to say, it's not like I've never used the techniques. I've used blocking techniques to some degree, which I found was vastly useful. I've also gotten the large idea of timing from form work alone.

          But pretty soon here, I think I'm going to go study bjj, just for the experience. I've grappled like 3 times in my life. Not very good for someone into practical things.
          Becoming what I've dreamed about.


          • #6
            One of my friends studied Judo in Japan and BJJ in the states. It's impressive how fast and easily he can take somone down. I've been in MA most of my life and he would have me on the grond before I knew what hit me. However, he has to grab your shirt in order to apply anything he knows.

            He also did a middle easter art that is taught to the police in many of the contries there. It's serious s**t. One of their drils is to stand, bllindfolded, and wait for your partner to touch you. You then do whatever you can think to take him down. Crazy stuff. I forget the name though. Maybe "Krav Magha". THat could be another art altogether though. I really don't know.

            Again, it's all in what your looking for out of a MA.
            "Winners turn to losers, losers are forgotten..." - A Tribe Called Quest


            • #7
              Yeah, Krav Maga is some...well, I haven't really seen it in action, but it is built up to be really crazy and shit. I guess it's up there with special forces training and all that.
              Becoming what I've dreamed about.


              • #8
                Ive seen a Krav Maga class it was basically a lot of big people beating each other up and hey theres nothing whrong whith that. :P

                Altho i tend to practice kung fu for combat purposes i tend not to be attracted to that concept of it. Its more the extreme disiplin and the artform that i love. Im not thinking "Gee wow kool i now know 55 ways to submit and kill a person" im actually thinking "wow this shit is beautiful and all thos moves look perty " and i think this regardless of the slim chance i will acualy use these technics at all in my life time. I also tend to belive that yes most types of kung fu work in a real fight and that the more impotent factors are how hard the artist trains and how good the teacher is (wing chung is a good example of this one)


                • #9
                  I believe we're all looking for something different, but the word Martial remains reccurent in our practise:

                  If you like acrobatics, you might as well choose another sport, if you like well being you could have chosen Yoga, if you like fighting, you could have chosen to become a bully or a street killer.

                  The question i would like to ask is why MArtial arts after all? Where does this passion for punching and kicking (the air, a heavy bag or somebody) come from?

                  The question of effectiveness has been raised. I personally believe that to learn how to fight, there is no other way fight -with all the (negative) implications that come along. Some might argue this point; but they might as well never been into a fight so it is difficult to prove anything. So let's cut the crap, who cares anyway? If you wanna know how effective you are, just transform into an ass and provoque someone, or hang out in a guettho for 20 mn and wait (till you end up shot anyway). Otherwise, stop taking things too serious and just do things for the sake of doing them. That's what i think.

                  I have trained WChun for a year only, i found it effective and all the shit, but i ended up being bored of paying a fortune to learn a bit more, to have to go through this entire process of ass licking you have in most MA schools...Yes it is interesting but the universe surrounding it is quite repulsive -to me.

                  I remember that in my boxing gym, there was less talking, more humility, less words and more action. You would quickly know what you're worth when the coach sends you to another gym to spar with someone you don't know. There is no way to dodge, no way to say this and that, you've gotta prove it. So i can't tell you whether i am good in street fighting or not, but i instinctively would try my best at destroying my opponent if had to, like we humans -primates- have done for a good million of years -and it still doesn't look pretty.

                  I now train in Muay thai, i'm gonna be in Bangkok this coming July for some intense training coz i'm gonna compete back in the UK in September. Once again, i'm not gonna praise the art or anything, just say that it is fun, hard, combat focused but not for scums, for men of pride who respect themselves and their opponent. The origin of all this violence seems to be an innate destructive energy in anybody that we all express differently.

                  I believe it is good to express it in a honorable way.
                  The East? The West?

                  Men and Women, that's all...


                  • #10
                    Well, its not a system of faith. If you believe in it, than there must be a good reason. If it works, it works, if it does'nt it does'nt, you cannot believe in something that is already there(litarally speaking), and you cant deny it either. Building your "gong fu" is like building muscle, once you have acquired it, you know its there, there is no reason to question it.
                    "Life is a run. In attack we run, in defense we run. When you can no longer run, time to die" - Shichiroji "Seven samurai"


                    • #11
                      You have a good point Flow. I'm not a fighter, I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm a pacifist. But the reason I enjoy MA is most likely because of that innate destructive energy we all have in us, especially men.

                      Not only that point but you also said "Otherwise, stop taking things too serious and just do things for the sake of doing them."

                      I agree with that 100% THere's no reason to get so serious about it. You want to know why I do MA ? It's for the sake of doing it. Groing up, I hated Football, Baseball basketball, but I loved MA ! I loved the feeling of kicking and punching. That's all. It really is that simple.

                      So you want to learn to fight by getting into fights. THat's fine, for you ! And it just might be the best way to really learn to defend yourself and counter an attack. But for me, I don't want to get in a fight. If I spend my whole life without ever getting in a fight that will be fine with me. I won't feel like any less of a man.

                      So why do I practice MA ? For the sake of doing it. THat's why I practice Shaolin. Some people might not agree with this, but if I really wanted to learn to "fight" I would practice Muai Thai or Boxing, or something more hands on (if you know what I mean). I don't care to spend my time punching someone in the face so I practice Shaolin. I want to push my body, my flexibility and physical ability. If you are looking for the ability to beat someone up or defend yourself in a stylized manner, such as a Gongfu movie, your kidding yourself.

                      And if you ask, "why Shaolin, why not wushu?"

                      It's because of the style. Shaolin has a few stances that are specifically Shaolin and I like them. Purely aesthetic appeal ! But I do also love to watch Wushu and plan to take a few classes this summer when I return home. I'd love to learn a wushu form or two. In the future I even plan to return to a Taekwondo school for a bit. Why ? Because I enjoyed as a kid and I miss the sparring. Like I said, I do it for the sake of it, because I like to. I also feel I'm reaping the mental and spiritual benefits of it, but I'm trying not to go into that. Just want to keep it simple.
                      Last edited by baiwanxi; 03-06-2007, 05:56 AM.
                      "Winners turn to losers, losers are forgotten..." - A Tribe Called Quest


                      • #12
                        While I agree with pretty much everything you two have said, I believe we do not share the same ideas about "fighting". When I say I want to learn to fight, I don't mean to say that I want to get in a knife fight in a dark alley. I don't want to learn survival skills, but I do want to participate in combatives.

                        Because when I think of fighting in this sense, I think of the fruition of all your practice, all your hard work, and yes, when the playing field is leveled in a state of competition, the ability to see some things in yourself that you might not have seen before. It's not about kicking your opponent's ass, it's about kicking yours.

                        So, although I can respect you guys for doing so, and I understand where you're coming from, I can't say that I can enjoy doing ma just to do it, or because it looks cool, or because it might be able to help me in combat (I tried this...doing taiji. Wasn't for me.) because it seems like ego gratification at its worst, or futility at its best. To me, practicing the movements just to do it doesn't challenge me to know myself.
                        Becoming what I've dreamed about.


                        • #13
                          I don't like to make double posts, but I'm going to do it anyway, because I feel justified.

                          So, anyway, maybe I'm just an angry person. **** that. I admit that I am a violent and angry person. However, I am also a rational and fairly understanding person, so I can pretty much keep it in check.

                          So maybe I just need to expose my demons through fighting instead of burying them with philosophy and meditation...who knows. I might be rationalizing. But I will tell you this: if I fight, if I test my self, I will be able to tell you which is the truth...because right now I honestly don't know.
                          Becoming what I've dreamed about.


                          • #14
                            I think all traditional gongfu styles are very practical. They were all designed for combat. Either for professional soldiers or civilians, just like the modern day self-defence systems(krav maga, Kapap, S.P.E.A.R. etc).

                            Of course today training has changed, since there are many other reasons for training martial arts now, other than self-defence.
                            Many people are just learning a lot of forms as if forms are to make you a good fighter..

                            I believe in the past the forms just used to be like a syllabus of self defence lessons, to remember them, pass them on to future generations, and as an extra a good way of exercise.

                            With all the respect for the old masters, but styles are just personal interpretations of fighting. Perhaps a certain way of fighting suits the founder of a style, but does that mean it suits everbody, so we just copy it?


                            • #15
                              "If I spend my whole life without ever getting in a fight that will be fine with me. I won't feel like any less of a man."

                              Same for me mate -as i said it's never pretty and always negative, whether you win or loose. When i talk about MThai, well it's organized and regulated fighting, like your Taekwoon do sparring with more intention and contact. That is not fight, it's sport -that's what i wanted to express.

                              You see mates, for me it's all about balance, equilibrium. Some people have very little violence in them, they read a lot, dont' need to go out there and run, be physically active. Some people have a lot of this kind of energy and manifest it in different ways. But none is better than the other. Find the balance that brings you to peace, whether you have to go through war against yourself first or not.

                              I can say that the regular practise of my sport (and martial art) brings me to peace (and endorphins!!). I can say that i might have turned into some psychopath or a drug dealing scum if i didn't find this way to get this energy out of myself.

                              Talking about fighting, the real one...Of course i hope not to be confronted to it. No later than yesterday, as i went to pick my girlfriend up at her bus stop, i met 3 hoodies who were snorting cocaine in the street, armed with big sticks (i fear cocain hoodies, they have such confidence coz of the drug they're unpredictable). They were ahead of me. I could feel the trouble. They walked and met about 20 of their mates, all hoodies with a big dog, more sticks and probably more knifes if not worst. They were up to something really scary. I said to myself, that whatever my skill and determination, there is nothing i could do if they went at me. Nothing but to run or beg for my life. I say, not funny, not cool, anyway not fair. Hopefully, they went another way, thanks whoever whatever!

                              I totally respect the Shaolin Wu Shu guys. I truly believe that the practise of their art makes them better human beings -if one can be. I prefer to see a nicely executed Tao than a UFC bloody fight. As i am personally looking for some balance, i would certainly learn some if i could, it's one of my goals. You see, i think it's good to touch a bit of everything. You were talking about San Shou for example, and for me it sounds totally positive.

                              Lei yun Fat, you disagree with us saying the just do it Nike phylosophy ultra evolved bullshit. But when it comes to answers, why do i do this, why do i do that...Don't you find it too hard and time wasting to answer? Or maybe find a very expensive phychiatre to know why you're such a violent man???Or maybe just simply follow your instincts and say to yourself that there is no use to know the answer before asking the question? That even there is no answer we still go on with our lifes? That is the answer!

                              What u guys think?
                              The East? The West?

                              Men and Women, that's all...


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