What is Traditional Kung Fu / Wushu?
Traditional Kung Fu / Wushu is the martial art of China developed by the Chinese people for self-defence over many centuries.
So how can we define what the Traditional arts are? For me they must be developed in China this might seem obvious but I remember some years back a guy in the UK telling me that his style is tradition and it was developed by an English guy 25 years ago so its now traditional!
For me this is nonsense firstly and foremost it should have been developed in China pre 1900 not in the UK, USA or anywhere else in the world.
If you do Traditional Chinese Martial Arts you also have a linage that can be trace back though many generations to the founder, a clear family tree which represents the history of the style.
Only the most committed students will be added to the family tree to pass on the tradition to future generations and preserve the style in its entirety.
Forms in Chinese Martial Arts
One of the things that all Traditional Kung Fu styles have in common is the practise of forms.
The forms are prearranged sequences of movements and contain the fighting techniques and principles of their style; these forms have been handed down through generations of Masters and form an integral part of Chinese martial arts training.
Many people today question the validity of forms practise saying that it is now an out dated mode of training and that their styles are only concern with what works and is useful for real fighting.
The question of what works will depend on the individual and his own natural strengths and weakness.
A traditional Kung Fu style will teach many different techniques which are contained within the forms they can be adapted by the individual for his own self defence needs.
It is also my opinion that only the Masters of the past have had to use their martial arts for real fighting in a kill or be killed situation in war and peace and that only traditional style martial arts have the centuries of REAL fighting practise. These arts have been honed through the need to survive and protect one’s life, family, village over many generations in war and in peace.
In the west we can hear everyday of instructors claiming to teach the BEST of a dozen or more different styles.
Paul H Crompton wrote many years back in Karate and Oriental Arts Magazine No. 127 “ The other side of this arguable line is that often people start their own style because they will not face the discipline of going through a traditional style; they want to be “teachers” but without training. Their motive is money and / or glory. This type is not worth bothering with for five seconds”
To become a disciple Yup Sut Dai Gee (in the backdoor skill son, or closed door student) there is a formal ceremony (Bai Si) in which the student swears an oath to his master and to his style. The student will perform a tea offering ritual to his Sifu.
Normally this is performed in front of the Kung Fu family and Masters of other styles these act as witnesses to the fact that you are now formally inducted into the history and linage of the style
Before a student becomes a disciple he must first earn the respect and confidence of the schools Sifu.
Becoming a disciple is a formal adoption by the Sifu and a lifetime commitment by the student to uphold your Masters teachings and preserve the style and keep it pure for future generations. Often this is looked at as being a good business ploy by unscrupulous students who have their own interest at heart. In relativity it means that the student should forget his own needs and work for the good of the Sifu and the promotion of the style. In turn the Disciples students will follow the same path of family supporting family so each will receive his blessings in due course.
A student who behaves badly brings dishonour to the school, style and Sifu and can have his discipleship removed normally a formal notice of the expulsion within the martial arts circle will be given.
A student can only be a disciple of one Master within one style you can never be a disciple of two Masters within the same style, how can you have two fathers?
Beware of the so called Masters who cant or wont tell you who they learnt from, every real teacher can not only tell you who he learnt from but also the names of his Kung Fu Brothers, Sisters, Uncles and Nephews, this is Real Kung Fu