Monday, April 11, 2011

Training Update II: Kung Fu

I have been studying Choi Lee Fut Kung Fu since September, at Bamboo Kung Fu School in Toronto. I've learned 2 forms, but the classes focus more on applications for self-defense. Other aspects include tool-hardening, and physical conditioning.

The first form I learned is Bamboo Kung Fu's basic training form. It covers the 4 main stances, and all the basic strikes. It focuses on the straight (centerline) punches, which I'm told are from the Buk Sing branch of Choi Lee Fut, and are more modern. The traditional forms have more large, circular movements. I've learned many of them in a form called Siu Mui Fa. In both forms, power for strikes (both arm and leg strikes) is generated from changing from one stance to another by turning the feet and twisting the hips.

The bulk of the training consists of application. Most classes focus on 1 or 2 techniques, which are drilled over and over again. One of the main training areas is entry drills, that is, getting past your opponents guard to land a strike. In the Choi Lee Fut jong (guard), the arms are always kept in the centerline, and reaching out fairly far (upper arm at ~45 degrees to the torso, hands at head level). In straight attacks, the forearms move on the centerline, strike along the forearms of the opponent, and through to the torso of the head. Defense against a straight attack consists of keeping the jong strong (i.e. keeping the centerline) and holding one's ground, or even moving forward, turning the defense into an attack.

Tool-hardening is performed on the knuckles, forearms, feet and shins. Most of mine so far has focused on the knuckles and forearms. The two implements used for tool hardening are the wooden jong (dummy) for forearms, and denim bags filled with hard beans (dried soybeans, I think) for everything. Tool-hardening sessions are also good opportunities to practice and refine striking techniques.

Physical conditioning in class is done by way of circuits primarily, using a combination of traditional martial arts exercises, and more modern strength training exercises. I get my pure strength and power work done on my own, so I'll follow along for the endurance, agility, and flexibility focused work, which are weaknesses for me.

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