Some questions from someone who's interested in Hung Gar

Discussion in 'Chinese Martial Arts - General' started by pankaixilaren, Sep 2, 2017.

  1. pankaixilaren

    pankaixilaren Orange Belt

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    Oh... Something else... by the way... you reminded this to me:
    How about "Chow Gar"? (Not "Jow Ga", OK?)... Southern Mantis... Yes, the one with the slaps... Any opinion on that?
     
  2. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

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    See, this response and your original post have two different attitudes. The first post stated a lot of self-deprecating things, and suggested that you do not think you can handle any difficulty, while this is suggesting that you know you have bad habits (you probably don't), and are willing to put in the work necessary. I also wouldn't use the word 'demanding' since that has a different meaning, generally, then how you're using it.

    Regarding flexibility, I have a back injury, that prevents me from being flexible (among other things). I've got a shoulder injury and on days that I mess up my shoulder, I'm not using that arm the rest of the day. I've also got a lung issue that I have to put a lot of effort outside the dojo to keep up with those around me. Have a couple other injuries that I don't feel like getting into which put me at a disadvantage. Outside of my instructors, very few classmates are aware I have any of these issues, and I'm not about to let someone tell me I can't practice a martial art and should just go do tai chi.

    Kung fu is absolutely for all ages, I know many people older than you who practice a form of kung fu (and some started later than you). Either you miscommunicated, or the sifu is, well...not the smartest.
     
  3. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Ok, let me be clear: hung ga is VERY demanding. Make no mistake about it, a good hung ga school will make you work very hard.

    It isn't flashy. They generally don't tend to do much high kicking (although some people may do so), probably won't make you drop into the splits, won't make you learn pointless acrobatics, but they will make you work very hard in other ways. It is grueling, hard work, and those deep stances are really difficult, and painful.

    Don't deceive yourself.
     
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  4. pankaixilaren

    pankaixilaren Orange Belt

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    You see, pal? That's what I was talking about... :)
    How would you feel, if you were about to start now kung fu, on this situation, with your small "problems" (I DON'T use quotation marks, for irony, OK?) and you were turned down by the Instructor? That's how I felt TWO times - one from this man and one from you, telling me that neither you would accept me in your school!...
    Perhaps my (big) mistake is that I give priority to body / mind / spirit health. The fighting, the self-defense, it's the last that I'm worried about - but, sure, interests me a lot!. As I said, I'd just like to be able and ready to defend myself, IF the time comes, and I find myself on the wrong place, at the wrong moment. Maybe this time will never come - who knows? Can you imagine, what was the instructor's reply, when I told him the purpose that I want to learn Hung Gar - and he suggested me, to take some Tai Chi classes, instead? "Since you don't want Hung Gar for fighting, you could try..." and so on... And I wonder: Should I have to be and to look aggressive? Mean? Tell him that I want to be a fighting machine? I guess, this is not so appropriate on kung fu - as far as I know...
    Believe me, kempodisciple... if I wanted something effective, violent and easy to learn, for street fight, I would chose Krav Maga, without second thought!
    Thank you for your time! :)
     
  5. pankaixilaren

    pankaixilaren Orange Belt

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    Sorry, Flying Crane... I forgot to thank you... :)
     
  6. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

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    Ok, there is a lot to unpack here. Not really sure I want to address all of it outside work, but here goes a quick attempt.

    First, I did not reject you. I don't have the capability to reject you, I don't practice Hung Gar, and I don't teach it. I just told you that if you came to my school with the attitude of "I want something easy to do, without putting in a lot of effort" I would turn you away as well.

    Second, if I was rejected, as I stated, I would figure out a way to do it anyway. It's not something that would make me feel bad in any way, just possibly annoyed and motivated.

    Third, there is an issue if you find the rejection from the sifu, the man you met in person and who had the capability of training you, and myself, an internet voice among a dozen other (mostly positive) voices that you will never meet and will have no bearing on your overall life, equally bad.

    Fourth, fighting/self-defense doesn't need to be your main focus, but in order to get the gains from MA to your health, you still need to put the work in. That would be like saying "I want to join a track club to improve my lungs, but I don't want to have to run that much". Also, I'm wondering if you downplayed the fighting when you were talking and stated you wanted something purely for health, which may not be his focus.

    Finally, you are putting way too much thought in the style itself. Go to different schools and see what you like. Don't choose "Okay I want effectiveness so I will choose krav maga, I want health so I will choose tai chi, I want immediate application so I will choose FMA, etc.", most styles should be covering everything you want anyway. Go to a bunch of places, and which ever one you like the most is the one that you're most likely to still be doing one year down the line.
     
  7. pankaixilaren

    pankaixilaren Orange Belt

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    That was my second - maybe bigger than the first one - mistake:
    Maybe I should have asked the people here, from the beginning, something like this: "Hey, guys! I want to learn some MA - a shaolin kung fu style is preferable... What do you suggest me? These are my downsides: blah, blah, blah..." I would have a hundred different replies, from 100 different persons; everyone would suggested the MA is learning, or his favorite fighting system that he'd like to be taught, some time... Right? From Aikido and Wing Chun, to Krav Maga, FMA, and Kendo. Wishing and trying to help myself and all this people, after a lot of research, I ended up to a style with weapons and to the LEAST "demanding" (as I mean it) shaolin kung fu style - IN MY OPINION AND CONSIDERATION! Be careful: Least demanding, COMPARED WITH THE OTHER SHAOLIN SYSTEMS! So... no one would reply me something like "BJJ" or "Judo", or "Monkey Style" because, this limitation, means, in other words: "P.S. Please, guys, no throws, no grappling, no ground combat, no flashy moves, no acrobatics..."
    Would it be better, then? I guess not, kempodisciple...
    There's one point that I don't agree with some people, here: You say: "go out, visit some schools and choose the one that suits better on you.." Right next to the entrance of my house - I live in a block of flats - there's a "Pankration" school... Sooo close to me (just 2 steps away) and don't forget: a pure, greek, ancient MA! No... I'm sorry, but it doesn't "clicks" on me. You have to like, very much, and to love some MA, before you get involved with it! You must be and feel excited about it! You must have will, faith and positive feelings. Because, it will "take" your whole life!
    So... Do I have to consider that ALL the shaolin kung fu styles are demanding and need hard work? With no exception? Am I kinda useless and unable to (try, at least) learn something?
    Thanks again for your time, kempodisciple...
     
  8. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

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    You seem to be ignoring the basic idea, while also acknowledging it. The reason people can recommend their own style, or their favorite style is because the style itself is less important than getting involved in it. The school and the people are what matter. If you went to the Pankration school, you may discover that you love it, or you hate it. If you go to the hung gar or FMA school, same thing.

    You also could look up a style and be in love with it, then go and find out it's not at all what you thought. Meanwhile another school nearby is exactly what you wanted, but you never find that out because you wrote off the style. That's why the advice is to actually physically go to schools, watch classes, talk to the instructors, and decide based on that.


    Regardless of whatever style you try, it will be demanding and require hard work, if they are serious. Does not matter the style.

    That does not in any way mean you are useless and unable to learn them. As I've stated, I have medical issues that some people, if they had them would use it as an excuse to not train. Other people on here have more medical issues than me. I've personally met people who were older, and probably more out of shape than you were when they started, and are probably now less out of shape than you (still older unfortunately). It just require hard work.

    Btw, I'm using the weight and smoking that you mentioned at the beginning to determine your "out of shape-ness", since you have not mentioned any actual conditions you have preventing you from getting in shape.
     
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  9. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

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    Side note: Kung fu quite literally stands for time spent, or results achieved, through hard work. So yes, if you want to seriously practice kung fu it will require hard work.
     
  10. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    ALL martial arts training, if you want to actually get benefits from it, requires a lot of hard training.

    All.

    Taiji for exercise is often less demanding, but it is generally meant for older people looking for a gentle form of non-combative exercise. You will not gain martial skills from that training and it is a low-intensity form of exercise.

    Taiji done for combative purposes is just as demanding as anything else, although a good teacher for that is very difficult to find as there are not many of them. Lots of people claim to teach combative Taiji, but do a very poor job of it.

    Let me repeat: ALL martial training, if it is good quality training, is very demanding.

    Please understand that the term "kung-fu" does not mean fighting method. It actually means "a skill developed through lots of HARD WORK".

    If you went into a martial arts school of any type, and told them you don't want to work very hard, then I also would not be surprised if they turn you away. Not wanting to work hard is the opposite of what is needed in order to learn martial arts skills.
     
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  11. pankaixilaren

    pankaixilaren Orange Belt

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    Aren't they enough?... :D
    No joking, now, believe me, this is a "combo of destruction"... I wouldn't wish it, not even to my worst enemy - as we say in my country:
    I can't walk long distances, I can't run, I can't go up stairs, Ι can't bend / duck, I can't be standing up for plenty of time ... I get tired, I sweat and I pant pretty easily, with the least effort...
    These are the effects of being a fat smoker... Apart them, I don't have any health problems and I never had. I'm a strong organism, but these two "curses" make me so weak... :(
     
  12. pankaixilaren

    pankaixilaren Orange Belt

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    Guess what...: Oh, yeah!... He tried to convince me that Tai Chi is, not only combative, but effective, too!
    "So, can I apply Tai Chi forms on a fight?" I asked him
    "Sure..." he replied
    "Now you mention that... Yes, maybe you're right! I remember, when I visited Beijing, I watched (mainly) old people training on Tai Chi, at the parks. And, some of them, were handling swords!..." I agreed *
    "Don't go that far..." (???!!!)

    * I wasn't lying... I visited China and Beijing, on 2007... Just for vacation... The travel of my dreams,,, And the BEST 6 days of my life!
     
  13. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I was in China in 2008, my experience was less positive. But I had gotten sick from some bad airplane food and that accounts for it.

    A lot of taiji teachers have a general theoretical knowledge of how to apply taiji movements and principles in combat. The problem is, they don't have their students train in a manner to develop genuine skill with that knowledge. They content themselves with a soft and gentle repetition of the forms, but without exploring the actual functionality in a hands-on manner. They never bring the theory together with actual use, and they do not create a training environment for their students that encourages and demands that kind of interaction.

    So they end up just doing forms, and want to believe that is enough to become a proficient fighter with their taiji.
     
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  14. pankaixilaren

    pankaixilaren Orange Belt

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    Damn... What a pity! I'm pretty sure, this bad experience, was able enough to ruin your whole journey... I'm really sorry, Flying Crane.
    I did love Chinese people! Especially, on two things:
    1) They are (heavy) smokers - did you hear, recently, that government almost imposed people to smoke, as a method of earning money from tobacco tax?
    2) They get messy when eating - the more messy they got, the more they enjoyed the food... and that makes the cooker / chef so happy and proud

    (OK... I was off-topic, I know, but, hey...! we don't discuss just about MA, right?...) :)
     
  15. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

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    Eh, if you want to continue using them as excuses I won't argue. I know people who started as fat smokers who could still train, but if it's your excuse I won't be able to change your mind.
     
  16. pankaixilaren

    pankaixilaren Orange Belt

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    My dear kempodisciple,,,
    You think I don't know what are you trying to do? You think I don't appreciate that? You are wrong!...
    I know you're trying to encourage me, with your own way, to check my abilities and my powers, and to prove (first to myself and after to all of you) that I can surpass my "excuses" and tell you: "Hey! Look at me! I've done it!..."
    I haven't thank you, yet... Allow me to do it now!
     
  17. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    I don't know about Southern Mantis to have a recommendation about it.

    If there can be anything said about Hung Ga then VERY demanding would be an understatement lol. The only real easy days I've had was when I was injured and I was easing back into things. Other than that it's always very challenging. I often joke around with others that it gets easier and harder at the same time. There's always a level of physical conditioning to reach.

    yeah don't say that. Being a fighting machine is a bad thing in Kung Fu lol. From what one of my fellow students told me, many years ago in China, it was often the thugs and criminals that knew martial arts, and often started fights. Because of this image most parents didn't want their child to learn Kung Fu because they believed that their child would grow up to be a criminal. Keep in mind this is someone who grew up in China as a child and how his parents raised him in regards to Kung Fu.

    I hat to use this terms, but "Combat" Tai Chi or Tai Chi used for fighting is demanding on the joints. I'll put it this way. The majority of martial arts injuries came from my Tai Chi classes. The slow movement is demanding on muscles, mainly the ones you never use until you take Tai Chi. Fight application for me meant that elbow joints were always being damaged because of the instructors I would do push hands with. Tai Chi is also the one system where stance matters the most in terms of how easy it is to wreck your knees in Tai Chi if you have bad stances. It also takes a long time to actually learn how to fight well using Tai Chi. It's takes longer to learn how to yield to power and flow with power than it does to just smash stuff with a fist. For me personally, I would feel less comfortable with someone who is overweight doing the Fighting system of Tai Chi. Tai Chi for health purpose only is something totally different, that is good for anyone. I actually run out of endurance for Tai Chi faster than I run out of endurance for Jow Ga.

    My recommendation is to try to stick with and do Hung Ga Kung Fu because it's something that you have a passion for and there are schools (at least one) nearby that can teach you. If you have a passion for another martial arts systems then that means you have more options. If Hung Ga is the only thing that you have a passion for then make it happen. Have a good attitude and determination to learn. And keep asking until they say yes, or find another Hung Ga school to train in.

    Most people come here without any clue as to what they want to take, but you don't fall into that category.
     

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