Which kung fu style should a person who's never done an MA before learn?

songsong1

White Belt
Joined
Mar 24, 2015
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
I live in London and I have the option to learn Wing Chun, Shaolin Kung Fu or Fujian White Crane. I want to learn something that is effective for self-defence without having to train 24/7. Also, I want something that I can maybe use in competitions in the future, as I was considering doing Sanda after I get a good grounding in a traditional style. I like the look of Wing Chun the most, but I wanted to check with others before making a final decision. These are the websites of the different kung fu classes:

Wing Chun Kung Fu Chinese Kung Fu Martial arts London
Fujian White Crane Kung Fu Club - teaching kung fu and tai chi martial arts in London Oxford Bristol Ireland and Sweden
Shaolin Xiu Traditional Shaolin Kung Fu in London with Shifu Shi Yan Xiu
Tang Long -

They're all in an easily reachable distance to my home, although Shaolin Xiu is literally walking distance. With all these factors considered, it would be great to get advice on what style I should learn from martial arts experts on this site.
 

Xue Sheng

All weight is underside
Joined
Jan 8, 2006
Messages
31,553
Reaction score
5,938
Location
North American Tectonic Plate
FIrst, it all depends on what you are after, so you should check them all out and see how you feel.

I have no direct experience with any of these schools but from looking at the websites I would not be surprised the Shaolin Xiu and the Tang Long were more about performance than Self defense.
 

Shai Hulud

Purple Belt
Joined
Nov 5, 2014
Messages
308
Reaction score
131
Location
St. Petersburg
The art you feel like you can commit yourself to for the foreseeable future. :) No use in taking up any particular art if your heart and spirit aren't in it.
 

dboeren

White Belt
Joined
Mar 17, 2015
Messages
11
Reaction score
3
I would recommend visiting all of the schools to watch class and talk with the instructor and some students. You are likely to find that some of them resonate with you better than others. It will also let you observe what sort of skills the senior students have, do they look like the way you want to be able to move?

Just from a quick glance, the Fujian White Crane school looks like they may be a little closer to Sanda-oriented but I don't know how big a criteria this is for you.
 

ShortBridge

3rd Black Belt
Joined
Feb 9, 2015
Messages
919
Reaction score
644
Location
Seattle, WA, USA
I'll echo the other perspectives that you've received. Visit each school or at least call and see which one feels right to you. When you're there, be respectful, take it all and watch the students who have been there for a while at least as much as the instructor. That will tell you more.

My gut based on websites is that the Shaolin school will be very different than the others and that will either appeal to you or not. Based strictly on websites, I personally think I might like the crane school the best, but that's me. You have to decide for yourself.
 

Mephisto

Black Belt
Joined
Sep 26, 2014
Messages
594
Reaction score
234
In the op, self defense, competition, and traditional training was mentioned. Good luck finding a place that offers all three. They do exist but can be hard to find. First, self defense is a term that can have many meanings. It's been a topic here lately and a well rounded self defense program will teach situational awareness, deescalation techniques, and a myriad of other skills unrelated to fighting ability. I think most people who say self defense are referring to the able to defend and protect ones self after avoidance and other options have failed. In this case a good hard sparring gym is my recommendation, Sanda is a good choice and any gym that competes or trains it is a good option. A gym that claims to teach self defense and doesn't spar hard and doesn't teach avoidance and other skills may be a waste of time. Don't buy into the "too deadly" to spar cop out.

As for traditional systems, that's another subjective term. Bjj is considered a traditional system by some and it's older than many of the styles who market their art as traditional. There are many systems that have been founded relatively recently that come from older traditional systems, they are not traditional though if they differ from their "mother art".
 
OP
S

songsong1

White Belt
Joined
Mar 24, 2015
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
Thanks for all the replies so far. I forgot to mention in the OP that I also want to do a traditional MA as I am half Chinese and would like to be more engaged in chinese culture. I understand that a sport MA might be more practical but self-defense, although a large factor, is not my main reason for learning a MA. I mentioned Sanda simply as a possibility in the future, if after training I want to take my MA training further. Sorry for causing any misunderstandings.

I think I'm going to rule out Shaolin kung fu as it won't be as practical as the others styles. I'll definitely visit the FWC and WC to check them out though.

Another possibility that came to mind is Tai Chi, as it has the added health benefits. I know that there are many instructors who don't teach the self defense side of it but I was wondering what everyone thought of this website: Tai Ji Circle Chen taijiquan and qigong classes
 

Xue Sheng

All weight is underside
Joined
Jan 8, 2006
Messages
31,553
Reaction score
5,938
Location
North American Tectonic Plate
Thanks for all the replies so far. I forgot to mention in the OP that I also want to do a traditional MA as I am half Chinese and would like to be more engaged in chinese culture. I understand that a sport MA might be more practical but self-defense, although a large factor, is not my main reason for learning a MA. I mentioned Sanda simply as a possibility in the future, if after training I want to take my MA training further. Sorry for causing any misunderstandings.

I think I'm going to rule out Shaolin kung fu as it won't be as practical as the others styles. I'll definitely visit the FWC and WC to check them out though.

Another possibility that came to mind is Tai Chi, as it has the added health benefits. I know that there are many instructors who don't teach the self defense side of it but I was wondering what everyone thought of this website: Tai Ji Circle Chen taijiquan and qigong classes

If the Taijiquan teacher is a real student of Chen Xiaowang (and his name is on the page) he knows the martial side of Chen Taijiquan as well
 

kuniggety

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Jan 3, 2015
Messages
795
Reaction score
272
Location
Oahu, Hawaii
I've studied Northern Shaolin or rather one style of Northern Shaolin. It's actually an umbrella term. In general, while I loved it and it was great for fitness, it would not be my first pick for self defense. Looking at the website, he teaches 5 animals which is more Southern style but the comment still stands. That being said, they also teach both chin na shuai jiao and taken all together creates a pretty comprehensive fighting system.

I don't have anything negative to say about Chen Tai chi. I studied it for 6 months. IMHO, it is the most physically demanding and martial oriented of the tai chi systems. It can be great for self defense but don't expect to get there over night.
 

Lestat83

White Belt
Joined
Feb 23, 2015
Messages
19
Reaction score
4
I just wanted to say to OP that you are lucky to have the Cen Tai chi, FWC particularly within an easy commute. I am rather more limited but have found a good place :) the awareness and de escalation part of sylabus in self defence focusses schools is immensely valuable.

I once saw a martial art expert jumped from behind, hit his head on pavement and was out cold...vs a street brawler...all cause he had no awareness. So my personal bias is on self defence and places that do hard sparring.
 

ShotoNoob

Master Black Belt
Joined
Feb 18, 2015
Messages
1,259
Reaction score
72
...I think I'm going to rule out Shaolin kung fu as it won't be as practical as the others styles. I'll definitely visit the FWC and WC to check them out though....
|
Why is the Shaolin kung fu impractical? I thought the latter was an adaptation of the health benefits you spoke of in your post--to the martial use of same?
 

clfsean

Senior Master
MT Mentor
MTS Alumni
Joined
Jun 15, 2004
Messages
3,598
Reaction score
288
Location
Metropolitan Tokyo
If it's like most Shaolin from the Songshan line, they don't necessarily start out touching people right away. There are always exceptions, but most follow the rule.

Wing Chun & Fujian White Crane you can pretty count on contact day one.
 

ShotoNoob

Master Black Belt
Joined
Feb 18, 2015
Messages
1,259
Reaction score
72
If it's like most Shaolin from the Songshan line, they don't necessarily start out touching people right away. There are always exceptions, but most follow the rule....
Learned something....
 

tifire

White Belt
Joined
May 30, 2009
Messages
19
Reaction score
4
Just like someone here pointed out, it's best to visit each of the school, see how they teach students. Wing Chun and Shaolin Kung Fu are more popular than Fujian White Crane, there must be a reason why people choose the former two. But it really depends on your own preference. Also a good instructor is more important than the style you pick. Once you get started, it's always easy to learn another style later.
 

qianfeng

Green Belt
Joined
May 19, 2014
Messages
134
Reaction score
14
Just like someone here pointed out, it's best to visit each of the school, see how they teach students. Wing Chun and Shaolin Kung Fu are more popular than Fujian White Crane, there must be a reason why people choose the former two. But it really depends on your own preference. Also a good instructor is more important than the style you pick. Once you get started, it's always easy to learn another style later.

LOl people only choose wing chun after watching Bruce Lee and Ip Man Movies
 

Transk53

The Dark Often Prevails
Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2013
Messages
4,220
Reaction score
835
Location
England 43 Anno Domini
LOl people only choose wing chun after watching Bruce Lee and Ip Man Movies

Not necessarily overall, but yeah it stands to reason that all of the exposure through the films do have a tangible effect. Not so sure with the JKD representation at the point of Enter the Dragon, but the IP Man films were pretty representative apparently.
 

dboeren

White Belt
Joined
Mar 17, 2015
Messages
11
Reaction score
3
I agree, you can only choose the styles that are available in your area. So, it generally comes down to styles which are common or pure luck as to what's nearby.
 

Instructor

Master Black Belt
Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2012
Messages
1,343
Reaction score
238
Location
Harpers Ferry, WV
I was fortunate enough to spend some time with Cen Tai chi practitioner recently and I was solidly impressed with his abilities. I think if coupled with deescalation and awareness training it would be solid for self defense.
 

zzj

Blue Belt
Joined
Apr 28, 2014
Messages
217
Reaction score
73
If the Taijiquan teacher is a real student of Chen Xiaowang (and his name is on the page) he knows the martial side of Chen Taijiquan as well

I'd jump at the chance to learn from a disciple of Chen Xiaowang.
 
Top