Problems and Possible solutions for Kung Fu
I have been lurking in the shadows of Bullshido for many months, and admire what everyone is trying to accomplish here. To rid the world of BS martialartists. That is not an easy task and hopefully I will be able to contribute.
That being said I would like to offer the following up for critique (as I am sure it will be, vehemently) and as a suggestion for Kung Fu practioners.
I would like to address the main problem with Kung fu as it is here in the U.S.
Practioners with years of training that cannot fight.
The problem in general stems from poor quality instructors, instructors who don't know any better, or instructors who feel their students have no interest in actually applying what they're learning.
1. Poor quality instructors.
These are guys that have trained with various instructors over the years, learning techniques and how they are theoretically applied and then decide they are qualified to teach. My Muay Thai coach calls them "Technique Collectors" They have little to no sparring experience, and have never been in a real fight. They try to avoid fights (as all of us should) but also avoid sparring, giving us philosophical reasons (BS) for the lack of it in their training. This kind of instructor should be avoided.
2. Instructors who don't know any better.
This kind of instructor is generally a product of the instructors discussed in #1. They learn from poor quality instructors and then go out on their own and open a school somewhere else. They are generally fiercely loyal to their "Master" (much like a dog) and follow the same teaching style of their "Master". On the rare occassion that one of these guys tries to do more with his training, i.e. sparring or cross taining, they are looked down on by their "Master" and are chastised for even thinking of doing something different. Unless they choose to distance themselves from their "Master " by adding a sparring program, then they too should also be avoided.
3.Instructors who feel their students have no interest in actually applying what they're learning.
This kind of instructor is a rarity anymore. They are generally much older and have become disenchanted with teaching. In their younger days they did fight, both professionally or in the street, but after years of people only wanting to learn Tai Ji or performance Wushu they have given up trying to teach real application or running sparring sessions.
This kind of instructor is willing to teach sparring sessions or allow his students to spar while he critiques what they are doing in an effort to improve their skills, but the students have to take the initiative and start sparring. The quality of teaching from this kind of instructor is top-notch. He would be qualified and knowledgeable, he just needs to see that his students are interested in doing more that performance routines.
Recently I have discovered that my Kung Fu instructor is number 3. He is much older (well past 60) but still moves with a great amount of grace, speed and power. I have never heard him talk about doing any sparring. But a couple of weeks ago a partner and I decided to put on some chest protectors so we could make real contact to the body. Immediately my instructor was involved, I dare say I have never seen him this enthusiastic in class. He was truly happy that some students had taken it upon themselves to try applying what they were learning and beating on each other.
Afterwards I explained my plan to my instructor that this was a progression that I was going to work on with my training partner(he has little experience sparring, and I am admittedly very rusty). It would gradually increase in the amount of contact that would be involved (especially after we get the necessary equipment) and he agreed with me completely saying that we would set aside time each session to work on sparring.
So how does one solve the problem of Kung Fu practioners being poor fighters? It's easy;
1. Stay away from schools that say they don't spar.
2. If you try to spar in your school and are told by the instructor to cease doing it, for whatever reason, you are in the wrong place, leave.
3. If your instructor shows no interest in sparring, then you need to take it upon yourself to spar. After you start sparring if the instructor takes a positive interest and begins trying to help you develope, your in the right place, if he frowns on it see #2.
Also it is wise, and necessary these days, to cross train. Don't blindly follow your instructor. A true martial arts instructor regardless of their style will recognise the merits of other systems. My kung fu instructor on more than one occassion has mentioned that he finds Muay Thai, and BJJ to be formidable fighting systems.
So branch out a little bit, try and learn some different things. But above all else spar. Even if you start out slow and progress over several months, that would be better than not doing it at all.
I hope this has been informative to my fellow martial artist and kung fu brethren, and I apologize if this topic has been discussed like this before.
I drive an hour in from the suburbs.
ROFL! Glad to be of service. He he he he. :3some:
Originally Posted by Cullion