Imperial College Kung Fu Society
Imperial College Kung Fu Society
The Imperial College Kung Fu society teaches the Wu Shu Kwan style. Itís student orientated (being a student society), however there are alumni and non-students training there. As one might expect with a university club itís very friendly organising bar outings, meals and pub visits after training.
The class itself is run by two different instructors, a 5th degree (infact, one of, if not the most, senior 5th degree in the Wu Shu Kwan organisation) and a 3rd degree (whoís got over 20 years of experience in the style). Both are extremely friendly; further cementing the good vibe that you get from the class in terms of warm welcome and camaraderie.
Classes are run to the standard Wu Shu Kwan syllabus; that is:
30 minutes warm up and stretching
30 minutes basic moves (line-work)
30 minutes grade related material (forms, fixed sparring)
30 minutes sparring (less for beginners as you only ever spar higher belts until you are more senior)
Cost are subsidised for students by the union, Iíve not trained in a while though so Iím not sure if the cost Iíve put down are accurate.
Rather than give an overview here Iím going to list the details of each score I give, as this is, I think, the best way to see the proís and conís of training at Imperial Kung Fu.
There is sparring every class. This is alive, full-contact with only cup and 16oz gloves as mandatory.
However, this is the only alive training you get in the class. Everything else, from basic moves, to forms, to fixed sparring is done ďdeadĒ. There is no progression between the two, there is no active padwork or drills. Itís all or nothing.
Gloves are provided. There are also kick-shields, pads and mats available, though these are used after class as there is no pad/bag work in the main WSK curriculum (infact according to WSK you get in trouble for doing it during class so even if, for example, Imperial Kung Fu were to do that, maybe during the summer months when there are less students around, I wouldnít tell you and get the instructors in trouble).
Itís in a reasonable size sports room in the Union building. Plenty of room when only 12 people in the class, not so much room when 90 freshers turn up!
Instructor Student ratio: 7
The instructors always lead the class. The formal syllabus part of the class is taught to each grade either by the instructor or by black belts (or lower if there are not enough BBs to go round).
Itís student club, in a student union. The bar is just downstairs. If you want to make friends itís a very, very friendly club!
Striking Instruction: 6
The moves taught in class are basic and straightforward. Jab; cross; hook; uppercut; front-, spurn-(think teep), back-, side-, turning kicks. There are even knees and elbows. Kicks are check with the legs, punches parried with the hands.
However, as mentioned above, there are no active drills to practice these techniques and no clinch focus in training. Also, footwork is not emphasised or drilled. This can lead to bad habits and missing ranges.
Grappling training: 1
There are the basic throws at brown belt level. There are exclusively compliant and not used in sparring. Theoretically you can use them, but no-one does, and the floor isnít matted so takedowns will hurt!
At 1st degree or above weapons are introduced. However, these are taught as forms or as fixed sparring. No free-sparring.
Imperial Kung Fu is a friendly society that offers a mix of ďtraditionalĒ and ďmodernĒ type training. Itís a good crowd and a good entry level martial art for the hobbyist or beginner. However, if you want to be a hard-core ring fighter, itís probably best to look elsewhere.