Lao Chi Kung Fu - Excellent
Firstly, I need to say that I am a recently qualified instructor in Lao Chi Kung Fu. Whether you think that makes me biased or not is up to you. I have respect for all other martial arts as I believe that it takes strength of personality, commitment and discipline to achieve any standard in all styles that I know of. Knowing this, I’ll try and be as unbiased as I can. I hope you all will do the same.
I am not the Sifu who teaches the class that is being referred to, however I have been taught by this Sifu for about 6 years. I’m not going to type an analysis of his teaching ability as different people have different ways of teaching and, quite frankly, it’s just disrespectful. Some like to teach on a one-to-one basis, others prefer to teach classes as a whole or pair students up of a similar level. Either way, it’s a mute point. Not one way is right - every way has it’s positives and negatives. I think most instructors would agree, a lot of it is down to personal teaching methods and opinion, and each instructor is entitled to that.
What I am going to talk about is what has been mentioned in previous posts. It is true that I have studied the style for a long time, and therefore I have grown attached to it, as all martial artists do. I do however have a brain, and can see the style for what it is: a very good self-defensive martial art.
Most of the people who train with us are not hardened martial artists. We are not competition based, but teach to help people to defend themselves in real life situations. We don’t jump around needlessly, doing pointless back-flips when these will not help you in real life. Lao Chi is a practical martial art. And we (the everyday person who goes to our classes) practice it as such.
I am curious as to the actual class that was visited, as some of the details seem wrong. I thought I would clarify some of the facts about our classes:
As with traditional Shaolin kung fu practitioners, the senior students, myself included, help the junior students. This was the same when I was a junior, so it is only fair that I do the same now for our beginners. It helps the beginners to learn, and it also helps the seniors realise any mistakes that they are making themselves, and to become more respectable to their training colleagues. I think the seniors who I practice with do a very good job of taking juniors under their wing and accepting them into the club. I think any of our junior students would agree with me.
- Classes are 90 minutes long
- Approximately 20 minutes of this is taken up by a good array of stretches.
- Then, about 10 minutes of line work and further warm ups takes place
- We then have a class session where various techniques are practiced (e.g. combination work, blocks to kicks/weapons etc). The only time this doesn’t happen is when we have student exams approaching, in which case we forgo the group exercise and dedicate more time to student practice.
- The class is then partnered off to allow for techniques included in our syllabus to be practiced and sparring to take place. About every ten minutes partners are changed to allow practicing of these techniques to be done on people of differing size/shape etc.
- In about the last 20 minutes of the lesson those at the required level are taken to one half of the Kwoon and practice multiple attack scenarios and free-fighting. The last part of the lesson involves practicing animal forms and a warm down.
We have proper etiquette and all show respect to our Sifu and fellow students, and we take what we do seriously. We do have a bit of a laugh here and there, it is a hobby for most people afterall. The class is a nice bunch of guys and girls, and the atmosphere is generally a happy one.
Our grading system listed on the website is the minimum that anyone needs to do in order to attain the highest levels in our martial art. We think that in order to attain the best desirable level of Lao Chi this timetable is spot on. I personally would not hand a black sash to someone who has been training for only six months.
One main point that I would like to make is that we are not in it for the money as some seem to have implied above. I, myself teach for free, I see it as a part of my training. Both myself and my Sifu both have full time day jobs. I teach as a hobby, not for extra income.
I was dismayed when a friend told me about this page and how it belittles the martial art that I have grown to love over the last 6 years. Personally, I think that if you want a true taster of a martial art you have to give it more than one lesson. You need in fact, to join in for a lesson or two rather than just watch. We have more senior classes where the higher level techniques and parts of our training take place. All I can think is that KhanomTom went to one of our junior classes? Either that or to a class when hardly any senior students turned up!
If any instructor new exactly who was going to turn up to his class before hand things would be great, but I know from experience that that rarely happens. Lesson plans therefore need to be changed on the spot, if anything this is a sign of a good instructor.
If there was some way to invite KhanomTom to a class when I knew that all of the seniors would turn up, so we could ‘put on a good show’, I would. Then I could try and disprove the disrespectful title this thread has been given. We have between 15 -20 junior students at any one time at our Wallasey club, and we dedicate ourselves to them when we need to, as I hope that any student who visits the club will see.
If you are curious as to the truth in what I say, visit us, see for yourself. If it is not for you, fair enough. I myself turned down about four other clubs before I picked Lao Chi.
Bullshido was set up to rip apart the terrible martial arts and presumably acknowledge the decent ones. I hope this has gone some way to convincing the readers of this thread that first impressions are not always right. If you are still not convinced, ask the 60 odd students who train with us what they think.