Question for any Wushu Practicioners.
I live in a small town so finding teachers is super hard. I found a school that teaches Wing Woo Gar, a southern Chinese system as they advertise.
So anyways i went on monday for a free session and watched everyone train.
So at the end of the session i was given expectations about what, or how i would be learning and two things caught me off by surprise .
I was told that i would not learn to do any kicking or punching for at least a year. And two i would be working on stances, Balance,cooperation of the body and streching for a whole year.
Now like i said im new but this seemed a bit odd.
Chime in and let a noob know.
As I understand it, not learning anything but stances and basics for a year(s) is traditional in some styles, but that doesn't make it a good idea in my book. I think that the reason for that traditionally wasn't just to ensure a solid kung fu foundation- it also made it so that you could weed out the people who weren't really serious about training (and I imagine that applies today somewhat as well). As a general rule in athletic endeavors (like fighting), the more training resembles what you are training for, the more the training will prepare you for the event. If the event is fighting, just doing stances and stretching doesn't resemble the event very much (even though you may be learning good things and getting stronger and more flexible). I don't think it's awful to focus on a strong foundation and not just throw people into sparring, but the one year at least thing is kind of a red flag in my book. I would look for whether or not the senior students spar, and if they are applying what they learned when doing so. It may be that you just transition from stancework and stretching into forms with punches or kicks in them (this wouldn't surprise me) which also doesn't really resemble the event either. Ask to watch one of their sparring classes. If they don't have them, I'd leave. If they said that they were closed door, I'd probably also leave because it can mean a few things: 1- they are not proud of their sparring and don't want people seeing their senior guys flail around, or 2- they don't spar. It also suggests that they don't get out in the martial arts community and mix it up with other stylists (because this would require outsiders to see their sparring). Do you have a martial arts background that would allow you to know the difference between what good and bad sparring look like? If not, it would be helpful to bring along someone who would (an experienced martial artist, kickboxer, boxer etc). Whenever you're not able to see what the more advanced people are working on, I think it's kinda shady.
I looked up woo wing gar to get an idea of what it was (I come from a southern Chinese system so I had some idea what to expect). I found nothing on wikipedia or youtube, and google says it was created by a guy in California named James Wing Woo. I find it odd that a guy that would develop his own kung fu style would insist on such a weird old school system of not learning any martial application for at least a year, and I wouldn't call it a Southern Chinese system if it came about it California but that's just me. Oddly enough, his wikipedia page has been deleted. Apparently he was a student of Lau Bun, who was one of my teacher's teacher's teacher of choy li fut, and he is well respected in the choy li fut community. I found James Wing Woo's website at http://jameswingwoo.com/. Apparently he's quite an old tai chi and kung fu man, and that's really cool in its own way.
first off, welcome to bullshido!
then to answer your question, even though i never formally trained in wushu (learned a lot of random stuff from friends), that seems hella shady. Stances, balance, and coordination are all important, but you can get all that while moving your body (doing punches and kicks). In fact, im pretty sure the first form you learn in wushu that teaches you the basic stances transitions between each stance with a strike/kick. Hopefully someone with more wushu experience can chime in.
(or, just read what Codos said.)
Last edited by wizwar31; 7/25/2010 1:06am at .
Reason: i type too slow
I was assuming wushu in the sense of Chinese martial arts, not contemporary wushu as a style, just to clarify. I have a little background in each- I've done traditional kung fu for around a decade (as of this month in fact), but I was also one of the founding members of the SDSU Chinese martial arts club, which became the wushu club when it was apparent that out of around a dozen members, I was one of two that didn't just practice contemporary wushu (there was also a Chen style tai chi stylist that I used to play push hands with). I decided to stay with the wushu club and I got to know contemporary wushu better, and had some training sessions with a well respected wushu teacher in San Diego. Wizwar31 is correct in that wushu does teach strikes and kicks in their most basic forms, but details I thought were important were de-emphasized in favor of developing proper aesthetics (and some of the kicks were more like stretches than ways to attack an opponent with your leg). I don't think it really relates to the discussion about woo wing gar, except to note that the Chinese systems I've had experience with teach the application of strikes and kicks alongside basic forms (including tai chi chuan).
From what I've read, the guy is has done 50 years of kung fu, so I'd be interested in seeing what he does, but a word of caution about old kung fu guys- a lot of them seem to not actually teach beginners- they train instructors to do the teaching for them, so even though it's his school, you might not learn from him very frequently. At my old kwoon, my sifu almost never taught any classes- he taught us instructors and did some of the business of the school, and our instructor crew taught the students (and I felt that some of the instructors on the staff shouldn't have been teaching because they didn't have enough experience in the art to teach it well). If you're interested in learning from him specifically, make sure you see if he actually teaches the classes himself or if he gets others to do it and pokes his head in sometimes.
Also, welcome to Bullshido.
He seems to be the random Chinese guy in quite a few tv shows and movies.
Sorry, doesn't really say if the school is any good or not.
Do you know if there's any historical precedent for training stancework for years before learning applications, even as a weeding out process? Or is it totally fabricated? I know I've heard about it used as such, but can't recall a credible source. There's fairly basic elements of fighting that kung fu develops but require actual work with a partner to figure out how to use effectively (the one that jumps to my mind is using level change to attack different levels of the body- sinking low into stances in forms might help you do this, but it won't teach you when and how to integrate it into a larger fighting strategy).
Originally Posted by It is Fake
Talking to my instructors, they were never made to hold stances for a year or two first, nor was any such thing passed down to them. When speaking of the idea of conditioning before training or weeding out wannabes, they often just speak of stories about making people do menial physical chores (fetching buckets of water to clean the courtyard, etc.) and this was generally understand to be primarily a way to frontload payment of tuition, secondarily testing of character, and only as a tertiary matter conditioning since most everyone not horribly injured by farm life was in okay shape from shoveling **** all day in the first place.
The school is called Paul Gales Chinese martial arts association.
If anyone can use there google fu and look him up. I cant find a single thing on him.
Paul Gale's Chinese Martial Arts Association
My great uncle has trained with Sifu Paul Gale for over 15 years, and myself for only about 4.
He is highly skilled, and has a great teaching method, when I went there, the first thing I learned was the traditional Horse stance, and the 10 basic punches, basic kicks, followed by a few forms, and a BUNCH of exercises tha I use to this day :D
One of the students there, I belive he had only been going for about 2 years, but had taken every class from 7AM-6PM every weekday, and seemed to be the fastest growing student there, was a former soldier( I dont know what branch) and had chosen Paul's class, over many, many others in Northern Humboldt.
James Wing Woo is Sifu Paul Gale's Teacher, and from what I've heard, also very good at what he does.
You can see some vids of him teaching, on youtube.
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