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Practice

A rich variety of kung fu styles exists because of the many variations in Chinese culture, geography, philosophies, and physical structures. Each of the ethnic populations residing in the different parts of China has its own form of martial arts. For example, the Muslim minority in the Shandon province is famous for its Cha and Hua quan. The Han majority in the South practices Nan quan or various family styles. People in northern China practice Chuojiao and Tantui. Every practitioner adapts the style to take advantage of their physical and mental attributes. Some schools concentrate on the use of the fists and hand techniques, while others emphasize leg strikes and footwork. Others yet show interest in tricks and complexity, while some prefer simplicity. Martial arts are truly infinite in depth and variety.

At the Ottawa Chinese Martial Arts Association, we believe that training must by scientific and systematic. We combine the best traditional methods with the latest research in health science and physiology to create an efficient learning system that is suitable for students from any background. From novice with no experience in the martial arts to the dedicated professionals who are well verse in the combat methods, our training can provide improvements over their current state. . 

 
 Contents
 1.  Type of Training
 2.  Objectives
 3.  Components
 4.  Benefits

Type of Training

History and lineage is an important component of Kung Fu. Part of the importance is due to the influence of Confucian philosophy and its emphasis on the value of the teacher-student relationship. The other aspect of the art is that the value of a particular style should be tested over time.

Each style has a combination of offenses and defense. In addition, there is an integration of the external and the internal: external in terms of movements and physical actions; internal in terms of practice of the mind and chi qong. Some styles of kung fu use instruments, apparatus and weapons to enhance practice. Other styles stress the use of meditation and static exercises.

The experience at the Ottawa Chinese Martial Arts Association had allowed us to provide the general outline for a complete Kung Fu system. Each particular style of kung fu training can also be classified according to one or more of the following components:

  1. Solo practice is the basis for Kung fu. It includes basic movements, stretching, and various static exercises, whose purpose is to develop the physique of the practitioner, to strengthen the circulation of the chi, and to improve fighting skills.
  2. Routines are organized sequences of techniques conceived to aid the practitioner in developing timing and coordinated action.
  3. Group practice is a collective event where more than one person practice together either barehanded or with weapons. This type of exercise requires high concentration, skill, and the close cooperation of every participant.
  4. Weapons practice involves the use of objects such as the sword or the staff.  Traditionally, a Kung Fu proponent must master the eighteen major weapons. 
  5. Sparring is combat under well defined rules and regulation.  The objective in sparring is test your understanding of a technique with another person.  Sparring can be carried out using bare hands, with weapons and also between armed and unarmed participants.
  6. Duels are carried out with even less rules and regulation.  Historically, duels are carried out in a Lei Tai (擂台; Lèi tái, stage fighting) which can range from a full contact competition to a life or death struggle.  Due to its violent nature, it has banned since the founding of the Republic instead the government promotes the more regulated version known as sanshou (free hand) and sanda (free fighting).  Duels in general can be fought barehanded or with weapons.
  7. Neigong are internal exercises that are performed to promote the circulation of chi (or internal energy).
  8. Push-hands are a specialized form of sparring practiced by Internal martial arts. 
A student can easily benefit by practicing one or more components of this Martial Arts curriculum. However, this does not mean that a school needs to cover all the components to be effective. A student should be aware of the infinite varieties available in the study of the martial arts.  
 
 

Objectives

The objectives of kung fu practice vary with the individual and often evolve with time. In general, practitioners seek to benefit in areas of:

  1. Moral Growth - Kung fu is conducive to developing good manners and conduct. Deeply influenced by Confucian philosophy, it promotes good moral character, nourishes the spirit and fosters proper temperament.
  2. Self defense - Kung fu is about martial arts. Even though armed and unarmed combat are no longer an important part of modern day society, practitioners should appreciate the origins of the art and try to understand the applications for self- defense of the movements they practice. For the few who are interested in the combat aspects of kung fu, the techniques are rich in diversity and effectiveness in terms of attack and defense.
  3. Health improvement - Some kung fu styles include exercises that benefit the external and internal parts of the body.
  4. Artistic merit - Kung fu forms contain many graceful movements of the body and can be visually appealing. Some elements of kung fu can be found in traditional dance and opera.
  5. Coordination - Kung fu practice is about the harmonization of the mind and the body as well as the synchronization of the internal and the external.
Kung fu practice is training the mind and body to work in harmony.  Progress is achieve through understanding and perseverance.  Hard work is rewarded by health and serenity. 


 

Components

Training at the Ottawa Chinese Martial Arts association consists of the following:

Stretching

Your muscles and your joints are link the parts of your body together, and power your body. Strong, supple, and loose muscles and joints are required for maximum health. Anyone who has done any level of physical activity is aware of this. And to anyone who has sweated and worked hard at any physical endeavor, this will seem like pure common sense.

Breathing

Whether nourishing your body with oxygen or eliminating waste gases from your body, your breath is vital to you as a living creature. Breathing techniques are a common practice among various medical, spiritual, and martial traditions, and can be designed, in some cases, to achieve very specific ends.

Standing

Often studied in conjunction with breathing and stretching exercises, standing is a vital component in its own right. Because they allow you to develop a thorough feeling for your own body, standing exercises are the basis for further work. One thing that often surprises newcomers is just how poor their posture is. Along with that realization comes another: just how much of their upper body musculature they tend to use to support themselves. Training your body to have correct posture and to support yourself with minimal effort are two prime goals of initial standing training.

Stances

Your link to the ground. The very foundation of your body's structure. Although there are no stances per se in practice and in movement, do offer positioning and structural checkpoints. During training, practitioners will move through these checkpoints as they step and execute techniques. The different stances have different strengths and weaknesses.

Stepping

Martial arts require training in motion. Once the students learn the basics of stillness, the training of coordinating the various parts of the body can begin. Stepping training enables the practitioner to move fluidly and quickly through the stance checkpoints, increasing one's speed, quickness, and stability. One step at a time, the mind is opened and recaptures the wonderment of movement again. Each style promotes various degrees of weight distribution, but in the end, stepping helps train the mind and the body.

Basic training is the most important aspect of practice regardless of the style of martial arts.  Real progress can only be achieved after establishing a strong foundation. 


Benefits

Consistent practice has many benefits including:

  • Self-defense
  • Health and fitness
  • Character development
  • Mind expansion
  • Spiritual awareness
Martial arts practice is beneficial to all age groups.  The benefits can only be achieved with dedication and consistent practice. In time, to obtain the best results, raining becomes integral aspects of the student's life.